Asbestos - Not Gone and Not Forgotten
Posted January 19, 2018
Asbestos Risks for Building Owners and Contractors
Asbestos materials in buildings, and the debilitating diseases caused by exposure to fibers from those materials has flown under the radar for many years. Publicity about this deadly material has been so sparse that many people have been lulled into thinking that either there is no asbestos in their building or it is not a problem. This is a risky misconception for building owners as the regulations that control this dangerous material make building owners responsible for any violations, even if the infringements are caused by contractors.
The risks to building owners are further magnified by the fact that there is no statute of limitations on asbestos violations. If work that disturbed asbestos-containing materials was done without proper controls one or two years ago, and a complaint arises from an employee or occupant who thinks they were exposed, an investigation can proceed. In such a situation, the documentation related to the incident had better be airtight since citations can be written based on paperwork deficiencies as well as current site conditions.
to read more of this article.
The Secret of Mold Analysis - Magnification Makes a Difference
Posted January 10, 2018
The analysis of air and surface samples is a critical part of any mold investigation or remediation project. Nevertheless, many practitioners do not realize that analysis of spore trap samples currently is more of an art than a science. The scientific procedures of the analysis process are not very rigid, even for the most basic aspects of the work. With little strict guidance in the industry, the variation in sample results makes it seem as if each lab is offering its own perspective on the data. Much like multiple artists painting the same sunset, the results can be pretty startling when viewed side by side.
To accurately identify spores using light microscopy (i.e., using a regular microscope like those used in school biology classes), the analyst must consider size, shape, texture, septation, attachment scars and color of the objects seen through the lens. With all these characteristics to observe and interpret, it takes time to evaluate some spores, especially smaller types. During the analytical process, the microscopist needs to focus up and down on a particular field of view on the slide and use higher magnification to determine some of these characteristics.
While large fungal spore types are relatively easy to identify and count, small spore types are very difficult and time-consuming to quantify, particularly when there are heavy concentrations on the slide. Misidentification of small spores can occur if all six characteristics are not taken into consideration, leading to erroneous conclusions. For example, smaller round types of Cladosporium, ascospores and basidiospores can be misidentified as Aspergillus/Penicillium-like spores (or vice versa) if an analyst fails to carefully observe distinguishing characteristics due to time constraints or the use of too low a magnification.
Click here to read the complete article, originally printed in the Cleaning & Restoration magazine, published January 2013
Known Contaminants vs. a Present Danger
Posted November 29, 2017
The issue comes up during instruction quite frequently. In mold classes, water restoration seminars, fire cleanup presentations, and forensic restoration training, it is variations of the same thought. What takes precedence in our business when we run into materials that may be regulated under various health and safety standards? Of course, the standard answer from many instructors is that all restoration work must cease when there is a question about the presence of regulated materials. But, is that really the case? What if such a response puts workers or occupants at even greater risk than that posed by the regulated hazards? What truly takes precedence? Read more here: http://bit.ly/2hZValP
Mold Basics - 3 Critical Components to Remediation
Posted November 13, 2017
Please enjoy this helpful PDF from our Information Series:
"Mold Basics: Understanding the Three Critical Components of Every Fungal Remediation Project". http://bit.ly/2iRPDxI
SuperBugs - Part 2
Posted November 10, 2017
An Emerging Superbug: Candida Auris
Healthcare facilities in several countries have reported that a type of yeast called Candida auris has been causing severe illness in hospitalized patients. In some patients, this yeast can enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body, causing serious invasive infections. This yeast often does not respond to commonly used antifungal drugs, making infections difficult to treat. Patients who have been hospitalized in a healthcare facility a long time, have a central venous catheter, or other lines or tubes entering their body, or have previously received antibiotics or antifungal medications, appear to be at highest risk of infection with this yeast. (From cdc.gov)
More information: http://bit.ly/2jjBBZt.
CDC's September update: https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/c-auris-alert-09-17.html
Why Restoration Professionals Should Avoid Using Bleach
Posted November 8, 2017
This information is still timely, even after 12 years!
There are many situations in which restoration professionals may think that use of bleach as a cleaner/sanitizer is effective. Indeed, there are certain restoration projects, such as sewage backflows, floods, and even mold remediation, where individuals have been taught to use bleach as part of their restoration protocol. This history is supported by continuing references in publications put out by numerous organizations including the EPA, American Red Cross, Salvation Army and others. The use of bleach as a “disinfectant” seemed to reach new heights over the past few months as semi-truckloads of the chemical were donated for disaster relief efforts in the Gulf states following hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Click here to read more of this article.
Are you ready for cold and flu season?
Posted October 30, 2017
Superbugs - Part 1
Posted October 23, 2017
Antimicrobial resistance happens when microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites) change when they are exposed to antimicrobial drugs (such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, antimalarials, and anthelmintics). Microorganisms that develop antimicrobial resistance are sometimes referred to as “superbugs”. As a result, the medicines become ineffective and infections persist in the body, increasing the risk of spread to others.
World Health Organization | October 2017
Click here to see more information regarding Superbugs.
Check out this amazing video on YouTube!
Surprising beauty and complexity of mold - watch and listen with your speakers on! https://youtu.be/JsQHWj2RfXg
Posted October 20, 2017
Forensic Restoration is an Emerging Field
As a cleaning or restoration contractor your organization advertises assistance to people in dealing with crime and trauma scene situations. One day, a call comes in and as the facts of the situation unfold you start to wonder "are we really prepared to deal with this?" In a nutshell, the case involves:
Two brothers who, over the last decade, became more and more reclusive in their apartment. Rumors in the neighborhood...(read more).
