Back-to-School IAQ Concerns
Posted September 6, 2018
It’s that time again when parents are celebrating and the kids are back in school! Back-to-school time means different things for different people. Whether or not the students are excited to ‘hit the books,’ their parents should definitely be looking out for their health. A less talked about health risk for returning students involves the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) of the school they are attending. “According to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 50 percent of schools report poor air quality.”
The Healthy Schools Network, Inc. out of Albany, NY has put together a ‘Parent’s Guide to School Indoor Air Quality’ that you can find here: http://www.healthyschools.org/downloads/IAQ_Guide.pdf
Definitely take some time to check out the guide if you have kids back in school, and as always Wonder Makers Environmental is here to help with any IAQ issue you might be facing whether it be at school, at your workplace, or even in your home.
You can contact Wonder Makers at 269-382-4154 or by email at email@example.com
PFAS in Parchment
Posted August 2, 2018
This week Michael was on the news again. This time he was talking with our local News Channel 3 about the discovery of PFAS in the water supply for Parchment, MI. While Wonder Makers’ main focus is indoor environmental issues, that was not always the case. Wonder Makers used to deal with outdoor environmental projects that occasionally included water quality, so this topic was nothing new to our 30 year old business.
Click the link to see what Michael had to say as he was interviewed in front of Parchment High School where water bottles have been distributed.
Posted July 12, 2018
Happy Thursday, everyone! It is almost the weekend, but we are taking a stroll down memory lane today. Show of hands, who remembers this Wonder Makers ad from 1989? This is the ‘Seven Wonders’ ad that shows off how our asbestos sampling products are conveniently utilized. Advertisements for Wonder Makers may have changed over the years, but the quality of our products is just as good as it was 30 years ago.
You can order any of these easy and safe sampling tools on our products page: https://www.wondermakers.com/Products. You can also read about the 2018 Negative Exposure Assessment on Wonder Makers’ website: https://www.wondermakers.com/
2,000 Lead Students!
Posted July 5, 2018
Wonder Makers’ Lead RRP class has been taught to over 2,000 students as of April this year. The graphic shows how many RRP students were trained per year from the first class in 2009 to the 226th class in 2018.
We encourage all of our students to stay up-to-date on all of the latest rules and regulations regarding lead. EPA is currently proposing to change the dust-lead hazard standards. This mainly affects pre-1978 housing and childcare facilities (i.e., day care buildings).
HUD/EPA dust-lead levels for lead abatement have changed, but Lead RRP has not changed. To read more about the proposed changes, visit: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2018-06/documents/prepubcopy_leaddust-nprm_2018-06-22.pdf
Forensic Specialist Course
Posted June 28, 2018
This week we are highlighting our Forensic Specialist Course. It includes delicious homemade food, a textbook, the RIA Guidelines, and three certificates. See the flyer for all of the details about this class you don’t want to miss!
Also, don’t forget to register for:
The 2018 RIA Forensic Restoration Conference
Cincinnati Airport Marriot Hotel
Attend to learn about potential pandemic organisms that could explode into the international news like Ebola did a few years ago. Sign up to hear an objective view of various decontamination systems for biological contaminants as well as methods for evaluating project success. Participants will “learn through doing” by thinking through preparations for addressing widespread biological contamination.
Visit the RIA website for more information.
Help direct the future of the industry and join the Restoration Industry Association! If you’re interested in joining or would like more information, please CLICK HERE.
R&R's Recognizing Women in Restoration
Posted June 21, 2018
“As women step into higher roles, gain visibility and industry involvement, there is a new camaraderie evolving; a sisterhood that is merging with the brotherhood in restoration, creating one cohesive, well-balanced industry committed to serving customers on a level never before seen. The winner and runners-up of this year’s Recognizing Women in Restoration campaign are no exception.” –Michelle Blevins
This week we would like to congratulate all of the amazing women that were nominated for R&R’s Recognizing Women in Restoration campaign. Candidates were judged against six criteria and our very own Susan Pinto was one of four industry judges.
Congratulations to the top three selected for recognition out of over 40 women that were nominated.
