Experiencing mold symptoms like shortness of breath or wheezing? Concerned about the effects of water damage? Mold spores may be triggering an underlying mold allergy provoking allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, asthma or even chronic fatigue. If you see or smell a water damage or mold condition, if there’s been a history of water damage, or if you suspect a not-so-obvious condition that may be associated with your health concern, call to speak with one of our highly qualified senior investigators about a mold inspection. We’ll patiently listen to your concerns and give you sound, knowledgeable advice as to how you should proceed.
Many water damage and mold problems are in the not-so-obvious category, and after conducting over 5000 mold investigations, we have demonstrated over and over again that we know how to find the hidden mold problems that many other mold inspectors miss. We also provide you with a plan for any necessary mold remediation work and evaluate the source of the underlying moisture problem so that your problem can be solved once and for all.
The scope of our water damage and mold inspections involve the following:
- Identify surfaces displaying water damage and/or mold growth and identify substrates and construction matrices of affected wall/ceiling/floor areas as necessary to develop a remediation plan.
- Take air samples for laboratory analysis as may be necessary to determine if indoor air quality is being affected by mold growth conditions.
- Take surface samples for laboratory analysis to evaluate mold growth as may be necessary.
- Take moisture measurements and evaluate water damage sources (e.g. rainwater intrusion, plumbing leaks, condensation) in areas displaying water damage. Recommend corrective actions or further evaluation by an architect/engineer/plumber as may be necessary.
- Evaluate odors that may be related to water damage and mold growth conditions.
- Our mold inspections are generally minimally invasive, but in some instances it may be necessary to remove base mouldings or to cut open small areas of walls and ceilings with your permission to evaluate hidden mold growth conditions.
- Evaluate hygienic condition of any heating and air conditioning system (mold growth problems are often present in heating and air conditioning systems).
- Provide written report of observations, test results with expert interpretations and specific recommendations for corrective actions including a full site-specific scope of work for any mold remediation work that may be necessary.
NYS Mold Law – Requirements for Mold Assessments (NYS A4759)
Effective January 1, 2016, the NYS Mold Assessment and Remediation Law imposes significant new requirements and responsibilities for persons/entities conducting mold assessments/inspections in the State of New York. Key provisions of this law and Microecologies’ experience and knowledge that enables our compliance are discussed below:
- Evaluating the source of the underlying moisture problem (section 945)
The new law requires that a licensed mold assessor/inspector make an assessment of the source of the moisture problem that caused the mold problem, which is critical in preventing recurrence. However, most mold inspectors do not have the necessary knowledge about building construction and mechanical systems to make a valid assessment. At Microecologies, our inspectors have the construction and mechanical systems knowledge that has enabled us to identify the source of moisture problems and provide solution options since 1993.
- Providing a mold remediation work plan (section 945)
The new law requires that the mold assessor/inspector provide a site-specific, room-by-room, surface-by-surface mold remediation plan to the client and to the mold remediation contractor. However, most inspectors provide only boiler-plate recommendations and do not have the depth of knowledge necessary to write a valid site-specific remediation work plan. At Microecologies, our inspectors [Link to 1.0 About] have written site-specific remediation work plans and performing project monitoring on mold remediation projects since 1993.
- Conducting post-remediation inspection and testing (section 947)
The new law requires that a that licensed mold assessor/inspector conduct a post-remediation inspection to ensure that the work was conducted effectively, and this inspection generally includes air sampling. Unfortunately, the law fails to require that all water damaged surfaces measure dry or that the source of the water damage was identified and corrected. At Microecologies, we make sure the work was done right, the moisture problems were solved, and the premises are safe for occupancy.
Did you know the United States EPA has put Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in the top five risks to your health? While water damage and mold problems are the most frequent causes of poor indoor air quality – and we inspect for these problems in every Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) inspection, there are a myriad of other indoor environmental factors that are often associated with our clients’ health concerns. These factors include inadequate fresh air ventilation, contaminated HVAC systems, carbon monoxide and other combustion vapors, chemical vapors (formaldehyde & other VOC’s) and odors, secondhand tobacco smoke, construction/renovation dust, lead paint and lead poisoning, asbestos, and heavy metals (e.g. arsenic, mercury).
Many renters, homeowners, businesses, and property managers come to Microecologies because of our demonstrated track record since 1993 in identifying and correcting IEQ problems that are provoking health symptoms. Our investigators hold masters degrees in science and engineering and have earned the highest professional credentials. We assess indoor environmental conditions using the most advanced direct-reading field instruments including laser particle counters, ultrafine particle counters, scanning moisture meters, infrared cameras, XRF guns, photoionization detectors, mercury vapor analyzers, multi-gas meters, and EMF meters. Where samples are collected for laboratory analysis, we use only the most highly accredited labs. Our reports always provide expert interpretation of test results, photo-documentation and site-specific recommendations, and are not cluttered with boilerplate text. Our success in identifying and eliminating exposure factors associated with our clients’ symptoms is why leading allergists, immunologists and pulmonologists from Mount Sinai, Cornell Weill, Columbia Presbyterian, and other renowned hospitals know, trust and recommend us over and over again.
Lead based paint was commonly used in buildings and homes across NYC before it was discovered to be a serious health hazard. If your property was built prior to 1978, when lead paint was banned in the U.S., you’re at risk for lead exposure. Lead dust may be released during home renovations, or when lead based paint is chipped or abraded. NYC’s lead poisoning prevention law – Local Law 1 of 2004 – requires landlords to maintain lead painted surfaces in intact condition, and requires annual inspections of apartments where lead-based paint is present and where children reside.
