The Florida Mold Law Defines Mold Remediation

November 27, 2010

Florida Mold Law 468.8411 Definitions.–As used in this part, the term:

“Mold remediation” means the removal, cleaning, sanitizing, demolition, or other treatment, including preventive activities, of mold or mold-contaminated matter of greater than 10 square feet that was not purposely grown at that location; however, such removal, cleaning, sanitizing, demolition, or other treatment, including preventive activities, may not be work that requires a license under chapter 489 unless performed by a person who is licensed under that chapter or the work complies with that chapter.

“Mold Remediator” means any person who performs mold remediation. A mold remediator may not perform any work that requires a license under chapter 489 unless the mold remediator is also licensed under that chapter or complies with that chapter.

•John P. Lapotaire, CIEC
•Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant
•Microshield Environmental Services, LLC
www.Microshield-ES.com


The Florida Mold Law Defines Mold Assessment

November 27, 2010

Florida Mold Law 468.8411 Definitions.–As used in this part, the term:

“Mold assessment” means a process performed by a mold assessor that includes the physical sampling and detailed evaluation of data obtained from a building history and inspection to formulate an initial hypothesis about the origin, identity, location, and extent of amplification of mold growth of greater than 10 square feet.

“Mold assessor” means any person who performs or directly supervises a mold assessment.

•John P. Lapotaire, CIEC
•Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant
•Microshield Environmental Services, LLC
www.Microshield-ES.com


Indoor Air Pollution and Health

November 27, 2010

Health effects from indoor air pollutants may be experienced soon after exposure or, possibly, years later.

Immediate effects

Immediate effects may show up after a single exposure or repeated exposures. These include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Such immediate effects are usually short-term and treatable. Sometimes the treatment is simply eliminating the person’s exposure to the source of the pollution, if it can be identified. Symptoms of some diseases, including asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and humidifier fever, may also show up soon after exposure to some indoor air pollutants.

The likelihood of immediate reactions to indoor air pollutants depends on several factors. Age and preexisting medical conditions are two important influences. In other cases, whether a person reacts to a pollutant depends on individual sensitivity, which varies tremendously from person to person. Some people can become sensitized to biological pollutants after repeated exposures, and it appears that some people can become sensitized to chemical pollutants as well.

Certain immediate effects are similar to those from colds or other viral diseases, so it is often difficult to determine if the symptoms are a result of exposure to indoor air pollution. For this reason, it is important to pay attention to the time and place symptoms occur. If the symptoms fade or go away when a person is away from home, for example, an effort should be made to identify indoor air sources that may be possible causes. Some effects may be made worse by an inadequate supply of outdoor air or from the heating, cooling, or humidity conditions prevalent in the home.

Long-term effects

Other health effects may show up either years after exposure has occurred or only after long or repeated periods of exposure. These effects, which include some respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer, can be severely debilitating or fatal. It is prudent to try to improve the indoor air quality in your home even if symptoms are not noticeable.

While pollutants commonly found in indoor air are responsible for many harmful effects, there is considerable uncertainty about what concentrations or periods of exposure are necessary to produce specific health problems. People also react very differently to exposure to indoor air pollutants. Further research is needed to better understand which health effects occur after exposure to the average pollutant concentrations found in homes and which occurs from the higher concentrations that occur for short periods of time.

•John P. Lapotaire, CIEC
•Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant
•Microshield Environmental Services, LLC
www.Microshield-ES.com


Radon Discovered in Florida Homes and Condos

November 27, 2010

Radon exceeding EPA limits has been discovered in Florida homes and condos. Several independent studies have concluded the source is contaminated concrete.
Palm Beach, FL (Vocus) November 10, 2010

“You probably thought radon was only found in northern states with rocky soil, well guess again because it’s being discovered in homes and condos all over Florida,” according to Kevin Dickenson, a Palm Beach real estate agent with Prudential Florida Realty (http://www.kevindickenson.com).

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer and is responsible for more deaths every year than drunk drivers, according to the EPA. Radon is a naturally occurring, odorless and colorless radioactive gas that can be found in soil, granite, concrete and water. Before you get too excited, radon is also found in the air we breathe, and depending upon where you live, it can be as high as 0.75 pCi/L (picocuries per liter) according to Air Chek, Inc.

The EPA recommends fixing your home if radon levels are 4.0 pCi/L or higher.

“It’s simple to test your home with a do-it-yourself radon test kit for as little as $15, or you can hire a certified Florida Department of Health inspector”, says Dickenson. “The passive kits work great, but only if you are in complete control of the test conditions and follow the protocol.” The 48 hour charcoal kit is easily manipulated by opening a window or moving it outside and you should hire an inspector that uses a continuous monitor if you suspect someone may tamper with the test.”

“I recently documented radon levels that were two to three times the EPA limit in a newer high-rise Palm Beach condo, but the levels measured were minimal compared to my hometown in Connecticut,” said Dickenson. CT Radon reported radon levels as high as 483 pCi/L in a basement and 660,000 pCi/L in a private well. According to this site, one in four basements in Connecticut has radon levels above the EPA limit.

So where is radon coming from in Florida? “In Naples, it’s well-known that the concrete is the primary source of radon, and as a result, most developers incorporate fresh air systems in the initial design,” stated Dickenson. Bill Brodhead of WPB Enterprises, Inc. conducted a comprehensive study on a Palm Beach condo and reached a similar conclusion.

There is also speculation that granite counters could contribute to high radon levels, but a comprehensive study in 2008 by Environmental Health and Engineering, Inc disagrees. The company studied 400 granite slabs from 115 different varieties and concluded that the radon level emitted by the granite is consistently lower than the background level of radon found outdoors.

