M.A.R.C.
Mold Industry BLOG

 


Enforcement of Unlicensed Activity for Mold Assessors and Mold Remediators will begin July 1, 2011

Enforcement of Unlicensed Activity for Mold Assessors and Mold Remediators will begin July 1, 2011

In addition, this delay helped to identify any unintended consequences of the new legislation and present possible solutions during the 2011 Legislative Session.


Starting on July 1, 2011, the full enforcement of mold assessor and mold remediator licensure requirements per Chapter 468, Part XVI, Florida Statutes.


This means anyone holding themselves out to be a mold assessor or mold remediator needs to be licensed through the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.


Please review Chapter 468, Part XVI, Florida Statutes for the laws detailing Mold Related Services.

 



Florida House Bill 849 - Loop Hole or Not?

Florida HB 849Florida House Bill 849 was intended to not prevent a home inspector from using the word “mold” in an inspection and to not interfere with a home inspectors ability to perform his duties when inspecting a home.

It wasn’t intended to allow them to perform a mold inspection without a license.

HB 849 specifically prevents home inspectors from referring to themselves as a "certified mold assessor," "registered mold assessor," "licensed mold assessor," "mold assessor," "professional mold assessor," or any combination thereof stating or implying licensure.  

To perform a mold inspections and refer to themselves as mold assessors, or any other combination of the professional terms listed above, a home inspector must be Licensed by the State. 

The collection of air samples is considered to be part of a mold assessment and NOT within the scope of a home inspection.  The collection of air samples is an additional service offered by some home inspectors and sold as a mold assessment.

Some home inspectors and some laboratories want the ability to collect air and swab samples without the need of training and a license.  For them it’s a scramble for easy cash.  For others the need for training to provide their clients with a professional mold assessment the state license was a no brainer, an added feather in their cap.

A trained and licensed mold assessor (which includes hundreds of very qualified and mold licensed home inspectors) knows that samples alone provide nothing to the client but a third party lab report, no cause and origin, no repair or protocol, and no understanding of the actual findings.  

The public will need to make the decision to utilize a home inspector without a mold assessor license to collect air samples or to hire a home inspector with a mold assessor license to provide them with a real mold report written by the licensed mold assessor.  

Until the issue is pushed by a disgruntled client who has paid for a “Mold Assessment” by a home inspector without a mold assessor license who the client feels represented himself as a home inspector who was a “professional mold assessor” we will never know the actual opinion of the court as to the true interpretation of the law.

Until then the people who gain from this gray area are untrained home inspectors wanting a quick $50 bucks or so a sample and the lab’s that simply want an ever increasing volume of samples to process via the largest possible means of collection, home inspectors.  And yes the labs could care less if the home inspector is licensed or not.  

The real losers in this are the unaware clients who will continue to receive nothing for their hard earned money but a lab report.

As for my opinion, just Get your State License.  
The public wants to receive a true mold report for their money, and yes they are prepared to demand it and report what they are calling FRAUD.  There have been several recent arrest of mold inspectors not providing what they promised.

The only home inspectors I refer are licensed by the state as both home inspectors and mold assessors.


HB 849 states the following:

The following persons are not required to comply with any provisions of this part relating to mold assessment:

(d) Persons or business organizations acting within the scope of the respective licenses required under part XV of chapter 468, chapter 471, part I of chapter 481, chapter 482, chapter 489, or part XV of this chapter, are acting on behalf of an insurer under part VI of chapter 626, or are persons in the manufactured housing industry who are licensed under chapter 329,

except when any such persons or business organizations hold themselves out for hire to the public as a "certified mold assessor," "registered mold assessor," "licensed mold assessor," "mold assessor," "professional mold assessor," or any combination thereof stating or implying licensure under this part.


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




M.A.R.C. and Florida Mold Professionals Defeat HB 5007!

What a difference the professionals in our industry can make when we come together with a common goal. 


When the initial house bill was introduced the outlook was daunting.  Many thought that we would simply be overrun by the out of state deep pockets making a run at our repealing our state licensing requirements. 


Not a chance.  Not in our state.  Quickly FABI, IEAQC, NORMI, and MARC came to gather to defeate the move to either repeal or amend our current Mold Professional Licensing Law.


The fight began in February of this year and ended just last night May 6th at 10:06pm.

 

Here is a quick re-cap of the fast paced legislation of the past four months.

 

February 16th, 2011 just 12 days before the current mold related services licensing law grandfather time period elapsed, Representative James W Grant, District 47, filed HB 4171 in an effort to repeal the current legislation requiring mold remediators and mold assessors to obtain a state license.


February 21st, 2011 just seven days before the grandfathering time period elapsed, Senator Bill Norman, District 12, filed SB 2214 a sister bill intended to repeal the current Mold Related Services provision requiring both mold remediators and mold assessors to be licensed by the state.


Let’s not forget the WHY the bills were filed; The Lobbying firm of Florida Capitol Advocates, which includes former Sen. John Grant, was hired by the founder of the franchise 1-800-Got-Mold, Jason Earle.  1-800-Got-Mold, Mycelium Holdings is a New Jersey based Franchise with no current franchises in Florida.


Florida Capitol Advocates (Dad former Sen. John Grant) lobbied (son) Representative James W Grant, District 47 who introduced the bill as HB 4171 February 16th.  Senator Norman filed the sister bill in the Senate SB 1244. February 21st.


Jason Earle stated in an email sent to me that his position regarding the repeal of the current mold licensing law are as follows. “the law would inhibit our ability to expand our business in a state which needs to create jobs, not restrict commerce. We are opposed to the educational and experiential prerequisites” Jason also stated “I made it clear that I’m in favor of regulation and enforcement in the mold industry.”


Well lucky for Mr. Earle we still have regulation in the Mold Industry!


HB 4171 and SB 1244 died in committee and never made it to the floor for a vote!


This was primarily due to the introduction of HB 5005 and HB 5007.

 

March 15th, 2011 The introduction of PCB BCAS 11-01 (proposed committee bill) is being heard tomorrow morning in the House Business & Consumer Services Subcommittee.  This is the introduction of a proposed Bill that is “An act relating to the deregulation of professions and occupations; amending s. 20.165, F.S.;”


March 15th, 2011 CS/HB 5005 - Deregulation of Professions and Occupations, GENERAL BILL   by Economic Affairs Committee and Business & Consumer Affairs Subcommittee and Hukill.


May 6th, 2011 Failed to Pass as amended by Conference Committee Report; YEAS 6 NAYS 32 on Friday, May 06, 2011 9:51 PM


March 15th, 2011 CS/HB 5007 - Reducing and Streamlining Regulations, Mold Related services removed from HB 5005 via HB 5007.  HB Bill 5007 would amend the current Florida Mold Licensing Law by:

  • 1.    Eliminating the education language requiring advanced education and would only require an applicant to possesses a high school diploma or its equivalent.
  • 2.    Eliminating any documented training in water, mold, and respiratory protection and would only require an applicant to pass the current approved licensing examination.
  • 3.    Eliminating the requirement of an applicant passing a certification examination offered by a nationally recognized organization and adds the phrase “or state”
  • 4.    Eliminates the training in water, mold, and respiratory protection requirement in section 468.8419 Prohibitions: penalties.-
  • 5.    Reduces the applicants experience requirement of 3 years to 1 year.
  • 6.    Reduces the number of mold assessments or remediation invoices prepared by the applicant from 40 to 10.


These proposed amendments to the current licensing law would reduce the license to nothing more than a tax on the industry.


May 6th, 2011 HB 5007 Failed to Pass as amended by Conference Committee Report; YEAS 18 NAYS 21 on Friday, May 06, 2011 10:06 PM

 

The efforts to prevent the repeal and amendment of the current Mold Licensing Law seemed endless and overwhelming at times. 


If it were not for the combined efforts of the Mold Professionals from across the State which included, Industry Suppliers, Laboratories, Professional Organizations, Private Corporations, as well as Individual Mold Assessors and Remediators I’m convinced we would have either no licensing law or no education and experience requirements for a license.

 

I want to personally thank

  • Our M.A.R.C Lobbyist Dan Pollock of Pollock & Associates.
  • Harvey Gordon of IEAQC and Lobbyist, Gene Adams of Pennington, Moore, Wilkinson, Bell & Dunbar
  • Bill Hunter of FABI Florida Home Inspectors Council, and Lobbyist Wayne Bertsch
  • Doug Hoffman of NORMI,
  • and all of the Florida Mold Professionals who took time to write emails and make phone calls.

 

This is a monumental shared success for Florida Mold Professionals and M.A.R.C. of Florida.

 

Thank You All

John P. Lapotaire, CIEC

M.A.R.C. of Florida

 

Below are some of the Political Cartoons used to get our message across to the Florida House and Senate. Enjoy.

 


 

 


 


 



 


 



 


 




 


 

 
 

 



   

M.A.R.C. records Huge Vicory in the Senate with 21 to 18 Vote NO to HB 5007

Thank you to all of the M. A. R.C. supporters across the state of Florida who helped in this fight to maintain our Florida mold professional license status.

M. A. R.C. of Florida worked together with Florida mold professionals from across the state represented by several independent professional organizations to defeat first the “out-of-state interest” pushing to repeal the current Florida mold professional licensing law and then the push to deregulate the current Florida mold professional licensing law by eliminating any and all education and training requirements.

Tonight, as I watched the live broadcast online and Dan Pollock watched from the fourth floor of the Senate building, and after a lengthy and a hotly debated session the Senate voted against Bolt HB 5005 and HB 5007.

The vote came in at roughly 10:10 pm this evening at the tail end of a long and hard five Senate Budget Committee meeting with the final vote on House Bill 5007 22 nays and 18 yeas.

The fight on the front lines of the Hill was fought by Dan Pollock of Pollock and Associates.  Dan Worked extremely hard on behalf of M. A. R.C. of Florida and all of Florida's license mold professionals. 

The real fight takes place every day in the homes and offices of Florida's mold professionals as they made calls to their individual district representatives and senators and sent hundreds if not thousands of e-mails to their individual representatives and senators in support of maintaining their current professional licensed status.


This is an extremely stressful legislative session that ended in the Senate the victory for Florida mold professionals.  We maintain the current mold licensing law as it stands with the grandfathering period over and the education and training requirements in place.

M. A. R.C. of Florida still needs your continued support as the issue most certainly will rear its ugly head in the next session.  

Tonight we celebrate our victory as license mold professionals.

Thank You All.


John Lapotaire, CIEC
M.A.R.C. of Florida









































From the desk of Doug Hoffman and M.A.R.C. Supporter NORMI

Dear Senator/Representative


I am writing to you with my concerns regarding HB 5007. Please DO NOT accept HB 5007 without the following revisions:


1) Testing should be required and that testing should be performed as a proctored examination by a nationally recognized, independent and State accepted Training Provider who has been approved by the MRS Board.


2) Training in water, mold, and respiratory protection are crucial to the safe and correct assessment and remediation of mold, protection of the public and workers. The necessary training is in accordance with ANSI and OSHA. American National Standard Institute Approved S500 - Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration American National Standard Institute Approved S520 - Standard and Reference Guide for Mold Remediation Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA - Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134 and 29 CFR 1926.103) OSHA is the main federal agency charged with the enforcement of safety and health legislation


Please amend this bill or oppose it as written.
Thank you.


Click This Link to Send the Email

 



From the desk of Wayne Bertsch and M.A.R.C. Supporters InterNachi and IEAQC

/* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} Florida Legislature to Consider Loosening Licensing Requirements for Mold Assessor and Remediators

The Florida Legislature has for consideration legislation – HB 5007 – which will significantly reduce the licensing requirements for future licensing and dilutes the licensed profession in Florida.

A majority of you obtained your Mold Services License thru the Grandfathering Provision which expired on March 1, 2011.  As it now stands, if a person, after March 1, desires to be licensed as a mold assessor or remediatior, they must pass the required examination and one of the following:


(a)

1. For a mold remediator, at least a 2-year associate of arts degree, or the equivalent, with at least 30 semester hours in microbiology, engineering, architecture, industrial hygiene, occupational safety, or a related field of science from an accredited institution and a minimum of 1 year of documented field experience in a field related to mold remediation; or


2. A high school diploma or the equivalent with a minimum of 4 years of documented field experience in a field related to mold remediation.


(b)

1. For a mold assessor, at least a 2-year associate of arts degree, or the equivalent, with at least 30 semester hours in microbiology, engineering, architecture, industrial hygiene, occupational safety, or a related field of science from an accredited institution and a minimum of 1 year of documented field experience in conducting microbial sampling or investigations; or


2. A high school diploma or the equivalent with a minimum of 4 years of documented field experience in conducting microbial sampling or investigations.


However, House Bill 5007 the Reducing and Streamlining Regulations legislation, and as proposed by the Budget Conference Committee last week, it will change those above provisions to only require a high school diploma and pass a “required examine.”  HB 5007 was only heard in the House and while there was never a companion measure filed or considered by the Senate, circumventing the legislative process.

Guard your future and that of the industry!


Please email or call (only) your state Senator TODAY, ask them to VOTE NO on HB 5007.

As licensed professionals, we are proud of the current education, training, experience, rules of conduct, continuing education and background checks that give consumers confidence when choosing a licensed professional.



This email has been sent in cooperation with the Florida Home Inspectors Council and the Indoor Environmental Air Quality Council.




Vote No to HB 5007

M.A.R.C of FloridaWhy do we need TRAINING and regulation in the Mold Industry???


The Orlando Sentinel ran the following story Tue Feb 22, 2011


Orlando Sentinel By Amy Pavuk,

The owner of an Orlando mold inspection and remediation business was arrested Monday on charges that he falsified testing records and defrauded customers, the Department of Environmental Protection said.


The mold remediator now, faces more than three dozen criminal charges ranging from grand theft to insurance fraud to violating the RICO Act.


According to DEP, the mold remediator offered his services to homeowners, businesses and apartment complexes in Orlando, Fort Myers and the West Palm Beach areas from April 2007 to November 2008.

During that time, DEP alleges, mold remediator obtained samples that he told his clients would be tested, however, no testing occurred.


Authorities say mold remediator provided fictitious laboratory reports to clients that were extremely technical.


He then offered assistance in performing “remediation,” for the mold problems — tearing out walls, carpet, flooring and cabinets — in order to remove the supposed mold.


During the “remediation,” the mold was not always removed properly, leaving clients with continuing problems.


Many clients moved or lost their homes, DEP said.


During that time frame, authorities say, mold remediator received more than $239,000 for fraudulent laboratory testing and remediation work.


There are more than 29 victims, DEP said.


 

Without the required training in the current licensing law we will have more untrained but licensed mold professionals taking advantage of Floridians!


 

VOTE NO TO HB 5007


M.A.R.C. needs your help in sending this email to the Florida Senate.  Please send this email to the Florida Senators listed below with the subject line of “Vote No to HB 5007!”


Florida Senators

alexander.jd.web@flsenate.gov; altman.thad.web@flsenate.gov; benacquisto.lizbeth.web@flsenate.gov; bennett.mike.web@flsenate.gov; bogdanoff.ellyn.web@flsenate.gov; braynon.oscar.web@flsenate.gov; bullard.larcenia.web@flsenate.gov; dean.charles.web@flsenate.gov; detert.nancy.web@flsenate.gov; portilla.miguel.web@flsenate.gov; dockery.paula.web@flsenate.gov; evers.greg.web@flsenate.gov; fasano.mike.web@flsenate.gov; flores.anitere.web@flsenate.gov; gaetz.don.web@flsenate.gov; garcia.rene.web@flsenate.gov; gardiner.andy.web@flsenate.gov; haridopolos.mike.web@flsenate.gov; hays.alan.web@flsenate.gov; hill.tony.web@flsenate.gov; jones.dennis.web@flsenate.gov; joyner.arthenia.web@flsenate.gov; latvala.jack.web@flsenate.gov; lynn.evelyn.web@flsenate.gov; margolis.gwen.web@flsenate.gov; montford.bill.web@flsenate.gov; negron.joe.web@flsenate.gov; norman.jim.web@flsenate.gov; oelrich.steve.web@flsenate.gov; rich.nan.web@flsenate.gov; richter.garrett.web@flsenate.gov; ring.jeremy.web@flsenate.gov; sachs.maria.web@flsenate.gov; simmons.david.web@flsenate.gov; siplin.gary.web@flsenate.gov; smith.chris.web@flsenate.gov; sobel.eleanor.web@flsenate.gov; storms.ronda.web@flsenate.gov; thrasher.john.web@flsenate.gov; wise.stephen.web@flsenate.gov; dan@dp2win.com

M.A.R.C. Update to HB 5007

M.A.R.C. Contributors and Florida Mold Professionals


As you know the Budget committee refused the House mold language in HB 5007 and sent it up the ladder to the committee chairs.


This weekend the Budget Committee Chairs have decided to send the HB 5007 Mold Amendment forward as it stands to the Committee Presiding Officers and then to the floor for a vote.


We need to now focus on sending emails and phone calls to the presiding officers. The message remains the same.


M.A.R.C. is still in need of your support both financially and through your emails. If you are not currently listed on the M.A.R.C. website as a supporter please go to the M.A.R.C. website www.MARCFL.com and fill out a contribution pledge to STOP the amendment of the Current Mold Licensing Law.


Please send this email out and ask all of your peers to do the same.


The email subject should be “No to HB 5007″


Dear Senator/Representitive

As the session continues I am writing to you with my concerns regarding HB 5007.


Please DO NOT Amend the Current Mold Licensing Law.

Training in water, mold, and respiratory protection are crucial to the safe and correct assessment and remediation of mold. The necessary training is in accordance with ANSI and OSHA.


American National Standard Institute Approved S500 – Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration

American National Standard Institute Approved S520 – Standard and Reference Guide for Mold Remediation

Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA’s Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134 and 29 CFR 1926.103) OSHA is the main federal agency charged with the enforcement of safety and health legislation


Please oppose this bill.


Thank you.



Budget Committee

alexander.jd.web@flsenate.gov, negron.joe.web@flsenate.gov, altman.thad.web@flsenate.gov, benacquisto.lizbeth.web@flsenate.gov, bogdanoff.ellyn.web@flsenate.gov, fasano.mike.web@flsenate.gov,
flores.anitere.web@flsenate.gov, gaetz.don.web@flsenate.gov, hays.alan.web@flsenate.gov, joyner.arthenia.web@flsenate.gov,
lynn.evelyn.web@flsenate.gov,nmargolis.gwen.web@flsenate.gov,
montford.bill.web@flsenate.gov, rich.nan.web@flsenate.gov, richter.garrett.web@flsenate.gov, simmons.david.web@flsenate.gov,
siplin.gary.web@flsenate.gov, sobel.eleanor.web@flsenate.gov,
thrasher.john.web@flsenate.gov, wise.stephen.web@flsenate.gov



M.A.R.C. Says NO to HB 5007

The Senate and House have begun the budget conference process in earnest.  The Senate has refused the amandment language in 3 seperate committee meetings. 

 

The conference committee met today at 12:45 with no change, once again, in the mold amendment. It’s a stalemate, which actually now gets bumped up to the budget chairs: Sen. JD Alexander and Rep. Denise Grimsley.

 

Dan Pollock has done a great job this session on behalf of M.A.R.C. of Florida but there is still work to be done.

 

We have a need for contributions and emails sent from as many as possible to both  Sen. JD Alexander and Rep. Denise Grimsley.

 

Please email or send the suggested message which is attached.

Your email subject should be "NO to HB 5007"


——————————————-

SAMPLE LETTER

——————————————

__________, 2011

Dear Sen. JD Alexander and Rep. Denise Grimsley.

As the conference process continues I am writing to you with my concerns regarding HB 5007. 

Please do not make changes to the regulations of Mold Assessors and Remediators. 

 

The changes in HB 5007 remove training that is necessary to perform these services correctly. In fact, the removal of such training is contrary to OSHA requirements.

 

This Act passed virtually unanimously in 2007 and is only now coming into its effective date. Let's let the law work and give consumers recourse and confidence that they will be working with licensed and trained professionals.

 

Thank you. 

 

Please oppose this bill.

Cordially,


Alexander.jd.web@flsenate.gov,

 

denise.grimsley@myfloridahouse.gov 

joe.web@flsenate.gov, Altman.that.web@flsenate.gov, Benacquisto.lizbeth.web@flsenate.gov, Bogdanoff.ellyn.web@flsenate.gov, Fasano.mike.web@flsenate.gov, Flores.anitere.web@flsenate.gov, Gaetz.don.web@flsenate.gov, Joyner.arthenia.web@flsenate.gov, Lynn.evelyn.web@flsenate.gov, Margolis.gwen.web@flsenate.gov ,Montford.bill.web@flsenate.gov, Rich.nan.web@flsenate.gov, Richter.garrett.web@flsenate.gov, Simmons.david.web@flsenate.gov, Siplin.gary.web@flsenate.gov, Sobel.eleanor.web@flsenate.gov, Thrasher.john.web@flsenate.gov, Wise.stephen.web@flsenate.gov

M.A.R.C.

The Florida House approved HB5005 that would end the licensure and regulation of 14 professions; luckily Mold Related Services were removed from that bill via the mold services amendment Bill HB5007. 

The Florida House did approved HB5007 that would amend the current Mold Licensing requirements Mold Related Services.  Before the bill can become a law it still needs to make it through the Senate.  The house quickly moved the “Hot Potato” amendment bill through the House and left it in the hands of the Senate.

