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1An Annotated 4-Hour PowerPoint presentation by Susan C. Cooper, Ph.D. The Truth about MoldAn Annotated 4-Hour PowerPoint presentation by Susan C. Cooper, Ph.D.From The Truth about Mold, by Dr. Susan C. Cooper, published by Dearborn.
2Course Content 1. What Is Mold? 2. How Does Mold Reproduce, and When Does ItThrive?3. Why Has Mold Become a Problem?4. Adverse Effects of Mold5. Remediation6. What Is the Solution?7. How the Real Estate Professional Can ReduceLiabilityCourse content: based on the book, The Truth about MoldChapter 1. The Problem: introduction to the course—what are fungi, and what is mold?Chapter 2. How mold reproduces and what it needs to grow.Chapter 3. Why mold has become a problem and what different organizations are doing about it.Chapter 4. Adverse Effects of Mold: especially the health effects of non-toxic and “toxic” moldChapter 5. Remediation: how to clean up a mold infestation--and when to call in professional help.Chapter 6. The Solution? Some proposed and enacted legislation. Many of the possible solutions to the mold problem are not known as yet.Chapter 7. How the Real Estate Professional Can Reduce Liability: how to decrease your liability in a real estate transaction
3Is it something new? Just what IS it? 1. What Is Mold?Is it something new?Just what IS it?
4Mold: General Stuff Mold: 4 million years old Considered harmless nuisance until nowInsufficient research to answer all our questionsMany diverse opinions, especially online#4: Anyone can put anything on the Internet, so some is valid, some is not so valid, and some is downright fallacious.
5What Are Fungi? Fungi (fun’-ji, plural; singular: fungus, fun’-gus) Classified as a separate kingdom, like plants and animals (formerly considered to be plants)Over 100,000 to 1.5 million speciesIncludes mushrooms, puffballs, yeasts, moldsFungus, singular (fun’-gus); fungi, plural (fun’-ji)Fungi now have their own kingdom because of their method of dealing with food.
6Mold Is Everywhere! Found everywhere Essential for life on earth—nature’s garbage disposalFeeds on dead plants and animals and their wastesEssential for the growth of some plants-helps some plants take in nutrients and waterMold: everywhere on earth.
7Benefits of MoldsFood: cheeses (e.g., Roquefort, Camembert, Gorgonzola)Drugs/medicinesPenicillin discovered from a moldOne chemical from mold used to prevent rejection of organ transplantsOne chemical from mold used to reduce high cholesterolResearch—genetics, etc.Mold: also used in the Japanese paste called miso.
8Common Household Molds Number of species not known—at least 20,000—may be as many as 100,000 or even 250,000 species of moldsOnly about six common household moldsAspergillusPenicillium (produces penicillin)FusariumAlternariaMucorCladosporiumSome sources say there are more than 20,000 species, but who wants to count them?Note: “species” is a scientific term for a specific type of organism; members of a given species can interbreed. For example, in spite of the number of breeds existing, all dogs are members of ONE species.Pronunciations of common household molds (also provided in the Glossary):Aspergillus: as-per-jill—is; Penicillium: pe-ni-sil’-lee-um;Fusarium: fu-sar’-ee-um Alternaria: al-ter-nair’-ee-ah; Mucor: myoo’-cor;Cladosporium: clad-o-spo’-ree-um
9The Structure of Mold Simple organisms Key terms: Mycelium: the whole body of the moldHyphae (hi’-fee, plural): tubular, branched strands (hypha, hi’-fa, singular)Mold, fungi: simple organisms, with a simple—but effective--structure and life cycle.Pronunciation:mycelium: my-see’-lee-um
102. How Does Mold Reproduce, and When Does It Thrive? Specialized methods of reproductionSpecialized conditions needed for growth
11How Does Mold Reproduce, and When Does It Thrive? Specialized methods for reproductionNo male and female molds out to have a little fun! …So how do they reproduce? …Specialized conditions needed for growthMold doesn’t grow everywhere or all the time …What does it need to grow? …Use of ellipses (…) indicates that this topic is covered in more detail in subsequent slides.
12How Does Mold Reproduce? Asexual reproductive organs—specialized hyphaeSpecialized hyphae:spores form in spore cases (sporangia) at the ends of the hyphae orSpores form unenclosed along the sides and/or ends of the hyphaeSporangia (plural): spo-ran’-gee-a (singular: sporangium). Form on “sporangiophores.”Conidia (plural: co-ni’-di-a) (singular: conidium): form along “conidiophores.”
13Spores Very small and light Produced in large quantities One puffball: produced 8 trillion spores!When ripe, distributed to the world at large:Discharged to the air ORBrushed off by critter or human and carried to new location on fur, feathers, clothing, etc. ORPicked up by breeze (outdoors) or air currents (indoors)Spores--microscopic
14Spores—the Critical Factor Spores: highly resistant, unlike myceliumMycelium: can be destroyed with detergent and waterSpores: resistant to nearly everything in dormant state; remain viable for yearsStart out in dormant (inactive) stateRemain dormant until activated by presence of ALL conditions required for germination and growth
15What Do Spores Need to Become Activated and Begin Growing? A food sourceWhat do they eat?
16What Do Spores Need? 1. A Food Source Spores (and mold) usually feed on organic, nonliving material.Spores of common household molds: need cellulose-containing materials
17The Function of Digestion No living organism (animal or fungus) can use large molecules of food directly.Each animal—or fungus—produces digestive enzymes (proteins) that break down food into small molecules that can be utilized by its body.Food consists of large, complex molecules that cannot be used by the body directly. Large molecules must be broken down into small molecules before they can be processed.
18The Digestive Process Animals: internal digestion— Digestive enzymes (stomach and small intestine): break large molecules down into small onesSmall food molecules taken to rest of body via bloodstreamFungi: external digestion—an “out-of-body stomach”!Digestive enzymes secreted through hyphae into foodBreak starch (cellulose) down into sugar in the food sourceSugar taken up into mycelium through hyphaeSugars used in mold’s body for growth and normal functions.Animals: break large molecules down into small ones.Fungi: hyphae penetrate the food source (cellulose) and break it down into sugars, which are taken up into the mycelium through the hyphae.
19Photosynthesis in Plants Plants don’t digest food: they have a building up processProduce food from very simple molecules—Use carbon dioxide (released by animals) and waterProduce sugarsBuild sugars up into complex starch molecules—cellulose (you will hear this word again!)
20Characteristics of Common Household Molds Feed on cellulose-containing building materialsThere are NOT the molds that grow in your neighbor’s refrigerator!“Refrigerator molds”: not hidden (except in recesses of refrigerator)—not a problemNever in large quantitiesBecome obvious when furry and smelly enoughDo not live on cellulose-containing building materialsCellulose: the starch in plants formed by their building up simple molecules into sugars and then building the sugars into starch.
