Inspections

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Water Damage and Mold Inspection

General Considerations

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 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 on how to proceed.

Many water damage and mold problems are in the not-so-obvious category, and after conducting over 5,000 mold investigations, we have repeatedly demonstrated 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.

The scope of our water damage and mold inspections involves 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. If necessary, recommend corrective actions or have an architect/engineer/plumber evaluate the situation further.
  • Evaluate odors that may be related to water damage and mold growth conditions.
  • Our mold inspections are generally minimally invasive, but with your permission, we may need to remove base mouldings or cut open small areas of walls and ceilings to evaluate hidden mold growth conditions.
  • Evaluate the 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 assess the source of the moisture problem that caused the mold problem, which is critical in preventing recurrence. However, most mold inspectors lack the 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 performed project monitoring on mold remediation projects since 1993.
  • Conducting post-remediation inspection and testing (section 947)
    The new law requires that a licensed mold assessor/inspector conduct a post-remediation inspection to ensure that the work is 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 ensure the work is done right, the moisture problems are solved, and the premises are safe for occupancy.

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Find out more about mold.

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Inspection

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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, a myriad of other indoor environmental factors are often associated with our client’s health concerns. These factors include inadequate fresh air ventilation, contaminated HVAC systems, carbon monoxide and other combustion vapors, chemical vapors (formaldehyde & other VOCs) 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 master’s 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.

Call or Email Us to Discuss Your Concerns and Learn More About our Services.

 

Lead Paint and Lead Poisoning Inspection

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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 before 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. 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 who 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 presents 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 contain 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. We have learned that many hair accessories, 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).

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Pre-Purchase: Building or Home Inspection

inspections_03_building-purchaseIt’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 a nightmare. Protect your health and your property investment.

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Odor and Chemical Inspection

inspections_04_cigaretteThe nose knows. That popular saying is based on the scientific fact that humans have evolved to 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 tells 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.

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Construction Forensics Inspection

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.

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Construction/Demolition/Renovation Dust Inspection

Many thousands of high-rise apartment buildings throughout NYC that were formerly rental buildings have been converted into condominiums. This trend continues and shows no sign of slowing down. However, when these rental-to-condo conversions are announced, not all residents 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 dust 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.

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Work Place Hazards & OSHA Compliance Inspection

inspections_05_workplaceAs certified industrial hygienists, Microecologies’ investigators are fully qualified and experienced in conducting assessments of chemical, physical, and biological hazards in workplaces. These assessments are performed both in response to employee or OSHA complaints and to help employers maintain healthy workplace 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 ensure that any hazards to workers are adequately controlled.

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