Lead pipes may also leech lead into your tap water. Signs of lead poisoning in children include learning disorders, and behavior problems. For pregnant women, lead can cause abnormal fetal development. And lead poisoning in adults may increase blood pressure and cause kidney problems. Microecologies has been helping clients whose children have been diagnosed with elevated blood lead levels or are concerned about the potential for exposure to lead, and we offer the following lead testing services:
- Lead-based paint inspection
Microecologies’ inspectors are EPA-licensed lead-based paint Risk Assessors and Inspectors, and have conducted inspections for the past 23 years. Our inspections are conducted using the most sophisticated x-ray fluorescence (XRF) technology. Our risk assessments help our clients understand whether the lead paint on their walls and wood trims present a health risk to their families. We provide realistic options to our clients for lead paint removal or other risk mitigation strategies.
- Lead in drinking water inspection
There is no lead in NYC’s drinking water distribution system, but in older homes, the service pipes connecting water mains to home plumbing often contains lead, and even in newer homes, lead solder at pipe fittings can be a source of lead in drinking water. Microecologies has conducted sampling for laboratory analysis of lead, other heavy metals and bacteria in drinking water for the past 23 years, and when we find a problem, we provide solution options.
- Lead screening of children’s products
In collaboration with the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Microecologies has been conducting lead testing of children’s products since 2008, and we have learned that many hair accessory, jewelry and other children’s products manufactured in China contain levels of lead hundreds of times higher than permitted by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
It’s smart to hire a home inspector or building inspector. It’s even smarter to bring in Microecologies to conduct a supplemental indoor environmental inspection. Why? Because most home and building inspectors only focus their attention on construction/structural issues and mechanical/electrical issues, Unfortunately, they often pay little attention to environmental conditions that can cause allergies, asthma, and even cancer…we do. We’ve performed hundreds of supplemental building inspections to identify indoor environmental issues in homes, co-ops, and condos – protected many clients from potential disasters. From discovering hidden mold growth and moisture problems, to finding deteriorated fiberglass and mold in air conditioning systems, to detecting mercury vapors in trendy loft apartments (former manufacturing sites), we find the environmental hazards the average property inspector ignores. Armed with a pre-purchase environmental inspection report from a certified Microecologies inspector, our clients have been empowered to negotiate a price reduction– or walk away from their “dream” property – which would have been nightmare. Protect your health and your property investment.
The nose knows. That popular saying is based on the scientific fact that humans have evolved to literally sniff out danger. Many of our clients complain about musty odors (often a sign of hidden mold growth), cigarette or cigar smoke odors, dead animal/fecal odors, or chemical odors. When your nose is telling you there’s a problem, it’s our job to figure out what the odor is, where it’s coming from, and how to eliminate it.
While some chemical vapors, such as perchloroethylene (perc) used in dry-cleaning, do have good olfactory warning properties at levels of concern, others like carbon monoxide, mercury, methylene chloride used in paint stripping, and formaldehyde used in engineered wood products are either odorless or not noticeable. If you’re concerned about chemical vapor emissions threatening your family’s health, we’ll use our investigative skills to identify potential emitting sources. Then, where necessary, we take samples for laboratory analysis to identify and determine the concentration levels of hundreds of potentially hazardous chemical vapors.
Since 1993, Microecologies has helped hundreds of our clients by investigating and solving odor and chemical vapor problems in their homes and offices.
When construction errors or deficiencies in newly constructed properties result in water damage and mold problems that may compromise the health of your family members, the underlying root cause(s) of the problems need to be identified such that the responsible party(s) can be held accountable. Microecologies has worked with our clients and their attorneys to not only identify and quantify water damage and mold problems resulting from construction defects, but to expertly evaluate the cause of the underlying problem. We then propose reasonable solutions and/or next steps. Many of the clients we have served in this capacity are owners of multi-million dollar co-op and condo properties whose families have suffered from health problems as a result of the construction defects. We have helped them return to environmentally healthy residences with the repair costs being borne by the responsible party.
Many thousands of high rise apartment buildings throughout NYC that were formerly rental buildings have been converted to condominiums. This trend continues and shows no sign of slowing down. However, when these rental-to-condo conversions are announced, not all of the residents either want to or can afford to purchase their apartment. When these conversions occur, the extensive demolition and renovation work conducted by the contractors for the building owner often generate high levels of toxic dusts that include lead, crystalline silica (an IARC carcinogen released whenever cement or masonry is disturbed) and even asbestos. The residents who remain in occupancy (often only a small number of residents in the building) are exposed to these toxic dust hazards. Microecologies has successfully helped to protect residents who remain in occupancy during many demolition/renovation conversion jobs by providing their attorneys with the environmental evidence and the necessary work plans to ensure proper dust control and containment.
As certified industrial hygienists, Microecologies’ investigators are fully qualified and experienced in conducting assessments of chemical, physical, and biological hazards in work places. These assessments are performed both in response to employee or OSHA complaints, and in helping employers maintain healthy work place environments. Our investigators will gain an understanding of your operations and the products used, recommend an appropriate sampling plan, and present options for administrative and engineering controls to assure that any hazards to workers are adequately controlled.