21Common Cellulose-Containing Building Materials Ceiling tileDry wallWallboardWoodFiber boardWall paperNatural fibersPaperCardboardCarpetingPaintDustCellulosic insulationOthers?Common household mold doesn’t generally feed on such materials as metals, glass, plastic, or ceramic.
22Mold Can Be Part of a “Biofilm” Biofilm: a thin layer of a biological growth (e.g., mold) growing upon a thin film of cellulose-containing material that overlies something that mold cannot eat.Example: concrete block or ceramic tile with an overlying biofilm of molds growing on such thin layers of materials as:WallpaperWallpaper pastePaintDustA biofilm may overlie something like concrete or other non-cellulose-containing material, with the biofilm consisting of mold living on a thin cellulose-containing material such as paint, dust, etc.
23What Else Do Spores Need to Germinate? 2. Moisture Moisture—the second critical component.Requirements for moisture vary with the species of moldUsually, standing water and/or a relative humidity of at least 70 percentAbsolutely critical for activating sporesContinuing source of moisture and presence of food? Infestation!Moisture: critical for the germination of spores.Example: standing water + food source may result in mold. Get rid of standing water—mold can continue to grow if relative humidity is at least 70 percent.
24Where Molds Are Usually Found Because of Moist Conditions Damp basements and crawl spacesBathrooms and laundry roomsHumidifiers and air conditionersWater reservoirs of humidifiersDrip pansUn-vented clothes dryersUpholstered furniture, carpetingGarbage containersPotting soil of over-watered house plants
25Common Causes of Moisture Flooding followed by insufficient or late drying outLeaking pipes (maybe hidden)Leaking roofsLeaking windows, doorsSewage backupsToilet or tub overflows if not cleaned up quicklyCondensation forming on or around a window sill or door or other areas—localized areas of high humidity, condensationBathrooms, laundry roomsPet urinePoor housekeepingFlooding: possible mold infestation if flooded area is not dried out immediately or if it is not dried out thoroughly.Areas of poor ventilation or insulation often cause very localized areas of condensation or high humidity where mold might grow (e.g., on window sills).
26Humid Regions More at Risk Humid regions: higher relative humidityHarder to dry out after a leakFavors mold growthHow minimize the problem?Open windows, circulate airLets mold out and fresh air in
27How About Dry Climates?Not as big a problem as humid climates, where the relative humidity is always highStill a problem in arid climates—all it takes is a leak where there’s a food source.Example: public library in Santa Fe, New Mexico: closed down for about 9 months, $1.2 million to remediate for moldArid climates: “all it takes is a leak where there’s a food source”—and food sources are nearly everywhere!Example: 5-year-old home in Rio Rancho, near Albuquerque, NM (high mountain desert):March 2002—family vacation—gone for a week to 10 daysFamily returned to find ceiling on the floor of the kitchen, mold throughout the homeLine to icemaker broke.
28What else do they need to germinate? So Mold Spores Need--FOODMOISTUREWhat else do they need to germinate?
29What Other Conditions Do Spores Need? Non-critical conditions: different molds can tolerate a wide range in these conditionsOxygen: most spores and molds need some oxygen to grow, but oxygen is nearly everywhere.Temperature: most spores and molds can grow under a wide range of temperatures but usually prefer a range of about degreesDarkness: most spores and molds do best in dark areasTemperature: a few species of mold can grow at temperatures of 122 ºF, and other species can grow below freezing, but most prefer the same kinds of temperature ranges that we like.
30The Last Condition Needed for Spores to Germinate: Time Time is needed—but not much!When conditions are right, spores begin to germinate (or grow), like seedsMost spores germinate in 4–12 hours.After they germinate, they colonize: they produce new hyphae and either conidia or sporangia with sporesSpores of most species can colonize in hoursSome species: can complete a full life cycle in 1-3 days!Colonization: production of new hyphae and spores and subsequent release of spores, which will begin a new life cycle.Example: Real estate agent took client to see a home on Saturday morning.Water was flowing from under the front door. (Agent did NOT show the house!) Agent called plumber, who shut off water.Looked like a swimming pool in living room—water 3 inches deep.Agent tried to call owner of home; finally reached him Saturday night and urged him to have it fixed immediately. Owner agreed.Sunday afternoon: excess water had drained away—no cleanup activities, however.Owner and insurance appraiser finally looked at house on Tuesday—massive infestation.What happened? Constant source of food (building materials containing cellulose); constant source of moisture. So the cycle of colonization, forming spores (sporulation), and germination of spores began again---And again—And again.Result: infestation in just a few days!
313. Why Has Mold Become a Problem? What has happened?What’s different NOW?Get some stories about mold problems in your community, with photographs, if possible, to add impact to your presentation.
32Why the Concern with Mold and “Toxic Mold”? Mold is not new!Several problems surfacing at the same timeEnergy-efficient building practices …Poor design and/or construction defects …Changing weather patterns …Growing public awareness through attention by the media and implications of health issues …Well publicized court cases involving mold, some involving large amounts of money …Why is there so much concern with mold now? Why are we hearing about it NOW, when it’s been around for millions of year?Each of these topics is broken down and discussed in the next series of slides.Court cases involving large amounts of money? $32 million is enough to get anyone’s attention!
33Energy-efficient Building Practices Caused by increased prices of gas and oil in 1970sConstruction methods: conserve energy and prevent exchange of indoor and outdoor airDouble/triple-paned windowsCaulkingWindows that do not open at allResults:Lack of adequate ventilationConcentrates mold inside and keeps fresh air outsideEnergy-efficient building practices: trend to build “tighter” buildings began in the 1970’s because of fuel shortages and high cost of fuels.
34Age of Home Not just older homes! New homes Tighter construction Poor workmanship/construction defectse.g., no flashing around windowsWallboard instead of plasterWallboard: plaster sandwiched between two sheets of heavy paperWet wallboard? Molds feed on wet paper of wallboard. Plaster: not a good food source.One example: new home in Albuquerque: mold infestation developed. All the piping was defective and had to be replaced.
35Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS) “Artificial stucco”If EIFS applied before the framing members are dry, moisture trapped inside—may result in mold infestation.Controversy: manner of application defective productSome law suits: concluded that EIFS product not at faultOther law suits: claim defective product.
36Concern: Home Builders and Remodelers International Builders Show, 2002: concluded that mold is the biggest challenge currently facing the residential construction industry28% of attendees: knew of mold problem in at least one home under construction during last year18% of attendees: knew of mold problem in at least one occupied homeLawsuits: being filed against (1) homeowners’ and condominium associations: suing contractors for construction defects, inappropriate selection or installation of building materials resulting in mold, or breach of contract or warranty; (2) developers: being sued for excessive flooding of streets and yards, resulting in basement flooding and resulting mold; (3) architects: being sued for defective design leading to mold.
