Safe and Effective 

Flood and Mold Remediation –

after Super Storm Sandy and other Natural Disasters.

March 13 – 15, 2013
at the  Seaview Hotel and Golf Club – Conference Center; Galloway, N.J.
(near Atlantic City, New Jersey)

International Conference  - Well Done


  • More than 53 Presentations and Papers

  • Attendees from around the world including France, Iceland, Canada, USA

  • Presentations by NJ & NY-DOH, NIOSH, OSHA, FEMA

  • Public Health & Remediation Industry Specialists

  • Union Safety and Health  Representatives

  • Conference Summary available now!

Speakers Key Points and Conference Summary


Dr. Eckardt Johanning
Dr. Harriet Ammann
Dr. Phil. Morey
Dr. Pierre Auger
Jean Cox-Ganser, PhD, (NIOSH)

Auger, Pierre, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Quebec, Qc, Canada and

Johanning, Eckardt, MD, MSc, PhD, Fungal Research Group Foundation, Inc. New York, NY, USA:

Indoor mold exposure and control is a recognized public and occupational health concern.

 

  • Indoor mold exposures have been associated with infection, allergy and non-allergic health reactions (toxicity)

  • Often mixed reactions are typical and patients present with non-specific health symptoms

  • Many health care provider lack sufficient education and experience with recognizing mold related health problems and diseases.

  • There is sufficient clinical and experimental evidence to recognize non-allergic toxic health reactions (like toxic reaction) – in these cases general allergy tests (i.e., skin or blood) are not sufficient.

  • Research gap: Lack of good exposure assessment and correlations with observed toxic health reactions

  • Non-respiratory health problems have been described by clinicians after intense indoor mold exposures.

  • Observed health effects show a need for preventive and corrective actions following the « Precautionary principle »

  • The better the personal protection (including respiratory protection (respirators) – the better the overall protection - especially for people with prior health problems

  • Avoid using biocides in indoor environments and air handling systems during remediation and clean-up – many biocides are hazardous to health of workers and home owners! 

Ammann, Harriet M., Ph.D., D.A.B.T. - Olympia, Washington, USA Ammann, Harriet M., Ph.D., D.A.B.T. - Olympia, Washington, USA

Update on Asthma and Mold Epidemiology Toxicology and Epigenetics:

  • New epidemiologic studies included in meta-analyses of studies on asthma and mold indicate that new asthma occurs when healthy individuals move into damp and moldy environments.
  • Asthma in these studies is not only related to allergy to mold, but occurs in non-allergic persons not previously sensitized to mold.  Large world-wide genome studies show that non-allergic asthma is more prevalent in children in the less-developed world, and allergic asthma is more prevalent in the more developed world.  On average, allergic asthma occurs in only 50% of asthma sufferers.
  • Toxicology studies in mice and in cell lines using genomic and proteomic tools show that receptors governing gene interaction are triggered by triple-helical beta-D-glucan and mycotoxins from a number of molds that grow in damp indoor spaces, resulting in gene products common to signs of illness in asthmatics: excess mucus production, and increase in inflammatory cytokines. This information points to a role for toxins in the causation of non-allergic asthma.

 

Hazard and Risk Assessment for Molds Growing Indoors

  • Hazard evaluation in buildings to be evaluated for mold contamination should in each case included and assessment of the nature and extent of contamination, the susceptibility of people occupying the building so that decisions about protecting them from harm through simple clean-up, hazard isolation, or even building evacuation can be made.  Assessment for worker protection from microbial exposure, but also from other dangers such as electrical shock, risk of falling, or risk of being hit by falling structural parts need to be made workers should be trained in the use of protective equipment
  • Risk Assessment requires Epidemiological or  long-term toxicological studies that can identify a critical endpoint (that which occurs in the most sensitive system at the lowest level of exposure) to determine a No Observed Adverse Effect Level or a Lowest Observed Adverse Effect Level for each contaminant breathed by occupants or workers, which can be translated to be protective of people exposed in damp buildings.  To date such research has not been done.
  • The complexity of the ecosystem created in buildings due to the intrusion of moisture changes over time, and current methods that evaluate microbial contamination are limited to indices of whether a microbial contamination exists and do not measure exposure.  Without the ability to determine exposure, protective levels cannot be calculated for individual molds, or for their products. 

Morey, Philip R., Ph.D., CIH – Environ, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA:


  • The exposure risk associated with the assessment and remediation of flood damage and mold growth is greatest in hurricane damaged buildings that are consistently wet and damp. 
  • People carrying out long term assessment or remediation activities in visually moldy, consistently wet, hurricane damaged buildings should use excellent PPE,  probably including powered air purifying respirators. 
  • Air sampling is not required in most buildings in order to demonstrate that mold remediation has been effectively carried out.   Air sampling is de-emphasized as a quality assurance measure of the effectiveness of mold remediation, especially in small buildings ( e.g., most residences ), because of the difficulty associated with data interpretation when only a few outdoor and indoor samples are collected. 