HB Bill 5007 amends the current Florida Mold Licensing Law by:
1. Eliminating the education language requiring advanced education and would only require an applicant to possesses a high school diploma or its equivalent.
2. Eliminating any documented training in water, mold, and respiratory protection and would only require an applicant to pass the current approved licensing examination.
3. Eliminating the requirement of an applicant passing a certification examination offered by a nationally recognized organization and adds the phrase “or state”
4. Eliminates the training in water, mold, and respiratory protection requirement in section 468.8419 Prohibitions: penalties.-
5. Reduces the applicants experience requirement of 3 years to 1 year.
6. Reduces the number of mold assessments or remediation invoices prepared by the applicant from 40 to 10.

These proposed amendments to the current licensing law would reduce the license to nothing more than a tax on the industry. 

Dan Pollock, M.A.R.C.’s voice on the hill, feels the Florida Senate may be unwilling to pass similar bills. 

The Palm Beach Post reported today that Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, a former House Speaker, was hesitant to eliminate or reduce laws protecting Florida consumers. He was quoted as saying, "To me, even as a conservative Republican, I still think there is room for some regulation, particularly when it impacts on the public."

You can learn more about the bill and read it here:  http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2011/5007

Florida's Professionals - No Experience (or Education) Needed.

Florida Republicans have introduced H.B.5005 & 5007 to reduce or in most cases totally ELIMINATE ALL LICENSING & REGULATION


The key to the logic behind these mysterious bills is to discover WHICH specific item has been hidden in plain sight WITHIN the GROUP being deregulated that SOMEBODY thinks is worth selling the entire state down the river for.


The OTHER professions included in these bills represent, and have been successfully employed as, a diversionary smokescreen.


HB 5005 Relating to Deregulation of Professions and Occupations (2011 Session)


Deregulation of Professions and Occupations: Deletes provisions establishing Florida Board of Auctioneers & Motor Vehicle Repair Advisory Council, deletes provisions for regulation of yacht & ship brokers, auctioneers, talent agencies, athlete agents, persons practicing hair braiding, hair wrapping, or body wrapping, interior designers, professional fundraising consultants & solicitors, water vending machines & operators, health studios, ballroom dance studios, commercial telephone sellers & salespersons, movers & moving brokers, certain outdoor theaters, certain business opportunities, motor vehicle repair shops, sellers of travel, contracts with sales representatives involving commissions, & television picture tubes; revises name & membership of Board of Architecture; revises license classifications of public lodging establishments. Effective Date: July 1, 2011


04/07/11 HOUSE Read Third Time; Passed (Vote: 77 Yeas / 38 Nays);
Immediately Certified; Requests that the Senate pass the bill as passed by the House or agree to conference

 

HB 5007 Relating to Reducing and Streamlining Regulations (2011 Session)

Reducing and Streamlining Regulations: Revises various provisions relating to professions & occupations regulated by DBPR or DOACS, including distribution of motor vehicle consumer's rights pamphlet; transfer of certain driver license information by DHSMV to DBPR; requirements for home inspectors, mold assessors & remediators, asbestos consultants & contractors & landscape architects; professional practice standards for real estate brokers & sales associates; criminal penalties for persons who violate orders or rules of Florida Real Estate Commission or Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board or persons who violate Florida Cosmetology Act or rules of Board of Cosmetology; continuing education requirements for reactivating licenses to practice certain regulated professions & occupations; licensure requirements for CPAs & firms; education requirements for licensed real estate brokers & sales associates; certification of business organizations practicing architecture or interior design; method of payment of certain fees; terminology for repossessor schools & training facilities; penalties for food safety violations committed by cottage food operations; exemptions for cottage food operations from food permitting requirements; regulation of public lodging & food service establishments & fire protection system contractors; department responsibility for Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act; & regulation of real estate appraisers & appraisal management companies. Effective Date: July 1, 2011


04/07/11 HOUSE Read Third Time; Passed (Vote: 80 Yeas / 38 Nays); Immediately Certified; Requests that the Senate pass the bill as passed by the House or agree to conferenc.


HB 5007 Relating to Reducing and Streamlining Regulations (2011 Session)

Reducing and Streamlining Regulations: Revises various provisions relating to professions & occupations regulated by DBPR or DOACS, including distribution of motor vehicle consumer's rights pamphlet; transfer of certain driver license information by DHSMV to DBPR; requirements for home inspectors, mold assessors & remediators, asbestos consultants & contractors & landscape architects; professional practice standards for real estate brokers & sales associates; criminal penalties for persons who violate orders or rules of Florida Real Estate Commission or Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board or persons who violate Florida Cosmetology Act or rules of Board of Cosmetology; continuing education requirements for reactivating licenses to practice certain regulated professions & occupations; licensure requirements for CPAs & firms; education requirements for licensed real estate brokers & sales associates; certification of business organizations practicing architecture or interior design; method of payment of certain fees; terminology for repossessor schools & training facilities; penalties for food safety violations committed by cottage food operations; exemptions for cottage food operations from food permitting requirements; regulation of public lodging & food service establishments & fire protection system contractors; department responsibility for Motor Vehicle Warranty Enforcement Act; & regulation of real estate appraisers & appraisal management companies. Effective Date: July 1, 2011


04/07/11 HOUSE Read Third Time; Passed (Vote: 80 Yeas / 38 Nays); Immediately Certified; Requests that the Senate pass the bill as passed by the House or agree to conference


When something doesn't smell right (and this one truly stinks) there's usually a reason.


And it often entails a LOT of money changing hands.


BOVO INTRODUCES DISASTROUS DEREGULATION BILL, HANDS OFF THE TICKING TIME BOMB, THEN PROMPTLY RESIGNS TO RUN FOR A LOWER OFFICE.


Representative Esteban L. Bovo, Jr. (R-FL) suddenly resigned in the middle of the lawmaking session to run for the Miami-Dade County Commission. Bovo’s unusual mid-session departure leaves the House a member short, though the GOP will still hold a comfortable two-thirds majority in the chamber. He represents a solidly Republican district.


A couple of his bills will be shepherded through the remaining weeks of the session by other Miami-Dade lawmakers.


Speaking of BOVO, HB 5005, the bill HE INTRODUCED to lower or ELIMINATE state regulations on more than 20 industries, has been shifted off to Rep. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, who chairs the House Economic Affairs Committee.


Bovo entered politics as an aide to two former state lawmakers and to former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez*. Bovo failed in his first bid for legislative office in 1992, eventually making it onto the Hialeah City Council, and he joined the House a decade later, in 2008.


*MIAMI, March 26, 1991— A jury in Federal District Court today found Mayor Raul Martinez of the Miami suburb of Hialeah guilty of racketeering and extortion in the sale of his votes and influence on zoning matters in return for about $1 million in cash or property from developers. Mayor Martinez, who has been suspended from office since the charges were brought against him last year, faces up to 120 years in prison and up to $1.5 million in fines.


Hialeah politics has a long, and admittedly rather colorful history of corruption.


His key achievement as a legislator, Bovo said, was bringing horse racing back to historic Hialeah Park.


Bovo used to work as the park’s marketing director and lobbyist. He now lobbies for Miami Children’s Hospital.


Bovo abruptly left his post as state House of Representatives legislator -- in the middle of the law-making session -- to run for the county commission seat vacated by former Commissioner Natacha Seijas, who was tossed out of office in the same recall election that also ousted county Mayor Carlos Alvarez.


This alone should raise some very large red flags as to his motives. People with political aspirations generally climb up, not down, as this man is doing.


The key to the logic behind these mysterious bills is to discover WHICH specific item has been hidden in plain sight WITHIN the GROUP being deregulated that SOMEBODY thinks is worth selling the entire state down the river for.


The OTHER professions included in these bills represent, and have been successfully employed as, a diversionary smokescreen.


Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/03/25/2134237/state-lawmaker-bovo-resigns-to.html#ixzz1J4yHfA39


BOVO's VOTING RECORD in Florida House of Representatives:

Current Office: State House
Current District: 110
Party: Republican

BiographicalVoting RecordIssue Positions
(Political Courage Test)Interest Group RatingsCampaign Finances

Business and Consumers

2010 Representative Bovo supported the interests of the Associated Industries of Florida 92 percent in 2010.

2010 Representative Bovo supported the interests of the Associated Industries of Florida - Lifetime 91 percent during their legislative career up until 2010.

2010 Representative Bovo supported the interests of the Florida Chamber of Commerce 87 percent in 2010.

2009 Representative Bovo supported the interests of the Associated Builders and Contractors 100 percent in 2009.

2009 Representative Bovo supported the interests of the Associated Industries of Florida 90 percent in 2009.

2009 Representative Bovo supported the interests of the Associated Industries of Florida - Lifetime 90 percent during their legislative career up until 2009.

2009 Representative Bovo supported the interests of the Florida Chamber of Commerce 75 percent in 2009.

Conservative

2009 Representative Bovo supported the interests of the Christian Coalition of Florida 78.6 percent in 2009.

Gun Issues

2010 In 2010 the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund gave Representative Bovo a grade of A.

Labor

2009 Representative Bovo supported the interests of the Florida AFL-CIO 0 percent in 2009.

 

 

SOURCE: BOVO record: http://www.votesmart.org/issue_rating_category.php?can_id=73705

 

Palm Beach Post 04/08/11
House passes bills eliminating, reducing state licensing requirements for professions:

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/state/house-passes-bills-eliminating-reducing-state-licensing-requirements-1384356.html

Mold Industry Professionals Now is the time to step up and take action. Say No to HB 5007

As with any professional industry it’s vital that the interests of the Mold Industry and the Florida Consumers “our clients” be represented before our state lawmakers and officials.

M.A.R.C. has secured the services of a Pollock and Associates to monitor and counsel us in areas of Florida legislative issues, political strategy, and rulemaking that involve the Mold Industry.

The Professional Mold Assessor must take a stand. Licensing which is a curse for some and a blessing for others is on the cusp of being reduced to nothing more than a state fee.  If the proposed amendment makes it through then anyone can become a licensed mold assessor or remediator including unqualified professions/trades without training.

Because abuses were rampant and Florida was known as the place where con artists and criminals could prey on Floridians who are rebuilding their hurricane-damaged homes and businesses FEMA warned Floridians to be alert for contractors and repair services that engage in fraud and prey on vulnerable disaster victims.

Many illegitimate contractors drive long distances to reach a disaster area to seek customers who are overstressed and eager to have their homes restored.  The current Mold Licensing Law would close the door of opportunity on these scam artist.

Floridians need Licensed Mold Professionals and Consumer Protection!

Say No to the Repeal of the Current Mold Licensing Law!

HB Bill 5007 amends the current Florida Mold Licensing Law by:

1. Eliminating the education language requiring advanced education and would only require an applicant to possesses a high school diploma or its equivalent.

2. Eliminating any documented training in water, mold, and respiratory protection and would only require an applicant to pass the current approved licensing examination.

3. Eliminating the requirement of an applicant passing a certification examination offered by a nationally recognized organization and adds the phrase “or state”

4. Eliminates the training in water, mold, and respiratory protection requirement in section 468.8419 Prohibitions: penalties.-

5. Reduces the applicants experience requirement of 3 years to 1 year.

6. Reduces the number of mold assessments or remediation invoices prepared by the applicant from 40 to 10.

HELP support the Mold Industry by Supporting M.A.R.C. Mold Assessment & Remediation Coalition of Florida

Go to the M.A.R.C. website Contribute page and give your support by Contributing to the fight to keep our current Licensing Law.


HB 5005 would open Florida to abuses from the past

FL HB 5005 - 5007by: Charlotte Greenbarg 

My rabbi in Ohio, where we lived before moving to Florida, asked our class, “Why these Ten Commandments?” Our spirited discussion led us to the answer: Because it’s what the people were doing at the time. The Commandments spoke to the existing evils.

Our legislators would do well to remember that lesson. Why these regulations? Because abuses were rampant and Florida was known as the place where con artists and criminals preying on associations had their dreams come true. The situation was outrageous and unacceptable.

Association boards were being hijacked by those who looked at the positions as profit centers for their personal gain. Elections were rigged. Unscrupulous managers worked in collusion with corrupt boards. Convicted felons and others were managing and bleeding associations dry. Honest, victimized unit owners had no place to appeal to but the courts, a really expensive, time-consuming alternative paid for by all the taxpayers, clogging the already burdened system.

Barbara Zee, Legislation Chair for the Delray Alliance put it very well: “We are fortunate to know some excellent, professional people who are property managers, but I have heard of others who sold their services to the unsuspecting who were buying price, and it ended-up costing associations due to lack of governmental/organizational requirements of the manager and his/her lack of knowledge and experience. There is a reason and necessity for continuing education in certain industries. Another example of a problem with the un-licensed is the mitigation home inspector. Before the requirement for training/license, there were many out there doing their job without a clue; and the insurers jumped on their mistakes to undo the providing of credits. Same goes for the vast numbers of unlicensed public adjusters who took advantage of the unregulated system. This caused many problems for insurers, e.g. Coral Insurance, a very reputable company, went bankrupt after 2005 from paying all the public adjusters’ fraudulent claims. It also was a reason for insurers backing away from insuring for sinkholes.”

This bill has been morphed into something it isn’t, now called an implementing bill to put it on a fast track in order to avoid committee meetings and public input. This is unconscionable.

Do we need to take a hard look at association regulation? Of course we do; all regulations should be revisited periodically. But the process needs to be a thoughtful one, with input from everyone affected, to make sure changes don’t cause chaos, and there are no unintended consequences.

Moreover, each unit owner has paid into the funds that were created for the regulatory entities. This involves millions of dollars paid specifically for much needed regulation. Ironically, the money from this fund that is planned to be put into the general fund will end up costing the state so much more because disputes that would have been settled by lower cost arbitration will now end up in court, not to mention overwhelming a system that can’t handle what it has now. The millions unit owners pay to the state cover the costs of association matters would be put into the general fund, a shameful betrayal.

SB 5005 would only make Florida’s situation worse, the very last thing we need considering that our fiscal position is as precarious as that fiddler on the roof.



HB 5007 amending the Current Mold Licensing Law NOT Repealing IT!

The fight to prevent the Repeal of the Current Florida Mold Licensing Laws has reached a Major Victory today!


Mold Related Services have been removed from HB 5005!  The removal was via the introduction of HB 5007 which would Amend the current mold licensing law as opposed to repeal the Licensing altogether.


The House Economic Affairs Committee took up and passed the Proposed Committee Substitute for HB, 5005 HB 5007, which repeals several professions regulated by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and Mold Related Services were removed from the bill.


The threat of a total Repeal of the Current Mold Licensing Law has been put on temporary hold.


Thank You to everyone who sent emails and made those important calls to your District Representatives and Senators.  Your hard work has paid off!


The amendments to the current mold licensing law are listed below.


HB 5007 Amends HB 5005

The PCB was introduced by Representative Esteban L. Bovo, jr. Reducing and Streamlining Regulations: Revises various provisions relating to professions & occupations regulated by DBPR.


The Proposed Committee Bill will amend the current licensing requirements to obtain a Mold Assessors or Mold Remediators License.


HB Bill 5007 amends HB 5005 by:

1. Eliminating the education language requiring advanced education and would only require an applicant to possesses a high school diploma or its equivalent.

2. Eliminating any documented training in water, mold, and respiratory protection and would only require an applicant to pass the current approved licensing examination.

3. Eliminating the requirement of an applicant passing a certification examination offered by a nationally recognized organization and adds the phrase “or state”

4. Eliminates the training in water, mold, and respiratory protection requirement in section 468.8419 Prohibitions: penalties.-

5. Reduces the applicants experience requirement of 3 years to 1 year.

6. Reduces the number of mold assessments or remediation invoices prepared by the applicant from 40 to 10.

 

Here is the link to HB 5007 Click Here


Below is the Mold Related Services sections of HB 5007.


CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.


HB 5007 A bill to be entitled, An act relating to reducing and streamlining regulations; amends s. 14 468.8413, F.S.; revising licensing requirements for mold 15 assessors and remediators; amends s. 468.8414, F.S.; revising 16 the training requirements for mold assessors and remediators; 17 amends s. 468.8419, F.S.; related to prohibitions and penalties 18 for mold assessors and remediators; amends s. 468.8423, F.S.; 19 revises licensing qualifications for mold assessors and 20 remediators;


(1) A person desiring to be licensed as a mold assessor or mold remediator must apply to the department after satisfying the examination requirements of this part.


(2) An applicant may practice in this state as a mold assessor or mold remediator if he or she passes the required examination, is of good moral character, and possesses a high school diploma or its equivalent. completes one of the following requirements:


(a)1. For a mold remediator, at least a 2-year associate of arts degree, or the equivalent, with at least 30 semester hours in microbiology, engineering, architecture, industrial hygiene, occupational safety, or a related field of science from an accredited institution and a minimum of 1 year of documented field experience in a field related to mold remediation; or


2. A high school diploma or the equivalent with a minimum of 4 years of documented field experience in a field related to mold remediation.


(b)1. For a mold assessor, at least a 2-year associate of arts degree, or the equivalent, with at least 30 semester hours in microbiology, engineering, architecture, industrial hygiene, occupational safety, or a related field of science from an accredited institution and a minimum of 1 year of documented field experience in conducting microbial sampling or investigations; or


2. A high school diploma or the equivalent with a minimum of 4 years of documented field experience in conducting microbial sampling or investigations.


(3) The department shall review and approve courses of study in mold assessment and mold remediation.


Section 5. Paragraphs (2) and (3) of s. 468.8414, Florida Statutes are amended to read:


(2) The department shall certify for licensure any applicant who satisfies the requirements of s. 468.8413 who has passed the licensing examination and has documented training in water, mold, and respiratory protection. The department may refuse to certify any applicant who has violated any of the provisions of this part.


(3) The department shall certify as qualified for a license by endorsement an applicant who is of good moral character, who has the insurance coverage required under s. 468.8421, and who:


(a) Is qualified to take the examination as set forth in s.468.8413 and has passed a certification examination offered by a nationally or state recognized organization that certifies persons in the specialty of mold assessment or mold remediation that has been approved by the department as substantially  equivalent to the requirements of this part and s. 455.217; or


Section 6. Subsections (1) and (2) of section 468.8419, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:


468.8419 Prohibitions; penalties.—


(1) A person may not:

(a) Effective July 1, 2011, perform or offer to perform any mold assessment unless the mold assessor has documented  training in water, mold, and respiratory protection under s. 468.8414(2).


(a)(b) Effective July 1, 2011, perform or offer to perform any mold assessment unless the person has complied with the provisions of this part.


(b)(c) Use the name or title “certified mold assessor,” “registered mold assessor,” “licensed mold assessor,” “mold assessor,” “professional mold assessor,” or any combination thereof unless the person has complied with the provisions of this part.


(c)(d) Perform or offer to perform any mold remediation to a structure on which the mold assessor or the mold assessor’s company provided a mold assessment within the last 12 months. This paragraph does not apply to a certified contractor who is classified in s. 489.105(3) as a Division I contractor. However, the department may adopt rules requiring that, if such contractor performs the mold assessment and offers to perform the mold remediation, the contract for mold remediation provided to the homeowner discloses that he or she has the right to request competitive bids.


(d)(e) Inspect for a fee any property in which the assessor or the assessor’s company has any financial or transfer interest.


(e)(f) Accept any compensation, inducement, or reward from a mold remediator or mold remediator’s company for the referral of any business to the mold remediator or the mold remediator’s company.


(f)(g) Offer any compensation, inducement, or reward to a mold remediator or mold remediator’s company for the referral of any business from the mold remediator or the mold remediator’s company.


(g)(h) Accept an engagement to make an omission of the assessment or conduct an assessment in which the assessment itself, or the fee payable for the assessment, is contingent upon the conclusions of the assessment.


(2) A mold remediator, a company that employs a mold remediator, or a company that is controlled by a company that also has a financial interest in a company employing a mold remediator may not:


(a) Perform or offer to perform any mold remediation unless the remediator has documented training in water, mold, and respiratory protection under s. 468.8414(2).


(a)(b) Perform or offer to perform any mold remediation unless the person has complied with the provisions of this part.


(b)(c) Use the name or title “certified mold remediator,” “registered mold remediator,” “licensed mold remediator,” “mold remediator,” “professional mold remediator,” or any combination thereof unless the person has complied with the provisions of this part.


(c)(d) Perform or offer to perform any mold assessment to a structure on which the mold remediator or the mold remediator’s company provided a mold remediation within the last 12 months. This paragraph does not apply to a certified contractor who is classified in s.489.105(3) as a Division I contractor. However, the department may adopt rules requiring that, if such contractor performs the mold remediation and offers to perform the mold assessment, the contract for mold assessment provided to the homeowner discloses that he or she has the right to request competitive bids.


(d)(e) Remediate for a fee any property in which the mold remediator or the mold remediator’s company has any financial or transfer interest.


(e)(f) Accept any compensation, inducement, or reward from a mold assessor or mold assessor’s company for the referral of any business from the mold assessor or the mold assessor’s company.


(f)(g) Offer any compensation, inducement, or reward to a mold assessor or mold assessor’s company for the referral of any business from the mold assessor or the mold assessor’s company.