Posted October 13, 2017
Two Important RIA Documents for Those Assisting Flooded Areas
Posted September 27, 2017
1. RIA Flooding Clean-Up Advisory for Restoration Professionals
Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria are providing restoration contractors with the unique opportunity to assist individuals with wind damage and wide ranging flooding in multiple states and territories. Experience from previous storms should not be forgotten as lessons learned after Katrina and Sandy came at a high price and offer invaluable information for restoration professionals responding to flooding across the country.
Read here important reminders of what contractors should know relating to cleanup after the catastrophic hurricanes the last few weeks.
2. RIA’s Hurricane Cleanup Guidelines for Volunteers
In past disasters, volunteers returning from working with the rebuilding efforts have brought more than just the feeling of a job well done with them. Too many who went to help developed health problems that included “mold cold”, infections, antibiotic resistant injuries, meningitis, multi-system reactions such as Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, (CIRS) and even Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The Restoration Industry Association (RIA), the international association of professional restoration and disaster recovery companies, applauds the volunteers and wants to see them return to their homes with a sense of accomplishment rather than health issues.
Read here how hurricane cleanup volunteers can protect themselves from the physical and emotional hazards.
Do You Know the Wide Array of Concepts Covered in our Forensic Operator Class?
Posted September 20, 2017
Nine topics, two certificates, two books and one respirator fit test offered in this course. October 31 - November 2nd in St. Louis, MO. Click image below to register.
Can Mold Reside in the Human Body?
Posted September 14, 2017
Occasionally we receive questions such as whether mold can reside inside the human body. The following is a very abbreviated answer to that question. Click here for full article.
Ready for the CMP in November?
Posted August 16, 2017
Schedule your prep classes so that you are ready to take the Certified Mold Professional course that RIA is offering this fall. Click here
for class info.
What to do with a broken CLF bulb
Posted August 11, 2017
These clean up guidelines for fluorescent bulbs are rarely followed. Do not even ask me about my days in the grocery store when they would re-lamp the entire store and we would load hundreds of bulbs at a time in the garbage compactor! Here are the guidelines for cleaning up a broken CLF, taken from the EPA's website here.
Read more here.
10 reasons there could be mold regrowth after an effective remediation
Posted August 9, 2017
Recent article in the Journal of Cleaning, Restoration and Inspection, "Mold Regrowth After Effective Remediation" (Nolan B. Wells: R.E. Moon): "Months after a water-loss restoration, you get a call complaining of mold growth on contents. In the absence of a plumbing leak or exterior water infiltration, there are a number of reasons why surface mold can return months after a competent water-remediation effort." Click here to read more.
Working on the Safety Part of Environmental Safety and Health
Posted August 2, 2017
Because of our leadership in the environmental and restoration industries, many clients and associates forget that Wonder Makers offers a robust package of safety related services. For example, our organization recently completed the annual safety training for an operation that has control over more than 50 buildings throughout mid-Michigan. The Wonder Makers team developed customized training on core topics and presented a high energy day of training for nearly 80 maintenance and custodial employees. Utilizing the organization's own internal insurance statistics, presentations were made on ladders and general fall protection, chemical management, radon, site surveys, and proper cleaning techniques to minimize the spread of disease during an outbreak of flu, MRSA, or norovirus. The importance of identifying chemical, as well as physical hazards around occupants and employees was stressed. In a unique twist, site-specific asbestos information was integrated throughout the eight hour program so that participants can also receive certificates of completion for their OSHA required two hour Asbestos Awareness class. Read more about this class here.
Hoarding - A Problem Through the Ages
Posted July 31, 2017
Hoarding is now recognized by the medical community as a psychological disorder. It appears to be more prevalent in first world nations as compared to more impoverished areas of the globe. While it has only recently been defined and studied as an illness (mostly in the last 20 years), it has been recognized as a problem for nearly a millennium. In middle age Europe hoarders were known as "misers". Dante's famous book, The Inferno, has hoarders occupying the fourth ring of hell -- and in a constant struggle against profligates who cannot hold on to anything. Whether it is a mental disorder, spiritual problem, or both; hoarding tends to result in people who are withdrawn and isolated from society. Click here to read more...
Michael A. Pinto becomes a Safety Management Specialist (SMS)
Posted July 26, 2017
Michael Pinto, SMS, has completed all requirements for a Board of Certified Safety Professional (BCSP) certification. This highly respected certification is awarded by BCSP to individuals who meet eligibility and experience criteria in the safety, health and environmental (SH&E) discipline and have passed a rigorous examination. Certificants must also re-certify every five years to maintain certification, ensuring they remain knowledgeable in their practice.
Safety issues have become more complex, and today’s safety professional must continually be better qualified. BCSP credential holders are among the most highly trained, educated and experienced individuals in the safety field. Having achieved a BCSP certification shows that the individual has mastered the core competency required for professional safety practice. BSCP’s Chief Executive Office, Dr. Treasa Turnbeaugh, CSP,ASP,CET, CAE comments that “it is critical to maintain competent individuals with the SH&E industry because of the impact they have on the safety of workers and the public.”
BCSP is recognized as a leader in high-quality credentialing for safety, health, and environmental practitioners (SH&E). BCSP establishes standards for and verifies competency in professional safety practice and evaluate certificants for compliance with recertification requirements.