37Changing Weather Patterns Global warming from increase in greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorocarbons)Result over the last 100 years:Average surface temperature of the earth: increased by 0.5–1.0°FSea level: has risen 4–8 inchesPrecipitation over land: has increased by 1 percent, with increased flooding events and elevated humidity
38Growing Public Awareness—and the Media— The media love “toxic mold”--it sells!Have flooded newspapers and magazines with storiesThe media nearly always mention “toxic mold,” Stachybotrys or ”black mold” although:“Non-toxic” mold also has proven adverse health effectsThere are other “toxic molds” besides Stachybotrys“Black mold” is not a name specific for StachybotrysThe number of articles written about “toxic mold” has doubled from 2000 to 2001.The term “toxic mold” is really a misnomer. A number of different species of mold can produce toxins under certain conditions (see also Chapter 4). However, the media LOVE the term “toxic mold” because it gets results: it causes fear and interest.If you need more information to present, you can purchase a copy of either or both of two presentations that have been aired on CBS’ 48 Hours from CBS/CNN.
39The Media Have Publicized: Stories about people suffering health problems allegedly caused by moldA few cases involving famous personalitiesLaw suits and litigation, often with cases involving millions of dollarsHealth problems: most lawsuits were filed because of health problems suffered by the people living in the infested homes, health problems allegedly caused by mold.Ed McMahon has filed a law suit for $20 million because he said that mold killed his dog and made his whole family sick; Erin Brockovich is trying to salvage her home, at an estimated cost of $600,000.Litigations involving millions of dollars: several of these will be discussed here.
40Mold in SchoolsMany schools: evacuated and closed in a number of cities and small communities throughout the countrySuch a concern that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has fact sheets on the topic and has made available an Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools kit.There are many cases discussed on the Internet of schools that have been evacuated and closed. Many have follow-up law suits.Since 1999, the EPA has sponsored an annual Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools National Symposium which focuses on a number of indoor air quality problems of schools, including mold infestations. The National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (NCEF) has a webpage dedicated to mold in schools (http://www.edfacilities. org/rl/mold.cfm).
41Mold in Public Buildings Many courthouses, libraries, office buildings, fire stations, etc.“Sick building syndrome”—more people become sick than usualSometimes caused by moldHundreds of people affectedProblem: often poor ventilationOffice buildings with large climate-control systems used incorrectly, especially systems designed to recirculate air to conserve on air-conditioning bills, are particularly susceptible to mold infestations“Sick building syndrome” can be caused by many problems with the air quality of a building. Mold—or a combination of mold and other contaminants—are often the cause.
42A “Sick” Government Building Government building in Atlanta, GA, where too many employees were getting sick (based on statistics)Environmental specialist called in from Acme Environmental in Albuquerque, NMDiscovered several “red flags,” including stain on wallMold discovered in building (behind a filing cabinet and behind a door)Source: disconnected pipe“Sick” government building, too many employees were getting sick too often.Building manager called in an environmental specialist who works with mold to look at the problem.“Red flags”: signs that something may be wrong.Stain on the wall? Environmental specialist suspected mold. He found it! See the following pictures.Source: disconnected pipe behind a wall.Photographs: taken by David Charlesworth, Acme Environmental, Albuquerque, NM.Photographs on next few slides
43Stain on Wall of Government Building l Environmental specialist suspected mold behind the wall and began looking for it elsewhere in the building.
44Mold Found behind Filing Cabinet This mold was found behind a filing cabinet.
45Mold Found on the Wall behind a Door This mold was found behind a door that usually stood open. No wonder people were getting sick!
46Source of the Problem: a Disconnected Pipe . Water was being released continuously!
47An Example of People Living in Mold-Infested Homes Steve and Karen PorathBought repossessed home in Foresthill, CADid some fixing up and moved in, April 1999Immediate health problems, whole familySon Mitchell born 2 weeks laterIn 2 days, Mitchell violently illVomited more than 50 times per dayMold finally diagnosed when he was about 1 year oldSee also Supplement B for additional cases.
48Follow-up, Steve and Karen Porath Mold found in home; family advised to vacate home immediately and leave everything behind.Options: spend $75,000 to fight mold or have home burned down.No money left—had to have fire department burn down their home on February 14, 2001One of the mold cases reported where a family couldn’t afford to have the mold cleaned up in their home—and couldn’t sell it—so had the local fire department burn it down.
49Many Well-publicized Court Cases Some: directly impact real estate professionalsSome: directly impact those in the homeowner’s insurance industryNote: in discussions of the surge in lawsuits pertaining to mold, some authors refer to mold as “the mold rush” and “mold is gold” for attorneys.Much of the impact on the real estate industry is because of law suits that have been filed against agents, brokers, and property managers.(See also Appendix A for more examples of court cases.)
50Examples of Law Suits Impacting the Real Estate Industry The Mazza family vs. Partridge Point Apartments …The Evans family and their very first home …All these cases involved health problems, allegedly coming from mold.If you don’t have time to cover all four, you might just stick with the Mazza (Ma’-tza) and the Evans families.There are more court cases described in Supplemental Information, Part B, of the Instructor’s Manual.
51The Mazza Family vs. the Partridge Point Apartments Mazza family: moved into Partridge Point apartments in Sacramento, CAAbout 6 months later: all three members became ill from moldRepeated hospitalizationsIncurred about $125,000 in medical expensesRequested reimbursement of possessions damaged by mold and for relocation expensesAll they asked was to be reimbursed for their relocation expenses and the possessions that had been damaged by mold.Continued on next slide.
52Follow-up to the Mazza Family Case Apartment complex said “no.”Mazza’s sued apartment complex. Tried to settle out of court.Mazza family awarded $2.7 million (under appeal).Bad decision!
53The Evans Family and Their Very First Home Terrell and Candrell Evans bought their very first home in Las Vegas, NV, in November 1995In September 1997, they were forced to vacate the home because of illnesses in all members of the family.Mold found in home.Filed suit against their agent and everybody else they could find for “insufficient disclosures”City has padlocked the home.Their VERY FIRST HOME! The American Dream! They TRUSTED their agent…”
54Law Suits Impacting the Homeowner’s Insurance Industry Several well-publicized casesA few cases involving well-known personalitiesHeavy fines from court cases and increased number of claims have caused serious impact on insurance companies, especially in Texas.The number of lawsuits against homeowner’s insurance companies has escalated at a phenomenal rate, particularly in Texas, where mold has not been excluded. (Homeowner’s insurance policies in Texas cover nearly everything—including mold—because Texas gets so many different types of disasters.) The number of claims has also grown tremendously. This can-impact everyone in the real estate industry: if a buyer cannot get insurance on a home, what then?Court cases involving large amounts of money? As indicated above, $32 million is enough to get anyone’s attention!