Section 7. Paragraphs (1) of s.468.8423, Florida Statutes are amended to read:


(1) A person who performs mold assessment or mold remediation as defined in this part may qualify for licensure by the department as a mold assessor or mold remediator if the person submits his or her application to the department by March 1, 2011 and if the person:


(a) Is certified as a mold assessor or mold remediator by a state or national association that requires, for such certification, successful completion of a proctored examination on mold assessment or mold remediation, as applicable; or


(b) At the time of application, has at least 1 3 years of experience as a mold assessor or mold remediator. To establish the 1 3 years of experience, an applicant must submit at

least 10 40 mold assessments or remediation invoices prepared by the applicant.


Section 8. Paragraph (d) of subsection (1) of section 324 468.841, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:


468.841 Exemptions.—


(1) The following persons are not required to comply with any provisions of this part relating to mold assessment:


(d) Persons or business organizations acting within the scope of the respective licenses required under part XV of chapter 468, chapter 471, part I of chapter 481, chapter 482, chapter 489, or part XV of this chapter, are acting on behalf of an insurer under part VI of chapter 626, or are persons in the manufactured housing industry who are licensed under chapter 320, except when any such persons or business organizations hold themselves out for hire to the public as a “certified mold assessor,” “registered mold assessor,” “licensed mold assessor,” “mold assessor,” “professional mold assessor,” or any combination thereof stating or implying licensure under this part.


Section 9. Subsection (1) and paragraph (a) of subsection (2) of section 469.006, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:


469.006 Licensure of business organizations; qualifying agents.—


(1) If an individual proposes to engage in consulting or contracting in that individual’s own name, or a fictitious name under which the individual is doing business as a sole proprietorship, the license may be issued only to that individual.


(2)(a) If the applicant proposes to engage in consulting or contracting as a partnership, corporation, business trust, or other legal entity, or in any name other than the applicant’s legal name, the legal entity must apply for licensure through a qualifying agent or the individual applicant must apply for licensure under the fictitious name.

 

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

IAQA POSITION STATEMENT On Florida HB 4171 & SB 1244

Released March 23, 2011


ABOUT IAQA

The Indoor Air Quality Association is a Florida not‐for‐profit corporation established in 1998. IAQA is dedicated to promoting the exchange of indoor environmental information, through education and research, for the safety and well being of the general public. The Association has more than 3,500 member’s nation‐wide, including more than 400 members in the state of Florida. IAQA provides training courses for mold assessment professionals, IAQ investigators, and mold remediation contractors, but does not act as a certifying organization. IAQA courses have been approved by the Florida DBPR for continuing education credit for licensed trades and professions including HVAC contractors and professional engineers.


BACKGROUND

In 2008, the State of Florida adopted Statutes under Title XXXII, Regulation of Professions and Occupations, Chapter 468, which resulted in licensure of individuals and companies that provide mold‐related services such as mold assessment and mold remediation in Florida.


According to Part XVI, section 468.84, Legislative purpose, it states, “The [Florida] 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.”


This action came after months of thorough and exhaustive review by state legislative and regulatory authorities.  The views and opinions of the private sector were given serious consideration through a series of stakeholder meetings and hearings in 2006 and 2007. Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and the Florida Department of Health (DOH) were involved in helping legislators determine the necessity for mold‐related regulations.


The law went into effect July 1, 2010. Required licensure of mold‐related service providers was delayed but became effective March 1, 2011, with enforcement applicable starting in July 2011.


Since July 1, 2010, it is estimated that between 2,500 to 3,000 individuals and companies have obtained or applied for Florida licenses as mold assessors and/or remediators. For each individual certified person or entity, thousands of dollars were spent on training costs, examination fees, and state licensing fees. It is estimated that the state of Florida has already received $750,000 to $1 million in revenue from licensing fees to date.


Prior to the adoption of state regulations requiring licensing of mold‐related service providers, IAQA took the position that, “While allowing any person(s) or company to provide these services can lead to unscrupulous deeds damaging the industry’s overall reputation, laws and regulations that are unreasonable, anti‐competitive or overly restrictive could have an adverse affect on the industry.”


In 2007 IAQA voiced general support for efforts in Florida to license mold‐related service providers, with the caveats that such regulations should only be enacted after detailed and careful study by the state, agencies, including the FL DOH and the FL DBPR, and coupled with meetings and consultation with private sector stakeholders, scientists, and representatives of industry. IAQA also advocated a position that those seeking professional credentials in microbial assessment and/or microbial remediation should be permitted to obtain certification from an independent, credible, third‐party‐accredited certification providers in lieu of state administered training and/or testing requirements. Such an approach relieves the states of bureaucratic and administrative expense while taking advantage of voluntary, industry‐consensus programs already established.


The current Florida regulations were created and implemented in a manner mostly supported by IAQA. That is, the process included thorough, responsible consideration by public and private sector representatives, and the rules implemented recognize accredited certification bodies as developers and administrators of examinations required for licensure.


IAQA POSITION ON FLORIDA HB 4171 & SB 1244

AND THE POTENTIAL REPEAL OF FLORIDA’S MOLDRELATED SERVICES LICENSING REGULATIONS


On February 16, 2011, Florida State Representative Grant introduced a bill, HB 4171, in the Florida House that would repeal the newly effective mold licensing regulations. On February 21, 2011, State Senator Norman introduced a companion bill, SB 1244, in the Florida Senate for the same purpose. Both bills have been making their way through committees with high‐majority votes in favor of the bills.


In the analysis of HB 4171 presented to the Business & Consumer Affairs Subcommittee in March 2011, it states, “The bill is anticipated to have a negative fiscal impact on state trust funds from the reduction in fees associated with applications for licensure. The DBPR indicates that the actual reduction is unknown at this time as program requirements are not enforceable until July 1, 2011,” and, “A positive fiscal impact on state trust funds may be anticipated to occur from the reduction in cost associated with processing applications. The DBPR indicates that the actual positive impact is unknown at this time as program requirements are not enforceable until July 1, 2011.”


In essence, the state will lose revenue but also reduce its administrative costs. However, there is no evidence whether this will result in a net loss or net gain for the state trust funds. It is worth noting that while DBPR is responsible for processing applications, the mold licensing rules as written do not burden DBPR with the high cost of licensing activities related to the creation, maintenance and administration of proficiency examinations or training. Theoretically, the mold‐related services licensing program should have substantially lower administrative costs than other Florida licensing programs administered by DBPR or other state agencies.


Under the analysis of HB 4171 presented to the Business & Consumer Affairs Subcommittee, under the section titled, “Direct Economic Impact on Private Sector,” the analysis simply says, “Not anticipated to be significant.” IAQA strongly disagrees with that analysis. Currently, applicants must submit to a criminal background check, are required to attest that they have obtained general liability and errors and omissions insurance for both preliminary and post remediation mold assessment in the amount of no less than $1 million dollars (which is very costly to obtain), disclose contact and background information, complete a lengthy and complicated application, and submit substantial licensing fees. Companies that have worked to meet the current moldrelated services licensing requirements have spent thousands of dollars and resources to comply with the newly effective regulation, including training of personnel and certification testing through non‐governmental entities approved by DPBR.


IAQA members have report d costs ranging between $3,500 and $7,500 per employee to become licensed. The economic downturn has placed a severe financial strain on many IAQA members’ businesses, and this new licensure has added to the impact. However, IAQA members are working to maintain compliance with the regulation in order to better serve the citizens of Florida and help raise the bar for the industry.


Another aspect of the current mold‐services licensing regulation that IAQA supported are the provisions requiring professional insurance. Though these provisions have likewise resulted in increased costs of doing business for IAQA members, there is widespread recognition that the insurance provisions benefit Florida citizens. IAQA supported the insurance provisions in the current regulation, despite the high cost of the insurance and the difficulty some contractors and consultants have in obtaining it.


CONCLUSION

Since the rules only became effective March 1, 2011, there has been insufficient time to determine if the current mold‐related services licensing program in Florida improves public safety and welfare, prevents damage to real and personal property, and averts economic injury to the residents of Florida. IAQA sees no evidence of any analysis of this nature by the state, its agencies or the private sector to make such a determination. In fact, in none of the legislative proposals is there any indication given as to why or how the repeal of mold licensing rules benefits the citizens of Florida.


It is IAQA’s position that prior to the repeal of the current Florida mold‐related services licensing rules, the state should conduct a review and analysis akin that those undertaken in 2006 and 2007 by state legislative representatives, state agencies, scientists, and public and private sector stakeholders.


Should a careful, deliberate determination be made by the state of Florida that it is in the best interests of the citizens of Florida to repeal the current mold‐related services licensing program, those best interests should be communicated to the citizens and businesses of the state. Included should be an explanation of how not requiring mold‐related service providers to be licensed and carry professional and liability insurance benefits Florida consumers.


If the mold licensing rules are repealed, it is IAQA’s position that the state of Florida should refund to all current mold‐related services license holders all costs associated with obtaining said licensure, including but not limited to fees paid to DBPR and other state and federal agencies as part of the application process, and related costs directly associated with the pursuit of compliance with Florida’s current mold‐related services licensing regulations.


Please direct any questions regarding this position statement to:

 

INDOOR AIR QUALITY ASSOCIATION, INC.
c/o Glenn Fellman, Executive Director
12339 Carroll Avenue
Rockville, MD 20852
(301) 231‐8388
gfellman@iaqa.org

Disaster Damage Is an Invitation to Fraud, Says FEMA in 2004

The proposed repeal of the current Florida Mold License Law with the introduction of HB 4171, HB 5005 and SB 1244 is an invitation for Fraud just as FEMA warned after the 2004 Hurricanes hit Florida.


FEMA knew back in 2004 that Floridians were being scammed in their time of need and published the following article.


Floridians who are rebuilding their hurricane-damaged homes and businesses need to be alert for contractors and repair services that engage in fraud and prey on vulnerable disaster victims.


The first rule of rebuilding is never to pay in cash or more than a reasonable down payment before the work is done. The second rule is to check the references of anyone you hire and compare prices in your area. A reliable repair service will have references and insurance to protect its workers, and will offer you a contract specifying that it pays for all materials used. These are things you should insist on.


Many illegitimate contractors drive long distances to reach a disaster area to seek customers who are overstressed and eager to have their homes restored. A number of scams are used, including offers to increase damage estimates and posing as representatives of the Small Business Administration (SBA) or the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).


All federal agency personnel carry photo identification, which you should ask to see. No federal agent will ask you to pay a fee for any service. If you have internet access you can check a contractor’s licensing status at www.myfloridalicense.com.


That’s Right CHECK FOR A STATE LICENSE!


Don’t Repeal the Current Florida Mold Licensing Law!


The proposed repeal of the current Florida Mold License Law with the introduction of HB 4171, HB 5005 and SB 1244 is an invitation for Fraud just as FEMA warned after the 2004 Hurricanes hit Florida.


Floridians need Licensed Mold Professionals and Consumer Protection!


Say No to the Repeal of the Current Mold Licensing Law!


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

If HB 5005, HB 4171, and SB 1244 pass then Florida Storm Weary Residents May Once Again Fall Victim to Fraud and Theft.

National Weather Service Warns “Scam Artists Stay Busy During Hurricane Season”.


Scammers expect to make easy cash after hurricanes strike. It’s happened after each recorded Hurricane in Florida.  Even before the water recedes disaster restoration contractors descend on Florida offering to quickly help restore Floridians homes.  Residents who are often forced to wait days and even weeks for storm cleanup often make bad choices, risking savings & ID theft.


The National Weather Service urges everyone to stay alert for hurricane and tropical weather advisories; but for some residents, the damage continues for weeks or even months after the winds and rain have died down. As local law enforcement authorities and even officials from the weather channel warn, scammers hit the computer, phones, and streets once a storm has passed, hoping to take advantage of vulnerable storm-weary residents.


With the current Mold Licensing Law in place Floridians can now simply ask for a Mold Inspector or Mold Remediators State License and be assured that the individual is not a Fly-By-Night Out of State Scam Artist.


Hurricane Victims Alerted to Scam Offers for Free Mold Inspections and Discounted Mold Remediation!


Consumers may not only lose hard-earned savings, but may also lose their identity. Hurricane scammers hit the streets hard, offering to inspect storm damaged homes and provide affordable remediation. These con artists show up at Florida resident’s door often passing out fliers and quick print business cards. They call on the phone, and many hit the Internet as power is restored to a damaged area.


When a Scammer appears at the door, he or she:

  • May be well-dressed and present a business card.
  • Claim to a represent a well-known company sending workers into the area to help with cleanup and repair.
  • May be wearing a (phony) uniform that looks authentic.
  • Usually has a (phony) contract for the resident to sign.
  • Asks for an advance payment, payable by cash or credit card number.
  • May claim that neighbors in the area are using his (or her) services to give the client reassurance.
  • May pose as an independent contractor for whatever repair work is obviously needed.
  • May pose as a mold inspector, citing extensive mold and mildew damage that can result in serious health problems if not fixed by a professional immediately (mold remediation).


What can a Florida Resident do to protect themselves from Fraud?

  • Ask for a Florida State Mold Inspection or Mold Remediators License
  • Check the History of anyone with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation BEFORE you hire them.


That is if the current HB 4171, HB 5005 and SB 1244 aren’t passed.  If the Bills to repeal the Current Mold Licensing Laws do pass then when the next storm hits its “Caveat Emptor” all over again.


Maybe we should all move to Texas or Louisiana where they refuse to let history repeat itself and are protecting their citizens from fraud after the next storm with solid Mold Licensing Laws.


It’s never been more important to write, email, and call you District Representative and Senator.


The last thing you want to worry about after a Storm is whether or not your Mold Professional is legitimate!  They should just be State Licensed.


Floridians need Licensed Mold Professionals and Consumer Protection!


Say No to the Repeal of the Current Mold Licensing Law!

 

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

HB 5005 Deregulation of Professions and Occupations

HB 5005 the Florida Caveat Emptor Law. Caveat Emptor is Latin for “Let the Buyer Beware” (i.e., one buys at one’s own risk). The axiom or principle in commerce that the buyer alone is responsible for assessing the quality of a service before buying.


This is the push from the Governor to reduce government and increase jobs by allowing anyone,yes anyone, to provide you with a professional service listed in the repeal bill to do so without meeting the states current licensing requirements.


Florida floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters, create a perfect feeding ground for scam artists from both inside and outside of Florida. When it comes to rip-off professionals cashing in on the misery of others, fraudulent Mold Inspectors and Mold Remediators rank high on the list.  As Floridians, we had been exposed to these fraudulent mold service professionals for years.


Last year the current Mold Services Licensing Law was passed and enacted.  Finally providing Floridians with the much needed Consumer Protection needed for years.  Floridians can now request to see a Mold Inspector or Mold Remediators License and review their history on the FL DBPR website before the make the decision to hire.


And now, the new Governor wants to repeal this much needed Mold Related Services Licensing Law.


If HB 5005 passes and we lose the Mold Related Services Licensing Law, all Floridians will once again be exposed to fraud when the next disaster hits.


States like Texas and Louisiana have Mold Related Services Licensing Laws because they know the TRUE need for Mold Services Licensing.  They have seen more than their share of Mold and Remediation Fraud recently and have enacted the necessary Mold Services Licensing Laws to protect their citizens.

 

We have done the same here in Florida and need to fight to keep the Current Mold Licensing Law to protect Floridians from Mold Scams and Mold Fraud.

 

Update from Dan Pollock, Pollock & Associates, Inc.


The House Business & Consumer Services Subcommittee recently approved in a partyline vote—with all Republican members voting for the bill—the proposed committee bill that would de-regulate nearly 30 licensed professionals under DBPR. The proposed committee bill (PCB) now has a bill number that you can track: HB 5005.


This link goes to HB 5005 on myfloridahouse.gov: http://myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=46688&SessionId=66


HB 5005 is now sitting in the House Economic Affairs Committee waiting to be put on an agenda. Here is the link to the members of that committee: http://myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Committees/committeesdetail.aspx?SessionId=66&CommitteeId=2590


As of now, there is no senate companion to this bill however that can change at any time. There are individual bills to repeal the Mold Services law in its entirety, which are also in play.


The de-regulation of Mold Services is by no means a foregone conclusion! There are 7 weeks left in a 9 week session. Many members who voted for the de-reg bill last week did so based purely upon House politics; not because they believe all 30 professions should be de-regulated. Many have issues with both Home Inspectors and Mold Services going back to the unregulated, wild west that it once was. Many understand that these services were regulated because of bad actors and abuses to consumers that were occurring.


Lobbying efforts are greatly needed. If legislators do not hear from industry representatives, they often feel that it must not be a ‘big deal’ since no one is coming to see them. Emails and phone calls are very important, but they do not take the place of a lobbyist who has a personal relationship with these legislators visiting with them and explaining the history of the profession and how you got to become regulated professionals. Going unrepresented in Tallahassee would be a very risky gamble.


I believe that with hard work lobbying the members we will prevail. I have already started meeting with members to discuss the disastrous results that would occur if the legislature does away with our licensure. I have started this work so that we, as an industry, are not playing catch-up once I am retained as your lobbyist and an agreement is signed. But, I can only do so much work without an agreement and a first payment.


Please inform all interested Mold Services professionals who have a stake maintaining their licensed professional status that now is the time to step up and take action. I stand ready to work tirelessly to defeat this de-regulation measure and, again, I believe that we will prevail.


HB 5005


Deregulation of Professions and Occupations: Deletes provisions establishing DBPR’s Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, & Mobile Homes, Florida Board of Auctioneers, Board of Employee Leasing Companies, Board of Landscape Architecture, Board of Professional Geologists, & Board of Professional Surveyors & Mappers, Motor Vehicle Repair Advisory Council, & Regulatory Council of Community Association Managers; deletes provisions for regulation of yacht & ship brokers, auctioneers, talent agencies, community association managers, athlete agents, employee leasing companies, home inspectors, mold assessors & remediators, professional surveyors & mappers, persons practicing hair braiding, hair wrapping, or body wrapping, interior designers, landscape architects, professional geologists, professional fundraising consultants & solicitors, water vending machines & operators, health studios, ballroom dance studios, commercial telephone sellers & salespersons, movers & moving brokers, certain outdoor theaters, certain business opportunities, motor vehicle repair shops, sellers of travel, contracts with sales representatives involving commissions, & television picture tubes; revises name & membership of Board of Architecture; revises license classifications of public lodging establishments; deletes DBPR’s authority to enforce & ensure compliance of certain provisions relating to condominiums, cooperatives, vacation plans & timeshares, & mobile homes.


Last Event: Now in Economic Affairs Committee on Friday, March 18, 2011 3:00 PM

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

Florida Deregulation Bill

Posted on March 15, 2011by Rosa Schechter

A bill that would remove the State of Florida from overseeing and regulating a wide variety of business activities is moving through the Florida Legislature right now — and it’s so comprehensive that even the industry leaders currently subject to agency oversight are denouncing the proposed law as bad for Florida.


As reported in today’s Orlando Sentinel in a story by Jason Garcia entitled, “Some industries balk at giant deregulation bill in Florida House ,” the bill is big – it’s 281 pages long, and even lots of businesses don’t like it.


Garcia reports that over 30 representatives (lobbyists and others) have gone before the House Business and Consumer Affairs Subcommittee to give their testimony of how bad things could get if the Florida state government were to exit the building in these various industries.  Even Disney had a man go before the committee, warning of land fraud temptations without Florida’s oversight of time shares. (Disney’s big into the time share condo business.)


What the Deregulation Bill Proposes to Do


It’s a budget cutting manuever that would take the State of Florida out of the business of overseeing and regulating 25+ professions and industries operating for profit in this state — including home inspectors, time-shares, condos, landscape architects, professional surveyors, professional mappers, and other real estate related industries as well as businesses like auto mechanics and travel agencies.


For example, here’s what is being considered regarding architects.


Architects – Currently, an Architect business must be licensed by the state, unless exempt from licensure, in addition to the requirement that the individual be licensed. Persons currently exempt from licensure include anyone who makes plans and specifications for, or supervises the erection, enlargement, or alteration of:


1. Any building upon any farm for the use of any farmer, regardless ofthecost of the building;


2. Anyone-family or two-family residence building, townhouse, or domesticoutbuilding appurtenant to any one-family or two-family residence, regardless of cost;

or


3. Any other type ofbuilding costing less than $25,000, except a school,auditorium, or other building intended for public use, provided that theservices of a registered architect shall not be required for minor school projects.


The proposal is to eliminate business license equirements for sole proprietorships for individuals licensed as Architects.


Florida isn’t new to deregulation — Governor Crist made lots of headlines in 2009 regarding the extent that the State of Florida would regulate the commercial insurance industry.  There was also lots of controversy over the extent that Florida should or would oversee the telecommunications industry in the state.


However, with the new shift in power up in Tallahassee, and Governor Scott’s stated intention to run the State of Florida like a business, wide-spread deregulation like this may not face the big fight that it has seen in past years.


Deregulation From a Land Development Perspective


Land developers often find state regulations to be time-consuming and expensive, but all reputable real estate professionals still respect the reality that there are those that push the edge of the envelope (or go past it) for the sake of profit.  No one wants to open the door to a free-for-all here in Florida, just because the state is in economic hard times.


