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Organ Transplant Patient Has Life and Death Mold Exposure

This story starts with a second story window, split open window sill and spaces between the brick openings. These had gone unnoticed before we arrived. That oversight put an Organ Transplant patient at risk from mold/

It appeared that the dining room window was the source of a leak. The actual leak was in a second story window above the dining room. The people who first looked at the dining room mold problem had wrongly assumed that the leak was caused by the dining room window. It is experience and proper training that teaches us to look at all of the possible sources of leakage above a leak.


Defective window sill creates mold in room below

Opening in WIndow Sill is the Source of Mold Causing Water

(Mold Inspector Rule #27: Water goes down-hill and always consider additional possible water sources/causes above a leak).

The homeowner said that water poured through the dining room wall in driving rains. He had he water stains, wet drywall and mold to prove the point. The paper face that is part of the drywall in the room was great food for mold, as was the wood framing inside of the wall

By the way, there was visible mold. It was that fuzzy green mold that is typical of bread that has spent about a week too long in the bread drawer. The call was about the mold and remediation.

There is a very important part of this story that I have not told you yet. One of the homeowners is an organ transplant recipient. What most people don’t know is that patients on immunosuppression therapy (anti organ rejection drugs) are very susceptible to potentially fatal mold health complications.

Organ Transplant patient needs to beware of mold exposure

Organ Transplant Patients are Subject to Serious Health Risks From Mold

Mold exposure is a big deal in hospitals, but many people are just not aware of the issue. If you think back, you probably remember that mold deaths from hospital mold exposure in organ transplant patients has made the national news. In fact, some of those deaths have recently resulted in multi-million dollar settlements from hospitals to families of patients who have died from hospital acquired mold exposures.

Here is What We Know So Far:

  • Mold is very bad for organ transplant patients
  • Water leaks cause mold
  • Even if you clean the mold, it can (will) return if the leak is not resolved
  • It would have been the typical procedure of some remediators to clean the mold. Then they would get to another job down the road to come clean the mold again. 

This is What Needs Done:

  • Test for the amount and type of mold (it is critical to know the risk to transplant patient and others in the home)
  • Locate the cause of the water intrusion
  • Clean the mold
  • Test to make sure the mold is clean. (Mold can be in hidden areas

When it is important……Especially, when it is “life or death” important… (but from our perspective the health of all of our clients is important) ………… need to call experts trained in the science of environmental exposures who know the right path forward. You need and deserve and to have professionals that understand the issues and can get you to a healthy environment.

Call the Professionals at for the name of a professional inspector to test your home to avoid the health risks of mold exposure,

Today’s Mold Lesson Started with the Yummy, Greasy Cheese Dip Stain on My Shirt

There is great irony in this tearful saga. Mold is needed to make the cheese that made the dip that stained the shirt, that needs anti-stain treatment………in the flooded house that Dan did not build. (unlike the story about The house that Jack built)

Mold can be Good in Cheese but Bad in Your Home

Mold can be Good

It started with a wonderful Sunday dinner out with the kids and grandson. It was a good meal, pleasant restaurant, great time. The appetizer was a very tasty, yet gooey cheese and spinach sauce with chunks of bread for dipping into that delightful cheese mixture. One of my “dips” turned into a “drop” between the plate and my                                               mouth. Oops!

On the way home from dinner, my wife and I discuss what she thought I should write about tonight. She usually has the inside story on what readers would be thinking about. I am thinking about today’s blog post. She has a couple of greatly appreciated suggestions.

We pull into our driveway and realize that we had missed a heavy rain storm. The newly planted flowers were laying on their sides in exhaustion from the drenching. Great! They will stand up again and I get out of watering them today.

Please let me explain in my own defense. This is a new “home to us” and I have not yet learned everything about the place. On this glorious evening, I learn that when there is a very hard storm, water comes under the basement door and spreads across the basement.

Flooded Basement and Mold Source

Flooded Basement and Mold Source

What Does a Mold Expert Do When It is His House That Floods?

Back to the stain on my shirt. I walk downstairs into the basement while taking my shirt off. (Multi-tasking). I realize that as I step onto the concrete floor, there was a “slosh” noise, not the leather shoe on concrete shuffle appropriate for a multitasking senior with his shirt halfway over his head.

Recognizing that multi-tasking was not getting me where I want to go, I complete the easiest task at hand and finish taking the shirt off and the spot stain treated. Check

I start a new “to do” list based upon my discovery of why the shoes made a slosh instead of a shuffle. The next step is to consult a mold or disaster recovery professional

Oh, that’s me. Check

I look around to see why there is water on the floor and if whatever that cause is, whether it has stopped. I know that if the source of water has not ended, stopping the water leak is the next step.

