Water Damage Investigations More Than Sucking Air

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Water Damage Investigations More Than Sucking Air

  1. 1. WATER DAMAGE INVESTIGATIONS MORE THAN SUCKING AIR Connie A. Morbach, M.S., CHMM, CIE, ASCS Sanit-Air, Inc. 1311 North Main/ Clawson, MI 48017 248 435-2088 connie@sanit-air.com
  2. 2. IS Mold New? <ul><li>Mold is not new, awareness has increased </li></ul><ul><li>Changes in building construction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tighter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Porous Materials =Good Nutrients </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Construction to allow high moisture </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Better testing methodologies </li></ul><ul><li>Physician Awareness </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Link previously unexplained illnesses </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Tight Construction <ul><li>Focus on energy conservation resulted in tighter buildings with less natural ventilation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>75 years ago, cracks in the building envelope allowed for 5 - 10 air changes per hour (ACH) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Now building codes permit 0.35 ACH </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Contaminants are not diluted out </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Higher concentration results in greater exposure and opportunity for amplification on building materials </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The solution is to build tight / ventilate right </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. New Building Materials Are Good Nutrients <ul><li>Materials high in cellulose content that are porous retain moisture and provide good nutrient material for mold amplification </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Drywall </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Oriented Strand Board (OSB) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plywood </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ceiling Tiles </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Hasty construction with less detail to preventing water intrusion and providing mechanisms for removal </li></ul>
  5. 5. MOLD IS NOT NEW <ul><li>Leviticus 14:33-48 </li></ul><ul><li>This passage describes mold contamination . </li></ul><ul><li>Instructs priests to inspect homes and scrape off mold if it is present. After 14 days, the home should be inspected again, if the mold returns, its a “destructive mildew” and the house must be torn down - its stones, timbers and all plaster - and “taken out of town to an unclean place”. </li></ul>
  6. 6. MOLD FACTS <ul><li>Mold Spores are Ubiquitous in Nature </li></ul><ul><li>Indoors, Mold is not a Problem Until it Amplifies </li></ul><ul><li>Mold Requires Water to Amplify (colonize) </li></ul><ul><li>During Periods of Growth and Metabolism, Mold Cells Produce Volatile Organic Compounds and Mycotoxins </li></ul><ul><li>Under Stress (Drying Out), Mold Produces Spores </li></ul><ul><li>Spores Become Airborne When Disturbed by Airflow, Disruptions, Pressure Differentials </li></ul><ul><li>Mycotoxins Become Airborne by Attaching to Spores </li></ul>
  7. 7. ASPECTS OF A MOLD EVALUATION <ul><li>Visual Evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>Moisture Measurements </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental Parameters </li></ul><ul><li>Development of Hypothesis </li></ul><ul><li>Development of Sampling Plan </li></ul><ul><li>Sampling </li></ul>
  8. 8. Visual Evaluations <ul><li>Most important aspect of investigation </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluate water stains and visible growth </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ceilings, walls, floors, floor coverings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hidden damage is often more severe than damage on the outer surfaces </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Access ports, boroscopes, and other invasive techniques might be necessary </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ventilation systems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>filters, duct lining </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 10. Surface Moisture Measurements <ul><li>Non-penetrating </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Calibrated for different materials </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Drywall </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Wood </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Concrete </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Probes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hard to reach areas </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sub-surface with long probes </li></ul></ul>
  10. 12. A w : Minimum water activity level at 25 °C ERH: Equilibrium relative humidity A w < 0.80, ERH <80% A w < 0.80-0.90, ERH <80-90% A w >0.90, ERH >90% water
  11. 13. A w : Minimum water activity level at 25 °C Aspergillus versicolor A w 0.74-0.79 Ulocladium chartarum A w 0.89 Stachybotrys chartarum A w 0.94
  12. 14. Evaluate Hidden Damage <ul><li>Mold that is hidden and visible is equivalent to visible mold and must be evaluated </li></ul><ul><li>US EPA cautions that mold on the backside of walls and behind wallpaper is frequently more severe than mold on the painted side of walls </li></ul><ul><li>Precautions must be taken to prevent cross-contamination during invasive evaluation </li></ul>
  13. 21. Environmental Parameters <ul><li>Temperature </li></ul><ul><li>Relative Humidity </li></ul><ul><li>Carbon Dioxide </li></ul><ul><li>Air flow </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Smoke pens </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Pressure relationship </li></ul>
  14. 22. Carbon Dioxide <ul><li>Produced by people and combustion appliances </li></ul><ul><li>OSHA PEL 5000 ppm </li></ul><ul><li>Previous recommendation of 1000 ppm </li></ul><ul><li>Outdoors in MI typically 350 - 450 ppm </li></ul><ul><li>Can provide information on tightness of a building </li></ul><ul><li>Can provide information on ventilation relative to industry guidelines </li></ul>
  15. 23. When is Testing Indicated <ul><li>Illnesses associated with biological contaminants </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Aspergillosis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hypersensitive diseases </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Diagnostic tool to assist in the development of a remediation scope </li></ul><ul><li>Baselines before remediation </li></ul><ul><li>Verify remediation effectiveness </li></ul><ul><li>Litigation support </li></ul>
  16. 24. Interpretation of Data <ul><li>No regulatory limits (PELS, TLV’s) </li></ul><ul><li>Case by case basis </li></ul><ul><li>Build your own database </li></ul><ul><li>Rely on published studies </li></ul>
  17. 25. Air Sample Interpretation <ul><li>Indoor vs. Outdoor </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Predominant indoor organisms different than outdoors </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Complaint vs. non-complaint </li></ul><ul><li>Indicator organisms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Stachybotrys, Memnoniella </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Penicillium </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aspergillus </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Persistent and consistent presence of organisms </li></ul>