So, is this massive deregulation good for Florida?  Many respected business professionals think not.  Consider what’s being done here.  Specifically, the government would be hands-off regarding the following industries:

1. Athlete Agents

2. Auctioneers

3. Auctioneer Apprentices

4. Barbers

5. Body Wrappers

6. Business Opportunities

7. Cattle Owners with Officially Registered Brands

8. Charitable Organizations

9. Community Association Managers/Finns

10. Condominiums and Cooperatives

11. Dance Studios

12. Employee Leasing Companies

13. Hair Braiders

14. Hair Wrappers

15. Health Studios

16. Home Inspectors

17. Interior Designers

18. Intrastate Movers

19. Landscape Architects

20. Manicurists

21. Mobile Home Lots

22. Mold Related Services

23. Motor Vehicle Repair Shops

24. Professional Geology

25. Professional Surveyors and Mappers

26. Rooming Houses

27. Sellers of Travel

28. Specialty Salons (Manicurists, Pedicurists, Nail Extensions)

29. Talent Agents

30. Telemarketing

31. Timeshares

32. Yacht and Ship Brokers

33. Television Tube Labeling (HB 4013 by Eisnaugle-Reported Favorably by BCA Subcommittee on 2/8/11)

34. Contract Commissions (HB 4023 by Plakon- Reported Favorably by BCA Subcommittee on 2/8/11)

35. Water Vending Machines (HB 4009 by Workman- Reported Favorably by BCA Subcommittee on 2/8/11)

 

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

Florida Politicians say "We don't Need Mold Licensing in Florida"

Why do we need a License anyway? I don’t know Consumer Protection maybe?  That’s a question I don’t really get asked very often because we Floridians know the actual value of always asking for a valid License before hiring anyone.


At the same time we Floridians are well aware that just having a License doesn’t make anyone great at what they do.   We are also well aware that having a License won’t prevent a surgeon from sewing up surgical devices in a patient.  And we surely understand that licensed professionals aren’t issued personal ethics and values when they received their license in the mail.


What we do know about a Licensed Professional is that once licensed, WE, that’s right all of us, have a means and a way of putting the Licensed Professional out of business by reporting misconduct and fraud to the FL DBPR, Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.  At a minimum be assured that the licensed professional was trained in his profession and carries insurance.


Another really great aspect of requiring a Florida License is that the licensed professional also knows that WE have the ability to document our opinion of their work with the FL DBPR in the form of a complaint.  The licensed professional knows that WE are watching.  The licensed professional knows that if they try to scam US they can have a complaint filed against them.  And a licensed professional is very aware that too many complaints mean the potential clients who review their history can and will chose a service provider with no complaints.  A licensed professional is well aware of the fact that complaints can lead to the loss of their license.


Now that’s Consumer Protection!


So why would Florida Politicians say “We Don’t Need No Stinking Licenses” and push to repeal the current Florida Mold Licensing Law via HB 4171, SB 1244, and PCB BCAS 11-01???

Well politicians are trying to say that requiring a license is preventing Floridians from getting jobs.  Forget that whole Consumer Protection think.  Remember politicians get all of their brilliant ideas from their Dad I mean Lobbyist. And Lobbyist get all of their great ideas from Special Interest Groups. “We Don’t Need No Stinking Mold Licenses” was actually the Idea of a New Jersey Corporation.  That’s right New Jersey! Not anyone from Florida, Not the Florida Representative or Senator that introduce the Bill to repeal the current Licensing Law.  A New Jersey Corporation.


Just which State do these guys actually represent?


Repealing the mold licensing law to create jobs is just political smoke and mirrors.  The politicians want to repeal the Mold Licensing Law because the Lobbyist was paid to promote the idea by a New Jersey special interest.  And the way they all decided to make the idea fly was to sell it as a J-O-B creating get Florida to work idea.  Smoke and Mirrors.


By the way Tampa, you guys need to take note and V-O-T-E at the next election BIG TIME!!! New Jersey?   REALLY guys!


I live right here in Florida and neither Senator Norman or Representative Grant has returned my calls or emails.  I guess the way to get a returned email or call is to move to New Jersey and hire Representative Grants Dad.


Listen, politicians won’t create jobs by deciding that a Mold Inspector or a Mold Remediator doesn’t need a license.  Politicians would just make it possible for more fraud and scams to be committed against Floridians. There have been several unlicensed mold professionals arrested for mold fraud as recently as last month.


If someone wanted to be a mold inspector or mold remediator they could get a job Today! Then the newly employed Floridian could start learning the trade and gain the experience necessary to conduct a thorough mold inspection or provide proper mold remediation.  And when he or she is ready and has the necessary training and experience he or she could apply for their own license.


So…..Just how will repealing the current mold licensing law create jobs?


We don’t need political smoke and mirrors and repealing the current Florida Mold Licensing Law is nothing more than Political Smoke and Mirrors!


What WE Floridians need are Licensed Mold Professionals and Consumer Protection!


Requiring a License IS Consumer Protection.  A License provides:

  • a way for Floridians to review a Mold Professionals history.
  • a way for Floridians to report misconduct or fraud by a Mold Professional.
  • and lets the Licensed Mold Professionals know Floridians are watching, and that Floridians can review their history, and Floridians can report misconduct and fraud.

A Mold License is a Good Thing for everyone in Florida.


Clearly not so much for New Jersey.  Right Tampa?

 

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



Some industries balk at giant deregulation bill in Florida House

By Jason Garcia, Orlando Sentinel4:46 p.m. EDT, March 15, 2011

In their zeal to slash red tape this spring, Florida lawmakers are going so far that they have begun making even the state’s biggest businesses nervous.


A committee in the Florida House of Representatives unveiled and approved a sweeping plan on Tuesday to eliminate state-government oversight of more than two-dozen professions and industries, from telemarketers and travel agents to home inspectors and auto mechanics.


The 281-page bill is the most far-reaching attempt at deregulation yet undertaken in a year in which Republican leaders from Gov. Rick Scott to House Speaker Dean Cannon of Winter Park have repeatedly vowed to reduce government bureaucracy and make Florida more accommodating to businesses.


But the measure immediately drew opposition from many of those same industries that boosters say they are attempting to help. More than 30 lobbyists and professionals from various industries testified before the House Business and Consumer Affairs Subcommittee, with the vast majority of them urging lawmakers to preserve the current state’s regulatory schemes.


“Sometimes, regulation can be productive,” Nancy Stewart, of the Federation of Manufactured Home Owners of Florida, said as she urged the committee to remove provisions from the bill that would abolish the state agency that oversees condominiums, time shares and mobile homes. “We all know that we have better behavior when someone’s watching.”


Boosters of the bill said many regulations help existing businesses stifle competition. Lifting those rules, they argued, would make it easier for new businesses to set up shop in Florida and, ultimately, they hope, create jobs in a recession-wracked state still weighed down by a 12 percent unemployment rate.


“One of the beauties of our country is that an individual can sit in their living room and draw up a business plan and then go to work. But it’s sad to know that the moment they walk out that door, there are obstacles presented,” said Rep. Esteban Bovo, R-Hialeah and committee chairman, who sponsored of the legislation. “At the end of the day, the goal is to give people the power to start their own businesses and then let them move forward and compete.”


Even by the standards already set this year in Tallahassee — where dozens of bills lifting one regulation or another are rapidly advancing through the Legislature — the legislation introduced Tuesday is breathtaking.


One section, for instance, would abolish entirely Florida’s 23-year-old “Sellers of Travel” law. More than 6,500 travel agencies and independent agents are currently registered under the law, which was initially passed to protect consumers from unscrupulous agents peddling phony vacations.


Among other provisions, the current law requires that a travel agency post a surety bond of up to $50,000 so the state can use it to refund travelers should they be sold a fraudulent vacation package or if the seller goes bankrupt before customers take their trips.


Florida has received more than 13,000 complaints about sellers of travel during the past five years, according to the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, which administers the law.


Other sections of the bill, meanwhile, would cut state oversight of the time-share industry. No more, for instance, would government regulators review offering documents by time-share builders to ensure they include adequate disclosures for consumers or in advertising materials to ensure they aren’t misleading.

 

It was enough to bring even Florida’s best-known employer — Walt Disney World — out in opposition.


Brian Bibeau, a lobbyist for the resort, pointed out that the state began regulating the time-share industry in the 1980s to weed out shady developers who gave the industry a seedy reputation that it has spent years trying to shed.


Disney owns a time-share business, Disney Vacation Club, which is based in Central Florida and has properties in four states.


“Florida has what some people would call a colorful history of land fraud that goes back 100 years. Others would call it a lurid history of land fraud,” Bibeau said. “The division [of condominiums, time shares and mobile homes] was put together to force the bad actors out of these areas of activity. We think it’d be a terrible mistake for you all to deregulate those areas of the division. We strongly oppose it.”


Many other industries expressed similar concerns. The Florida Association of Professional Geologists said state licensing is vital to ensure that geologists have the appropriate technical skills and education levels. The Automotive Service Associations said the state’s regulatory scheme helps resolve complaints with consumers unhappy with car-repair jobs. The Florida Association of Realtors said home buyers need the assurance that comes with state oversight of home inspectors.


“Realtors believe it’s in the public interest to keep those folks accountable to the state and the public,” said Trey Price, a lobbyist for the Realtors association. The Florida Home Inspectors Council, too, testified in support of the state’s current regulations.


Not everyone, however, was critical.


Allen Douglas, a lobbyist for the National Federation of Independent Businesses, which represents small businesses in the state, said many of Florida’s myriad rules and regulations are obstacles for new businesses.


“A lot of these laws are legit. But a lot of them are to limit competition,” Douglas said.


Indeed, much of Tuesday’s three-hour hearing was consumed by dueling testimony from in-state and out-of-state interior designers over whether to lift licensing requirements for commercial interior designers.


Analysts said 255 state-government jobs could be cut if all of the regulations targeted in the legislation were repealed.


The bill ultimately advanced on a 10-5, party-line vote, with outnumbered Democratic lawmakers criticizing what they called “unbridled” deregulation.


“I’m worried that the message we’re going to be sending is not that Florida is business friendly, but that Florida is the wild, wild West,” said Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg.


Jason Garcia can be reached at jrgarcia@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5414.

Florida makes BIG move to De-Regulate Florida Licensed Professional Services

Governor Scott isCan You Hear Us NOW! doing all that he can to provide Jobs to Floridians but some would say he is going about it in all the wrong ways.


Ensuring that your Florida professional service provider is Licensed and Insured is the most important piece of information that the Citizens of Florida require  from any Legitimate Florida Professional Service Provider prior to hiring and receiving any professional service in the State of Florida.


This would include all professional services from your Licensed Barber or Cosmetologist to the Licensed Home or Mold Inspector you hire to inspect your home before you make the most important purchase of your life.


The idea that eliminating the States requirement for licensing could ever be a good thing is simply ridicules.


A Florida License ensures that Florida professionals meet a minimum requirement necessary to obtain a license Prior to providing their services.


A Florida License means that Floridians have a means of reviewing a licensee’s history prior to hiring and a way of reporting a licensee’s poor or negligent performance if necessary.


A Florida License creates an Informed and Empowered Florida Consumer.


A lack of a Florida License presents a real financial danger to the citizens of Florida.


The Governors’ idea is to de-regulate professional services making it easier for Floridians to get a job.  I don’t know about the rest of you but I don’t want an unemployed engineer (for example) cutting my hair just so he has a job.


I do know that the regulating of professions is what separates us from the old Wild, Wild West.  It’s what protects Floridians from Fraud, Scams, and Unqualified Contractors.


I do know it is what sets a standard to ensure Floridians receive a trained, insured, and licensed professional services and not the proposed legislation that might as well be labeled HB 101 Caveat Emptor or “Let the buyer beware”.


The introduction of PCB BCAS 11-01 (proposed committee bill) is being heard tomorrow morning in the House Business & Consumer Services Subcommittee.


This is the introduction of a proposed Bill that is “An act relating to the deregulation of professions and occupations; amending s. 20.165, F.S.;”


This is an attempt to deregulate professions from Auctioneers, Barbers, Home Inspectors, Interior Designers, Mold-Related Services, Surveyors and many, many more.


Check to see if you may no longer need your professional license in the proposed legislation.


http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/SEctions/Documents/


http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/SEctions/Committees/


Committee members who need to be contacted to STOP the madness.


Bovo, Jr., Esteban L. (R) Chair, Roberson, Kenneth L. (R) Vice Chair, Abruzzo, Joseph (D) Democratic Ranking Member, Ahern, Larry (R), Artiles, Frank (R), Crisafulli, Steve (R), Eisnaugle, Eric (R), Goodson, Tom (R), Jones, Mia L. (D), Nuñez, Jeanette M. (R), Patronis, Jimmy (R), Rouson, Darryl Ervin (D), Slosberg, Irving (D), Stafford, Cynthia A. (D), Young, Dana D. (R)


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

Who would want to repeal the current Florida Mold Licensing Law & Why?

You have to be thinking the same thing I am.  Who would want to repeal the current Mold Licensing Law that protects Floridians from fraud and scams?


The current Law helps Floridians by providing them with a minimum standard that must be met ensuring that when they hire a licensed mold inspector or remediator they will be experienced and trained.


Any Floridian can check the history of a licensed mold inspector or remediator by going to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, FDBPR.


Any Floridian can also file a complaint against any licensed mold inspector or remediator with the FDBPR helping to protect the next Floridian by providing information on the licensed mold inspectors or remediators performance.


That’s all a true benefit to Floridians, Right?


Mold Professionals are now being held accountable; must meet a minimum standard, carry adequate insurance, and the consumer can either report misconduct or review prior misconduct by any licensed mold professional they want to hire.


So why would Representative Grant and Senator Norman file HB 4171 and SB 1244 in an effort to repeal the current Mold-related Services Licensing Law?


Maybe this will help clear the air a bit.

The Lobbying firm of Florida Capitol Advocates which includes former Sen. John Grant, was hired by the founder of the franchise Mycelium Holdings, Jason Earle.  Mycelium Holdings is a New Jersey based Franchise with no current franchises in Florida.


“Our franchise operation is 1-800-GOT-MOLD?, not Mycelium Holdings.” Jason Earle Added 3/14/11


Florida Capitol Advocates lobbied Representative James W Grant, District 47 who introduced the bill as HB 4171 February 16th.  Senator Norman filed the sister bill in the Senate SB 1244. February 21st.


The Mycelium Holdings founder Jason Earle stated, in a phone interview, that he feels the current licensing law inhibits the ability of Mycelium Holdings to rapidly sell franchises and expand into Florida which is why New Jersey based Mycelium Holdings is interested in repealing the current mold licensing law.


Jason Earle stated in an email sent to me today that corrections to his position regarding the repeal of the current mold licensing law are as follows. “the law would inhibit our ability to expand our business in a state which needs to create jobs, not restrict commerce. We are opposed to the educational and experiential prerequisites” Jason also stated ” I made it clear that I’m in favor of regulation and enforcement in the mold industry.” Added 3/14/11

Mycelium Holdings also markets the Got Mold? Test Kit http://www.gotmoldtestkit.com/


It has been brought to our attention that Mycelium Holdings provides the “Positive” results from their Got Mold? Test Kit to mold remediation franchisees.


Jason Earle also stated“We DO NOT provide anything related to the GOT MOLD? Test Kit to mold remediation firms. That would be a conflict of interest. We simply offer the consumer the chance to deduct the initial purchase price of the test kit from the cost of a professional mold inspection through 1-800-GOT-MOLD?, our franchise division, which only performs assessments and remediation consulting, but does NOT perform remediation or have financial relationships with mold remediation firms. Please be clear. This is a gross misrepresentation and should be corrected.” Added 3/14/11


If Mycelium Holdings receives any compensation or franchise fee for the referral of positive test results from their Got Mold? Test Kit then Mycelium Holdings is in violation of the current law of section 468.8419 Prohibitions; penalties.


Mycelium Holdings would then have until July 1, 2011 to successfully repeal the current law or be in violation of section 468.8419 Prohibitions; penalties.  You see the Penalty Section of the current Law does not go into effect until July.


Now that would be motivation for Mycelium Holdings to hire Florida Capitol Advocates and attempt to repeal the current mold licensing law, wouldn’t it?


So if the current law is repealed via Rep. Grant and Sen. Norman Mycelium Holdings up in New Jersey makes big bucks selling franchises to wealthy business men who can then hire anyone off the street to inspect your home.


Jason wanted it pointed out that “You(John lapotaire) conveniently forgot to mention that we (1-800 Got-Mold) have the most robust two-week training program and support structure in the industry.”Added 3/24/11


After all Mycelium Holdings will be providing the franchisee with a rescued Labrador mold sniffing dog.  So why need the business owner or mold inspector to be licensed?  Just make sure the dog has it shots and inspect away……….


Who Loses if the Current Law is Repealed?
The real losers will be the Floridians who will once again be subjected to unlicensed and unregulated scam artist inspecting and finding mold in their homes and offering to quickly provide an estimate to remediate.


Before the current law was in place it took 29 complaints to stop a mold inspector who also provided mold remediation.  29! That’s 29 Floridians scammed out of hard earned money.  With the current law Floridians have a means and a way of reporting and ridding the state of mold inspector/remediator scam artist.

Without the Current Law Floridians Lose!


Who wins if the Current Law is Repealed?
Mycelium Holdings up in New Jersey and a few rescue labs that get to live it large in Florida.


 

Post Update 3/14/11


The above inserted updates are a result of recent and open communication between myself and Jason Earle.


The facts are always important and I in no way want to misrepresent the facts in this controversial issue.  The above is a clear view of both sides without getting into specific details of who can provide the best inspection.


After all that decision in best made not by or customer but by our customers referrals.


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

Repeal of Mold-Related Services Law Threatens Floridians

Fellow Floridians


I am sending you this message in the hope that you will help prevent the repeal of the current mold licensing law by sending a personal request to NOT repeal the current mold licensing law to both your District Representatives and Senators.


It is very important for everyone you know to do the same.  Please share the need to send emails and make calls to everyone you know that would be impacted by the repeal of this law.  Send to the media, news papers, radio and TV stations, mold assessors, mold remediators, adjusters, family and friends that will benefit from a licensed mold professional.


With all that was done to create the current legislation and set a mold industry standard for our state it would be a shame and a devastating blow to our industry to see the law repealed.


Please include your current license number and a personal request to NOT repeal the current mold licensing law.


Link to Florida Representatives
http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/SEctions/Representatives/representatives.aspx


Link to Florida Senators
http://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/

 

Recent post regarding the current proposed legislation.
The Push to Repeal the Florida Mold Licensing Law
Licensing and Regulating the Florida Mold Industry
Florida Mold Licensing Law Update

 

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

Enter a Descriptive Title for your New Blog Entry

There was wide spread shock among the Mold Professionals, both inspectors and remediators, when Representative Grant introduced HB 4171 in an effort to repeal the current legislation requiring anyone providing mold related services to obtain a license to either preform mold inspections or mold remediation.


You see for the past 7 months both mold inspectors and mold remediators have been working to obtain their mold license.  Some individuals spending hundreds of dollars and some companies thousands.  All in an effort to improve our industry and comply with the current licensing law.


Those who proudly work in the mold industry are eager to improve themselves through education, licensing, and continued education, as required by the current licensing law.  We do this to help provide our client the best possible service in what is almost always a traumatic time of need.


We all submit to finger printing and licensing to show our clients that it is safe to allow us into their home and that they are free to look at our history and report and wrongful acts on our part to either the or their property.


Becoming licensed according to the current licensing law will not make anyone more ethical or force them to provide a better service.


•It does ensure to Citizens of Florida that anyone they are wanting to hire has met the minimal requirements currently required by the State to preform either a Mold Assessment or Mold Remediation on in their home.


•It does provide the Citizens of Florida a window into any licensed mold professionals history as recorded by the State.


•It does provide the Citizens of Florida with a means of reporting wrongful acts committed by a mold professional.


•It does provide a means and a way for the Citizens of Florida to be Informed and Empowered Consumers.


So I have to ask Representative Grant why he wants to repeal the Current Licensing Law.

 

Who’s interest is he looking out for?

 

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

Licensing and Regulating the Florida Mold Industry

Finally, we have regulation in the mold industry.  The mold industry had been an unregulated industry for many years and the citizens of Florida suffered as they were exposed to fraud, scams, and scare tactics.  The citizens of Florida have been preyed upon by mold inspectors who inspect flood and storm damaged property and assesses thousands of dollars of damage that requires their immediate remediation.


There have been many arrests of fraudulent mold contractors as recently as this past February 21st.  It took 29 complaints to the Department of Environmental Protection before action was taken to stop the contractor.  If 1 or 2 complaints had been registered and confirmed by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation FDBPR.  I feel it safe to assume that most Floridians would not hire the contractor.  None would surely hire him after 10 or 20 registered complaints let alone 29.  By 10 the FDBPR would have taken action revoking the contractor’s license protecting the next 19 from fraud.


Under the current Florida Licensing Law a Licensed Mold Inspector CANNOT provide Mold Remediation.  As of July 1, 2010 the state of Florida Prohibits anyone from performing or offering to perform any mold remediation to a structure on which the mold assessor or the mold assessor’s company provided a mold assessment within the last 12 months


The current Florida Mold Related Services Licensing Law provides a means of reporting these crooked and fraudulent Inspector/Remediators so that the citizens of Florida can be informed about the history of any Mold Inspector or Mold Remediator they hire.


The Florida State Mold Law Legislative purpose.–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.