D'Andrea, Christopher, MS, CIH, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York, NY, USA:

 

  • Use a NIOSH approved respirator
  • Scrub off mold with soapy water
  • Dry out your home thoroughly before rebuilding. 
 Inamdar, Arati A, PhD, Joan Bennett, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, NJ,USA :

 

  • Fungal volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are commonly associated with poor air quality and possible adverse health effects to occupants of moldy water damaged residences and buildings.
  • We have successfully applied our Drosophila melanogaster model to generate toxicity profile of different fungal VOCs from living cultures of fungi (Inamdar et al., 2012). 
  • Moreover, we have determined the neurotoxic potential of fungal VOCs: 1-octen-3-ol, 2-octanone; 2,5 dimethylfuran; 3-octanol; and trans-2-octenal where their exposure led to Parkinsonian-like symptoms along with loss of dopaminergic neurons (Inamdar et al., 2010).
  • Therefore, our genetic model offers a great tool to determine, characterize and understand the mechanistic basis for the biological and/or toxicological activities of these fungal VOCs and provides insights into health problems associated with damp and moldy indoor environments.

 

Grant, Irene H., MD, Infectious Disease, New York Medical College, Tarrytown, NY, USA:

  • Severity of persistent neurological and psychological symptoms associated with past mold exposure parallel intensity or chronicity of mold exposure, impaired cell-mediated immunity, and continued mycotoxin excretion.
  • The striking 90% response to  ore-nasopharyngeal-GI biofilm-focused antifungal therapy supports  the pathogenic model that toxin producing molds can colonize the airways causing significant disease.
  • Support for large scale studies investigating incidence, pathogenesis, diagnostic methods, and treatment/prevention protocols is needed.

 

Bobenhausen, Catherine, CIH, CSP, Senior Industrial Hygienist, Vidaris, Inc., New York, NY:

  • Plan for the Unexpected, To Protect Buildings and Assure Continuity Of Business Operations
  • Between Storms, Coordinate a Planned, Professional Response Enabling:  Rapid Deployment of Resources to Restore Propert
  •  Improved Emergency Planning via Informed and Knowledgeable Property Ownership + Management
  • Use of Critical Measures  to Protect Life Safety and Public Health
  • When Repairing Walls/Roofs, Rebuild Them Smarter.

 

Grimes, Carl, HHS, CIEC, Healthy Habitats, Denver, CO, USA:

  • The “unknown” and “unfamiliar” we routinely and unthinkingly avoid starts with avoiding people, especially individuals.
  • What is needed is a framework and training on how to work with victims. Because current methods don’t work for those most in need.
  • The framework starts with generating an individual profile of concerns with cross-checking questions, then compare them to the observations of exposures through an open-ended inspection. Then an individualized action plan can be developed in cooperation with the victim. They must understand or they can’t comply. If they don’t trust they won’t comply.
  • Verification per ACGIH and EPA criteria can be met by occupant satisfaction.

 

 

Pinto, Michael, President, Wonder Makers Environmental, Kalamazoo, MI, USA:

 

  • The recognition of mold as a significant health hazard (as a component of water damaged buildings) continues to gain support from the scientific and medical communities.
  • The volume of water damaged houses as a result of Hurricane Sandy which need to be properly remediated is immense.
    • Estimates range from 70,000-170,000 properties that still need to be cleaned/treated.
    • Many of the remaining structures are owned by individuals who do not have the financial resources to employ a professional mold remediation contractor.
  • Although many different remediation techniques can be employed, it is important that the cleaning and mold treatment process be comprehensive in nature.
    • Cleaning is an important part of the process but so is drying to ensure that future fungal growth is prevented.
    • Cleaning and treatment programs should recognize that safety hazards are also paramount and must be addressed.
    • In addition to being comprehensive, any proposed solution must also be simple (straightforward) enough to be easily utilized by volunteers.

 

Weatherman, Greg, CMC, aerobioLogical Solutions, Inc., Arlington VA, USA:

 

  • Factors such formulation and supersaturation (greater than 100% relative humidity) effect evaporation versus condensation of droplets to help predict success with cleaning or failure with toxic antimicrobial pesticides. 
  • The droplet size characteristics are important for settling to surfaces with gravity for removal by cleaning versus floating in the air for people to inhale after fogging applications with oxidizers, surfactants and volatile organic compounds.
  • Gradient or shear coagulation and turbulent coagulation are the best droplet capture mechanisms for airborne particles within a reasonable time for conditioned indoor environments to be occupied by people.