Understand the new rules about lead paint dust

February 20, 2012

If your home was built before 1978, a new regulation could affect your remodeling or renovation project.  A new federal law requires remodeling contractors who could possibly disturb lead paint during a renovation to be certified and use certain procedures to minimize your exposure.

Q: Why is lead poisoning considered so dangerous?

A: Lead can affect a child’s brain and developing nervous system, lowering their IQ and causing learning disabilities, hearing problems, behavioral problems and slowed growth.

In adults, low levels of lead can lead to high blood pressure and hypertension and can cause damage to the brain, nervous system, stomach and kidneys.

There may be no noticeable symptoms of lead poisoning before the blood level becomes very high and has caused irreversible damage.

Q: How big of a problem is lead poisoning here in Iowa?

A: In Iowa, one out of every 16 children entering school have an elevated blood level for lead poisoning. This is four times the national average. This may be due, in large part, to the large number of houses in our state that were built before 1950.

Q: How do I know if there is lead-based paint in my home?

A: It is estimated that 24 percent of homes built between 1960 and 1978 have some lead, that 69 percent of homes built between 1940 and 1960 do, and that as many as 87 percent of homes built before 1940 do.  ” Some homes, even built as recently as 1985, have turned up with large amounts of lead paint.” Although lead paint was outlawed for residential use in 1978, it is still used extensively in commercial paints.

You can hire a certified inspector to find out if there is lead in your home and where it is located.

Q: How is someone exposed to lead in their home?

A: Lead gets into the body when it is either swallowed or inhaled. Low levels can build up in your body over a long period of time.

The most common way to get lead poisoning is from dust. You can see how a home remodeling project could easily disturb some lead-based paint, even if it’s under layers of latex paint. The dust from sanding and other demolition work can be filled with dangerous lead dust.

Q: What types of home renovations are covered by the new lead paint law?

A: Any time more than one square foot of a lead-painted surface is disturbed, the contractor must be certified and follow the new procedures. The new law applies to even small jobs, like window replacements. “Even an electrician that would cut in as few as three electrical boxes would need to be certified,” “It doesn’t take much to meet the requirement.”

Q: What kind of training do remodelers need?

A: An eight-hour class is required with a written test at the end. Then the contractor must apply to the state of Iowa for certification. Every three years they must take a refresher course. For most home renovation projects, the contractor and at least one worker must be certified.

Q: What extra work is required?

A: Contain the work area, sealing off the door to that room and the heating/cooling vents. Avoid renovation activities that create a lot of dust. Clean up well afterward.

Sources:  National Association of Home Builders, WebMD

For more information online:

Renovate Right brochure:




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

Mold Forces Senior Citizens To Evacuate Greenville Apartments

February 20, 2012

Former tenant says management failed to take action months ago

Greenville, SC —

www2.wspa.com Click for full story and video


A former AHEPA tenant says management should have taken action last summer when she lodged several complaints about mold in her apartment.

Donna Lewis says she and her husband lived in the building for seven months in 2011. She says her asthma flared up constantly and both she and her husband suffered allergy and sinus problems after moving to the building in February 2011. She says she could see mold in their apartment and complained to the property manager on several occassions but no action was taken to investigate the problem.

“Two days before we moved out, they sent the maintenance man to scrape the mold off our window and vacuum the carpet, and that was it,” says Lewis.

She says many of her neighbors were also complaining of breathing problems and management should have done something long before now to protect them.

John Hayes, AHEPA’s attorney, says management responded appropriately once they had multiple complaints from several residents.

“If it was just one resident complaining last summer, (management) would have believed the mold problem was limited to that person’s apartment,” says Hayes.

He says AHEPA will refund the Lewis’ $546 security deposit. Lewis says she and her husband have not had any more respiratory problems after moving out of the AHEPA building in October.


A mold infestation has forced 27 senior citizens to evacuate their apartment building in Greenville. The group that manages the building also has two properties in Columbia that have mold.

AHEPA Apartments 242 is located on Woods Lake Drive. AHEPA is a non-profit organization that provides affordable housing for low-income and disabled seniors in 21 states, receiving funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

25 of the 48 units in Greenville were evacuated Thursday after an environmental testing firm detected “elevated levels of mold” in the 25 units, according to John Hayes, an attorney representing AHEPA. Hayes says some residents complained of allergies and asthma-like symptoms that could be caused by the mold. AHEPA has also partially evacuated two of its apartment buildings in Columbia because of mold.

“We believe it has to do with the way these buildings were built,” says Hayes, who specializes in construction law. “But we have to not only figure out what’s going on; we have to come up with a plan to fix it.”

He says the same general contractor and architect designed and constructed all three buildings. He says AHEPA has filed a lawsuit against the firms, declining to name them because of the pending litigation.

Hayes says the respiratory issues caused by the mold have not created any more serious health problems for the residents.

“I’ve had bad allergies and headaches,” says Caroline Yokim, one of the seniors who was evacuated. “But I’ve had allergies for a long time, so I can’t say for sure that it was caused by anything environmental here.”

The residents are now being housed at local hotels. Hayes says there is no timeframe on how long it might take to get the seniors back into their apartments.

“We still have to find the exact cause of the mold and fix it because if we don’t fix it, the mold will come back,” says Hayes.

He says an investigation of the two buildings in Columbia showed the structures were built without critical moisture-diversion material that is supposed to be placed between the exterior walls and the facade. The Greenville building will be investigated soon.

Environmental crews were busy Thursday de-contaminating the affected apartments and cleaning residents’ belongings.