It’s important for this information to be shared due the recent submittal of HB 4171 February 16th, by Representative James W Grant, District 47.  Representative Grant filed the bill in an effort to repeal the current legislation requiring mold remediators and mold assessors to obtain a state license.  The bill was introduced 7 months after the current law took effect and after approximately 3000 individuals became licensed as either mold remediators or mold inspectors.  With hundreds of additional applicants currently awaiting their license.


The current legislation provides both a means for the Citizens of Florida to report fraudulent acts by mold inspectors and mold remediators and a way for the Citizens of Florida to review the history of any Mold Inspector or Mold Remediator before they make their decision of who to hire.


An Informed Consumer and an industry that can now be held accountable.  Floridians, with the current licensing law, can now self-protect against fraud by either reporting a fraudulent mold inspector or remediator or simply by choosing not to hire a mold inspector or remediator based on the mold inspectors or remediators history of complaints.


I have to ask Representative Grant just what it is about an informed consumer that he is opposed to.  Or could it be someone in the industry that Representative Grant feels should be protected from accountability?


The Mold Related Services Industry is fully in favor of the current Florida Mold Licensing Law.  Thousands of Mold Inspectors and Mold Remediators have spent the last seven months obtaining the necessary training, certification, and insurance necessary to obtain their individual State Mold Assessor License and Mold Remediator License.


There is a push by the Florida Home Builders Association to either repeal the current law or amend the current law to allow licensed general contractors to provide mold inspection and mold remediation without the need for an additional mold inspection or mold remediation license.  I find this very interesting as builders have to be additionally licensed to plumb, roof, provide electric or HVAC service on the homes they build.  Hence the term general contractor.  The General Contractor simply needs to hire a Licensed Professional to perform the mold related services required for the homes they build.  Licensing a Mold Inspector or Mold Remediator is no different than any other trade in the state that is currently required to have a license.


It seems that when it comes to anything resulting from or associated with a possible building or construction flaw the general contractors would rather self police.  I’m sure that their homeowners don’t feel the same way.  The homeowners that I’ve spoken to prefer an independent licensed professional.


Follow the money is the key with the push to repeal the current legislation.


Who hired the Lobbyist?


Who was the Lobbyist?


What is the relationship between the Lobbyist and Representative Grant?


Most important is the “WHY” repeal the New Mold Related services Law?  and,


“WHO” benefits most from the repeal?


I would have to say clearly not the Citizens of Florida who lose their ability to report fraudulent mold inspectors and remediators and make informed decisions regarding who to hire based on the states recorded history of all licensed contractors.  Clearly not the thousands of individuals and businesses involved in the mold related services industry who have already paid for and given their time to become appropriately trained according to the current licensing law and have paid for and obtained the necessary insurance to comply with the current licensing law.


So I ask Representative Grant just “Who’s” Special Interest are you looking out for?

 

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

Mold Scams. Don't be a Victim of Mold Fraud

#1 Mold Scam: Mold Inspections Performed by Mold Remediation Contractors


The biggest mold scam is and always has been – mold remediation contractors who perform mold inspections. When it comes to mold, you do NOT want a mold inspector who is motivated to find mold removal jobs for himself.


Mold remediation or mold abatement is a very profitable business and engaging in both mold inspections and mold remediation is a serious conflict of interest. The potential for fraudulently creating thousands of dollars in bogus mold removal work that never needed to be done is tremendous and – unfortunately – an everyday occurrence in this industry.


This is fraudulent practice of securing your own work by inspecting for mold then offering to remediate the mold is against the Law in the State of Florida.  Your Mold Remediator and Mold Inspector MUST be Licensed by the State.  Under the Florida Licensing Law the Mold Remediator Cannot perform Mold Remediation on any job that he or she has performed the Mold Inspection.


This is the oldest mold scam going and it’s easy to pull off because most consumers don’t know enough about mold to realize when they’re being bamboozled into work that is often grossly exaggerated, and in some instances, may not even need to be done.


Just this past week an Orlando Mold Remediator (Florida State licensed as a remediator and un-licensed as a mold inspector) was arrested on charges that he falsified testing records and defrauded customers.  DEP alleges, mold remediator obtained samples that he told his clients would be tested, however, no testing occurred.  Authorities say mold remediator provided fictitious laboratory reports to clients that were extremely technical.   He then offered assistance in performing “remediation,” for the mold problems


Remember, Convenience Can Cost You.
Most people prefer to deal with one contractor for everything because it’s convenient.  But when it comes to mold, that convenience can end up costing you thousands of dollars in unnecessary repair work.  There are enough reputable and Florida State Licensed Mold Inspectors who do not engage in remediation work to risk getting ripped off.


Remember a mold inspection should be completely unbiased.   Mold inspectors should have no personal interest in how an inspection turns out, nor should they ever profit from what they find, either directly by doing the removal themselves, or indirectly by referring work to their friends for a kick-back.

Avoid the Scam.
The only way to ensure you will get an unbiased inspection report and avoid this mold scam is to hire a Florida State Licensed Mold Inspector who does not perform mold remediation.


#2 Mold Scam: Free Post-Remediation Clearance Testing

The final step in the mold removal process is a Post-Remediation Verification Inspection (PRVI) or Mold Clearance Test to verify and document that the remediation was successful. If you are paying for the remediation work out-of-pocket, you will want confirmation that the mold problem is gone before making the final payment to your contractor. If the remediation is being paid for by your insurance company or required by a mortgage lender, they will typically require a third-party clearance test before payment or funding.


REMEMBER:

Post-remediation verification inspection and testing should never be performed by a mold remediator waiting to get paid for his work.  This is no different than a student grading his own final exam.   Many mold remediation contractors even offer “FREE” mold clearance testing.  Some will include it in the price of the job. But it is never in your best interest to let a contractor grade his final exam. With hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on the line and no way to charge you more if it fails, it is highly unlikely that a mold contractor will fail his own work.


Post-remediation verification inspection and testing  should always be done after all the mold has been removed but before any re-construction work begins so the inspector can visually see that there is no mold left on the remediated materials.


Avoid the Scam
The way to avoid this scam is the same as Mold Scam #1. Have your post-remediation verification inspection and testing performed by a Florida State Licensed Mold Inspector who does not work for your mold remediation contractor.


Get a Mold Remediation Protocol Specific to your Loss.
A Remediation Protocol outlines the needed actions for any necessary mold remediation. Each plan is individually prepared based on the Indoor Environmental Consultants Mold Assessment of the property the size and area of the mold contamination.


A properly prepared Mold Remediation Protocol should be written according to the ANSI Aproved IICRC S-520 standard and reference guide for the remediation of mold damaged structures and contents.


The Remediation Protocol will specify the remediation containment strategy, decontamination areas, negative air pressure and air filtration(scrubbing), equipment utilization, personnel protective equipment, specific cleaning protocols, project completion requirements, site-specific safety plan and clearance testing that will confirm the post remediation goals have been met.


Once the Mold Remediation Protocol, specifying the proper procedures, guidelines, and activities related to the removal of microbial compromised building materials and subsequent cleanup activities has been established the Mold Remediation Protocol can then be utilized to obtain written bids on the cost to carry out the protocol specifications from several qualified mold remediation contractors.


#3 Mold Scam: “FREE” Mold Inspection & Mold Testing
When it comes to mold, the general public knows little to nothing other than what they read on the internet or hear from someone who makes money selling mold-related products or services.  Most people who call a mold inspector or mold removal contractor are not really sure if they have a mold problem or not.  Maybe they smell something maybe they had a toilet back up in the past, or had a flood. Perhaps they’re experiencing some unexplained health condition that they believe might be caused by mold growing in their home. Its one thing to know for certain that you have a mold problem, but quite another to not know for sure.  And between the ‘not knowing’ and all the hype and scare tactics that are used to sell mold services by both mold inspections and mold remediation, it’s only natural for people to be somewhat ‘fearful’ when they call a mold removal company.


Fear is a powerful motivator and many unscrupulous mold contractors are masters at playing the fear card to create a sense of urgency in order to motivate you to sign a contract right away. That is not to say that all mold remediation contractors are unscrupulous. There are many excellent contractors out there. But in these slow economic times, it is wise to beware of anyone using words like; “FREE MOLD INSPECTION”, “FREE CONSULTATION”, “FREE TESTING”, and “FREE SAMPLES” in their pitch. More often than not, free comes with a hefty price that ends up costing far more than you thought it would and never has that been more true than in the mold business.


Avoid the Scam
The safest thing consumers can do whenever the word “FREE” is used to sell a mold remediation job is to avoid that contractor all together. Think about it. No one is in business to do anything for free. Anyone offering something for free is doing so to sell you something else. While that may be fine when it comes to “buy one – get one free” deals offered on TV infomercials, in the mold business a free inspections and testing can end up costing you thousands of dollars for remediation work that may be grossly exaggerated or in some cases doesn’t need to be done at all.


#4 Mold Scam: “FREE” Post-Remediation Clearance Testing
The final step in the mold removal process is a post-remediation survey done to verify and document that the remediation was in fact successful. The survey should be done before any re-construction work begins so the inspector can visually see that there is no mold left on the remediated materials.


Many mold remediation contractors offer “FREE” post-remediation verification inspection and testing. Mold Clearance testing is vital to the mold remediation process. Insurance companies, mortgage lenders and prospective buyers of your property in the future will want to see written confirmation that the mold issue was resolved. Post-remediation clearance testing should never be performed by a mold removal contractor waiting to get paid for his work. With thousands of dollars on the line, it is highly unlikely that a contractor will fail his own work.


Avoid the Scam
Have your post-remediation survey and clearance test performed by a Florida State Licensed Mold Inspector who does not work for your remediation contractor.


#5 Mold Scam: Killing Mold
Killing mold sounds like a good idea, but is it really? To understand this premise you must first understand the different characteristics between molds that are viable (alive) and molds that are dead (non-viable). Once you do it will be clear why killing mold is not a good option for dealing with a mold problem.


I have had to explain this issue many times and have come up with my Cow analogy that seems to work well.  It goes something like this.


I tell the remediator to think of himself as being in the Cow removal business and a client has asked him to come over and get a cow out of their living room.


If “You” the cow removal company, races over pulls out a chemical or fogging gun and kills the cow right there in the client’s living room. Have you completed the job? Sadly the answer if far too often Yes.
That’s when I tell them that this is where I come in on behalf of the client to verify that the cow is gone.  I h
ave to point out to the cow removal company that even though the cow is dead the cow is clearly still right there in the client’s living room.


I explain to the cow removal company that they were hired to remove the client’s cow and as far as I can tell the client still has a cow.


Soooooo get back in there and get the cow.

 

Who Promotes the Idea of Killing Mold and Why? Follow the Money


Mold remediators looking to maximize their profits will often sell Heat, Ozone, Hydroxyls, or Anti-Microbial Fogging as a form of mold remediation.  This only works out well for your mold remediator.  It leaves you with a new indoor contaminant. There is however a mold remediation standard of practice.  Its an American National Standards Institute ANSI approved standard.


ANSI Approved S-520 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation.  The S-520 is procedural standard and reference guide for the remediation of mold damaged structures and contents.  The S-520 is based on reliable remediation and restoration principles, research and practical experience.


The S520 provides a philosophical shift away from setting numerical mold contamination action levels. Instead, it establishes mold contamination definitions, descriptions and conditions (1, 2, 3), and general guidance, which, when properly applied, can assist remediators and others in determining criteria that trigger remediation activities or confirm remediation success.


Contaminated as the presence of indoor mold growth and/or spores, whose identity, location and amplification are not reflective of a normal fungal ecology for an indoor environment, and which may produce adverse health effects and cause damage to materials, and adversely affect the operation or function of building systems.


Condition 1 (normal ecology) – may have settled spores, fungal fragments or traces of actual growth whose identity, location and quantity is reflective of a normal fungal ecology for an indoor environment.


Condition 2 (settled spores) – an indoor environment which is primarily contaminated with settled spores that were dispersed directly or indirectly from a Condition 3 area, and which may have traces of actual growth.


Condition 3 (actual growth) – an indoor environment contaminated with the presence of actual growth and associated spores. Actual growth includes growth that is active or dormant, visible or hidden.


The killing of mold once you remove the actual visible growing mold still leaves the Condition 2 (settled spores) – an indoor environment which is primarily contaminated with settled spores that were dispersed directly or indirectly from a Condition 3 area, and which may have traces of actual growth.

 

 

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


  • Enter a Descriptive Title for your New Blog Entry

    As the Florida Mold Licensing Law grandfathering phase draws to a close and mold assessors scramble to submit their application for grandfathering our industry once again hit’s the headlines.


    February 16, 2011 House Bill 4171 submitted to the Florida House of Representatives, an attempt to repeal the current Florida mold related services legislation.


    February 21, 2011 Orlando Mold Remediator Arrested, accused of running fraud scheme.


    There is some controversy over the law and whether or not the mold licensing law will actually protect Florida citizens. I believe it’s a good law and I believe it actually provides a means for Florida citizens to ensure that their mold remediator or mold assessor has met the minimum requirements to perform mold related services on their home. In addition it gives the citizens of Florida a means of either reporting or reviewing previously reported complaints regarding the mold remediators or mold assessors that they may hire.


    This is the part of the law that is most beneficial to Florida’s citizens. If Floridians file enough complaints against any licensee for either mold remediation or mold assessment the state can revoke the remediators or assessors license.  This is how the state actually uses licensing laws to protect the citizens. Clearly just meeting the minimum requirements of any state licensed doesn’t mean that you’re going to be the greatest general contractor, physician, or mold remediator.  The ability to revoke a licensees license is the true power in the states licensing program.


    This is truly providing Florida citizens protection against widespread scams and fraud perpetrated by mold remediators whom for years have falsified mold testing results in an effort to secure mold remediation jobs.


    The issue of regulating the mold assessment and mold remediation industry has been in the headlines since 2007 when Gov. Crist signed Senate Bill 2234 into law.  There have been many who have pushed to repeal the law feeling that there is no need to regulate the mold related services industry.  I would have to say that the headlines just this week show that we have a substantial need for regulation in the mold related services industry.


    Let’s just review what has taken place in the state of Florida in the last seven days.


    Wednesday of last week February 16th, just 12 days before the current mold related services licensing law grandfather time period elapsed, Representative James W Grant, District 47, filed HB 4171 in an effort to repeal the current legislation requiring mold remediators and mold assessors to obtain a state license.


    Monday of this week February 21st, just seven days before the grandfathering time period elapsed, Senator Bill Norman, District 12, filed SB 2214 a sister bill intended to repeal the current Mold Related Services provision requiring both mold remediators and mold assessors to be licensed by the state.


    Monday February 21st, the same day that Senator Norman filed SB 2214, the owner of an Orlando Mold Inspection and Remediation Business was Arrested on charges that he falsified testing records and defrauded customers, according to the Department of Environmental Protection.


    So the very same day that Sen. Bill Norman filed a bill to repeal the current licensing law the DEP Department of Environmental Protection arrest a mold remediator who was performing his own testing in an effort to secure mold remediation jobs.


    This remediator faces charges of grand theft, insurance fraud, and violations of the RICO act.


    This Mold Remediator violated the current state legislation stating that he cannot provide mold remediation and assessment on the same job.


    I find it hard to imagine that either Representative Grant or Senator Norman couldn’t see the benefit of the current legislation and the overwhelming need to protect Florida citizens from fraudulent remediators who also perform their own assessment.


    Maybe Representative Grant and Senator Norman need to review the legislative purpose of the current mold licensing legislation.


    The Florida State Mold Law Legislative purpose.–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.


    The Orlando mold remediator was arrested on charges that he falsified testing records and defrauded customers in an effort to secure more remediation jobs.


    The current legislation would provide Florida citizens a means of reporting any questionable or fraudulent actions by either mold remediators or mold assessors.  This provides a means for future citizens to review complaints of any mold remediator or mold assessor they may want to hire.


    Furthermore current legislation provides the state the power to revoke the license of any mold remediator or mold assessor based on their history of complaints as investigated and confirmed by the state.


    The mold remediator arrested Monday by the DEP had more than 29 filed complaints, 29. Clearly you won’t find any licensed professional in the state of Florida with 29 complaints lodged against them before the state of Florida revokes their license.


    The current Florida mold related services legislation provides Florida citizens a means for reporting fraudulent acts committed by mold or mediators and mold assessors protecting their neighbors from fraudulent remediators and assessors.


    By requiring mold remediators and mold assessors to obtain a license we have provided a central location for our citizens to report fraudulent cases so they can be investigated by the state just as any other licensed professional the state of Florida.  And just as any other licensed professional in the state of Florida that enough complaints are lodged in the state feels it necessary a license can be revoked.


    DEP alleges the mold remediator, arrested an Orlando Monday, obtained samples that he told his clients would be tested, however, no testing occurred. Rather the remediator provided fictitious laboratory reports to clients that were extremely technical.


    The mold remediator then offered assistance in performing “remediation,” for the mold problems — tearing out walls, carpet, flooring and cabinets — in order to remove the supposed mold.


    This is the very reason that we have the current Florida mold related services legislation. The current licensing laws prevent mold remediate it from providing their own testing which prevents the number one scam in the mold related services industry, falsified mold testing.


    I challenge both Representative Grant and Senator Norman to reread the following legislation and rethink the need to repeal a law that can have such an immediate affect protecting Florida citizens from unnecessary mold related services scams.


    As of July 1, 2010 the state of Florida Prohibits anyone from performing or offering to perform any mold remediation to a structure on which the mold assessor or the mold assessor’s company provided a mold assessment within the last 12 months. Perform or offer to perform any mold remediation unless the remediator has documented training in water, mold, and respiratory protection under s. 468.8414(2).  Accept any compensation, inducement, or reward from a mold assessor or mold assessor’s company for the referral of any business from the mold assessor or the mold assessor’s company.  Offer any compensation, inducement, or reward to a mold assessor or mold assessor’s company for the referral of any business from the mold assessor or the mold assessor’s company.  A mold remediator shall maintain a general liability insurance policy in an amount of not less than $1,000,000 that includes specific coverage for mold-related claims.


    Mold Related Services Licensing Law Grandfathering

    The requirements for grandfathering as amended by House Bill 713 include submission of an application to the department by March 1, 2011, whether postmarked or delivered by that date. Applicants must meet the following licensure requirements:


    HB 4171 – Mold Related Services Filed Wednesday, February 16, 2011 2:41 PM


    GENERAL BILL by Grant District 47

    Mold-Related Services: Repeals provisions relating to DBPR’s mold-related services licensing program, regulation of mold assessment & mold remediation, examination, licensure, continuing education, & discipline of mold assessors & mold remediators, & certification of corporations & partnerships offering mold assessment or mold remediation to public.


    SB 1244: Mold-related Services Filed Monday, February 21, 2011


    GENERAL BILL by Norman District 12

    Mold-related Services; Repeals provisions relating to the mold-related services licensing program of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, the regulation of mold assessment and mold remediation, the examination, licensure, continuing education, and discipline of mold assessors and mold remediators, and the certification of corporations and partnerships offering mold assessment or mold remediation to the public. Conforms provisions.


    • John P. Lapotaire, CIEC
    • Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant
    • Microshield Environmental Services, LLC

    Enter a Descriptive Title for your New Blog Entry

    Never hire a mold inspection company who is also in the mold repair or in the “mold remediation” business!


    The company who performs your mold inspection and testing should be independent of the company that performs your mold remediation.

     

    This is currently the mold industry’s #1 conflict of interest, as recognized by the more respected powers in this old, but now re-born, and rapidly evolving industry.

     

    This has been brought to the attention of the news media once again with the recent arrest of an Orlando Mold Remediator who was also performing his own Mold Inspection and Testing to secure more mold remediation jobs.

     

    More states are finding it necessary to step in and protect their citizens by establishing Laws and licensing to prevent this serious conflict of interest.


    The Florida State Mold Law  Legislative purpose.–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.


    As of July 1, 2010 the state of Florida Prohibits anyone from performing or offering to perform any mold remediation to a structure on which the mold assessor or the mold assessor’s company provided a mold assessment within the last 12 months. Perform or offer to perform any mold remediation unless the remediator has documented training in water, mold, and respiratory protection under s. 468.8414(2).  Accept any compensation, inducement, or reward from a mold assessor or mold assessor’s company for the referral of any business from the mold assessor or the mold assessor’s company.  Offer any compensation, inducement, or reward to a mold assessor or mold assessor’s company for the referral of any business from the mold assessor or the mold assessor’s company.  A mold remediator shall maintain a general liability insurance policy in an amount of not less than $1,000,000 that includes specific coverage for mold-related claims.


    Remember this Extremely Important Fact – There are a lot of companies out there who simply want to play on your fears and separate you from your money.  Keep this in mind…a true mold problem is handled in 3 steps. These 3 steps will produce 3 separate documents that are necessary to document everything so that if in the future there is a need to disclose or defend how the mold problem was remedied.


    1. An independent mold inspection by a Florida State Licensed and insured mold inspection company. This documents the problem in a written Mold Remediation Protocol that serves as a guide for the necessary repairs so you can effectively proceed to step 2.  The mold remediation protocol should be written in accordance with the ANSI Approved IICRC S-520 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation.


    2. Professional mold remediation by a Florida State Licensed Mold Remediation Company following the Written Mold Remediation Protocol (provided by the Florida State Licensed and insured mold inspection company) IICRC standards of practice.