Second runner-up: Ivi Sims, President of Mould Squad & Wood Floor Drying in Victoria, Australia.
First runner-up: Diane Whittles, owner of SERVPRO of Annapolis in Annapolis, MD.
Winner: Lisa Cordasco, President of New Crystal Restoration in Port Chester, New York.
Lisa will be presented with the award tomorrow at the Violand Executive Summit in Canton, OH. The women going to the Summit were invited to attend a ‘Women in Leadership’ event that was facilitated by Michelle Blevins, R&R Editor-in-Chief. Susan had the honor of speaking about the defining moments in her career at that event.
To read the full article and learn about the incredible women in our industry visit Michelle’s article in the R&R Magazine here: https://www.randrmagonline.com/articles/87985-recognizing-women-in-restoration-2018-winner-lisa-cordasco
Fred Flintstone is OSHA Certified
Posted June 14, 2018
The system that is supposed to be saving the lives of construction workers in NYC is so unwieldy that the fictional character Fred Flintstone has received OSHA certification for completing his 10-hour online training.
Click the link below to hear the rest of the story and what our very own Michael Pinto has to say about it to the News 7 investigators.
(The full news video is at the top of the article and the teaser, also worth a watch, is a little further down the page.)
2018 RIA Forensic Restoration Conference
New Date, Same Location
November 15-16 in Cincinnati, Ohio - at the Cincinnati Airport Marriot Hotel
This is not your typical conference!
Finally, a conference that is organized to be practical, actionable, and profitable for organizations that resolve situations with higher risk environmental contaminants. Forensic restoration is often misconstrued as crime and trauma scene clean-up; but it is much more. It is the bridge for restoration contractors to understand how to move from common projects such as fire and water to those that are complicated by environmental hazards; regardless of whether those hazards are currently regulated.
This event offers a carefully selected mix of topics and presentations which provides essential overview information and opportunities to build detailed technical skills. Plan to join the event in Cincinnati to learn about potential pandemic organisms that could explode into the international news like Ebola did a few years ago. Sign up to hear an objective view of various decontamination systems for biological contaminants as well as methods for evaluating project success. Participants will “learn through doing” by thinking through preparations for addressing widespread biological contamination.
Visit the RIA website for more information.
Catalog vs. Online Shopping
Posted April 19, 2018
Happy #ThrowbackThursday friends!
Times have sure changed since Wonder Makers was founded in 1988. Gone are the days of the LA Dodgers winning the World Series, The Wonder Years, Cheap Trick and ordering products over the phone via catalog.
That’s right, for all of you youngsters out there, online shopping didn’t even exist when Wonder Makers first started out. WM didn’t even have a website until 2001 and the online shopping cart wasn’t an added feature until at least 2008.
Back in 1990, customers could call WM’s phone number from the catalog (shown on the left side of the picture) and place a Cash On Deliver (COD) order. COD orders meant that the customer didn’t pay anything until the order was delivered to them, when they would hand the UPS driver the cash or check for the order. In contrast, anyone from anywhere in the world can visit our website today and just click ‘ADD TO CART’ (as shown in the right side of the picture), put in the shipping and credit card information, and their product will be on the way. It is a welcomed technological advancement, and prevents the hassle of moving physical cash around.
While we are more than happy to assist our customers with orders over the phone or via fax, we are pleased to be able to offer online shopping to provide our customers with a safe, quick, and convenient way to order and re-order our wide array of our products!
Visit our products page at www.wondermakers.com/products for more information!
The Big Picture of Wonder Makers
Posted April 12, 2018
In honor of our 30th anniversary, our Administrative Services Manager, Alicia Richmond, created a “Big Picture” to show everything that we do here at Wonder Makers.
We are a multi-faceted company. We do everything from lab analysis, to teaching classes for certification, to consulting, to manufacturing and selling our merchandise.
Everything we do, we do it with our customers in mind. It has been the Wonder Makers’ mission for the past 30 years to “serve God and our society by helping people solve environmental, health, and safety problems,” and we strive every day to fulfill this mission.