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

The Dangers Of Mold In Orlando Homes

February 5, 2012

Microshield Environmental Services IAQ John Lapotaire, CIECMOLD in Orlando Homes can cause health problems.

Health Issues range from itching eyes, sneezing and coughing to serious allergic reactions, asthma attacks and even permanent lung damage.

And what many people do not know is that mold could be growing in their homes right now. I’ve gone into houses that are so neat and clean there’s not even a teacup out of place.

Then as I continue the visual mold inspection I  find mold growing on the legs of the furniture. Mold in a house is most often found on walls, floors, ceilings, carpets and fabrics exposed to moisture, one particularly troublesome hiding place is inside the ductwork and associated components of central forced-air heating and air-conditioning systems.

You want to make sure the whole system is cleaned thoroughly.

Calling an Emergency Response Mold Remediation Company Is The Only the First Step To Take To Ensure Proper Measures are Taken.

You Need a Licensed Mold Assessor.

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

Orlando Mold Inspectors, What You Should Know.

February 5, 2012

Florida Mold Inspection Fraud-Watch Microshield IAQMold Inspectors In Orlando and What You Should Know Before Hiring

Find out if the inspection can be done within a 48-hour time frame. If not, you’re better off hiring someone else since mold can spread very quickly.

Also, make sure that the mold inspector you’re intending to hire is both licensed and certified. While some states already have those requirements before they can practice, there are many states that still do not. In addition to being certified and licensed, you should ask the company inspecting your home for references from other clients.

Florida Requiers a Mold Assessment and a Mold Remediation License.  Your Florida Mold Assessor cannot be your Mold Remediator, that would be a conflict of interest.

You should also make sure that there is a contract provided to insure that both you and the inspection company are in agreement with the work that is to be done.

The contract should also include an agreement to provide a written report that answers any questions you may have whether it be regarding the cause and origin or the visual assessment of the inspection for mold in the home.

In addition, your mold inspection should also consist of a moisture and leak test, an air quality test, humidity test and drainage test which can take anywhere from a few hours to a half a day to complete.

And finally, if the business you’ve chosen to inspect your home offers black mold removal services as well, you should be aware that mold inspectors and mold remediation are two separate businesses and any good inspector can tell you that.

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

Do You have Mold in Your Home In Orlando

February 5, 2012

Microshield Environmental Services IAQ John Lapotaire, CIECDo You have Mold in Your Home In Orlando

Has Mold Invaded Your Florida Home? Although mold originates from microscopic spores, mold itself is usually easy to detect. While testing is sometimes used to determine the presence of mold, generally a quick investigation with your eyes and nose can tell you if mold is present.

Some signs of mold include:

■ Visible mold growth. Mold can appear in a variety of textures and colors; it often appears as a discoloration, stain, or fuzzy growth.

■ Musty or earthy odors.

■ Water damage and discoloration around the area of the damage

Where to Start:

1. Fixing the Moisture Problem: Mold cannot grow without moisture.

2. Drying of Wet Materials: Especially when overflow or flooding has occurred, drying of wet materials should begin immediately to stop mold growth. Fans and dehumidifiers can help in this process. You may need to discard the items if you cannot dry them well within 48 hours.

3. Treatment or Disposal of Contaminated Materials: Before beginning mold treatment and clean up, you should consider using protective equipment.

4. Cleaning of Surfaces: Non-porous materials such as hard plastic, concrete, glass, metal, and solid wood can usually be cleaned of mold.

5. Disinfecting Surfaces: After cleaning hard surfaces, you may choose to disinfect them. Mixing 1/4 to 1/2 cup of bleach per gallon of water provides an effective disinfectant solution.

6. Closing the Door on Mold: Mold will take any opportunity to grow in your home. Stay alert for moisture problems, musty odors, and other signs that mold may be forming.

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

Florida Mold Cleanup Information On Florida Health Department Website

February 5, 2012

Florida Department of Health Microshield IAQFlorida Mold Information On Health Department Website

Mold is a fungi that travels through the air as tiny spores, and can grow and spread quickly under wet conditions.

Mold can irritates the eyes, nose and throat and can cause serious reactions and respiratory problems.

The Florida Health Department offers detailed information about mold cleanup on its website at www.healthvermont.gov. Including detailed instructions for cleaning homes, yards and properties, disinfecting and testing drinking water, and food safety.

• John P. Lapotaire, CIEC

• Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant

• Microshield Environmental Services, LLC



Florida Household Mold Exposure

February 5, 2012

Symptoms Of Florida Household Mold Exposure

Exposure to mold in central florida and orlando area homes has several symptoms. Mold can cause serious problems in many people.

Here are the More Common Symptoms:

  1. Skin Rash – You can develop redness in your skin simply from inhaling the fumes from the mold.
  2. Eye Irritation – Mold can cause both redness and watering of the eyes.
  3. Headaches – Breathing in mold can cause headaches in some people.  This is especially true of people who suffer with migraines.
  4. Feeling Tired – Feeling tired for several days in a row
  5. Sore Throat – Experiencing a raw feeling when swallowing or hoarseness when speaking
  6. Shortness of Breath -Breathing in mold spores can cause respiratory difficulties in some people
  7. Runny Noses – If you are constantly reaching for a tissue to catch your runny nose this can also be a strong symptom of mold exposure.
Microshield IAQ Whats In The Air you Breathe

Microshield IAQ Whats In The Air you Breathe

John P. Lapotaire, CIEC

•  Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant

•  Microshield Environmental Services, LLC


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