Healthy Indoors Magazine - USA Edition

HI April 2022-USA Edition

Healthy Indoors Magazine

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14 | April 2022 the containment barriers falling from ceilings and walls. The contractors didn't fix it. Their explanation was that the negative air machine would prevent contamination from the work area. Be- sides, they would fog the entire house the next day to kill any mold that got out. Here's the three part "kicker" to this debacle: 1. They turned off the scrubber and the negative air equipment as they were leaving. 2. When my client protested, they were warned not to turn them back on, because if they ran all night they would overheat and cause a fire — which they, not the contractor or insurance company, would have to pay for. 3. The photo of the negative air ma- chine showed the exhaust of the HEPA device a foot away from the open patio door. No way there could be controlled air flow. This was so obvious that even my clients knew something wasn't right. But they didn't know what was wrong, how to fix it, or what to do about it. They were powerless to protect them- selves. They had no guardrails and desperately needed a parachute to save themselves. I advised them to go onto the web- site of the company and call a manager or regional supervisor. It was after hours but they got a response and were told that a supervisor would be at the house by noon the next day. Two showed up and they confirmed the containment was wrong and there was no negative air pressure. My clients sent me photos showing a beautifully constructed con- tainment with a negative air machine properly installed. Fantastic! The saga was not over. My client has a history of chemical intolerance and has experienced reactions from exposure to the chemical the company and the landlord insisted was neces- sary (contrary to S520). They eventu- ally agreed to strictly limit their use to what was allowed as an exception to I was informed that the contractor they talked with was one of the national franchises and they had informed them that they followed S520. Who was my client to believe? A contractor hired by the landlord's insurance company or me who was 1,000 miles away. So, I pulled rank and said I was on the committee that wrote the original S520 and helped to edit the final version. I then sent them quotes pulled directly from S520, a di- agram of a HEPA device configured as an air scrubber and as a negative air machine. I emailed photos showing them in correct use, and another show- ing how the plastic barrier would be taut and sucked-in toward the work area if properly configured. The contractor response was in- credible – as in, "not credible." He said their containment was correct and that my information was out of date. They were using the 2022 version of S520, and it required chemical treatment. I knew better but just to be sure I con- tacted IICRC for an official response. As suspected, there is no 2022 version of S520. Also, neither the previous version nor the upcoming version allowed chem- ical treatment except in unusual situa- tions specifically identified and justified. Remember, these were franchi- sees from a national remediation company who are supposedly trained by IICRC instructors. My clients then sent me photos of T his is a true story. The names are not used to protect both the guilty and the innocent. I remember the details well because the events occurred over a 36-hour period just a day before I started writing this article. A couple I had been occasional- ly working with remotely texted me to say they discovered a small dish- washer leak. I'll skip the details and go straight to what they were being told by the contractor: • There's no mold. • They didn't need containment. • But just to be safe they would use negative air, spray the damp areas with bleach, and fog the entire house, just to be sure they would be safe from the mold. You don't need technical training or a certification to realize these are contradictory statements. If there is no mold, there is no need for treat- ment. If there is no containment, there can be no negative air flow. I discussed what I'd expect from a contractor if they followed ANSI-II- CRC S520 Standard for Professional Mold Remediation. The minimum fun- damentals are to identify the source of the moisture so it can be stopped, and physically remove the visible col- onies of mold growth in a manner that doesn't spread debris. No chemical treatment is allowed. So, Where's My Parachute?

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