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Tips for Black Mold Fungi Infestation Remediation and Mitigation

Intro: Stachybotrys cartarum (atra) – Black mold – is a fungal myotoxin.

Situation: Heavy black mold fungi had produced severe infestation inside the modern, 3-bedroom manufactured home of a retired clinical psychologist and consultant from Ohio. Perhaps only three to five times a year she and her family used the small vacation property, located near a lake in south central Canada.

Question: “What can be done? How should the property be handled at this point?

Here are the suggestions that I gave to our relatives…

Initially, determine the home’s current market value as is, the extent and total cost of repairs needed to get home habitable, and the property’s “sellability” after all improvements.

Then, proceed with caution.

1. Stay out of the mold infested area/building – eg. manufactured home.

2. The spores are airborne, also transferable from fingers, hands, feet, etc.

3. The fungal spores pass to the skin, hair, eyes, ears, sinuses/nasal passages, lungs, etc.

4. Black mold remediation and mitigation must be handled by a certified specialist. The person(s) must be suited up head-to-toe, also equipped with a free-flowing, full-head breathing apparatus.

5. Furniture, fixtures, floor covering, cabinetry, etc. must be removed and disposed of, according to EPA standards, particularly if infestation is 50 percent or more, whether on a washable surface or not.

6. All substrates – walls, paneling, ceilings, flooring, joists, frames, plumbing, A/C units, ventilation ducts, etc. must be removed if they are infested 50 percent or more. In some areas – eg. children’s room, healthcare and rehabilitation facilities – and many situations, infestation of 30 percent requires major removals.

7. Before repairs and remodeling/ rebuilding can proceed safely, the entire area must be completely air dried – including behind and inside walls, ceilings, floors, built-ins, cabinetry, etc. RECOMMENDED: High-velocity industrial/commercial fan set up in each room or area.

8. All persons that will work on the structure – eg. manufactured home – must be notified/informed in advance, and in writing, of the property’s toxic Black mold history, conditions, environment, previous treatment(s), current infestation rating, etc.

9. Canada has EPA-type standards similar to the U.S. regarding handling of Stachybotrys cartarum myotoxins.

10. If any area has been 30 percent or more contaminated, allow at least forty-eight full hours after drying before reentry. CAUTION: Some remediation companies say 50 percent.

11. Make certain that the certified handlers test the environment for (a) airborne spores, (b) surface residue, (c) fumes, (d) air quality, and, (d) certain invisible oils that the myotoxins can produce.

12. EPA WARNING: Frequent exposure to high levels of Stachybotrys cartarum (atra) has been documented to cause moderate-to-severe permanent and irreversible medical conditions, impairments and disabilities: neurological; respiratory/lung; eye/ ear/mouth; skin; cardiovascular, endocrine, hepatic, psychological/behavioral, and, musculo-skeletal and balance.

13. Frequent exposure to high levels of Stachybotrys cartarum (atra) can cause fatalities.

14. These severe effects occur especially when a person is frequently exposed for prolonged periods of time – and in high temperature/heat and high humidity environmental conditions.

WARNING from American College of Neurologists, etc.

Frequent exposure to high levels of the fungal myotoxins for prolonged periods of time, along with exposure to concentrated toxic treatment chemicals such as chlorine bleach, have the strong potential to cause severe neurological damage such as short-term memory loss, cognitive and executive function deficits, even premature dementia. Prolonged exposure also affects blood vessels, arterial and vascular system; brain neurons/cells; and, ischemic brain/white matter (usually plural and concomitant).

Think long-term. How long do you intend to keep the property? Do you ever plan to sell it? Will anyone, who is already suffering from immuno-suppressive illnesses or deficits, ever use the place?

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Watch it! Painters that work in hot, humid climates – even on a short-term or temporary basis.
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Copyright July 28, 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights resereved.

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Painter’s World: Worker Safety and Certifications

Worker Safety: The Good News

OSHA and its state partners, coupled with the efforts of employers, safety and health professionals, unions and advocates, have had a dramatic effect on workplace safety.

Worker injuries and illnesses are sharply reduced – over 70 percent since the 1970s. (Example: 2.9 per 100 workers in 2016, versus 10.9 in 1972.)

Worker Safety: The Bad News

Worker deaths have increased – 7 percent, or 5,190, or 14 a day/2016, from 2015.

*Read “OSHA Inspectors and the Workplace: Death by Attrition,” by Sandy Smith, Posted Jan. 10, 2018

Construction worker fatalities in private industry – Year: 2016*

1: Over 1 in 5, or 991 (21.1%) of 4,693 worker fatalities in private industry were in construction.

2. 63.7%, or more than one-half, of construction worker deaths attributed to the “Fatal Four:”

A. Falls – 38.7%, or 384 of 991 total deaths in construction.

B. Struck by Object – 9.4%, or 93 of 991 total.

C. Electrocutions – 8.3%, or 82 of 991 total.

D. Caught-in/between – 7.3%, or 71 of 991 total Note: Includes workers killed when caught-in, or compressed by, equipment or objects, and struck, caught or crushed in collapsing structure, equipment, or material.

* Note: Another set of statistics reports 687 construction worker fatalities in 2016.

 

10 most frequently cited OSHA Standards violations, Fiscal Year 2017 (10/1/2016 09/30/2017.)

 

The following were the top 10 most frequently cited standards by Federal OSHA in fiscal year 2017 (October 1, 2016, through September 30, 2017):

 

  1. Fall protection, construction industry – 29 CFR 1926.501)
  2. Hazard communication standard, general industry – 29 CFR 1910.1200
  3. Scaffolding, general requirements, construction – 29 CFR 1926.451
  4. Respiratory protection, general industry – 29 CFR 1910.134
  5. Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general industry – 29 CFR 1910.147
  6. Ladders, construction – 29 CFR 1926.1053
  7. Powered industrial trucks, general industry – 29 CFR 1910.178
  8. Machinery and Machine Guarding, general requirements – 29 CFR 1910.212]
  9. Fall Protection–Training Requirements – 29 CFR 1926.503
  10. Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment, general industry – 29 CFR 1910.305

 

How Painters and Decorators – you and I – Can Help Save Lives In Construction

 

On the Job

  1. Keep alert for signs of unsafe and unhealthy conditions, hazards, etc.
  2. Be your own best self-advocate for a safe and healthy workplace environment.
  3. Promptly report potential problems to your supervisor, contractor, project manager, property owner.
  4. Do what you can to neutralize a potentially unsafe and unhealthy situation until help arrives.

 

In Our Painting Careers

1.Keep trade and construction industry certifications current. Examples: Note: See Certification chart – separate post.

A. General certifications – Painting/ coatings applications, paint technology, drywalling, construction, maintenance, architectural, exterior applications, general inspections, estimating, CPR/First Aid; UBC.

B. Government certifications – standards/regulations, codes – OSHA, ADA, EPA, HAZMAT.

C. Equipment certifications: OSHA respirator protection, self-contained breathing apparatus, HVLP, spraying, scaffolding, lifts/hydraulics, aerial and swing stage, chemical; State-Class C Driver’s License

D. Specialty painting certifications: Highway/airfields, marine/shipyards, automotive, tanks, underground/confined spaces, aerial, industrial, manufacturing/processing; waterborne systems,

E. Inspection certifications: architectural coatings, industrial coatings, maintenance coatings, paint quality, coverage/mils, environmental.

F. Training certifications: Examples: TrainTheTrainer (TTT),* TrainThePainter (TTP),* Supplementary Course Modules: Marine, Concrete, Thermal Spray, Water-jetting.*   Note: *The Society for Protective Coatings.

 

2. Regularly “checkmate” and update your skill and proficiency levels.

A. Take trade courses when offered in your area, and online – especially when free or low cost.

B. Take advantage of free workshops, webinars, and demonstrations offered by manufacturers of paint products, supplies, tools, equipment, etc.

C. Attend periodic open houses and demonstrations offered by paint product stores.

 

3. Participate in construction and product manufacturer training programs, including online.

A. Join professional networks run by building products’ stores such as Home Depot, Lowe’s.

B. Periodically, take professional-level workshops – store and online.

C. Sign up for construction industry apps that can save you time, waste and money.

 

4. Attain and update your government standard/regulation/code certifications.

A. Federal: OSHA, EPA, HAZMAT, HCS (Hazardous Communication Standard), UBC, ORPS (OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard); Training, Inspector.

B. State: Building and construction codes, statutes, regulations.

 

5. Keep current about new federal workplace safety and health regulations.

A. Example: OSHA Fall Protection Standards, June 2017.

B. Some major changes: (1) Walking-Working Surfaces and Fall Protection Systems, (2) Roof Work Changes, (3) Stairways, Ladders, and Guardrails, (4( Workplace Assessments, (5) Training for Employees, (6) Alignment between the General and Construction Industries.

 

Bottom Line: Workplace safety is every worker’s business – and right!

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Copyright June 13, 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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