55Melinda Ballard and Her Family Melinda Ballard and husband, Ron Allison—bought multi-million dollar home near Austin, TXLeak developed, mold set inHealth problems developed in Melinda, Ron, and their 4-year-old son ReeceFiled suit against Farmers Insurance company for not providing money to clean up leaks soon enoughAwarded $32 million by juryCourt of Appeals reduced award from Farmers to about $8.5 million.In Dripping Springs, Texas.
56Major Impact on Insurance Companies Losses of lawsuits involving mold (such as Ballard case)Increased number of claims involving mold, especially in TexasAbout 1,000 claims in first quarter of 2000Over 14,000 claims in fourth quarter of 2001Average claim: has risen from $500 to $15,000 per claimResult: three primary homeowners insurance companies in Texas stopped writing and renewing homeowners policiesAgreement made between insurance companies and State of TexasTop three homeowners’ insurance companies in Texas, All State, Farmers, and State Farm, pulled out.Insurance companies now write and renew policies in Texas and cover mold but can exclude some expensive costs.See separate section in Instructor’s Guide about insurance.
57Effect of Insurance Company Problems on Real Estate Industry More difficult to obtain new homeowner’s insurance policiesEspecially hard for homes with claims of water damage and/or moldMay kill the sale if homeowners insurance coverage is required for the sale and the cost of insurance has become prohibitively expensivePrice of homeowners insurance has risen by more than 30 percent in some areasBuyer may not be able to buy insurance on a home if a claim has been made on the seller’s insurance policy within the last 3 years—especially if the claim was for water damage and/or mold. If buyer CAN find insurance, it may be prohibitively expensive and offer minimal coverage.Price of homeowners’ insurance has risen by 30 percent or more in some areas.
584. Adverse Effects of Mold Two major types of effects of mold:Structural damageHealth effectsMost of the information readily available pertains to the health effects of mold rather than structural damage.
59Effects of Mold—Structural Damage Effects on structural materialsMolds digest the cellulose in wood-based building materialsWeakens and eventually can destroy building materials containing cellulose
60Effects of Mold—Health Health effects: the major concern with moldA potential problem with virtually ALL moldsHealth effects from “toxic molds” more widely publicizedPossible health effects from “toxic molds” not well substantiated to scientific communityFew, if any, scientific studies of health effects from “toxic molds” have been carried out, and little data are available in the literature. See Supplemental Section A that discusses the controversy over health effects from “toxic molds.”
61Health Effects of Molds Unpredictable responsesResponses vary withIndividual …Exposure to mold …Type and severity of mold infestation ..This is true for toxic and non-toxic mold.
62Variability of Responses of Individuals A function of:Age …Exposure and sensitivity to mold …Physical condition …Susceptibility to disease …Health effects of mold often caused by weakened immune system …
63What Is the Immune System? Our primary defense system against foreign materials (antigens) invading our bodyHealth immune system: an antigen (such as mold) stimulates white blood cells to produce antibodies.Antibodies engulf or neutralize antigens.Neutralized antigens: then discarded by the body as waste.Antigens: invade body, especially through the respiratory system.After antibodies neutralize antigens, the antigens are then eliminated from the body.
64Who Has Weakened Immune Systems? Infants and small children—immune system not yet fully developedElderly—immune systems weaken with ageSickness, recovery from surgery, AIDS, chemotherapy—immune system depressedAlso, respiratory diseases, multiple allergies, asthma—depressed immune systems
65Day-to-Day Variability of an Individual Everyone, even individuals with strong immune system, can have varying responses to moldsBad days: stress, illness, lack of sleep—more susceptible than on “good days”
66Repeated Exposure to Mold Individual may become hypersensitive to mold from repeated exposure to an antigen such as moldExamples: farmers who work with moldy materials routinely; employees who work in a building contaminated with mold or other disease-causing materials (e.g., mold-contaminated office building)
67Variability of MoldMolds produce different chemicals, which result in different health effects.Different chemicals are produced under different conditions.
68Primary Health Effects Caused by Common Household Molds Irritations …Allergies …Infections …Irritations, allergies, infections—result from common household molds.Scientific community doesn’t seem to object to this: these are well known and documented responses.
69What Is an Irritation? Usually a minor health effect Soreness, inflammation, redness, pain, swellingMay be localized to a small area of the body, like a skin rashMost common: soreness and inflammation of eyes and respiratory systemMay be coughing, nasal congestion, post-nasal dripExtreme cases, highly susceptible individuals: more severe symptoms (flu-like symptoms, headaches, dizziness, decreased attention span)
70What Causes Irritations from Molds? Molds produce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as wastesOver 500 VOCs identified from moldsMany VOCs are solvents; some are hazardous (acetone, benzene, hexane, methylene chloride)May be responsible for musty odor characteristic of mold as well as irritations.Volatile: vah’-lah-tel: “easily airborne” or evaporating readily.
71Allergies and Allergic Reactions The most common reaction to moldAllergen: small amount of material (mold, pollen, etc.) that may cause allergic reaction.Repeated exposure usually necessary—sensitizes individual to allergen (mold, pollen, etc.)Cell wall of all molds contains large molecules called glucans—cause allergic-type reactions and suppress immune systemGlucans: glue’-cans
72Allergies from MoldsMost common in people with existing sensitivity to molds or other allergensWeakened immune systems orSensitivity from exposureMay be minor symptomsLimited exposure or people insensitive to moldMild and transitory symptoms, like hay fever: runny and/or stuffy nose, wheezing, sore throat, coughing, itchy eyes
73More Severe Allergic Reactions From sensitized people or those with asthma, multiple allergies, or other respiratory problemsMay cause asthma, serious allergies, fever, shortness of breath, or inflammation of the lung, which can develop into chronic lung disease; sinusitisSinusitis: si-nah-si’-tis. One of the few articles published in the literature that provides a solid scientific basis for diseases caused by mold is one that was published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings in September The authors of this article suggest that fungi may be the cause of almost all cases of chronic sinusitis. Sinusitis is the most common chronic disease in the U.S.: an estimated 37 million people suffer from this illness, which usually is associated with chronic headaches, a runny nose, nasal congestion, and a decreased sense of taste and smell. The inflammation of the sinuses is believed to result from an immune response to the fungi: the immune system sends specialized white blood cells to attack the fungi, and it is the white blood cells that irritate the membranes in the nose and sinuses. (Antibiotics are typically used to treat chronic sinusitis although they are often found to be ineffective. This suggests that the Mayo Clinic researchers may be correct since antibiotics are usually designed to combat bacteria, not fungi.)
74Infections from MoldUsually, common household molds act as saprophytes: feed on non-living or dead organic material .When molds cause infections, they act as parasites and feed on living organisms.Infection: invasive growth of parasite into human tissuesRareSaprophytes: sa’-pro’fitesNon-living organic material—like the cellulose produced by plants and contained in most building materials.Seen very rarely—condition requires people with certain types of health problems (see next slide).
