Categories
Lead

Seller says house has no lead: Should I test anyway?

Many people wonder whether they should have lead testing done when they are buying a new home. The answer is always yes. Even if the seller says that there is no lead, you should still have a lead test done. Why? Because the way the EPA rules are written, sellers and landlords must disclose known lead-based paint hazards. But if they have never done a lead test, then they can claim they didn’t know about it and are legally covered. Because of the language, there are loopholes. It’s sneaky, but it happens.

However, if a seller or landlord does know about any lead-paint hazards, there are certain rules they must follow:

• They must provide any available written reports to buyers or renters on the lead hazards that exist, including lead testing reports and lead abatement information.

• Sellers and landlords must give buyers and renters a pamphlet from the EPA, HUD and CSPC titled “Protect Your Family from Lead Paint in Your Home.”

• Notification and disclosure language for the existence of lead paint hazards must be included in sales contracts and leasing agreements.

• Sellers, lessors, and real estate agents share responsibility for ensuring compliance. Since they are liable and this is a buyers market, you may be able to negotiate the cost of lead testing into the price of the home. Buyers have a 10-day period (unless otherwise agreed upon) to conduct a lead-based paint inspection or risk assessment.

The most important thing is that you have your potential future home tested for lead, regardless of who pays for it. An independent lead inspector will perform the tests and provide you with an unbiased report and plan for what the next steps should be.

Categories
Video

WCBS-TV Looks at Tips for Dealing with Water Damage in Your Home

Categories
Mold Testing vs. Remediation

Do It Yourself Mold Kits Just Don’t Get The Job Done

Many do-it-yourselfers think that using an at-home mold testing kit will let them know whether they have to worry about that musty odor in the basement or discolored area after a leak. They are wrong. These kits generally contain a fungal growth medium in a Petri dish or some other type of container. The object is to expose this medium to viable spores, which then grow to form mold colonies. Unfortunately, the kits are unreliable and cause many DIYers to make bad decisions.

Here are some of the major flaws and challenges of home mold testing kits:

  • Home mold test kits that use ‘settle plate applications’ (set the dish out for 24 – 48 hours and spores are supposed to fall into the dish) generally do not measure airborne particles accurately. Spores vary in size, shape, and weight, so they grow at different rates. Also, every environment contains some amount of mold, and it’s difficult to determine whether the mold spores you collect are from a dangerous indoor colony or just part of the outside environment.
  • DIY mold kits cannot reach areas that are not visible to the eye. You may have mold behind your walls, which is the most dangerous place for it to be. It can spread quickly and infest a whole house before you realize the mold is there.
  • Even though you may be able to grow mold, you likely won’t be able to identify what type it is. There are over 100,000 different types of mold, and some are much more dangerous than others. If you don’t know what you are dealing with, your health could be at risk.
  • False negatives and false positives are a common problem with do-it-yourself mold test kits.

Same problem as above. Your HVAC system circulates air and spores are most likely in this air. Unless you have advanced filtering (i.e. HEPA-rated), you should expect to have mold spores being circulated as well. Even with advanced filtering, most HVAC systems suffer from filter by-pass problems, cabinet and duct leakage, etc. Like the settle plate test, if a gazillion colonies form, you may have an HVAC problem, but then again, maybe not. There are certain locations within an HVAC system where mold growth can be a problem. Remember, the main factors that are needed for mold growth are food and moisture so those are the areas to focus on. Mold won’t arbitrarily grow in your ductwork unless there is a significant problem.

Tip: Have the HVAC system inspected by someone who knows where the problem areas are located.

The bottom line is if you think you may have mold, contact a professional.  Your decision can make all the difference between potential health problems for you and your family, and a very messy and expensive cleanup, or a job handled professionally, properly and quickly.

 

 

Categories
Lead

Do I Need A Lead Inspection?

Do I Need A Lead Inspection?