Please take a closer look and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions!
Progression of Paul
Posted April 5, 2018
Happy #ThrowbackThursday from our WONDERful team here at Wonder Makers Environmental!
This week we are sharing an extra-special post. Paul is the hilarious, fun-loving son of Michael and Susan, who has been a vital member of the Wonder Makers team for his entire life!
If you order our cutter sleeves, you more than likely have seen a reminder sheet at the bottom of the box letting you know that it is time to re-order. This is to ensure that there will be enough on hand to help assist you with asbestos projects. In the bottom right hand corner of those sheets you might find “Packed by Paul C. Pinto.”
We have another 30-year progression for our #TBTtoday. On the left you can see a picture of little Paul vialing his first cutter sleeve in 1988. In the middle is Paul, ten years later, sporting a stylish Wonder Makers shirt in 1998, still going strong. Finally, on the right we flash forward twenty years, where you can see a very sharply dressed Paul, a 2018 businessman. He is a master at vialing and packing cutter sleeves. It is tedious work but one that he can do better than anyone else. The cutter sleeves include 100 to a box and he, on average, can pack 8-10 boxes in 5 hours.
When asked what every businessman needs, he replied, “A nice suit, tie, belt, tucked-in shirt, and dress shoes!” As you can see in the picture on the right, he is a very successful businessman. He likes to work hard and likes to look good while doing it.
When asked for some words to live by, he said, “My father is never smarter than me, never.” Having Michael as a father definitely means big shoes to fill, but Paul is always up to the challenge. He is never held back by what some people would say is a disability. He is as sharp as a tack, perceptive, hilarious and sometimes a little sneaky.
Wonder Makers wouldn’t be what it is today without Paul!
Industry Trends Through the Ages
Posted March 29, 2018
While some of you were rewinding your VHS tapes and trying to solve your Rubik’s Cube, the environmental industry was figuring out how to deal with asbestos building materials that had been installed into homes in years prior. Wonder Maker’s revolutionized the way suspect asbestos materials can be collected without risk of exposure to the dangerous fibers, with our Bulk Sampler. See our #TBT post from last week to learn more about our 30th edition Bulk Sampler and read about how it passed the Negative Exposure Assessment with flying colors.
In the 90’s Wonder Makers stayed on trend by putting our focus on lead while you were chatting on AOL Instant Messenger. There were new rules and regulations that came about after significant amounts of the lead were found in workers’ blood. Wonder Makers was involved with the lead inspections, project management, and educating those involved with lead.
In the late 90s, age of bucket hats and butterfly clips, the Baby Boomers were growing up, and so was their awareness of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). With innovative, energy efficient homes came IAQ issues. Houses were sealed tighter to conserve energy and thus dampened the air exchange between indoors and outdoors, which can cause unwelcomed things to stay.
During the time when Kelly Clarkson won American Idol and Regis Philbin asked, “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” mold became a big deal. In 2001, Melinda Ballard won $32 million in a large-scale court case against Farmers Insurance. Her case threw mold into the spotlight, exposing just how negatively it can impact your life, health, and home. Mold, in essence, had become famous. According to Wonder Maker’s President, Susan Pinto, it was as if Stachybotrys had a press agent! Stachy made its big debut in the USA Weekend newspaper in July 2002. Due to a high demand for affordable mold testing, Wonder Makers conceptualized a portable, affordable, rentable mold testing kit, the Wonder Air. To this day, the Wonder Air is one of our most popular products.
In 2008, the year Madonna turned 50, cleaning for health took the spotlight. It was the age when people became more aware of their health and wellbeing, and how the environments can affect both. Schools were becoming increasingly aware that cleaning for health would reduce sickness and absenteeism for both teachers and students. It became clear to us at Wonder Makers that cleaning ‘touch points’ was vital to create and maintain a healthy environment in not only schools but hospitals and homes as well.