    3. Re-inspection to determine that the repairs were properly and effectively completed.  The purpose of a Post Remediation Verification Inspection (PRVI) or Mold Clearance Test is to assure that the mold cleanup has been done correctly and effectively in the work area and to confirm that the cleanup did not accidentally distribute high levels of moldy dust and debris into other building areas or into its mechanical systems such as heating or air conditioning systems.


    Your Florida Licensed Mold inspection company will act as your guide during the process. After this 3 step process is complete, you will end up with the 3 documents previously mentioned representing -

    1) The establishment of the problem  (Mold Assessment and Mold Remediation Protocol)
    2) The repair of the problem. The Mold Remediation
    3) The verification that all repairs were successful.   The Post remediation Verification Inspection or Clearance Test.


    By adhering to the 3-step process, not only will you be comfortable that your indoor environment is safe once again, but you will also be protected from real estate devaluation.


    In today’s real estate world, nobody wants to buy a mold problem. It is required by law to disclose the conditions of your home before you sell. If you have had water intrusions or leaks that have resulted in mold, by producing the three documents to the buyer and/or buyers agent, you immunize yourself from their attempt at negotiating a lower price due to a mold problem.

    Enter a Descriptive Title for your New Blog Entry

    An Orlando Mold Remediator was preforming both Mold Inspections and Mold Remediation, a practice now Illegal in Florida. 

    Is this a sign of things to come?

    Will we see more arrest of Mold Remediators preforming Mold Inspections just to secure mold remediation jobs?

    A company who performs your mold inspection and testing should be independent of any other interest especially mold remediation.

    This is currently the mold industry’s #1 conflict of interest, as recognized by the more respected powers in this old, but now re-born, and rapidly evolving industry.

    More states, like Florida, are finding it necessary to step in and protect their citizens by establishing Laws and licensing to prevent this serious conflict of interest.

    The Orlando Sentinel ran the following story Tue Feb 22, 2011 

     

    Orlando Sentinel
    By Amy Pavuk, 

    The owner of an Orlando mold inspection and remediation business was arrested Monday on charges that he falsified testing records and defrauded customers, the Department of Environmental Protection said.

    The mold remediator now, faces more than three dozen criminal charges ranging from grand theft to insurance fraud to violating the RICO Act.

    According to DEP, the mold remediator offered his services to homeowners, businesses and apartment complexes in Orlando, Fort Myers and the West Palm Beach areas from April 2007 to November 2008.

    During that time, DEP alleges, mold remediator obtained samples that he told his clients would be tested, however, no testing occurred.

    Authorities say mold remediator provided fictitious laboratory reports to clients that were extremely technical.

    He then offered assistance in performing “remediation,” for the mold problems — tearing out walls, carpet, flooring and cabinets — in order to remove the supposed mold.

    During the “remediation,” the mold was not always removed properly, leaving clients with continuing problems.

    Many clients moved or lost their homes, DEP said.

    During that timeframe, authorities say, mold remediator received more than $239,000 for fraudulent laboratory testing and remediation work.

    There are more than 29 victims, DEP said.

    apavuk@tribune.com or 407-420-5735.

    Toxic schools: Grand jury laid out mold problem

    By Denise-Marie Balona, Orlando Sentinel,

     

    A grand jury blasted the Broward County school system for taking too long to get rid of mold in classrooms and failing to repair leaky roofs and faulty air conditioners.

     

    The panel outlined its concerns in a 44-page report, strongly recommending changes the state of Florida needed to make to force school districts to improve indoor-air quality while underscoring that children were especially vulnerable to the potentially harmful effects of mold.

     

    Although Broward schools have since spent millions of dollars trying to fix its problems, the more sweeping statewide grand jury recommendations have been largely ignored.

     

    A handful of South Florida lawmakers introduced bills in 2004 that would have required schools to aggressively monitor and address mold problems and even file progress reports with the state.

     

    But the legislation never went anywhere. A Senate analyst pointed out that repairs would be expensive and Florida would be setting itself up for lawsuits if it identified its air-quality problems.

     

    So, today, there still are no statewide rules in Florida governing how public schools should monitor, detect and handle air-quality problems in one of the hottest, most humid states in the country.

     

    And years after the grand jury report, Florida schools continue to battle chronic mold and water-intrusion problems, according to an Orlando Sentinel investigation.

     

    Wolfgang Halbig, a former risk manager for Lake County schools who is now a school-safety consultant, argues that if the Florida Legislature does not make districts fix mold problems, they will get worse.

     

    The situation, he warned, is already being exacerbated by districts' attempts to save money by raising the temperature in schools and shutting off the air conditioning in at least some portable classrooms at night, on weekends and during kids' winter and summer vacations.

     

    In recent years, Central Florida teachers, parents and others have filed thousands of complaints about indoor-air quality in schools — blaming their runny noses, headaches and respiratory distress on mold discovered in classrooms, cafeterias, media centers, locker rooms and even nurses' quarters.

    Broward schools improve at fighting mold but problems persist

    By Akilah Johnson and Denise-Marie Balona, Sun Sentinel

     

    At Croissant Park Elementary in Fort Lauderdale, some of the classrooms were so humid and sticky, they created the perfect breeding ground for mushrooms that eventually grew from the floor tiles.

     

    When custodians went to remove them in 2009, they discovered a mass of fleas living in the fungus below.

     

    South Florida's steamy climate makes fighting mold and mildew a never-ending battle. In the past 2 1/2 years, the Broward County School District handled 432 indoor-air complaints for problems ranging from 30 pounds of grits destroyed by mold, to water leaks, to students, teachers and office workers suffering mold-related allergies, sinus problems and rashes.

     

    But that's a big improvement over seven years ago, when a statewide grand jury blasted the Broward School District over its inability to curb rampant mold in scores of schools, and its lack of urgency in responding to complaints of illness by students and staffers.

     

    Today, the district uses a two-pronged approach to combat mold that has received two national awards of excellence from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It involves identifying minor issues before they balloon as well as quickly responding to events when they do.

     

    "A quality program is not the absence of issues," said Jeff Moquin, executive director of support operations at Broward Schools. "That's a misconception. Pipes burst. Water goes everywhere. Mold goes everywhere."

     

    Among the reported problems the district has dealt with from July 2008 to October 2010 are:

     

    Lloyd Estates Elementary in Oakland Park: Mold was found on toys and desks, rust appeared on scissors and ceilings, and water-stained and rodent-chewed cardboard boxes were found in a pre-school classroom in August 2008. The year before, the room sat vacant because of a malfunctioning air-conditioner, causing mold and mildew issues.

     

    Bethune Elementary in Hollywood: Strange smells were reported and mold was found in closets, classrooms and hallways, resulting in an itchy and ill staff, in May, August and October 2008. At times, the air-conditioner issues caused slightly elevated carbon dioxide levels.

     

    Cypress Bay High in Weston: Three teachers suffered health issues, which doctors verified, caused by their portable classrooms in March of 2009.

     

    Martin Luther King Elementary in Fort Lauderdale: A leaking air conditioning pipe caused mold and high levels of humidity in the cafeteria area in October 2008. The school had similar problems in 2005 and 2007.

     

    Charles Drew Elementary in Pompano Beach: Water damaged a sink backsplash and stained ceiling tiles, and resulted in a musty smelling classroom in May 2008.

     

    Moquin, who worked for the district when the grand jury issued its scathing report in 2003, admits the system had "a Big Brother, we know what we're doing" mentality back then that didn't fully take into account the community's concerns.

     

    In its report, the grand jury recommended 31 improvements that included remediating entire schools with mold problems, not pieces and parts; identifying and verifying problems at schools and informing the public about how each school is being cleaned. The jury also slammed the district for reusing architectural designs before anyone knew if they had flaws and using design features like cupolas that made buildings attractive but leaked and added nothing to the functionality.

     

    Broward officials said they voluntarily addressed most of the recommendations before the report was issued and the rest afterward.

     

    Moquin said the district now has a system to deal with a crisis as well as help keep small things from becoming full-blown catastrophes. More importantly, he said, the district's attitude toward indoor air quality has improved.

     

    He points to the district's lackluster response to issues at Country Isles and Riverside elementaries, which helped spark the grand jury investigation. Riverside opened in the mid-'80s with 41 roof leaks and the moisture problem was so bad electrical outlets didn't work.

     

    Anthony Aliseo, then a 6-year-old student at Riverside, suffered headaches, pressure between his eyes, labored breathing and occasionally vomited in class. His mother, Cara Aliseo, said mold caused him to endure more than 70 allergy shots, two CAT scans and two surgeries to drain his sinuses.

     

    She moved Anthony to another school and says his health problems vanished. But her fight with the district did not. She and a small group of parents fought to have the school repaired and procedures implemented, testifying before the grand jury and suing the district.

     

    Anthony is now "a healthy 15-year-old who just got his driving permit and plays the drums," she said.

     

    Broward County School District district has since spent millions of dollars on repairs and more than 200 of its schools use the EPA "Tools for Schools" program to help them to identify, correct and prevent indoor air quality problems.

     

    In Broward County, school staff are trained in autumn to maintain healthy indoor environments and fill out an online, multiple-choice survey in the winter that discusses cleanliness, temperature, humidity levels and where mold and mildew growth have been seen.

     

    Each complaint is triaged. Problems are corrected immediately, some by school custodians, others by maintenance workers.

     

    In the spring, an assessment team visits each school to validate the survey complaints and to make sure they are taken care of.

     

    "By the time [students and staff] come back next school year, all these things should be fixed," Moquin said, noting the exception would be "large-scale projects requiring design and construction work."

     

    The district expects to have all of its more than 230 campuses and administrative buildings — about 14,000 classrooms and more than 37,700 million square feet — using the program by next year.

     

    "This is one of the few things since I've been here where we've taken lemons and made lemonade," Moquin said. "There is a huge emotional issue associated with this. You have to manage that issue along with the maintenance issue."

     

    Mold problems are an issue in other districts as well. During the 2009-10 school year, administrators in Palm Beach County schools handled 977 maintenance work orders to address indoor-air quality problems ranging from "sewer odors" to high humidity to water leaks. The district there has also won EPA recognition for its pro-active response to addressing mold issues.

     

    Some air quality problems require easy fixes by school custodians, such as improved dusting and cleaning. Others, such as replacing ceiling tiles or carpet, require district maintenance staff. Most of the district's work orders are for air-conditioning repairs.

     

    Bernie Kemp, president of the Broward County Council of PTAs/PTSA, said he hasn't heard any concerns about the indoor air-quality of schools from the council's 45,000 members.

     

    "I remember it was a major issue and it was a major concern, but I think the district, in my view, did a major overhaul in going into these schools and trying to resolve these problems," Kemp said. "You get isolated incidents, but nothing major."

     

    Despite the improvements in Broward, a number of the grand jury's recommendations for statewide changes never happened.

     

    As a result, problems persist in Central Florida, where a haphazard approach exists from school district to school district. An Orlando Sentinel investigation found moldy classrooms and other indoor air-quality issues which had sparked thousands of complaints over the past three years from teachers and students. In some cases, mold led to the wholesale evacuation of children from classrooms.

     

    Richard J. Shaughnessy, director of The University of Tulsa Indoor Air Program and one of America's foremost air-quality experts, said the situation might not change statewide unless the public pushes the issue.

     

    "It has to start," Shaughnessy said, "with parents becoming involved and demanding that schools address these types of problems across the country."

     

    Toxic schools: Mold, air quality spark thousands of complaints in Central Florida

    By Denise-Marie Balona, Orlando Sentinel
     

    Mold clung to the ceiling and left dark trails across the walls and floor. The teacher had already complained about the stench months before.

     

    Stuff was even growing on desks.

     

    Classroom 103 at Walker Middle School in Orlando had become a breeding ground for mold. When an inspector investigated last year, he found the humidity at about 86 percent.

     

    And this was no isolated incident.

     

    Moldy classrooms and other indoor-air-quality issues have sparked thousands of complaints from teachers and students during the past three years, an Orlando Sentinel investigation has found. Mold has infested walls and ceilings, ruined books and furniture and, in some cases, led to the wholesale evacuation of children from classrooms.

     

    The Sentinel reviewed thousands of maintenance work orders, school district reports and e-mails as well as independent environmental studies in Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties from August 2007 to August 2010. The key findings:

     

    •A never-ending battle against mold — some of it the most potentially dangerous, toxin-producing varieties — infesting classrooms, cafeterias, locker rooms, media centers and even nurses' quarters.

     

    •Repeated complaints that cited students and teachers suffering from stinging eyes, breathing distress and other symptoms thought to be related to poor indoor air quality.

     

    •Persistently leaky buildings and faulty air-conditioning systems, which let in the moisture that mold needs to thrive.

     

    •Some schools making matters worse by shutting off the air-conditioning to save money during weekends and summers in one of the hottest, most humid states in the country.

     

    •Different approaches to the problem from school district to school district with inconsistent record keeping. In some cases, maintenance workers were allowed to paint over water-damaged areas instead of removing them as recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

     

    •Parents who are often kept in the dark about the problem.

     

    For nine months a year, 2.6 million students and hundreds of thousands of teachers and other employees spend at least six hours a day in Florida's public schools. Yet there are no state laws governing how schools should monitor, detect and handle mold buildup and other indoor air-quality issues.

     

    School districts are not required to tell anyone about the problem — not even the local health department — despite a growing body of knowledge that mold can be especially harmful to children. Some people show no outward reaction to mold. In others, however, it can cause sneezing, runny noses, breathing problems and respiratory infections, health experts say.

     

    Mold was one reason why Jessy Hamilton quit his job as a social-studies teacher at Walker Middle School in August. He said he fought mold and respiratory infections for most of the six years he worked there.

     

    The gray-black fungi first appeared in his portable classroom after the hurricanes of 2004. At one point, the entire ceiling was covered in mold, yet he had to hold classes there for eight weeks before his class could move into the media center temporarily, he said.

     

    When Hamilton returned to the portable, the mold seemed to be gone. But it reappeared. Again and again.

     

    "They would look at it and say, 'Ah, it is not as bad as it was,'" said Hamilton, who was eventually moved to another classroom, which he said also had mold. "They painted over it, which dumbfounds me to this day."

     

    The principal could not be reached for comment after repeated attempts. But a spokesperson for the school district said his records do not reflect any health concerns related to mold.

     

    The state knows how widespread schools' indoor air-quality problems are, records and interviews with school district officials show.

     

    The Florida Department of Education has acknowledged that about half of schools are burdened with environmental issues. But it would be expensive to fix them — an estimated $70 million just to start, according to a legislative report written in 2004, the last time the state took a serious look at the issue.

     

    Not only would repairs be pricey, Florida could be setting itself up for lawsuits if it identifies those problems, wrote the Senate analyst who compiled the report.

     

    Central Florida school officials insist schools are safe. They said they urge their employees to report air-quality concerns immediately and that they respond as quickly and aggressively as they can.

     

    Part of the problem, they said, is money. They need more of it — and more personnel — to make repairs, upgrade air-conditioning systems and search out water damage.

     

    The state Legislature has slashed funding for such maintenance projects in the past several years.

     

    A national study by the University of Central Florida found that extra funding alone, however, might not solve the problem.

     

    School districts do not want it publicized that they have mold problems.

     

    "There is often a greater desire to hide problems than have them resolved," wrote the UCF researchers who, in 2006, found that schools in Florida, Texas, New York and three other states had chronic problems with mold, humidity and odors.

     

    In Orange County, school officials investigated about 1,200 complaints about indoor-air quality during the past three years.

     

    Officials received about 50 complaints from Little River Elementary alone. They have been called to check out buildings dozens of times each at Brookshire and Pine Hills elementary schools and Cypress Creek, Dr. Phillips and University high schools.

     

    Other schools with high numbers of complaints are South Lake High in Lake County, Indian Trails Middle in Seminole County, Gateway High in Osceola County and Deltona High in Volusia County.

     

    Some of the damage has been significant, the Sentinel found.

     

    For example, at Cypress Creek High in Orlando during the 2008-09 school year, inspectors found a 50-square-foot patch of ceiling that had water damage and mold in the boy's locker room. Older ceiling tiles infected with mold were being stored nearby.

     

    In a neighboring mechanical room, there was standing water.

     

    Brookshire Elementary in Winter Park reported late last year that a 32-square-foot section of ceiling in one of its portables had water damage and mold. Several days before, officials had visited to check out mold growing in patches in the media center and bleeding through the paint in a mechanical room. Two walls in a computer lab had blistering paint and mold.

     

    Mold continually grows on the walls of a main interior hallway there — a problem the principal has complained about repeatedly.

     

    The moisture and mold problems at Walker Middle, apparently caused by a leak that had gone unchecked, should have been reported sooner, said Zach Smith, an environmental coordinator for Orange schools. "Conditions inside classroom 103 likely did not develop over a short period of time," Smith wrote in his report.

     

    When independent experts have tested the air inside local schools, they have found high levels of mold in about 40 percent of the cases. In some instances, they have discovered toxin-producing molds such as aspergillus and penicillium (which prompted city officials to shut down an Orlando fire station several months ago), and stachybotrys (a "black mold" that has forced the closure of numerous schools nationwide).

     

    An environmental report from 2008, for example, shows that "aspergillus-penicillium" was found at Mill Creek Elementary in Osceola County. That August, the district spent more than $21,000 for an emergency cleanup of 35 classrooms there.

     

    District officials throughout Central Florida said the number of complaints found by the Sentinel make the problem seem worse than it is. Teachers and other employees, they said, are not qualified to determine what is and is not mold with any accuracy.

     

    In fact, a number of reports of "mold" turn out to be simply dark smudges of dust or dirt, officials said.

     

    A "moldy" smell might actually be the unpleasant mixture of too many air fresheners in a room or odors from hamsters and other class pets, said Michael Corr, maintenance director for Lake County schools.

     

    Corr also explained that sneezing, runny noses and headaches — typical allergic reactions to mold — can also be caused by factors such as strong cologne or pollen brought in from the playground.

     

    "There are a lot of things in our everyday lives that can cause us to believe we have an indoor air-quality issue," he said.

     

    Many of the complaints, however, prompted officials to take action — throwing out books, replacing ceiling tiles or cleaning air-conditioning systems and desks, tables and carpet. Some portable classrooms were recommended for permanent closure.

     

    In some cases, however, districts did not perform cleanups as recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other experts. For instance, mold has been allowed to remain in place instead of being removed immediately. And workers do not always wear protective gear.

     

    School employees said the situation might be worse than it appears on paper because some air-quality issues are never reported. A lot of teachers, in this poor economy, worry about losing their jobs or being retaliated against.

     

    And employees are frustrated that some problems that are reported never seem to get resolved.

     

    An Osceola County employee pleaded for help at Denn John Middle in Kissimmee in late 2008: "200 — whole building is molding. The classes, the halls. Please come and see for yourself. This is not a new problem. Only new students and parents to complain."

     

    In a few parts of Florida, parents have spoken out about schools that seemed to make their youngsters sick.

     

    Many times those districts did not make a concerted effort to fix problems until lawyers and the media got involved, said some of the parents who sued the Broward County school district over mold in 2003.

     

    The State Attorney's Office in Broward investigated and brought its findings to a grand jury, which released a report criticizing school officials not only for dragging their feet on getting rid of mold but also for having schools so poorly constructed and maintained that they constantly leaked.

     

    Broward spent millions of dollars on repairs, but a number of statewide changes the grand jury recommended never happened.

     

    Richard J. Shaughnessy, director of The University of Tulsa Indoor Air Program and one of America's foremost air-quality experts, said the situation might not change unless the public pushes the issue.

     

    "It has to start," Shaughnessy said, "with parents becoming involved and demanding that schools address these types of problems across the country."

     

    Toxic schools: Could mold be the reason your child is sick?

    By Denise-Marie Balona, Orlando Sentinel

    Six-year-old Anthony Aliseo was miserable. He had headaches, pressure between his eyes, trouble breathing and, occasionally, suffered the indignity of vomiting in front of his classmates.

     

    Over two years, the youngster was in and out of the doctor's office for constant sinus and respiratory infections. Cara Aliseo watched her son endure 70-plus allergy injections, two CAT scans and then two surgeries to drain his clogged sinuses.

     

    She could not figure out what was causing the boy to be so sick — until another mom at his elementary school mentioned the campus was being treated for mold.

     


    Once she moved Anthony to another school, she said, his health problems vanished.

     

    Aliseo and several other parents sued the Broward County school district, and she settled out of court in 2007.

     

    Despite growing legal claims across the country involving indoor air quality, there is also no generally accepted standard for how much mold can be in a room before it becomes unsafe. That's because sensitivity levels can vary widely from person to person.

     

    If mold is growing on the ceiling or inside the wall of a classroom, some kids will not be affected at all. Others, however, might experience flu-like symptoms such as runny noses, coughing and breathing difficulties.

     

    Some types of mold emit toxins that can elicit more severe responses.

     

    For example, Aspergillus and Stachybotrys, which have forced the closure of homes and schools across the country, have been linked to lung and respiratory infections. Children are especially vulnerable, health experts say, because their organs are still developing and they take in more air relative to their body size than adults.

     

    Because it is hard to predict how any one person will react, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Department of Environmental Protection suggest that all molds be treated the same and be removed immediately when found growing indoors.

     

    But pediatricians and allergists urge parents not to panic if mold is discovered in schools. Instead, they said, parents should be asking questions about where the mold is located, how it got there and what school officials are doing to get rid of it.