75Aspergillosis Infection caused by a few Aspergillus species Healthy individuals not believed to be at risk regardless of level of exposureThree types of people susceptible to aspergillosis:Those with chronic sinus infections …Those with immune system deficiencies ...Those with obstructive lung disease …Infection caused by Aspergillus is called aspergillosis (ass-per-jill-o’-sis).
76Aspergillosis and Chronic Sinus Infections Chronic sinus infections: creates lung damage, cavities in lungsMold grows in mucus lining walls of larger airways of lungs, in cavitiesMold growth—induces inflammatory and allergic changes in lungCan lead to fibrosis and loss of lung functionFibrosis (fi-bro’-sis): formation of fibrous tissue in the lung, which decreases the flexibility of the tissue and its functionality.
77Aspergillosis and Immune System Deficiencies People with immuno-suppressed or immuno-compromised systemsThey inhale spores (as we all do)Their immune systems: not capable of neutralizing spores with antibodiesMold grows in lungs.
78Aspergillosis and Obstructive Lung Disease Obstructive lung disease: causes narrowing or obstruction of airways in lungTwo most common forms of obstructive lung disease:EmphysemaChronic bronchitisEither condition makes individual susceptible to aspergillosisCondition exacerbated by smoking
79What about “Toxic Molds”? Most notorious of the “toxic molds”: Stachybotrys chartarum or atra.At least 17 species of Stachybotrys known—only this one species is known to be “toxic”Stachybotrys: blackish green mold, slimy to the touchCalled “black mold,” but there are nontoxic black molds, tooFound in only about 2–5 percent of homes investigatedStachybotrys chartarum: stack-ee-bah’-tris char’-tar-im;Stachybotrys atra: stack-ee-bah’-tris ah’-tra.The toxic species of Stachybotrys has been called either of these two scientific names, but Stachybotrys chartarum is used more frequently.
80What Does Stachybotrys chartarum Need? Conditions needed:Water-saturated food with high cellulose contentStanding water or relative humidity of at least 90 percent to germinate and grow (can continue to grow if humidity drops to 70 percent)Needs more moisture than other species of mold.
81And Stachybotrys chartarum Needs Time! Needs more time to colonize than other molds.Mucor and Rhizopus: 1–2 daysAspergillus and Penicillium: 2–3 daysStachybotrys chartarum: 8–12 days
82Other “Toxic” Molds? Common household molds: May be others, too AspergillusFusariumPenicilliumAlternariaMay be others, too(But media usually mean “Stachybotrys” when referring to “toxic molds.”)After all, penicillin is a toxin to certain bacteria or it wouldn’t work as an antibiotic!Penicillium produces penicillin—which is, indeed, toxic to certain bacteria!
83What Makes Some Molds “Toxic”? Mycotoxins Mycotoxins (“myco” = mold, “toxin” = poison): chemicals produced by certain molds under certain specific conditionsHundreds of mycotoxins knownCarried on spores and fragments of myceliaFat soluble: can be absorbed by:digestive system (if ingested)airways in lungs (if inhaled)skin (if touched)Mycotoxins: my’-ko tahk’-sins
84When Are Mycotoxins Produced? Example of conditions needed by Stachybotrys to produce mycotoxins:At least 55 percent relative humidityProduction favored by fluctuating temperaturesMycotoxin production: believed to be triggered by presence of other microorganisms (other molds and/or bacteria)—may require competitionMycotoxin production: triggered by presence of other microorganisms—probably to give it an evolutionary advantage to compensate for having a longer colonization period.
85Health Effects of Mycotoxins Very controversialMany of these health effects: not yet proven to the satisfaction of the scientific communityMost: anecdotal and based on only one or a few cases; not backed by scientific studiesHealth effects depend on type of mycotoxin, so they vary.See Supplement A in Instructor’s Manual for more information about this controversy.
86Implicated in Infant Deaths Death of 9 of 36 infants in Cleveland suffering from acute pulmonary hemorrhage (bleeding from the lung)Water damage in homes from flooding; Stachybotrys implicated .Condition appears to be exacerbated by cigarette smoke.Water damage from flooding and the presence of Stachybotrys found in each infant’s home.
87Some Health Effects Alleged to Have Been Caused by “Toxic Molds” Same health effects as from non-toxic moldsCoughing up chunks of blood; nose bleedsNausea, vomiting, diarrheaHeadaches, fatigue, general malaiseDamage to internal organs (liver, kidney, blood, lungs)No controversy over “toxic molds” causing same health effects as other molds, particularly of allergic reactions and infections.Coughing up large chunks of blood often reported from particularly serious cases.Headaches, fatigue, general malaise—general feeling of exhaustion and feeling “blah.”Damage to internal organs: similar effects to those reported in experiments done on animals with Stachybotrys mycotoxins.
88More Alleged Health Effects of Toxic Molds Central nervous system damage, including short-term memory loss, tremors, attention deficitPersonality changesSuppression of the immune systemCancerBleeding in the lungsBleeding in the lungs: includes coughing up blood; also includes the condition of the infants studied in Cleveland after the flooding.Variability in responses to Stachybotrys: example, home in Albuquerque: Stachybotrys detected. No adverse health effects detected. Why?May have been another species of Stachybotrys (not S. chartarum)Conditions may not have been right for mycotoxin productionSufficient mycotoxins may not have been produced to cause health effectsFamily members may have been resistant.
89Recovery from Mold-Induced Illness Mold-induced Illness: sometimes reversible.Recovery may be possible if:if sensitive individual is removed from mold sourceand if not too much damage has been doneMany cases: people living in mold-infested home go on vacation and feel fine; come home and are sick again.Example: Woman’s teen-aged daughter: very sick with asthma for over a yearLived in apartment with leaks that were not fixed properlyMold found in wallpaper peeling off wall of daughter’s bedroom, right next to the head of the bed.Doctor prescribed humidifier!The woman bought a home and moved into it with her daughter. Within a few months, her daughter had recovered completely—no more signs of asthma. The family dog had been ill also and recovered after moving to new home. (The mother suffered no health effects.)
90Health Problems from Mold: Why They Are Hard to Diagnose Wide range of symptomsLack of awareness of the problem by many doctorsNo clinical tests available to demonstrate the presence of molds or mycotoxins (other than species-specific tests for some mold run by allergists)No “biomarkers” known for mold—chemicals in body that indicate whether a person has been exposed to a specific disease-causing organismAllergists can run tests for mold, but the tests are “species-specific”—if a person is allergic to Species A and is tested for Species B, it will show up as a negative result, and the conclusion may be drawn that the individual is not sensitive to mold.
915. Remediation Does your home contain mold? What can you do if you have an infestation?Remediation (ree-mee-dee-a’-shun): cleanup.