Lead paint and lead dust both cause lead poisoning, especially in the three most at-risk groups: children, pregnant women and pets. But everyone is at risk and needs to take precautions. Lead testing will let you know if you have an elevated level of lead in your home. Hire a certified lead inspector to conduct a lead test – it could save a life.

lead paint testingLead poisoning can occur when lead is ingested or inhaled. Every year, over 500,000 children under the age of six get lead poisoning. Lead poisoning causes brain damage, lower IQ, ADD, headaches, reduced neonatal weight, damage to the brain and nervous system, behavior and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems, headaches, and sometime seizures, coma and even death.

lead paint removal

If your home or apartment was built before 1978, before the use of lead paint was outlawed, chances are there is lead-based paint somewhere. If the paint layers are sanded or chipped, lead dust will result. You are a prime candidate for lead poisoning. Unfortunately, lead dust can be invisible. That is why it is so important to have a lead inspection in your home, as well as have your family members tested for lead – it’s a simple blood test.

Where is lead found?

  • Deteriorated paint on and around windows, doors, stairs, railing, banisters, porches and fences
  • Dust on floors, sills, blankets, toys and furniture
  • Outdoors, in soil
  • Sandboxes
  • Swimming pool water
  • Swing sets
  • Outdoor toys
  • Athletic fields

If a lead test reveals that you have lead in your home, a lead abatement plan will help you to rectify the situation. Contact RTK Environmental Group to assist you with lead testing.

 

Categories
Lead

DANGER! What’s Coming In Your Open Windows?

As the weather gets warmer, we like to open our windows to let in the fresh air. Problem is, that air is not as fresh as you think. What you may not realize is if you live in a house constructed before 1978, simply opening a window could result in the release of toxic lead dust. Where does the dust come from? Paint that’s cracking. And the simple act of opening or closing the window grinds the paint (we’re talking about lead-based paint that was prevalent pre-1978) into powder, thus releasing lead dust in and around the window.

How is this harmful? Duke University researchers studying Connecticut school children discovered that those who had ingested even the smallest amounts of lead or lead dust years earlier did worse on fourth grade reading and math tests than children who had never been exposed at all. Furthermore, the study demonstrated that even levels of lead below the legal limit could have a detrimental effect on child development. Children with low-level exposure (below what has been established as “dangerous”) had lower scores than those with no exposure at all.

Lead paint was banned by the federal government in 1978, effectively lowering the percentage of children with high levels of lead in their blood from 88% in the 1970’s to 1.6% in 2005. Even so, it only takes a speck of lead dust the size of a grain of sand to poison a child, or a pet, or a pregnant woman, according to the Center for Disease Control.

What Can I Do?

1. Replace the old, original, lead painted windows in your house, which will eliminate a main source of lead dust, and in turn limit exposure to lead dust, thus significantly lowering the risk of lead poisoning.

2. If you suspect your house might contain lead paint, have your house tested for lead. If it is determined that your house is, in fact, contaminated, be sure to eradicate the source of lead dust.

3. Have your family tested for lead poisoning. A simple blood test can determine your level of exposure and indicate the level of treatment necessary.

These few easy steps can ensure that your home is a safe environment.

 

 

 

Categories
Video

Pro Discovers Everyone’s At Risk for Lead Poisoning

 

Categories
Lead

Bust Lead Dust

Did you know that lead dust is more dangerous than lead paint itself? According to the Center for Disease Control, a speck of lead dust, equal to a grain of sand, is enough to poison a child. Lead dust is the most common form of lead poisoning. If you do have lead in your home, you will need a lead abatement plan. The only way to know, however, is to have lead testing done.

What is Lead Dust?

Lead dust forms when lead paint is chipped away or sanded. Most houses built before 1978, when it was banned, contain lead paint. Contrary to what most people think, a child doesn’t have to eat

paint chips to get lead poisoning. Microscopic lead dust can be released into the air by simply raising and lowering a window painted with lead paint. The friction between the painted window sash and the painted window frame grinds the paint and generates toxic lead-containing dust. Lead dust is invisible, travels through the air, and is very harmful when inhaled.

Every year, over 300,000 children under the age of six get lead poisoning.  Pregnant woman and pets are also in high-risk groups.  Lead poisoning causes brain damage, lower IQ, ADD, headaches, reduced neonatal weight, damage to the brain and nervous system, behavior and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems, headaches, and sometime seizures, coma and even death.

Before doing any work in your home, have a certified lead inspector conduct a lead test to see if you are at risk. When hiring renovators or contractors, be sure that they are EPA certified in RRP (Renovation, Repair and Painting) and provide a lead-safe work practice. Also, when cleaning lead dust on your own, be sure to follow the proper precautions.