     

    "I don't think they should be freaking out, but I think it's definitely something they should be concerned about," said Stephen Kimura, a Pensacola allergist who is immediate past president of the Florida Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Society.

     

    He has seen a substantial increase in the number of children and teachers coming to him with symptoms they believe are related to mold in schools since Hurricane Ivan and then Hurricane Dennis ravaged the Florida Panhandle in 2004 and 2005.

     

    Many schools were left with roof damage and water leaks, Kimura said.

     

    "It's a tough issue to remediate because mold is so pervasive," he said. "Unless you strip the walls down to the studs and take out the insulation and redo that, you're not going to completely get rid of it."

     

    Thanai Pongdee, an allergist with Mayo Clinic Florida in Jacksonville, also pointed out that children themselves bring allergens to school on their clothing. Schools may not realize they are harboring a variety of allergens in carpet, upholstered furniture, pillows and stuffed animals, Pongdee said.

     

    "I know mold gets a lot of popular press," he said, "but if you look at dust mites and animal dander, those are key players as well."

     

    Mold is a naturally occurring part of Florida's warm, humid climate. Mold spores continually waft through the air indoors and outside.

     

    What becomes problematic is when those spores come into contact with moisture – a roof leak, a liquid spill or high humidity, for example – and are allowed to multiply and form colonies inside buildings. Mold in classrooms can be especially concerning because these are small areas with limited air flow where children and school employees spend hours at a time.

     

    If moms and dads think their kid's' school is making them sick, experts say they should keep a detailed log of children's symptoms, including when they occur, and confer with their doctors.

     

    Broward mom Cara Aliseo suggested parents educate themselves about mold and push officials to do any necessary repairs quickly and correctly.

     

    Part of the problem at her son's former school, she said, was that the mold clean-ups were not done the right way so mold kept coming back. In the end, most of the campus had to be rebuilt.

     

    "I know if we didn't fight the way we did — me and teachers and parents screaming and going to meetings and causing trouble — it never would have been fixed," she said.

    Palm Beach County schools wage never-ending battle against mold

    Thousands of indoor air quality complaints in past three years, but officials say safety programs working

     

    Before the start of school last year, moldy and water-stained ceiling tiles were found in two classrooms, and moldy drywall in a third room at Northmore Elementary in West Palm Beach.

     

    The problems were fixed quickly, but the case was far from an isolated incident across the Palm Beach County School District, records show.

     

    During the 2009-10 school year, administrators handled 977 maintenance work orders to address indoor-air quality problems ranging from "sewer odors" to high humidity to water leaks.

     

    A Sun Sentinel/Orlando Sentinel investigation reviewed thousands of cases involving moldy classrooms, health-related complaints from teachers and students, and responses and actions by school officials. While the school district has received national recognition for a pro-active measures in addressing mold issues, some problems persist.

     


    In Palm Beach County, reports from July 2007 to June 2010 point to a never-ending battle being waged against mold that infests classrooms, bathrooms, offices and and even school clinics. Among the findings:

     

    Clifford O. Taylor/Kirklane Elementary in Palm Springs: A summer 2007 inspection validated years of complaints by parents and teachers about repeated flooding, roof failures and mold. The school, built in 1970, is improved now thanks to a $40.7 million modernization last year.

     

    Olympic Heights High west of Boca Raton: Surface mold in nine classrooms was reported after school started in Aug. 2008.

     

    Coral Sunset Elementary west of Boca Raton: In June 2009, a district carpenter was called in to remove 48-foot-long moldy cabinets from two walls in the school's clinic.

     

    Okeeheelee Middle in Greenacres: Surface mold in four classrooms was reported in Oct. 2009.

     

    Independence Middle in Jupiter: In April, a staff member's illness resulted in the discovery of "very dirty & moldy" parts of the air conditioning system for the physical education office.

     

    Administrators insist schools are safe, and the volume of complaints is normal considering the region's warm weather, the potential for building leaks, and the district's inventory of 1,420 buildings and 27.2 million square-feet of facilities.

     

    "I don't think these issues will ever go away," said Joseph Sanches, facilities management chief. "We live in a high-humidity area."

     

    A proactive approach to building maintenance — such as using environmentally friendly materials and cleaning chemicals, and proper cooling procedures — has reduced the potential for problems and the number of incidents, he said. It also helps that the district has built or replaced 141 schools since 1989.

     

    The district wants to know if someone has a problem, and even solicits indoor air quality complaints.

     

    "We welcome the calls," Sanches said. "We respond to issues immediately. We would be at fault if people pointed these things out and we didn't respond."

     

    Just three years ago, the district celebrated recognition for being among the best school systems in the nation at improving the air breathed by students and teachers.

     

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency named the district one of five winners of a "National Model of Sustained Excellence" award for achievement in "maintaining healthy educational facilities." That followed a similar honor from the agency in 2003.

     

    In addition, 96 of the district's 186 schools have received the " Asthma-Friendly" designation from the American Lung Association in recent years.

     

    Chris Skerlec, the district's environmental control director, said the district has maintained these high standards even as the maintenance work orders keep coming: 3,536 in three years.

     

    "We still end up with windows that leak and roofs that leak. We end up with cracks in buildings," he said.

     

    After the district had won acclaim for its approach, the School Board sought to keep it going by adopting its first Indoor Air Quality policy two years ago.

     

    "It is the intent of the School Board that the District will consider the most current, proven technologies in the fields of health, safety and environmental sciences," the policy states.

     

    The district is largely on its own in setting its indoor air practices because there are no state laws governing how schools should monitor, detect and handle mold build-up and other indoor air quality issues in these buildings.


    School districts are not required to tell anyone about the problem — not even the local health department — despite a growing body of knowledge that mold can be especially harmful to children.

     

     

    Last year, Palm Beach County schools paid $164,728 to outside contractors specialized in indoor-air quality repairs and projects. The district spent another $13,550 to hire consultants to investigate certain complaints and to oversee contractors. Still more funds went to staff salaries for technicians in Skerlec's office, and for district maintenance crews to handle work orders.

     

    The Florida Department of Education has acknowledged that about half of the state's public schools are burdened with environmental issues. But it would be expensive to fix them — an estimated $70 million just to start, according to a legislative report written in 2004, the last time the state took a serious look at the issue.

     

    Not only would repairs be pricey, Florida could be setting itself up for lawsuits if it identifies those problems, wrote the Senate analyst who compiled the report.

     

    A national study by the University of Central Florida found that extra funding for repairs and maintenance projects alone might not solve the problem.

     

    School districts do not want it publicized that they have mold problems.

     

    "There is often a greater desire to hide problems than have them resolved," wrote the UCF researchers who, in 2006, found that schools in Florida, Texas, New York and three other states had chronic problems with mold, humidity and odors.

     

    Palm Beach County's history with mold and classrooms dates to highly publicized problems in the 1990s.

     

    Staff members and parents complained for years about poor air quality at 19 schools that the now-defunct W. R. Frizzell Architects designed in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The air conditioners failed to remove enough moisture from the air, which led to mold and mildew. The district spent more than $50 million to replace all the systems, beginning in 1996.

     

    Denise Robinette, a parent from Jupiter, has been a long-standing advocate to educate the public about poor indoor air quality through her HealthyLiving Foundation, a nonprofit organization.

     

    In late 2002, she and her ex-husband sued the Palm Beach County School District, alleging that faulty maintenance of school ventilation systems made their sons sick. The case has since been settled out of court.

     

    "Mold is a four letter word when it comes to schools," she said. "If my kids didn't get sick, I never would have believed the consequences of indoor air quality. These issues are real. Kids are getting illnesses they will have for the rest of their lives."

     

    In the past decade, more parents have spoken out about schools that seemed to make their youngsters sick.

     

    Many times those districts did not make a concerted effort to fix problems until lawyers got involved, said South Florida attorney Scott Gelfand. He represented several Broward County students and school employees who sued that district in 2002.

     

    The State Attorney's Office in Broward investigated and brought its findings to a grand jury, which released a scathing report criticizing school officials not only for dragging their feet on getting rid of mold but also for having schools so poorly constructed and maintained that they constantly leaked.

     

    Broward spent millions of dollars on repairs, but a number of statewide changes the grand jury recommended never happened.

     

    Richard J. Shaughnessy, director of The University of Tulsa Indoor Air Program and one of America's foremost air quality experts, said the situation might not change unless the public pushes the issue.

     

    "It has to start," Shaughnessy said, "with parents becoming involved and demanding that schools address these types of problems across the country."

    PROGRAM TO SETTLE CHINESE DRYWALL LAWSUIT WILL RESULT IN REPAIRS

    Published: October 18th, 2010 • One Comment

     
    A major importer and producer of Chinese drywall is attempting to settle with homeowners whose property contain defective and toxic drywall by establishing a pilot program where the company will pay to repair about 300 homes. 


    U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon approved an agreement to settle Chinese drywall lawsuits late last week. The agreement was reached by Germany-based Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin (KPT) and some domestic distributers, suppliers and insurers, with about 300 homeowners in Florida, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. The companies have agreed to pay for repairs to the homes, and it could lead to the settlement of about 3,000 Chinese drywall lawsuits against KPT.

     

     

    The defendants have agreed to remove the drywall, electrical wiring, gas fixtures and appliances from the homes and pay for relocation of families for the duration of the repairs. The repairs are expected to cost between $40-80 per square foot; a price that does not include the cost of relocating the families for several months while repairs are made.

     

    The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has received thousands of complaints from across the United States from homeowners who say that toxic Chinese wallboard imported between 2004 and 2007 releases sulfuric odors that corrode wiring throughout the home, damage appliances and may cause various health problems. Many of the problems with the Chinese drywall have been confirmed by laboratory testing.

     

    Millions of sheets of the toxic drywall were imported from China into the United States due to a domestic shortage caused by a housing boom and construction following a serious of hurricanes that struck the southeastern United States.

     

    Homeowners throughout the United States have filed lawsuits over Chinese drywall, naming manufacturers, distributors and builders. In June 2009, all of the federal drywall litigation was consolidated and centralized in an MDL, or Multidistrict Litigation, in New Orleans under U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon.

     

    Earlier this year, Judge Fallon awarded $164,000 to a Louisiana family that filed a Chinese drywall lawsuit against Knauf. The ruling equated to about $81 per square foot. Since that ruling, Knauf has begun seeking to discuss a Chinese drywall settlement.

     

    Ten Tips for Good Indoor Air Quality

    By The Home Ventilating Institute (HVI)

     

    To avoid common air quality problems within the home, follow ten simple steps:


    1.  Operate the exhaust fan when bathing and showering to limit moisture build up. Be sure to keep the shower curtain or bathtub sliding door open after bathing to increase air circulation. For tips on selecting the right exhaust fan, see HVI's Bathroom Ventilation Guidelines and Product Directory.

     

    2.  Turn on range hood fans to expel contaminants released from food while cooking. Range hoods can also eliminate pollutants such as carbon monoxide which can be released during cooking. For help in selecting the right range hood fan, see HVI's Product Directory.

     

    3.  Increase ventilation rates during family gatherings and parties. For tips on achieving the right ventilation rates, see HVI's How Much Ventilation Do I Need? Also consider a whole-house comfort ventilator. HVI recommends that a whole-house comfort ventilator have a minimum capacity to provide approximately one complete air change every two minutes within the occupied area. This flow rate will be great enough to create a perceptible “breeze” through the house. The required flow rate can be calculated by multiplying the gross square footage of the entire house (including unoccupied areas like closets) by 3. Be sure to include the upstairs area of multilevel homes. This formula assumes an eight-foot ceiling and takes into account typical unoccupied areas.

     

    4.  Ensure that continuous ventilation is provided in addition to the intermittent ventilation systems. This can be achieved using a whole-house comfort ventilator, HRV or ERV, or other fan configurations. For tips on selecting the right ventilation systems, see HVI's Fresh Ideas - The Guide to Home Ventilation & Indoor Air Quality and its Product Directory.

     

    5.  Plan routine maintenance for HVAC equipment to ensure all systems are working properly and performing as intended. Schedule a professional inspection, cleaning and "tune-up" by a qualified firm regularly.

     

    6.  Change HVAC filters as instructed. Check, clean, or replace furnace and air filters regularly as recommended. Consider installing a "high efficiency particulate" or HEPA filter for better performance.

     

    7.  Clean the home regularly to prevent dust, dirt, and pet-hair accumulation. Dust and dirt particles can become airborne, creating contaminants in the air. Regular cleaning can help to eliminate this potential hazard.

     

    8.  Use safe cleaning products to avoid emitting dangerous chemicals into the air. Many products can release toxic or irritating chemicals when used. Select cleaning products that are certified for low levels of chemical emissions. Increase ventilation during cleaning tasks.

     

    9.  Purchase low emitting finishes and materials. New or recently installed building materials and furnishings can emit dangerous toxins. Look for products that are certified for low chemical emissions. When outgassing is minimized ventilation systems don't need to exchange the air as often.

     

    10.  Ensure that clothes dryers are exhausted directly to the outside and make sure that filters and hoods are cleaned regularly to maintain airflow.

     

    The ABCs of IAQ and Ventilation

    By The Home Ventilating Institute (HVI)


    There are two primary reasons for ventilating houses: 1) to provide the necessary fresh air for the occupants to breathe and 2) to dilute indoor air pollutants and excess moisture. Complaints of stuffiness, unpleasant odors, and illness are common in houses that contain too little fresh air. Outdoor air pollution is bad enough, but we are now learning that indoor air pollution is almost always considerably worse—and this polluted air can make us sick. 


     
    To feel comfortable and healthy, people simply need clean, fresh air. Mechanical ventilation systems are specifically designed to exchange the air in a house—as well as circulate it.

     

     


    A ventilation system should be as reliable and predictable as our own lungs. Houses without mechanical ventilation systems get their air quite by chance—the air moving into and out of them is totally uncontrolled. For example, air may infiltrate indoors only when the wind is blowing. We deserve to have control over the air we breathe, we deserve more than “ventilation-by-chance,” we deserve “ventilation-on-purpose.”

     

    Without a doubt, each and every one of us could benefit from a mechanical ventilation system in our home. Ventilation is not a mysterious high-tech process; it is very simple once you understand the basics. Ventilation should be as important as air conditioning, electric lighting, closets, kitchen cabinets, and indoor plumbing which we take for granted as necessary components of our homes. The Home Ventilating Institute (HVI) recommends selecting equipment bearing the HVI-Certified Label which provides homeowners assurance that the products will perform as advertised.

     

    Mechanical ventilation is generally regarded as being more important in today’s tighter houses than it was in the loosely built houses of the last century. Knowledge about how houses work has evolved considerably in the building-science community over the past few years. We now know that a house is more than the sum of its parts—it is a dynamic, ever-changing system.

     

    When a house is viewed as a system, aspects of moisture control, infiltration, safe chimney operation, pollutant sources, duct leakage, pressure imbalances, and ventilation all become interconnected. Thus, we are concerned not only with ventilation per se, but also the various side issues that affect indoor air quality.

     

    Indoor air pollution is responsible for symptoms ranging from sinus congestion to cancer, from depression to immune-system damage. It isn’t unusual for everyday symptoms such as headache, drowsiness, runny nose, lethargy and inability to concentrate to be related to poor indoor air quality.


    Sources of pollutants

    •   Gaseous pollutants - Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are gases that are emitted, or outgassed, from a wide variety of modern materials; combustion gases from fireplaces or gas ranges; people and animals also release carbon dioxide (CO2) and other by-products of metabolism.


    •   Metals - Lead, mercury, or arsenic can chalk off from paint or treated lumber and be tracked indoors.


    •   Minerals - Minerals, such as calcium can also become air pollutants. Their particle size is so small that they can be inhaled deeply into the lungs.


    •   Radiation - Problems occur when radon seeps into houses and builds up to dangerous concentrations.


    •   Biological pollutants - Dust mites, mold, and mildew are irritating health hazards.


    •   Pesticides - When used indoors, pesticides can be serious indoor air pollutants.

    •   Smoking - The most effective way of reducing the danger associated with smoking is to ban smoking indoors.

     

     

    While a human body is capable of tolerating a certain amount of contaminated air, evidence from a variety of sources tells us that we are being exposed to more pollution than our metabolism can adequately process—especially when we are indoors—and it is making us sick. But there is no reason for this trend to continue. After all, a variety of strategies can be used to build houses with minimal indoor air pollution. These low-pollution “healthy houses” have one thing in common: they all have mechanical ventilation systems.

     

    The Home Ventilating Institute recommends the exclusive use of products which are HVI-Certified. The proven performance provided by HVI Certification is essential when selecting home ventilation products to control the air you breathe.

     

    How Pollutants Get Into Houses

    By The Home Ventilating Institute (HVI)

     

    Indoor air quality is often characterized by pollutants in the air. Clearly, if the sources of pollutants are minimized, the air will be easier to keep fresh, clean and healthy. In order to determine the best indoor-pollution control strategy, it is helpful to place airborne indoor contaminants into three categories:

     

    1.Those released from materials inside the house;

     

    2.Those brought into the house by air pressure differences; and

     

    3.Those released by people.

     

    Pollutants released from materials in the house


    Many cleaning products and household furnishings release contaminants directly into the indoor air. Formaldehyde is often given off by kitchen cabinets. Wallpaper is treated with fungicides. The odor associated with some flooring materials may consist of over a hundred different volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Disinfectant and pesticide aerosol sprays typically contain hazardous ingredients.

     

    The good news is that there are many alternative products on the market that are much more benign that can be used to build, furnish, and maintain our houses.

     

    For pollutants that are unavoidable, a mechanical ventilation system that removes and expels them outdoors is essential to minimize their negative effect.

     

    Pollutants brought indoors by air pressure differences
     

    Some air pollutants originate outdoors but get brought indoors by air pressure differences. For example, when you turn on a clothes dryer, it blows a certain amount of air out of the house. This creates a slight negative pressure in the house, and an equal volume of air gets sucked in (infiltrates) from the outdoors through small gaps and cracks in the house. When a house is depressurized, the infiltrating air can bring in radon, termiticides, and biological pollutants such as mold. Particles or gases from insulation can also be sucked indoors by air pressure differences.

     

    Combustion gases often migrate into the living space from a furnace, water heater, or wood stove, even though they are supposed to be expelled through a chimney. If the air pressure indoors is less than that outdoors, the gases will have difficulty going up the chimney and can remain in the house.

     

    Pollutants released by human and animal metabolism
     

    Human beings and pets give off a wide variety of pollutants. Our exhaled breath contains dozens of chemical compounds. These are normal by-products of our metabolism, and they all contribute to indoor air pollution. The best way to counteract the pollutants given off by people is to dilute the pollutants with ventilation air.

     

    The concentration of “people pollutants” in a house depends on the number of people inside a house, the size of the house, and the behavior patterns (frequent showers, activity levels, and so on). People also bring pollutants indoors attached to their bodies, such as cigarette smoke, VOCs, perfume, and exhaust gases. Once contaminated clothing and bodies are indoors, the pollutants will be released slowly, contributing to indoor pollution. People can also track pollutants indoors on their shoes (e.g. lawn chemicals, animal waste, road dust containing asbestos, lead, rubber, etc.), and deposit those pollutants in carpeting and other surfaces.

     

    Exchanging the air in a house is important to dilute the concentration of pollutants found in the indoor air. If indoor-pollutant concentrations are too high, they can negatively affect the health of occupants. Indoor air quality is improved by reducing or eliminating the source of pollutants, filtering, and supplying oxygen-rich, fresh air through mechanical ventilation.

     

    With proper attention to reducing the sources of pollutants, the indoor air quality will be improved. The Home Ventilating Institute recommends the exclusive use of products which are HVI-Certified. Consult with your builder or contractor for appropriate HVI-Certified product for your application.

     

    How Air Moves and Why It's Important to Your Home and Health

    By The Home Ventilating Institute (HVI)

    In order for air to move into or out of a house, there are two basic requirements. First, there must be a path through which the air travels, and second, there must be an air pressure difference to push the air molecules through the pathway. The relationship between air pressure and house tightness is integral to an understanding of how ventilation systems work.

     

    Holes in houses
    Even when all the windows are closed, there are still holes in houses—they just aren’t as noticeable. There are hidden gaps between the window or door frames and the 2x4s holding up the wall. There are even narrower gaps between the floor and the walls, and even smaller gaps around electrical outlets. There are also many hidden holes inside the structure that were cut through studs, floor joists, and rafters by plumbers, electricians, or heating/cooling contractors.

     

    If it were possible to combine all of the small holes and gaps into one single hole, the result would be an opening of several square inches in a very tight house, or several square feet in a very loose house.

     

    The holes are called random holes, because they weren't created for the purpose of supplying the occupants with fresh air. If a hole is created on purpose, specifically to provide a pathway for air to travel through, it is called a deliberate hole. The installation of a controlled ventilation system requires one or more deliberate holes.

     

    Pressures in houses
    The pressures measured in houses are usually less than 50 Pascals (Pa). This may not seem like very much pressure, but it is enough to cause air to move through the random holes in a house and potentially cause some serious problems. For example, 3 Pa of negative pressure in the vicinity of a chimney is often enough to cause backdrafting (combustion gases flowing down a chimney instead of up).

     

    Natural pressures caused by the wind and by temperature differences vary considerably day-to-day. Warm air exerts a small upward pressure as it rises up into cooler air.