92Does Your Home Contain Mold? Probably! Study of 160 homes in 7 cities: 100 percent contained mold.Four possible conditions for mold in a home at any time:Low levels of mold spores; mold not visible and no problem as long as there’s no moisture problemSmall areas of mold visible and easy to detect; not a problem if cleaned upMold hidden (e.g., behind a wall) and a problem that can get even worseMold visible, easy to detect, and a definite problemMold hidden and a problem that can get even worse? May be caused by a leak, such as from the roof, that is causing water to drip inside the walls or above the ceiling.Mold that is visible and easy to detect: such as small patches of mold that show up occasionally in bathrooms.Last case: worst case, where there is a serious infestation.
93If You Have Mold, What Should You Do? Don’t panic! Use common sense.Find the source of the moisture first, or the mold problem will remain—and fix the leak.If it’s a small amount of mold (less than 10 square feet) and you’re not hypersensitive to it, you may be able to clean it yourself..
94How Should I Clean Up Mold in My Home? The EPA recommends using water and detergent.Wear rubber gloves and an N-95 respirator.If the mold has penetrated porous material (like ceiling tile), replace the material.Get the EPA’s brochure, A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home from .The EPA’s brochure can be ordered from the EPA. They come in bundles of 100 and are free of charge. Suggestion: give each student one of the brochures.
95Sampling and Testing Testing—use nose and eyes to detect mold. Visible mold: do you need to test?Probably not—you KNOW it’s there!No health/safety standards to go byWhen to test:When someone in family is—or may be—sensitive to mold (e.g., unexplained health problems)When requested by a buyerTo determine if mold problem has been eliminated after remediation of a mold infestationNote: even testing may not reveal the presence of mold. It may be hidden, or it may be present, but spores may not have been released yet.Need to compare indoor with outdoor samples for comparison. If outdoor sample results are relatively high and of the same order of magnitude as the indoor results, there probably is no mold infestation.
96Test Kits Available for less than $10 online and in hardware stores Many types: depend on spores floating in air and landing on medium in sample container—but spores may not land there—May give “false negatives” (indicate absence of mold where it actually exists)May give “false positives”Indicate presence of mold where it doesn’t existNeed indoor and outdoor samples for comparison
97Need to Test?Have testing done by a professional with experience in moldCan explain and interpret the laboratory results!Warning! Even a professional may not be able to detect it if it is hidden (e.g., inside walls).But a professional with experience will know where to look.
98Porous vs. Non-Porous Materials If mold is on non-porous materials:Wipe the mold off with detergent and water.If mold is on porous materials (e.g., ceiling tile, carpeting, wood)Replace the contaminated material.Mold gets into the pores and cannot be removed by cleaningMold-contaminated structural material that is porous should be replaced!
99Will the Mold Come Back?If you clean up a mold infestation, it will probably come back if you:Don’t remove any porous material infested with moldFail to stop the leakWhy will it come back?The food source is still there.If you don’t stop the leak, the water is still there.If you leave porous material with mold, lots of spores will remain.You’ve probably killed the mycelium—but dormant spores remain.
100There is no solution yet. 6. What Is the Solution?There is no solution yet.
101There Is No Solution Yet… Too much still needs to be learned about mold and its effects upon human health.Major problem: mold as a moving target because of its variable effects on people and different chemicals, etc., from different molds .Mold as “moving target”—hard to set health standardsMold as a moving target: not just its variable effects on people, but much variability in the molds themselves. Different species produce different chemicals which have different effects on people—and different species produce variable chemicals under different conditions.Problem with mold as a moving target: hard to set health standards—what is a “safe” level of mold?--and really hard to do a disclosure statement without such standards since mold is always present!
102Federal Organizations—Center for Disease Control (CDC) Recognizes mold’s contributions to respiratory problems (allergies and asthma) and infections in susceptible peopleDoes not accept health effects often attributed to mycotoxins because of lack of scientific evidence and studies
103Federal Organizations–Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Recognizes health problems of mold in generalTakes same stance on mycotoxins as CDCHas developed two documents on mold:Brochure for consumers …Includes information about cleaning up small areas of infestationDocument on cleaning up larger infestations…Brochure for consumers: general information about mold for the homeowner and how to clean up small areas of mold: A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home, at or call , and request EPA 402-KInformation about how to clean up larger areas of mold, Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, at iaq/molds/mold_ remediation.html, or call , and request document EPA 402-K
104Efforts of National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) A national organization, not a federal oneNAR’s Risk Management Committee: recognized the problem in spring 2001Published several articles in its monthly magazines and on its websiteEstablished a Mold Working Group to:evaluate the information availabledevelop recommendations for NAR
105Report from NAR’s Mold Working Group Recommendations made:Seller disclosures need to be refined.Laws needed to lessen liabilityNeed to maintain E&O insurance coverage;.Educate real estate licensees about mold.Need for information brochure about moldNeed to watch for water damageLet the buyer decide!Look at your errors and omissions (E&O) insurance: most such policies exclude mold and other toxic substances. So, in this area, you are essentially self-insured.Let the buyer decide! It’s GOT to be the buyer’s decision.
106Problems Recognized by NAR Working Group Mold is everywhere—and mold problems can grow quickly. .Inaccurate testsProblem with disclosures because of lack of standard and lack of determination of a “safe” levelLack of standards for a “safe” level of moldA home can become infested in just a few days.Inaccurate tests: may get false positives (showing mold where there was none, or the level was at the same level as outdoors) or false negatives (showing no mold where mold was present).Standards: Unlike radon and lead, there are no standards for mold—there has been no determination of what a “safe” level of mold is. Unfortunately, disclosures are based on a standard set for a “safe” level. Without such a standard, making disclosures is difficult since mold is everywhere.
107Lack of Health Standards—Why? Because of the way in which health standards are determined:Documented injuries, sickness, deaths in the work placeStudies of doses required to produce sickness, deathNeither of these exist for moldBecause of the variability of responses to mold and the variability of mold itself …
108Variability FactorsNo established level of mold is known to cause adverse health effects because of the:Variability of human response to moldVariability among different species of moldVariability in chemicals produced by mold living under varying conditions
109What Is Being Done at the State Level? California: Toxic Mold Protection ActRequires setting standards if feasibleRequires disclosure of mold to buyers or renters unless the mold problem was remediated.Other states with new or pending legislation regarding mold:Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, TexasCalifornia’s Toxic Mold Protection Act of 2001: note that standards will be set if feasible and that disclosure of a mold problem is not required if the infestation was remediated.