 

Categories
Lead Testing vs. Remediation Video

Commercial Testing

You don’t necessarily need to know about an environmental problem to be held liable for it. Environmental-based lawsuits against property owners, property managers, co-op/condo associations, insurers, realtors, builders and contractors — claiming that environmental problems could have been avoided — are commonplace.

commercial environmental testingSince most environmental issues are hidden from view, it’s important to test to see if your property is contaminated with mold, radon, lead, asbestos, and other toxins, or whether the conditions for future contamination exist. By acting now to uncover and contain problems, you may avert future lawsuits, expensive remediation projects, and excessive insurance costs. You’ll also be protecting the health of your tenants, customers, and employees. Comprehensive water, soil and air quality sampling and testing practices enable RTK to provide an accurate, unbiased assessment of your specific issues and potential risks.

Even if your property is free from environmental hazards today, a problem could arise tomorrow. RTK Environmental group helps prevent problems. Our consultants explain how to discourage mold growth and limit exposure to toxins during renovations. We also advise you how to be fully compliant with all federal, state, and local regulations and standards.

Call us today at 800.392.6468 so our team can inspect your property to ensure that it is free of hazardous materials.

Categories
Mold

Don’t Be Duped – All Black Mold is Not Toxic Mold!

The black mold in your basement or attic may look frightening, but it may just be unsightly, and not necessarily toxic mold. All black mold is not toxic mold.

black moldThat’s why it is so important to have mold testing done. It will determine what type you actually have so that you can take the proper course of action to remove it through mold remediation.

There are over 100,000 different types of mold.  Most cause upper respiratory tract symptoms, coughing, and wheezing in otherwise healthy people. Those with immune suppression or underlying lung disease are more susceptible to fungal infections caused by mold. However, if you have been exposed to toxic mold, however, such as Stachybotrys, Acremonium, Memnoniella or Chaetomium, you could suffer from a myriad of serious symptoms and illnesses such as:

  • chronic bronchitis
  • learning disabilities
  • mental deficiencies
  • heart problems
  • cancer
  • multiple sclerosis
  • chronic fatigue
  • lupus
  • fibromyalgia
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • multiple chemical sensitivity
  • bleeding lungs

how does mold growIn order to grow, toxic mold, like other molds, starts out when water soaks wood, paper, and cotton products or other products, usually as a result of water damage, excessive humidity, water leaks, condensation, water infiltration, or flooding. Constant moisture is required for its growth. When wet, toxic mold may appear slimy with white edges.

While toxic mold can bring on the most serious health problems, all mold can cause health issues in healthy people – especially those who suffer allergies. So the best course of action is to have it checked out by a professional to determine the severity of your problem through mold testing, then devise a mold remediation plan that suits your needs.

Categories
Lead

It’s Time to Bust Lead Dust

Did you know that lead dust is more dangerous than lead paint itself? According to the Center for Disease Control, a speck of lead dust, equal to a grain of sand, is enough to poison a child. Lead dust is the most common form of lead poisoning. If you do have lead in your home, you will need a lead abatement plan.

The only way to know, however, is to have lead testing done.

What is Lead Dust?

lead dustLead dust forms when lead paint is chipped away or sanded. Most houses built before 1978, when it was banned, contain lead paint. Contrary to what most people think, a child doesn’t have to eat paint chips to get lead poisoning. Microscopic lead dust can be released into the air by simply raising and lowering a window painted with lead paint. The friction between the painted window sash and the painted window frame grinds the paint and generates toxic lead-containing dust. Lead dust is invisible, travels through the air, and is very harmful when inhaled.

how do you get lead poisoning

Every year, over 500,000 children under the age of six get lead poisoning.  Pregnant woman and pets are also in high-risk groups.  Lead poisoning causes brain damage, lower IQ, ADD, headaches, reduced neonatal weight, damage to the brain and nervous system, behavior and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems, headaches, and sometime seizures, coma and even death.

Before doing any work in your home, have a certified lead inspector conduct a lead test to see if you are at risk. When hiring renovators or contractors, be sure that they are EPA certified in RRP (Renovation, Repair and Painting) and provide a lead-safe work practice. Also, when cleaning lead dust on your own, be sure to follow the proper precautions.