The water leaked under the basement door. The rain has stopped and therefore the cause of the water event is ended. That is good news. Check

Triple check that there is not an electrical potential hazard relating to the abundant pool of water in the area affected by water. Triple Check, Check Check

If there is a potential electrical hazard such as wet walls with outlets or an extension cord lying in the water I must exercise great caution. The choice is to safely turn off the electricity or think of the Jaws movie and stay out of the water.

I remove anything that is still absorbing water and is being damaged because of standing water. That would include the cardboard box of decorations that was moved downstairs two days ago because the kitchen cabinets are being delivered tomorrow. Check

Next step is to get out the “wet and dry shop vac” and begin to sucking up the standing water. Check

I sadly observe that the shop vac first had water moving toward the wand, and then running back onto the floor from the end of the wand. Note that water went up the hose at first and then……when about a cup of water was drawn up, that water was running back out of the wand. It was like watching someone going up the first section of a two-level escalator and then turning around and going back down the escalator rather than to the top section of the upper floor.

I remind myself, to not panic when realizing that the nice easy to carry shop vac that was purchased because it was small and light is not strong enough to suck a pool of water in a basement. Check

Go to “Plan B” and take the top off of the floor drain. Grab a broom and sweep water into the floor drain. Check

It is time to take photos of the current condition and be grateful that your wife does not upload a YouTube viral video of your panic and frantic efforts to this point. Check

Next step? Throw out the very few wet cardboard boxes. Be grateful that you are a mold aware person who knows that basement storage should be plastic bins and not cardboard. Cardboard is the “Breakfast of Champions” for mold. odor and wood destroying insects. Check

Without standing in any water, set up the dehumidifier placing the water drain hose into the floor drain. Check

Find a shirt that does not have an appetizer stain front and center. Put on the clean shirt realizing that you sadly are not a good sight to see when bare chested. Check

Be grateful that you have caught the water problem before it did any damage. Consult with your environmental person. In this particular case, this is accomplished by inward reflection: “self…..have you followed the proper procedures?” if not, go do what you should have done.

After the panic and work, go write this post that is due in the morning.

In summary, when faced with and unexpected and unwanted water event:

  • Identify the source of the leak
  • Stop the source of the leak
  • If beyond what you can handle, call a professional
  • Document conditions for insurance
  • Verify that electricity isn’t a hazard
  • Remove anything that can be damaged by the water contact and dry it
  • Remove, sweep or suction standing water
  • Dehumidify
  • If you can’t dehumidify, open windows
  • Realize that you have 24 to 48 to dry out before mold is a problem
  • When appropriate, seek professional drying services
  • Focus on the fact that mold and odors can damage health and the value of a home

Use the checklist above to make sure everything is done as it should be.  Check

Oh, one last thing on my list …..Install an exterior drain or concrete curb so that this doesn’t ever happen again!

One thing for your list…………. Contact InspectorLab  to locate a mold professional in your area to test your home and provide the solutions to keep your home mold free. Visit for contact information

The Next Steps If You Think You Have Asbestos: Start With An InspectorLab Testing Professional

Next Steps If You Have Asbestos

If you think you have asbestos, the health and safety of your home depend on KNOWING if you have asbestos. Then you need to contact an InspectorLab Testing Professional to have it tested 

       When asbestos is found in a building, there are usually three possible options – removal, encapsulation or leaving the asbestos untouched.

Removal or abatement
is usually necessary if the asbestos materials are damaged. Removal is a great option if you want to completely remove the potentially hazardous materials once and for all. Removal is also often necessary during construction, demolition and refurbishment projects.

is usually less expensive than removal, and involves covering the material to isolate it rather than removing it. An example would be installing a wood subfloor over an asbestos tile floor or covering asbestos containing insulation such as vermiculite insulation with a safe insulation.

Leaving asbestos in place
may not seem like the best option, but in some cases asbestos does not pose a threat to humans, and can be left in place. An example of this would be a chimney installed in a sealed chase. As long as asbestos fibers can’t reach the air we breathe, they are not a hazard

Asbestos Related Diseases

Asbestosis is scarring if the lungs. This damages tissues and hampers their ability to intake oxygen to the blood. This disease can take from 15 to 30 years to show itself.