From 2015 to 2018 the industry trend took a turn to include a broader range of topics. The trend is related to Forensic Restoration. This category is multi-faceted. Forensic Restoration can involve anything from dead animals, to hoarding, to illicit drug labs, to suicide, to mass casualties. During these years, our society has been dealing with large amounts of unexpected, heartbreaking tragedies. In 2015, suicide was the “tenth leading cause of death overall in the United States, claiming the lives of more than 44,000 people,” according to the CDC.
Mass casualties pose an unfortunate, but necessary question for the restoration industry about what should be done to protect people who are involved in the restoration to prevent making matters worse. Michael wrote a textbook that compliments the RIA Forensic Guidelines and started stressing the need for education when it comes to forensic restoration. Terrible things are happening and it is our hope and prayer that soon Wonder Makers will see the wave on to the next trend.
When asked for a prediction of the next industry trend, Michael said this, “We have been focused on individual contaminants, whereas I think the next trend is going to be focusing on how the individuals respond to the multiple contaminants.”
You can see throughout the trend wave that the industry has been focused on individual issues one at a time, but in reality, a lot of the trends are hand-in-hand. Individuals might have an IAQ problem that involves mold that has in turn caused an individual to suffer from extreme sensitivities to chemicals, odors, etc. Being able to help people solve their environmental, health and safety issues, involves looking at the big picture. We hope that this concept catches on and that more people can benefit from the mindset that there are no two situations that are exactly alike. Having this perspective, we believe, can help those in our industry better help those who need it the most.
For more information about services, classes, and products, you can visit our website at www.wondermakers.com. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 269-382-4154 or submit an email https://www.wondermakers.com/Contact. We look forward to hearing from you.
Multiple Benefits to Attending Wonder Makers Training
Posted March 23, 2018
We want to let you know of another benefit to attending a Wonder Makers Environmental training course. We are frequently asked to evaluate products to find out what is best for our industry and let our students know what we have learned. Sometimes when manufacturers hear we are independently promoting their product, they offer us a sales commission or finder’s fee for new clients. We don’t accept these commissions since we don’t want to compromise our objectivity. We want our students to benefit, so we ask the manufacturers to pass the savings on to our students. The most recent arrangement is with Timilon – producers of theOdorKlenz cartridges and HEPA Filters. We also have discounts available for Bio-Reveal ATP Meters and we are currently working with MaxAir to determine discount for students. These deals are available for past and present students of any of our
classes. If you are a former student and would like more information on these discounts, please call us at 888-382-4154.
Thirty years ago, Wonder Makers revolutionized the collection of samples from suspect asbestos-containing materials. In 1988, the asbestos abatement industry was starting the phase of explosive growth related to the EPA regulations which required inspections of schools. As part of the process, newly certified inspectors were being taught to collect samples of suspect asbestos-containing materials with knives. This process resulted in so much disturbance of the material due to the strong possibility of exposure to airborne asbestos fibers above the permissible exposure limit. Therefore, the inspectors were trained to wear a complete set of personal protective equipment while conducting the sampling.
With the introduction of the Wonder Makers asbestos bulk sampling system, not only was the efficiency of the sample collection improved greatly, but the risk of adverse fiber exposure for the inspector was virtually eliminated. This improvement was demonstrated at the time through a series of controlled experiments by comparing the fiber levels generated during the sampling using knives versus the detachable coring system invented at Wonder Makers.
In connection with the celebration of three decades of service to the asbestos abatement industry, Wonder Makers conducted additional tests which again verified that by using their sampling equipment, the results showed the exposure levels well below the OSHA regulatory limits. The testing was conducted under "worst-case" conditions. Numerous samples of insulation that had a high percentage of friable asbestos were collected in a small room with no engineering controls or natural ventilation to dilute any airborne fiber levels produced during the trial. A multitude of area and personal samples were collected during the process with analysis conducted by both phase contrast microscopy (PCM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM).
The NEA was conducted by Wonder Makers in conjunction with EMSL laboratories. A complete report, with photos, data tables, and description of the sampling process is available by clicking here.
Additional information is available regarding the entire asbestos bulk sampling system as well as the NEA by contacting Wonder Makers at (269) 382-4154.
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.
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.