Mold is everywhere and is a naturally occurring fungus. Usually mold can be controlled by minimizing or eliminating moisture. However, in certain situations it may present a health problem is individuals who are sensitive to its spores. It has been in the news: from multi-million dollar verdicts for residential damages caused by mold to the evacuations of schools that have mold odors.
Fungi are neither plant nor animal and include mold, yeast and mushrooms. Fungi are prevalent almost everywhere in the world and they can grow on nearly any organic substance as long as there is moisture and oxygen present. In the northeast the main cause of fungal problems is excessive moisture or humidity. Before any clean up work is started, the moisture problem must be corrected or even the most complete removal will be worthless and the fungi will reappear.
Fungi can affect human health in a number of ways. People can be affected by the inhalation or ingestion of the fungal spores, inhalation of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are a product of fungal growth (the VOCs are the moldy odors often associated with fungi), inhalation of mycotoxins that certain fungi emit and from the inhalation or ingestion of fungi that have grown or landed on food or have become airborne when they have been disturbed.
The health effects of fungal exposure are well-documented, but may be very difficult to prove. Symptoms may include: asthma, allergic reactions, headaches, fever, higher susceptibility to illness, rash and irritability.
Complete removal of the fungi is the best alternative to the abatement of the problem. Removal of the fungi is followed by cleaning of the affected area with a fungicide and the application of a sealant with a fungal inhibiter. The clean up activities should be conducted in such a way as to avoid the contamination of unaffected areas.
SEA’s fungal professionals are Board Certified by the American Indoor Air Quality Council and can test for, evaluate, prepare work plans, oversee the implementation of the work plans, and conduct clearance sampling to ascertain the effectiveness of the clean up activities. SEA will guide you through the clean up process offering you the most cost effective alternatives for the fungal abatement.
PHASE I - Environmental Site Assessments
Due to the potential staggering liability associated with environmental problems, financial lenders and buyers of real estate should have an accurate assessment of the environmental condition of the property, also known as due diligence. Owners of contaminated real estate may be liable for clean-up costs under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liabilities Act (CERCLA). SEA conducts Phase I Environmental Site Assessments to identify potential and actual sources of environmental contamination related to commercial, industrial, and even residential properties. Environmental Site Assessments can vary greatly in terms of scope, cost, and quality depending on the type of property and its location.
A Phase 1 involves the examination of historical information on the site and its neighborhood, agencies’ compliance records, hazmat data bases, site building records, and the use of questionnaires coupled with an interactive site visit. Findings from the records search are incorporated into the on-site inspection activity to allow any potential problems identified from the research effort to be confirmed or nullified by physical evidence observed at the site. If a Phase 1 indicates a need for further investigation to determine if an environmental concern exists at the site, a Phase 2 investigation may be necessary.
PHASE 2 - Environmental Site Investigation
A Phase 2 includes media sampling, testing and analysis. It may include the development of alternative engineering solutions to the problems identified in the Phase 1 and 2, and the costing of such potential abatement activities. Some limited sampling to support visual observations may be conducted to determine the presence of asbestos, radon, and lead. The objective of Phase 2 is to obtain quantitative evidence on the presence of hazardous materials and conditions and to delineate the scope of the contamination and the cost of cleanup.
PHASE 3 - Environmental Site Remediation
A Phase 3 consists of implementing the remediation activities that will abate the problems identified and characterized in the previous two phases. It may include containment or removal of the pollutants, decontamination, abatement of the site, and remediation. An interim or final closure report will be prepared documenting the process and presenting SEA's conclusions.
If you have any questions or comments about Spectrum Environmental Associates, Inc. or the services we offer, please let us know.
2539 Albany Street
Schenectady , NY 12304
New York Home Inspector # 16000025016