  18. 26. Source Sample Interpretation <ul><li>Do predominant surface contaminants match air contaminants </li></ul><ul><li>Affected vs. non-affected </li></ul><ul><li>Are hyphae present </li></ul><ul><li>Do post cleaning samples improve </li></ul>
  19. 27. Common Testing Mistakes <ul><li>1. Too little emphasis on visual evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>Essential to establish test sites </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Moisture meters </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Staining </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Deterioration </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Visible growth </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluation of hidden growth </li></ul></ul></ul>
  20. 28. Common Testing Mistakes <ul><li>2. Poor Quality Control </li></ul><ul><li>Sterile techniques not implemented </li></ul><ul><li>Inaccurate calibration </li></ul><ul><li>Mislabeling of samples </li></ul><ul><li>Media not subjected to QC </li></ul><ul><li>No temperature control during shipping </li></ul>
  21. 29. Common Testing Mistakes <ul><li>3. Too Much Emphasis on Total Concentrations </li></ul><ul><li>No PEL’s TLV’s - dose response too complex to establish </li></ul><ul><li>Interpretation should be based on: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Types and relative concentrations compared to outdoors or non-complaint/non-affected areas </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identification of “signature organisms” for water damaged building materials </li></ul></ul>
  22. 30. Common Testing Mistakes <ul><li>4. Too Little or Too Much Concern Relative to “Signature” Organisms </li></ul><ul><li>Fungi associated with water-damaged building should incite remediation and/or additional investigation </li></ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Stachybotrys </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Penicillium </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Aspergillus </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Acremonium </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Trichoderma </li></ul></ul></ul>
  23. 31. Common Testing Mistakes <ul><li>Two Common Methods for Air Samples </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Spore trap </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Measures Countable spores </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Example: Air-O-Cell cassette </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Culturable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Measures organisms that will grow in a selected culture media </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Example: Andersen impact sampler </li></ul></ul></ul>5. Reliance on One Type of Air Sample
  24. 38. Air Samples <ul><li>Culturable Fungi </li></ul><ul><li>and Bacteria </li></ul><ul><li>Enumeration </li></ul><ul><li>Identification of genus and species </li></ul><ul><li>Necessary for profile comparisons </li></ul><ul><li>Can underestimate </li></ul><ul><li>Selective media </li></ul><ul><li>Samples must culture </li></ul><ul><li>Countable Spores </li></ul><ul><li>Enumeration only </li></ul><ul><li>Identify some genera </li></ul><ul><li>Cannot differentiate species </li></ul><ul><li>Can identify some particles and pollen </li></ul><ul><li>Can underestimate if high particulate matter present </li></ul><ul><li>Immediate results </li></ul>
  25. 39. Example of Inconclusive Testing <ul><li>Spore trap results </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inside </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>2000 c/m 3 Penicillium/Aspergillus </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Outdoors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>2000 c/ m 3 Penicillium/Aspergillus </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Do not know if Penicillium or Aspergillus is present </li></ul><ul><li>Could have Penicillium inside and Aspergillus outside, which would indicate an indoor source </li></ul><ul><li>Could be the same indoors, which would suggest outdoors is the source </li></ul><ul><li>Culturable Samples </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inside </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>500 cfu/m 3 Aspergillus versicolor </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>1500 cfu/m 3 Penicillium chrysogenum </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Outside </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>500 cfu/m 3 Aspergillus versicolor </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>1500 cfu/m 3 Aspergillus fumigatus </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Apparent indoor source of Penicillium chrysogenum </li></ul>
  26. 40. Common Testing Mistakes <ul><li>6. Failure to Collect Air Samples Under “Normal” Operating or Living Conditions </li></ul><ul><li>Can produce ‘false negative” </li></ul><ul><li>Documentation of normal conditions could include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Quiescent sampling </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Semi-aggressive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aggressive </li></ul></ul>
  27. 41. Common Testing Mistakes <ul><li>7. Failure to design a well thought out sampling strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Testing should be conducted to answer a question (hypothesis) </li></ul><ul><li>Sufficient samples must be collected to evaluation the hypothesis </li></ul><ul><li>A poorly designed sampling plan with too few samples can raise more questions than it answers </li></ul>
  28. 42. Summary <ul><li>Indoor mold amplification is undesirable and should be avoided. </li></ul><ul><li>Air sampling for mold is prone to false negatives and should only be conducted if a well designed plan is developed to answer a specific question </li></ul><ul><li>Sampling is only one piece of the puzzle. Visual inspection, building history, and patient history are important to a case. </li></ul>
  29. 43. CONSENSUS DOCUMENTS <ul><li>Bioaerosols: Assessment and Control </li></ul><ul><ul><li>American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), 1999 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Guidelines on Assessment and Remediation of Fungi in Indoor Environments </li></ul><ul><ul><li>New York City Department of Health, 2,000 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>IICRC S500, Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, 1999 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings </li></ul><ul><ul><li>US EPA, 2001 </li></ul></ul>
  30. 44. New Testing Methodologies <ul><li>VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds </li></ul><ul><li>Mycotoxins </li></ul><ul><li>Endotoxins </li></ul><ul><li>Particle Counters </li></ul><ul><li>PCR </li></ul>
  31. 45. RESOUNDING CONCLUSIONS <ul><li>A Poorly Developed Sampling Plan Can Raise More Questions Than It Answers </li></ul><ul><li>An Investigator Can Not State That Something Is Not Present Unless Appropriate Testing Is Conducted </li></ul>

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