     

    Accidental pressures can be caused by leaky ducts, chimneys, or by mechanical equipment not specifically designed to ventilate a house, such as a clothes dryer. As with natural pressures, these positive and negative accidental pressures themselves are neither good nor bad, but sometimes they can cause pollution or moisture-related problems.

     

    Pressure is also affected by mechanical equipment that is deliberately designed to exchange air in a building for the purpose of supplying fresh air or expelling stale air. This is what ventilation is really all about. This is called controlled ventilation—ventilation that is created “on purpose.”

     

    Changing the tightness of a house
    If you weatherize or tighten up a house to make it more energy-efficient, you will affect the amount of air being exchanged, as well as the pressures the house experiences. A window fan blowing into a tightened house will move less air, but you will also be able to measure an increase in pressure. Care must be taken so that the house is not under-ventilated, resulting in poor air quality. The answer is not loose houses—it is tight, energy-efficient, comfortable houses with mechanical ventilation systems.

     

    Today, some energy-efficient builders are purposefully using special techniques to build houses that are almost hermetically sealed. Naturally occurring pressures don’t provide enough air to supply the needs of the occupants. A tight house must have a controlled mechanical ventilation system to supply it with fresh air and to remove stale air. Ventilation products certified by the Home Ventilating Institute (HVI) have been tested and proven to help homeowners maximize indoor air quality.

     

    Less-Toxic Cleaners for Mold and Mildew

    By Lynn Marie Bower


    If mold or mildew becomes a problem in your bathroom, some less-toxic solutions are available for combating it other than the typical mildew-removal spray products sold in grocery stores. For example, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is one highly effective mold killer. (Note: This is the 3% dilution sold in pharmacies for use as an antiseptic.) To use this clear, odorless liquid, simply pour the hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle and thoroughly spritz the affected areas: the bathroom fixtures, tile, and/or grout. Wearing protective eye wear is probably a good idea whenever you do this. Because hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent, avoid spraying it on shower curtains made of colored fabric. By the way, you can use alternative laundry bleaches made with hydrogen peroxide, too.


    Another mold-killing option is full-strength white vinegar. Just apply it to the moldy areas, either with a sponge or a sprayer. Then leave it there a few minutes and rinse it off. (Some sensitive persons might find the vinegar odor bothersome.)

     

    Yet another natural alternative is a solution of unscented borax and water, which can be used to sponge the affected areas. Try 1 tablespoon in 2 cups warm water. If that doesn’t remedy the situation, experiment with other dilutions. Afterwards, be sure to rinse. Be aware that borax also has a mild bleaching effect.

     

    Another natural fungicide is pure tea tree oil. Try using it in a ratio of 2 teaspoons to 2 cups water and apply to the affected areas. Tea tree oil for mold killing can be purchased at most health-food stores.

     

    In addition, some individuals have used antiseptic solutions, such as a diluted benzalkonium-chloride/water solution to deal with their mold and mildew problems. A benzalkonium-chloride/water solution may be available in your drugstore, although you may have to special order it. Suggested use is to apply the solution directly to the mold or mildew problem area. Rinsing it off is probably a good idea. This solution is relatively expensive and tends to have a mild, somewhat medicinal odor. Yet, many sensitive persons have found that they tolerate this product very well.

     

    If you don't feel like making your own homemade cleaners, there are also ready-made mold and mildew treatments that can be found without harsh chemicals or scents.

     

    Note: Very sensitive persons, or those with mold allergies, should never do mold and mildew cleanup work themselves. Remember, also, that many mold-killing cleaners require from 1/2 minute up to 10 minutes of surface contact time to work properly. So don’t rush.

     

    Why Ventilation is for People Not Houses

    By The Home Ventilating Institute (HVI)

     

    When you think about it, ventilation really is a people consideration. The purpose of ventilation is to provide a home’s occupants with clean, healthy, and comfortable air.


    Ventilation is used to dilute pollutants and supply occupants with oxygen. Ventilation also dilutes high indoor humidity levels to prevent moisture-related problems such as mold growth and rot. Controlling excess moisture protects both the health of occupants and the health of the house.

     

    While air infiltrating a house will dilute the concentration of indoor contaminants, natural infiltration is unreliable when compared to mechanical ventilation. In fact, it has been determined that houses with mechanical ventilation systems have better indoor air quality and use less energy than houses that rely on natural infiltration alone.

     

    Sick-building syndrome
    The words “sick-building syndrome” imply that a building is ill, when in fact the phrase refers to conditions which make the occupants ill—generally as a result of poor indoor air quality. Complaints may be reported after a building is remodeled. Pollutants released from construction products or cleaning solutions, microbial contamination of wet materials, and inadequate ventilation, are often cited as causes of sick-building syndrome.

     

    Incidences of sick-building syndrome are on the rise. Fortunately, however, as more and more people grasp that poor indoor air quality might be the cause of their illnesses, they are cleaning up their indoor environment and improving their ventilation.

     

    Sensitive occupants


    Some people, due to pre-existing conditions (e.g., health, age) are more sensitive to contaminants in the air. Sensitive people require air that is much cleaner than normal in order to minimize negative impacts on their health. Their condition is often referred to as chemical sensitivity or multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). Many of us are sensitive to “bad air” to a less debilitating degree - and all of us can derive a substantial benefit from breathing cleaner air.

     

    Individuals with MCS generally exhibit a wide variety of symptoms. Eye and respiratory irritation are common, but headaches are also widely reported. Other symptoms can range from joint and muscle pain to seizures. Because the brain is very sensitive to some pollutants, MCS patients often report symptoms such as depression and anxiety that are related to poor indoor air quality.

     

    Sensitive people’s bodies react to very low levels of a wide variety of pollutants. So, for sensitive occupants, it is imperative to clean up the indoor air through source control and separation, then use a mechanical ventilation system to keep the air clean.

     

    Diluting high moisture levels

     

    Although moisture itself isn’t a pollutant, with an accumulation over several days, it can contribute to a variety of pollution problems in a house. If there is excess moisture in a house in the form of high humidity, there can easily be a proliferation of biological pollutants. Mold, mildew, or dust mites will start to thrive as the humidity rises, and the occupants may start experiencing allergy or asthma symptoms. Inside the living space, moisture can be released from both people and their activities. Spot ventilation in the kitchen and bath, along with a whole-house ventilation system will help to expel excess moisture from a house.

     

     

    People need fresh air


    Those who are at greatest risk for sensitivity to contaminated indoor air are children, the elderly, and the sick. But we all need fresh air. We spend between 80–90% of our time indoors, so we must ensure that the air is comfortable and healthy. Properly installed ventilation products that have been certified by the Home Ventilating Institute (HVI) will ensure that you receive proper ventilation to maximize indoor air quality.

     

    Simple Strategies for Reducing Indoor Air Pollution and Improving Indoor Air Quality

    By The Home Ventilating Institute (HVI)


    There are four basic strategies for improving air quality. First, it is important to always practice source control and separation; then a proper mechanical ventilation system should be used to reduce the pollutants. Finally, filtration can clean up remaining pollutants, that is, polish the air.


    Strategy 1: Source control is simply eliminating the source of a pollutant. For instance, if you use cleaning products low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs), you won’t add those pollutants to the indoor air every time you clean the house.

     

    Strategy 2: Practicing separation means creating a barrier between the occupied part of the house and the pollution source. If a pollutant can’t reach you, it can’t harm you. So, an airtight house can be a good way to separate pollutants such as those coming from insulation from the occupants.

     

    Strategy 3: Ventilation is more than just air circulation between rooms—although that is a part of its purpose. With ventilation, there must be an exchange of air between the indoors and the outdoors. The best and most efficient way to exchange the air in a house is to rely on a mechanical ventilation system, which can be controlled, rather than relying on natural or accidental air pressure changes which may not occur as frequently as desired or in the areas of the house where the air changes are most needed, such as the bathroom or kitchen.

     

    Strategy 4: Filtration is often combined with ventilation to maintain good indoor air quality. Filters capture airborne pollutants but they do not bring in fresh air, remove excess humidity, nor create oxygen; therefore, they should not be relied on as a substitute for a mechanical ventilation system 

     

    Two types of controlled ventilation systems

     

    A high-volume local ventilation system is good for dealing with the occasional peak pollution levels or excess moisture in specific rooms. Local ventilation is desirable in bathrooms, kitchens, and other service rooms that regularly have high levels of moisture or pollution. Sometimes local ventilation is called spot ventilation because it ventilates one spot in a house.

     

    General ventilation is referred to as whole-house ventilation because it is for every room in the house. Some people call general ventilation primary or basic ventilation because its purpose is to provide the air that occupants need on a continual basis. After all, human health is a primary consideration. A whole-house ventilation system is a relatively new term for a mechanical system that moves air through a house continuously at a relatively low flow rate. The purpose of a whole-house ventilation system is to provide a continuous air change for fresh air to maintain healthy conditions for the occupants and the building itself, not to cool the temperature of the living space. So the purpose of a whole-house ventilation system is very different from the purpose of a whole-house fan or whole-house comfort ventilator.

     

    Consult with your builder or ventilation contractor to ensure that your house has proper mechanical ventilation. Ensure the quality of your indoor air by using ventilation products certified by the Home Ventilating Institute.

     

    Adapted from: Understanding Ventilation: How to design, select, and install residential ventilation systems by John Bower © 2010 The Home Ventilating Institute

     

    LCHD has info on mold, moisture

    Aurora Advertiser
    Posted Oct 10, 2010 @ 11:04 AM

    Aurora, Mo. — Officials with the Lawrence County Health Department Environmental Section hav recently had increased inquires concerning residential mold problems.


    The Department of Health and Senior Service and the Lawrence County Health Departments do not test for mold at this time and do not maintain a list of mold testers, according to Alethea Goodman, director of the county department.


    There are no Missouri or federal laws that set limits or standards as to what type or level of mold exposure or mold presence is healthy or unheatlthy or not allowed indoors.


    Professionals should conduct sampling with specific experience in designing mold sampling protocols, sampling methods and interpretation of results.  Sample analysis should follow analytical methods recommended by the American Industrial Hygienist or other professional guidelines.


    Goodman said the LCHD can provide only informational handhouts concerning mold or moisture control in the home.

     

     

    St. Tammany School Addresses Mold Issues

    MANDEVILLE, La. -- St. Tammany Parish school administrators have gotten an earful from parents of children in one Northshore school about mold they say is making their children sick.

     

    On Friday, for the first time in about a month, teachers were able to go back into a couple of modular buildings at Pontchartrain Elementary School and start retrieving stuff they couldn't get to after mold was found there.

     

    "This could have been remedied over the summer," said parent Carl Prescott. "We're talking about three months."

     

    Prescott's daughter, Krista, had to move to another part of Pontchartrain Elementary after mold was discovered in the ceiling of her modular classroom.

     

    "Unfortunately, I think, some children got sick and paid the price that brought this to the attention of other parents," Prescott said.

     

    Students were moved out of the buildings Sept. 10, while the air was being tested for safety. Everything in the classrooms stayed where it was.

     

    "I don't think it is dangerous from the indoor air standpoint," said Jim Blazek, of Leaaf Environmental. "The tests that we ran plus the tests that the previous consultant ran all show the air quality inside the building is less than what someone would be exposed to outside."

     

    "Air quality samples, swab samples, other samples, each one of those times has come back that the classroom is safe," said St. Tammany Parish Schools Superintendent Trey Folse.

     

    Bids have been made to do the work necessary to get rid of the mold once and for all.

     

    "I just think out of an abundance of caution and what we are hearing from the parents and their concerns, the opportunity is there to go ahead and move the students into a regular classroom setting and go ahead and get this work done now," Folse said.

     

    "From what I gather, I think the school board has woken up and I think they are going to try and do the right thing," Prescott said.

     

    Administrators said work to remedy the mold issue at Pontchartrain Elementary should begin sometime next month. The classrooms should be up and running early next year.

    Tenants blame health problems on mold

    Janet Portman
    October 8, 2010


    Q. My tenants have alerted me to a water leak in their apartment. It must have been there for some time, because there's a lot of mold under the sink. They've measured the amount of mold in the airspace, using a kit they bought, and are telling me that the levels are high and may have made them sick. What should I do?

     

    A. The first thing you should do is to advise your tenants to keep the cupboard doors shut under the sink, to contain the air.

     

    Next, you need to find the source of the water leak. You may have a burst or leaking pipe or pipe fitting; moisture under the floor from poor drainage; or a leak in your gutter system, allowing rainwater to penetrate the walls. You may need to tear out the wall or do other work to get your answer. If the wall is soaked with mold, it will definitely have to be replaced.

     

    You mention that your tenants have "measured" the mold levels using a commercial product. You should know that the trustworthiness of such products is uncertain.

     

    According to the Centers for Disease Control, "measurements of mold in air are not reliable or representative." While there may be a potential health risk when mold is visible or can be smelled, it's not possible to gauge that risk using kits like these. Moreover, individuals respond to mold differently: What may irritate one person might have no effect on another.

     

    An allergic reaction to mold — including sneezing; throat, nose, and mouth irritation; nasal congestion; and red or watery eyes — is the most common response among people who are sensitive.

     

    Of course, these problems can be caused by other factors, such as pollen and other environmental triggers (natural and man-made). For this reason, it is very difficult to know for sure whether the cause of an allergic response is the presence of mold (or more precisely, the toxins that some molds produce) or something else entirely.

     

    Your tenants haven't given you enough information to enable you to know whether their "sickness" is the result of the mold under the sink. They would need to consult with a doctor at the very least. Even then, the doctor would probably not be able to say with certainty whether the mold under the sink accounts for their issues.

     

    That's not the end of the story, however. Just because it's difficult to pin some health problems on mold doesn't mean you should not take your tenants' report seriously. For good tenant relations alone, listen to them and consider underwriting a night or two at a local motel while your workers deal with the leak and remove the moldy building materials.

     

    This will not only demonstrate your good will, it's also good business sense. Tenants who feel they have a good-faith problem that the landlord is ignoring are the ones who march off to find lawyers.

     

    Although it's doubtful that these tenants could ultimately pin their health complaints on the mold, they can certainly make you spend time and money dealing with their claims (and your insurance company).

    Which Types of Molds Am I Allergic To?

    When it comes to mold, there are hundreds of varieties, but only a dozen or so of these cause allergy symptoms.  The outdoor growing season for molds starts in the summer and ends late in the fall. During this time, they release their spores, which are easily smuggled into your house on shoes or blown indoors through open windows.  It is when molds invade your home that they cause allergy symptoms year-round.  In addition, they can also cause people with allergies to other elements like pollen or animal dander to become sensitize to spores.

     

    Here are some of the worst allergy-causing mold varieties:

     

    ·Alternaria - Spores cause severe reactions and is often growing indoors on carpets, textiles and window sills.

     

    ·Cladosporium (Hormodendrum) - causes skin rashes and irritation to the upper and lower respiratory tract as well as extrinsic (immediate onset) asthma.

     

    ·Aspergillus - causes not only allergies but several allergy related diseases (including fibrosis or permanent lung damage.

     

    ·Penicillium - causes allergies as well as other diseases like mucorosis when the spores are concentrated in an indoor environment.

     

    ·Helmin thosporium - causes upper respiratory tract irritation and allergic reactions.

     

    ·Epicoccum - causes upper respiratory tract irritation and allergic reactions.

     

    ·Fusarium - causes sinusitis as well as other serious diseases and can affect the central nervous system.

     

    ·Mucor - causes skin rashes and lower respiratory tract irritation. Also has been reported to enter the body through open cuts.

     

    ·Rhizopus - causes allergies as well as infections and is growing most often in old food, fruit, nuts and house dust.

     

    ·Aureobasidium (Pullularia) - causes allergies and is often growing on caulk or window frames in bathrooms, laundry rooms and kitchens.

     

     

    Symptoms of Mold Allergies:

    ·Runny Nose and Nasal Congestion

    ·Itchy, Watery Eyes

    ·Sneezing

    ·Cough

    ·Burning Sensation in Throat or Lungs

    ·Sinus Pressure and Facial Pain

    ·Sinusitis, or Chronic Sinus Infections

    ·Skin Rashes or Hives

    ·Reduced Lung Capacity or Difficulty Breathing

    ·Unpleasant Taste in Mouth

    .Nose Bleeds

     

     

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

    What Exactly Are Mold Allergies?

    Molds are microscopic fungi that are key in the breaking down of decaying materials. All that mold requires to grow is moisture and a surface to feed on. Mold grows in small colonies, producing millions of tiny spores, which act like tiny eggs that are carried on the wind. Not only to spores plant new mold colonies wherever they land, but they are very easily inhaled and cause allergic reactions.

     

    Common places where mold is found are in the folds of shower curtains, on decaying food and in flower pots.  These particular spots makes mold feel at home  - but often mold growth is impossible to see.  This is because mold flourishes inside walls, under wall to wall carpet padding and dark corners in your basement or crawlspace. For this reason, sometimes people cannot find the source of their allergies - but when the spores produced by mold hit the delicate skin inside your nose and throat, symptoms quickly follow.

     

    Allergies are caused by your immune system as it tries to fight off what it thinks are dangerous intruders and defend your body. Unfortunately, this overactive immune response is what causes the uncomfortable symptoms associated with allergies. During an allergic reaction, your body mistakes the mold spores for a more dangerous intruder like a virus or parasite. In an attempt to protect you from the invading mold spores, your immune systems throws everything it can at the problem-causing you to have watery eyes, runny nose and stuffed up head (all of which are methods of flushing out the allergens).

     

    Your immune system causes your cells to release tiny packets of chemicals, which are supposed to attack the intruder (in this case, harmless spores), but the large dose of these chemicals causes inflammation instead of relief. This causes your head or lungs to feel tight and makes your eyes and throat itch and burn.

     

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

    Common Questions about Mold Allergies:

    How do I know if I have mold in my house?:

    There are several different methods to find out if you have mold in your home. Many signs of mold can be found visually, like spots of discoloration or "fuzzy" patches. A sure sign that you had mold is that "musty" smell that often occurs in basements, which is caused by the odor of certain varieties of mold spores. If you cannot see or smell any signs of mold, having your home tested will help you determine if mold is hiding in your home. There are many different professional mold testing services as well as do-it-yourself test kits that will help you determine if you have more mold spores in your home than is healthy.

     

    Do only older homes have mold problems?:

    No; older homes can sometimes harbor less mold spores than newly constructed homes. Though older homes are more likely to have older and possibly decaying wood, grout and carpeting that mold will feed on, newer homes are just as susceptible to mold growth. In the case of new, energy-efficient homes, their almost air tight construction causes allergens like mold to be condensed, whereas drafty, older homes allow the number of mold spores to dissipate.

     

    When is it time to get professional help with mold?:

    There are 3 instances where is is important to contact a professional mold remediation service:

     

    ·If you can see black mold (which could be the highly toxic Stachybotrys mold)

    ·If you have had 24 or more hours of standing flood water in your home

    ·If mold is covering more than 2 square feet in your home

     

    Check your yellow pages under "Fire and Water Damage Restoration" or "Mold Remediation" for local clean-up services.

     

    Is there a way to treat my mold allergies?:

    Over the counter allergy medications will help with the symptoms caused by mold allergies. If you have a severe reaction to mold, you might want to visit an allergist order to find out the best treatment for your allergies.

     

    How can I tell is a certain day will be worse than another for my mold allergies?

    Along with pollen counts, often the mold spore count for your area is available through websites like theAsthmaCenter.org. This will help you to determine which days will impact your allergies.

     

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

    Top 3 Ways to Avoid Mold Allergies

    Eliminate Damp Areas: The one essential element that mold needs to grow inside your home is moisture - so if you remove the source of moisture, you will keep mold from gaining a foothold. Th way to do this is to make sure that there are no leaks in plumbing or around chalk, grout or bath and kitchen fixtures. Install a sub pump in your basement if storms cause even minor flooding. Ventilate your bathroom while you are taking a shower and up to 30 minutes afterwards. Make sure that you close you shower curtain when you're done to make sure that it dries completely. A closed shower curtain stores moisture in all the folds of the plastic and is one of the first places you will see mold. Lastly, run a dehumidifier to take excess moisture out of the air. The less available moisture, the less hospitable your home is to mold!

     

    Don't Sniff, Just Toss: The classic method of checking on whether a forgotten container of food is still good or not is opening the lid and sniffing it. Next time you need to do a feshness-check, just take a look at the expiration date or take a quick peek inside. If the date on the package has passed or you suspect that something is going bad - just throw it away. If you can't bear to part with potentially good food, make sure that you enlist the nose of someone who does not have allergies. Taking a whiff of old foods (especially milk and dairy products, fruit or vegetables) get the mold spores that have concentrated inside food containers straight into your nasal cavity and lungs - it's a recipe for an allergy or asthma attack.

     

    Use HEPA Filters Throughout the House: HEPA filters are recommended by allergists and doctors as the most effective method of removing airborne allergens before they reach your nose and lungs. Air Filters may also use a combination of HEPA filters and activated carbon to remove even the smallest allergens. Both HEPA and carbon filters are completely same for asthma sufferers, so often find electrostatic and o-zone creating filters cause their lungs more harm than good. Dynamic panel filters slide into existing slots on your furnace or air conditioning and remove 99% of mold spores before they hit the rest of your home.

     

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