“The solution in Florida is to bring in fresh air, but systems vary widely and you should hire a Florida Department of Health certified mitigator for the installation,” said Dickenson. “The EPA website does a great job of describing mitigation systems for basements up north, but they don’t address systems for humid climates where the source is the concrete.” “I’ve seen plenty of fresh air systems that have created major mold problems and this compelled me to form http://www.Florida-Radon.blogspot.com." The site contains links to studies, test kits, certified inspectors and photos of actual fresh air systems.

“Building codes have changed dramatically over the years with the advent of impact windows and super insulating materials, and as a result, our homes don’t breathe,” said Dickenson. “Toxins from laminated floors, carpeting, radon, paint, glues and other materials build up inside our homes and I think most doctors would agree that adding fresh air to a home is actually a good thing.” After all, Florida building codes require fresh air systems in our commercial buildings and schools, so why isn’t it required in our homes?

Read more: http://www.benzinga.com/press-releases/10/11/p596744/radon-discovered-in-florida-homes-and-condos#ixzz16Vi8rOmA

•John P. Lapotaire, CIEC
•Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant
•Microshield Environmental Services, LLC
www.Microshield-ES.com


Florida Mold Law Protects Consumers

November 27, 2010

Orlando Sentinel
November 25, 2010|By Jim Ilardi

I applaud the Orlando Sentinel for its special report last month that has brought attention to the issue of toxins in our schools. Mold is not an isolated problem, but rather a symptom of other moisture-related issues. Without identifying the cause and implementing a feasible long-term fix, along with a sound preventive-maintenance program, mold will continue to thrive.

The good news is that once the moisture-related issues have been addressed, the protocol for mold remediation is straightforward. The Florida Mold Bill is now law and went into effect in July to establish professional standards for those who perform mold assessment and remediation in our state.

The three key components of the law that everyone should know about when they suspect they have mold and need a remediation contractor are as follows:
Ensure that your remediation contractor is certified through the American Council for Accredited Certification, the exclusive provider of remediation licenses for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

Ensure that your remediation contractor carries “mold specific” pollution-liability coverage. General liability will not cover mold.

Note that the company that performs the assessment cannot also be the same company that performs the remediation. This instills third-party accountability and holds the contractors responsible for ensuring the remediation was performed to protocol.

The legislative purpose, as listed in the statute, says: “The Legislature finds it necessary in the interest of the public safety and welfare, to prevent damage to real and personal property, to avert economic injury to the residents of this state, and to regulate persons and companies that hold themselves out to the public as qualified to perform mold-related services.”

By hiring only certified professionals and implementing a level of accountability to the industry, we will see a dramatic decline in the amount of repeat work required to perform mold remediation, reducing both health risks and costs.

It’s a simple principle: Do it right the first time, and you won’t pay for it later.

However, when it comes to our schools, state and municipal employees who perform remediation are exempt from these same professional standards. Shouldn’t “public safety and welfare” extend to where our children go to school? Shouldn’t we be “averting economic injury” in our school systems as well?

We need to take a common-sense approach toward providing cost-effective solutions, rather than waste money on replicating existing flaws. The protocol has been established. Now we simply have to apply it.

•John P. Lapotaire, CIEC
•Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant
•Microshield Environmental Services, LLC
www.Microshield-ES.com


TOWNSHIP COPING WITH MOLD VERDICT

November 27, 2010

IAQA Digest /Reading Eagle

A successful toxic mold lawsuit has Madison Twp. officials scrambling to determine how to pay a $4.3 million jury award levied against the township and a private contractor Friday. Adding to the uncertainty is the township’s insurance coverage, which caps liability reimbursement at $500,000.

The award stems from a lawsuit filed in Lackawanna County Court by two homeowners who accused township supervisors and a private contractor of causing a toxic mold problem in their home because of flooding following a township road project in 2002. “I’m still numb,” said Philip Setzer, township supervisor. “It’s frustrating and discouraging.”

The verdict has township supervisors, who manage an approximately $475,000 annual operating budget, involved in intense negotiations with their insurance provider this week on what course of action to take.

•John P. Lapotaire, CIEC
•Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant
•Microshield Environmental Services, LLC
www.Microshield-ES.com


Florida Mold Law “Grandfathering”

November 19, 2010

Grandfathering: Applicants must submit an application to the department by March 1, 2011, whether postmarked or delivered by that date, and meet the following licensure requirements:

• Certification by a state or national association that requires successful completion of a proctored exam for certification and completion of at least 60 hours of verifiable education for an assessor and 30 hours of education for a remediator;

or

• At the time of application, have at least 3 years of experience as an assessor or remediator. To establish the 3 years of experience, an applicant must submit at least 40 invoices prepared by the applicant. The department may investigate the validity of the invoices submitted.
Other Grandfathering requirements

• An applicant for licensure must submit to a criminal background check and be of good moral character. Mold assessors must also obtain a $1,000,000 insurance policy to cover both preliminary and post-remediation assessment.

• An applicant may not qualify for licensure if he or she has had a mold related services license or a license in any related field revoked at any time or suspended within the previous 5 years or has been assessed a fine that exceeds $500 within the previous 5 years. A license in a related field includes, but is not limited to, licensure in real estate, construction, mold-related services, or building code administration or inspection.

•John P. Lapotaire, CIEC
•Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant
•Microshield Environmental Services, LLC
www.Microshield-ES.com


%d bloggers like this: