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Posts tagged ‘Toxic mold’

PAINTER’S VIEW: TOXIC MOLD

We’ve covered toxic black mold – Stachybotrys chartarum – every year since this blog started. So, what else can be said about it? Quite a lot, it turns out.

 

TAKING TOXIC MOLD SPORES WITH YOU

 

Example: Math and science journalist Julie Rehmeyer,* 40, took along personal possessions when she moved (twice) from “a pair of ramshackle travel trailers,” outside of Sante Fe, New Mexico. She noticed severe muscle and tendon pain, cognitive brain storms, worsened partial paralysis, extreme fatigue, etc.

 

She started to improve, only when she eventually moved, in early 2012, to the desert (Death Valley), and took “none” of her “own belongings.” Her limbs, tendons and joints functioned. Breathing slowed. Her hazy eye focus diminished. Most important, she learned to detect mold presence, based on bodily responses, and to avoid it in the future.

 

* Through the Shadowlands by Julie Reymeyer, copyright 2017, New York: Rodale Publishing Company. (Note: Reymeyer’s experiences with black mold were brought to my attention by relatives that read “Lost And Found,” in O The Magazine, June 2017, Vol. 18, No. 6, pp. 103.)

 

Example: Hotel bookings/sales director Dana B (not real name), noticed worsening asthma symptoms, when driving home from work and later at home. When she was removing work-day clothing and putting them into the hamper, getting something from her handbag, even changing from her high heels to athletic shoes.

 

Her only solutions, except to change her workplace, were to run the A/C in the vehicle and at home; launder clothes with “green,” environmentally  safe soap and softener; never use any grooming or makeup products/containers used at work; etc. (To my knowledge, “Dana” never really made the connection between her workplace and after-work symptoms.)

 

Example: Florida painting contractor Luis R. noticed that he was experiencing hives and rashes; shortness of breath; red, burning eyes; extreme fatigue; etc. This was happening every evening, by the time he got home from a major restoration project in South Florida. The symptoms at home sometimes worsened when he was doing paperwork and using his work laptop. For instance, his fingers itched and he sneezed incessantly. Then, when climbing back into his double-cab truck the next morning to head out, the backs of his knees and upper calves started to itch and burn.

 

A close examination, with a powerful magnifying glass, detected tiny black spores all over his truck, on file folders, on parts of his computer, on all three pairs of work boots, and, on his thermal water jug and lunch carrier.

 

Example: Paul P. (not real name), president of a hotel management company, noticed that he would suffer worsening breathing problems after every visit to one of their client hotels located in Florida. Especially later at night, while preparing his report of the day’s activities. His wife, a former hospital director, suggested toxic mold. Spores that he may have, unknowingly, carried off of a worksite.

 

His symptoms improved after he put someone else in charge of handling that hotel, and making those site visits on a bi-weekly/monthly basis. (Note: Within two months, that worker started to experience problems with breathing, rashes, vision, and fevers.)

 

TIPS FOR PAINTERS IN “TOXIC BLACK MOLD and SPORES-PRONE” ZONES

 

  1. Be aware of the fact that you normally live in one of these zones. You are not visiting.
  2. Stay alert for symptoms, even minor changes in the way your body is behaving.
  3. Nip it in the bud. Check things out – eg. your different “space;,” clothing and shoes; gear, tools and equipment. Even your golfcart, service cart, paintshop/workshop.
  4. Promptly report any and all symptoms and body changes to your doctor.
  5. Get tested for toxic allergens, chemicals and hazardous materials by a board certified specialist, with extensive expertise in those areas.
  6. Become proactive and protective of your own health.

 

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Often, solutions to long-term problems are found in short-term actions. RDH

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Copyright April 10, 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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Disaster Recovery, Part I: Hotel/Facility Priorities Come First

The lady walked toward her vehicle in Home Depot’s parking lot. In one hand, she grasped two, 1-gallon cans of Glidden’s Interior Latex Paint. In the other, she held onto a 2-inch Purdy paintbrush, a 6-inch paint roller with cover and an orange combination paint tray and screen.

It was one day after Hurricane Irma, and the tornadoes that it had spawned, had whipped through Central Florida.

When a major disaster hits – eg. hurricane, tropical storm, tornado – painting should be one of the last things on your immediate agenda.

HOTEL/FACILITY PAINTER’S TOP TEN PRIORITIES

1. Help your chief engineer check out all systems that are under the department’s charge – eg. mechanical, electrical, plumbing.

2. As part of the engineering team: (a) assess each building’s condition, interior and exterior; (b) identify problem areas; (c) determine which problems to resolve a.s.a.p., and, (d) decide how to handle each of them promptly and safely.

3. As part of the engineering team, get the department back in shape, so that all of you can do the major recovery and repair tasks and projects as efficiently as possible.

4. As part of the engineering team, help implement the plan to (a) make repairs and (b) get everything up and running again in a timely, safe and cost-effective manner.

5. Assist groundspersons in clearing away all broken trees, limbs and branches and brush; also dismantled lumber, metal, piping; debris, garbage, etc. This includes clearing main traffic areas.

6. Help repair and replace all crucial lighting – especially front entrance, parking, walkways, corridors, lobby, public restrooms. Also repair main walkways, as soon as possible.

7. Assist other departments, as necessary, to get their areas up and running again.

8. Assist chief engineer in working with utility companies, outside contractors, repair services, etc. to get property systems and amenities, and business operations back in working order.

9. Between efforts to help others, start to get your paintshop back in shape. HINT: Try to unpack, then set up what you’ll need to use first.

10. When your chief engineer gives the go-ahead, concentrate your efforts on reorganizing the paintshop so that you can get back to your painting job.

By the way, it can be tempting to ignore the engineering department’s big job during this very disorganized and stressful time. You might be tempted to hide in your area. Do not do it!

This is one instance when painting will be lower on the list of everyone’s priorities.

At the top of every staff member’s and department’s disaster recovery list needs to be:

1. people
2. property
3. business
4. “neighborhood”

This is one time when, both now and later, you’ll be glad that you helped others first.

See: “Painting It: Disaster Recovery, Part 2: Paintshop Priorities.”
See: “Painting It: Disaster Recovery, Part 3: When Painting Is Not Enough.”

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Thank you for doing your best job every day. Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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