Lung Cancer
is a malignant tumor of the bronchi covering. The tumor grows through surrounding tissue and obstructs the air passages. This disease can surface 20 to 30 years after asbestos exposure.

is cancer of the mesothelium which is the lining of the abdominal wall. Early stages of the disease have few symptoms. By the time it is found, it is almost always fatal. This disease can have a latency period of 30 to 40 years.

As a final word, let me take a shot at the question a lot of people ask: Can I remove asbestos myself? I vote “no” unless you are equipped and practiced at the process of containment, negative air and air scrubbing. Asbestos can take decades to kill you, but it will. Watching what my dad went through, I assure you that slowly suffocating to death over a stretch of about a year is not worth saving money on an asbestos removal project.


Asbestos is Still in Many of Our Homes Consider Testing

              If I took a poll, probably a vast majority of people would recognize asbestos as a hazard. We know that it gets ripped out of schools and other public buildings. We recognize that people die from asbestos and that there are big class action lawsuits about the mineral

There is a lot more we should know about this hazard previously thought of as a miracle product.

The use of asbestos dates back to the Greeks and Romans who used it to make cloth. It is a natural mineral, which varies by name and color depending upon where it is mined. There are 6 different minerals all lumped into the category of asbestos.

Asbestos is resistant to heat and most chemicals. The tough fibers were used as reinforcement and for heat resistance in many products for industry, homes and commercial buildings. It is a sneaky carcinogen because it was easy to add the mineral to a host of products that can disguise the presence to the naked eye. The reason for its widespread use is that where and when it was used, it saved lives from fire hazards and improved the characteristics of many products.

In older homes, asbestos can be found in a many areas of the home, from roof tiles and decorative ceilings to wall insulation and vinyl floors. Below is a list of some of the most common asbestos containing materials.

Vinyl Floor Tiles
Asbestos Cement Sheets & Garage Roof Panels
Textured Decorative Coatings (eg. Artex)
Roof Tiles
Storage Heaters
Airing Cupboard Walls
Cement Fireplace Surrounds
Fuse Boxes
Gutters and Drainage Pipes
Pipe Lagging
Central Heating Flues
Cement Water Tanks
Rope Seals and Gaskets
Roofing Felt
Asbestos Insulating Board (AIB) Ceiling Tiles
AIB Bath Panels
Sprayed Insulation Coating

Asbestos is Real Personal for Millions of Workers

         You might scratch your head on how this happened. There was evidence of the medical risks of asbestos as early as 1920, but workers were not told of the dangers until the mid 1970’s.

Millions of workers including my father have died of asbestos related cancer. As a young man, I was exposed to asbestos in everything from joint compound to insulation and ceiling tiles while working in the family construction company.

With that said, my work as an asbestos testing professional is highly personal. Asbestos exposure still occurs today in some products and when it is removed by unsuspecting workers. Asbestos is still heavily mined in Russia and can find its way into products being manufactured today.

InspectorLab Cutting Through the Babble About Environmental Health

Personal environmental health is the combination of all the exposures we have each experienced, our genetic makeup and our past health history. By the way, we need to keep in mind that our family and our beloved pets share our environmental health exposures.

Outside Influences:      The air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink and the things we touch can all affect our health. Other exposures such as the medicines we ingest are another major factor in our environmental health. Residual effects of toxins that are part of our exposure past history may affect us  decades after our exposure.  Smoking, working with asbestos and living moldy conditions are a part of our environmental exposure history.

Personal Influences:   The combination of our genetics, health and disease history, and the exposures we have had across a lifetime can influence our health.

The combinations of each and every one of these factors is a complex puzzle that is difficult to unravel.

Where the Journey Starts for Each of Us The journey starts with identifying factors that are risks to ourselves and the people we care about

Some of those factors will be easy to identify by a professional during an assessment of a building. Other risks and hazards will require testing.  Identification helps us to avoid exposures.

We have learned about avoidance as a part of health care. If heart disease and high cholesterol are a genetic factor,  a patient  needs to avoid the sources of cholesterol.  Similarly, if asthma is a health risk  in your family, for mold, allergens or other triggers for Asthma is a very good idea.

The importance of having an InspectorLab Certified Professional test your home is one component of our environmental health. Testing is well worth consideration as  a tool in our “Keeping Healthy Toolkit.”

InspectorLab provides the highest quality in laboratory testing and the most readable report in the industry. It is the only lab that provides a MoldSafe Guaranty  

For more information on maintaining a healthy home, follow us on this blog or contact an Environmental Sales Consultant at InspectorLab today at 1-888-854-0477 or email us at

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