110General Issues Addressed in These Bills: Requests or resolutions for research to determine health risks, standardsRegulation of mold assessors and remediatorsProcedures for insurers to use in handling water-damage claimsRequirements for insurance companies regarding mold coverageIssues related to schoolsIssues related to schools include: (1) requirements for plans for testing and/or remediating mold in public schools, (2) requirements for studying mold/fungi in public schools and for developing remediation plans, and (3) providing reimbursement for remediation of mold and other air-quality problems in public schools
111Legislation Proposed at the Federal Level U.S. Toxic Mold Safety and Protection Act (Melina’s Bill)Proposed to House in 2002 because 7-year-old daughter of a staff worker for Rep. John Conyers (D, Mich.) lost 70 percent of her lung function because of moldRe-submitted to the House in 2003.
112If Melina’s Bill Is Enacted as Proposed, It Will Require: The CDC, EPA, and NIH (National Institute of Health): perform a study of health effects of moldHUD (Dept. of Housing and Urban Development):Study and report on impact of construction standards on indoor mold growthPromulgate regulations of mold hazards in HUD housing offered for sale or leasePrepare procedures to minimize hazards of indoor mold, includingPamphlets about mold hazardsPeriodic risk assessmentsMold inspections, assessments, and testingMold abatementOther requirements of the Melina’s bill as proposed: (1) formation of a standards-development organization to develop standards for building products to retard development of mold; (2) EPA: promulgate national standards for mold inspection, remediation, toxicity testing, and certification of people involved with mold testing, remediation, and inspections; (3) grants for remediation of mold in public buildings; and (4) a program to allow people to buy insurance against losses from mold hazards.
1137. How the Real Estate Professional Can Reduce Liability General SuggestionsWorking with the Buyer or Seller
114Listing a Home Walk throughs … Educating your seller … What if you spot mold …Disclose …The CLUE database and homeowner’s insurance …
115Listing a Home—Walk Throughs Look for signs of mold and/or water infiltration (or penetration) in ceilings, walls, floors, carpetsLook around pipes and examine walls in bathrooms and the kitchen where pipes may be hiddenLook for visible mold, especially in bathroomsLook for other red flagsBlistering paintWallpaper or tiles pulling away from the wallsBe aware of odors: a musty smell may indicate mold.Your eyes and your nose are good tools for detecting mold—use them. You can’t always detect mold problems this way, but sometimes it works.Note: the terms “water infiltration,” “water penetration,” and “water intrusion” are all used as synonyms here to indicate events that can cause water damage.
116Listing a Home—Educate Your Seller Discuss mold with your seller—but make sure he or she knows you’re not an expert!Give him or her:The EPA brochureAny fact sheets prepared by your stateInformation about reliable websites, e.g., EPA, CDC, NAREducate all your buyers and sellers! Give them an EPA brochure, any fact sheets from your state, and the addresses of any relevant government (federal or state) websites, especially those of the EPA and the CDC (Center of Disease Control). Don’t give out ALL websites—anyone can put anything on the Internet, and some of what’s there is misleading or downright fallacious!You might also give them the address of mold-related information from NAR that is available to the general public.
117Listing a Home—and You Spot Mold If it’s a small patch (10 square feet or less), refer your seller to the EPA brochureThe mold can probably be cleaned with detergent and water, but let your seller decide who should clean it up.If the mold is more extensive, refer your seller to the EPA brochure and suggest using a professional to clean up the mold.
118Finding Mold in Your Listing: If the mold is in the bathroom or kitchen, make sure there’s a functional exhaust fan and/or windows that can be opened—and recommend that the fan/windows be used after moisture has accumulatedIf the mold might be growing because of a leak, make sure the seller fixes the leak right away.
119After the Seller Has Cleaned up the Mold— Check with your seller after the mold has been cleaned to make sure it hasn’t reappeared.If the mold reappears, infested porous building materials should be replaced, if they haven’t been replaced already
120Listing a Home—Disclose, Disclose, Disclose! Discuss with your seller the importance of filling out the disclosure statement as accurately and completely as possible.This is YOUR best protection from liabilityThis is YOUR SELLER’S best protection from liability.
121Questions to Ask Your Seller Ask questions like:Have you had any water leaks or water damage from flooding, breaking pipes, damaged ice maker lines?Are you aware of any roof leaks?Have you had any leaking pipes?Have you had flooding from any of your water-using appliances?Have you had problems with toilet/tub overflows?
122Ask Other Questions of Your Seller Ask about any mold in the home or if any tests for mold were done.Forgotten events: may need to jog seller’s memory—ask questionsAsk about water infiltration events:Was the water leak fixed? How soon?How extensive were water penetration events?How quickly were they cleaned up?Was an insurance claim filed?Was any mold detected? Any testing done?
123Document Your Conversations! To verify the completeness and consistency of your seller’s disclosure statementIn case your seller forgets a point of conversation later
124Read Your Seller’s Disclosure Statement! If it’s old, have it updated.Make sure it contains a reference to any problems that you’ve discussed.Ask questions to make sure that any water penetration problems are included.The disclosure statement must be as complete and accurate as possible.Have seller revise the statement if necessary
125Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) Database Ask if any insurance claims were filed in the last 5 years.Any claims filed may make it difficult or very expensive for the buyer to obtain homeowner’s insurance on the home.Tell your seller about the CLUE database.Ask your seller to order a CLUE report.This can be very important. Filing claims on a home within the past 3-5 years, especially if they were for water damage or mold, may make the home virtually uninsurable, at least at reasonable rates.
126What Is the CLUE Database? A shared industry databaseContains about 90 percent of the claims filed within past 5 yearsNow used frequently by homeowner’s insurance companies in determining whether to accept or reject a request for insurance
127Ordering a CLUE Report Can be ordered only by the owner of a home Order online, ($10–15)Order by phone, (about $8).Advantages of ordering online: receive the report within a few minutes; ordering by phone: may take several weeks
128When Should the CLUE Report Be Ordered? Ask your seller to order the CLUE report right away.Any claims filed within the last 3–5 years:May make it difficult, very expensive, or even impossible for the buyer to obtain homeowner’s insurance on the homeThis may kill the sale.
129Important Information about CLUE Reports and Insurance Companies The insurance company can deny an insurance up to 60 days after closing.A telephone call to a homeowner’s insurance company can show up as a claim in the CLUE database, even if a claim was not filed.
130Working with a Buyer Walk throughs … Finding mold … CLUE reports … Homeowner’s insurance …Educating buyers …Inspections …Testing …
131Educate your buyer just as you educate your seller Working with a BuyerWalk throughs: do the same things you would do for a new listing—use your eyes, your nose, and your experienceEducate your buyer just as you educate your sellerAgain, your eyes and your nose are good tools for detecting mold—use them. You can’t always detect mold problems this way, but sometimes it works.
132What If You Find Mold after Seller Moves Out? Check disclosure statement.If there is nothing there about water/mold problems, try to get more information from seller or seller’s agent.Has the leak been fixed? If not, suggest a different home to your buyer.Educate buyer on his/her option to have the home tested.Depending on your state rules, get an extension of the Right to Terminate the Contract while mold issues are investigated.If you find mold after the seller has moved out—don’t panic!
