NIEHS- Environmental Agent Pages

Each month we publish a newsletter titled IAQ Website of the Month.  The excerpt below was originally published in the December 2014 newsletter.

I was recently doing some research on endocrine disruptors and I came across a page on the NIEHS website.  It provided a nice summary and dozens of useful links.  As I dug around more on their website, I realized they have great summaries and useful links for several indoor air quality contaminants.

Who is the NIEHS?  According to their website, The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) is one of 27 research institutes and centers that comprise the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The mission of the NIEHS is to discover how the environment affects people in order to promote healthier lives.

Here are some links to environmental agents that have dedicated pages:

To see all the environmental agents, visit this month’s featured website: NIEHS Environmental Agents.

To subscribe to this newsletter click the following link: IAQ Website of the Month.

Mold and Health

Each month we publish a newsletter titled IAQ Website of the Month.  The excerpt below was originally published in the October 2010 newsletter.

I recently had a client ask, “Are these levels of mold that you found causing my symptoms?” It may seem like an innocuous question, but it proves to be quite tricky to answer. It puts you in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. Let me explain.

If you do provide an answer, either affirmative or negative, you are taking on the role of a licensed health care provider.

If you don’t provide any answer, you may be leaving that person stranded with a family doctor that has no clue how to interpret mold data.

May I suggest some middle ground? Provide general information on the health effects of mold. For this, you only want the most trusted resources available. There is too much information in the internet that tends to one of two extremes.

This month’s featured websites are the two most reliable resources to reference when dealing with health effects:

The first document is from the World Health Organization and the second from the Institute of Medicine, which is the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences. You can read the documents online, but I recommend purchasing the bound books to add to your library.

These two documents are by no means perfect. They do, however, provide authoritative information on the whole “soup” of problems that happen with dampness.

To visit this month’s featured websites, click the two links below:

To subscribe to this newsletter click the following link: IAQ Website of the Month.

Check out our Certified Microbial Investigator course for more information on mold and health.

New IAQ Guidelines from Who?

Each month we publish a newsletter titled IAQ Website of the Month.  The excerpt below was originally published in the December 2010 newsletter.

Each month we publish a newsletter titled IAQ Website of the Month. The excerpt below was originally published in the December 2010 newsletter.

Can you guess which organization released a 484-page guideline on 9 different IAQ contaminants this month? Who? Yes, WHO!

The World Health Organization (WHO) released the latest document is the series, “Who Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality”. The first focused on dampness and mold and was recently featured as our website of the month. This second installment focuses on “Selected Pollutants.” These include:

  • Benzene
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Formaldehyde
  • Naphthalene
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
  • Radon
  • Trichloroethylene
  • Tetrachloroethylene

The guidelines include the latest research on health effects of the contaminants. WHO evens proposes guideline concentrations for several of the pollutants.

I recommend downloading the document from the WHO website and saving it in your electronic library. It’s a great reference if you ever deal with IAQ issues stemming from one of the nine subject parameters. Before you tuck it away and forget about it, you should at least read the Executive Summary and Introduction.

I am very impressed with the quality of these guidelines. One annoyance is the way it deals with units of measurement. As an international document, one would expect references to multiple units. However, some sections freely bounce around between different units such as parts per million (ppm) and micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3). Yes, some sections report the multiple units together, but you will still need to have a calculator in hand to fully understand all the sections.

To visit this month’s featured website, visit: WHO guidelines for indoor air quality: selected pollutants.

To subscribe to this newsletter click the following link: IAQ Website of the Month.

Mold Remediation Protocols and Clearance- Texas Style

Each month we publish a newsletter titled IAQ Website of the Month.  The excerpt below was originally published in the April 2013 newsletter. 

10 years ago the Texas Legislature passed a mold bill that resulted in unique state laws regulating mold work. Although the regulations only apply to the state of Texas, I think everyone can gain from how things are done in the Lone Star State. For this month’s featured website, I’ll highlight Texas rules that regulate mold remediation protocols and clearance.
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Fungal Glossaries, Part I

Each month we publish a newsletter titled IAQ Website of the Month. The excerpt below was originally published in the May 2013 newsletter.

If you take samples for mold, you’re probably familiar with common taxonomical groupings such as Cladosporium and Aspergillus.  But what if you find something more exotic?  Where can you go to learn more about the not-so-common types of mold?

Fortunately, there are several online resources.  In fact, there are so many, I’m making this a two-part newsletter.  This month I’m featuring websites from commercial laboratories and next month I’ll feature other resources.
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Interpreting Mold Tests

Interpreting the results of mold sampling is no easy task.  That’s why many mold inspectors merely hand off some unintelligible lab report and run for it.  Why is it that so many people email me through this blog asking for help to interpret mold test results?  The reason is a failure on the part of the mold inspector to properly understand what they are doing.

You, dear homeowner, deserve more from a mold inspection.

In the comments section of this blog post, feel free to post your question related to mold testing.   However, here are the rules: Continue reading