133Working with a Buyer—CLUE Report Have buyer request a copy of the seller’s CLUE report early in the transactionMay make contract contingent upon receipt of a satisfactory CLUE report on the propertyIf CLUE report indicates claims filed, buyer may not be able to find reasonably priced insuranceIf buyer owns a home, have him/her order a CLUE report for himself/herself.If the buyer owns a home and has filed claims on it in the last 3-5 years, the buyer may have trouble getting homeowner’s insurance on another home.
134Working with a Buyer—Homeowner’s Insurance Have buyer begin looking for homeowner’s insurance earlyPreferably when looking for financingRequest range of reasonable insurance estimates for price range and location of homes being consideredWhen writing offer: suggest including clause that the sale is subject to buyer’s ability to obtain insurance that doesn’t exceed a certain amount.Most insurance policies no longer include mold remediation in their coverage except—if available at all--as a very expensive rider.High-risk insurance is usually available, but it is very expensive and provides minimal coverage.
135Consistent Treatment of Everyone Fair Housing Act: must treat everyone the sameTell everyone about mold—then, let them decide!Not legal to treat buyers with asthma or other respiratory problems any differently than anyone else
136Inspections?Buyer may want to check (or write in) “mold inspection” if concernedTry to have buyer present during inspections so inspector can explain any problems directly to your clientAsk inspector to pay particular attention to signs of water damage and/or mold or “unusual discolorations” that might be moldAsk same things of termite inspector since mold favors same conditions as do termitesAsk your buyer if he/she wants to have a mold inspection done. If your buyer declines, write in “no” after “mold inspection” or “mold testing.” (You may have to write in “mold inspection” yourself on the form.) This may protect you if a problem with mold develops later.Request that the general and the termite inspectors look carefully for signs of water infiltration and/or damage. Termite inspectors are particularly good for this because, in looking in areas preferred by termites, they are also looking in places that also favor mold infestations.
137Testing for Mold?May be needed if someone in buyer’s family has respiratory problems or if family has an infant or an elderly memberMay be needed if home has had a mold infestationAir testing—need outdoor and indoor samples for comparisonAgents should be careful to not treat anyone differently here to avoid violating the Fair Housing Act.
138Who Should Test for Mold? Avoid test kits—not a do-it-yourself project!Hire a professional with experience in mold and good references:Environmental engineer …Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) …Certified Residential Mold Inspector(CRMI) …See Chapter 5 on remediation for a discussion of test kits.Environmental consulting firm: environmental engineer with experience in mold; (2) Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH): CIH has at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline, passed an intensive examination, at least 5 years of demonstrated experience; (3) CRMIs: documented experience, demonstrated proficiency with equipment, skills required to interpret results of tests, attendance at a 2-day review course about mold, passed closed-book comprehensive exam.(To find CIHs in your area, go to:
139What Experienced Professionals Can Do with Their Instrumentation Determine amount of moisture in a ceiling or wall through probe inserted through small holeRun indoor air test to find possible contaminants, such as moldInsert small camera through little hole in wall or ceiling to look at what’s inside
140Experienced Professionals— Understand when tests should be run and when they aren’t necessaryKnow what tests to run and what areas they should testUnderstand the need to take outdoor air samples to compare with indoor air samplesCan interpret laboratory resultsKnow when the homeowner should hire professional remediatorsKnowing what tests to run and what areas to test: if have large, slimy mass of mold on windowsill, sampling the mass can reveal the type of mold; sampling air quality may result in nothing more than outdoor levels of spores if the mass of mold has not yet released its spores.The results from samples of indoor air must be compared with those from outdoor air to establish whether indoor levels really are high or merely reflect relatively high readings from outdoors.
141In Any Transaction, Remember— Disclose, disclose, disclose.Recommend a mold inspection and write “no” if the buyer doesn’t want one.Remediation is almost always possible except in the worst cases.Treat everyone equally.Present the information, and let the buyer decide.
142Protecting Yourself as an Agent— Educate all buyers and sellers about moldRemember—even if mold is detected, remediation is usually possible.Be able to recommend good, reliable local specialists for testing and cleanup.Look for evidence of water damage in the home, and ask inspectors to look for water damage.Include disclosure statements and information about water damage and mold with standard documents.
143What a Home Inspector Needs to Know— Watch for signs of water damageWater stains, negative drainage, dampness, other signs of water penetrationInclude in report; photographs if possibleConsider learning how to perform limited screen tests for moldContact the IESO for training to EISO standardsCost-effective screening tests to help determine whether a high level of mold is present indoors; can use with inspectionsRecognize conditions conducive to mold growthNegative drainage; leaking foundations or roofs; damp/wet basements, crawl spaces, attics; leaky plumbing; improper flashing allowing water to trickle inside walls; improperly installed synthetic stucco; hail damageCould be held liable if home buyer becomes ill because of mold and home inspector had not reported evidence of water damage.In report: inspectors should include a statement that he/she has inspected only what was present and viable at the time of inspection. Also: list inaccessible or limited-access areas and include photographs, if possible.Report: include a detailed description of any conditions observed that may suggest a problem.
144What an Appraiser Needs to Know: Appraiser: at risk in much the same way as is the home inspector—Personally inspect each property; take photographs; include statement that you’re not an expert on moldInclude waiver that an appraiser inspects only visible and accessible areas since mold may occupy areas that appraiser cannot seeSeveral claims made against appraisers in mold-related lawsuitsTo reduce liability: personally inspect each property, bring camera: take pictures of anything that looks like mold, showing its extent on day of inspection; include pictures in report. If you don’t know why mold is growing, include such a statement in report, and include a statement that you are not an expert in mold and recommend additional inspection by a qualified professional.Claims against appraisers made in lawsuits: often, plaintiff accuses appraiser of negligence in failing to discover or disclose a condition that allows mold to develop; law suits often filed months or even years after performance of the appraisal.
145More Suggestions for Appraisers How mold affects property values:Very few reports currently availableEach appraiser should research his/her market for homes with mold that sold
146What a Home Builder or Remodeler Needs to Know Mold problems: may arise from using faulty construction materialsWatch for moldy materials, and discard themAfter a rainstorm, allow building materials to dry out before enclosing the buildingBuilding “green homes” with bales of straw: let the bales to dry thoroughly before installing them in home
147Disclosure is the Key!Key to protecting yourself as much as possible: disclosure, disclosure, disclosureGreatest liability to real estate professional: usually result from failure to report a condition or fact that is known or suspected and then disclaiming knowledge of the informationException: if you actually contributed to the mold problem in some wayProbably the greatest liability for anyone working in the real estate industry: knowing or suspecting a problem--and then denying such knowledge.