Environmental testing


The home of a woman with severe sun sensitivity; notice the front windows sealed with Denny Foil panels to keep the light out.


It’s a good idea to test the water, levels of electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs), and other environmental factors before committing to a new home. Below are resources we’ve collected via the Internet but we do not have firsthand experience with all of them; please do your due diligence before choosing which one is right for you.


General tips for finding a reputable environmental consultant

Mary Cordaro of Mary Cordaro, Inc. suggests:
• Find several potential consultants in your area – see iaqa.org, the Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA) website.
• Interview them to find the most experienced person, with a good 10 years (or as close as possible to 10) of experience and a lot of building science training who can test for chemicals and mold, etc.
• Getting an experienced inspector who is knowledgeable about chemicals, mold/moisture, and EMF’s will take some work. The exception is that radon, asbestos and lead are straightforward, and you can more easily find locals for those items. But the rest is going to be harder, unless you can afford to fly someone in, at times on very short notice. In that case, feel free to contact me for recommendations on who you can fly in to inspect your potential new home.
• If the house has a regular forced air furnace/AC, go to the website for the Building Performance Institute (BPI) at bpi.org to find a local BPI office. Ask the local office for a referral to a local “HERS rater,” then ask the HERS rater for referrals to local HVAC companies (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) whose work they have found to be excellent. This way, you can get an assessment/inspection of the heating/ac system and what it will take to make it healthier and more energy efficient. Note: They won’t know how to do the upgrades without toxic materials, that’s the only problem (you’ll need consulting for that), but a BPI certified company will know WAY more than a regular non-BPI-trained company.


When qualifying consultants and remediation contractors, Carl Grimes, President of the Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA) and Healthy Habitats, LLC, suggests you set up some qualifying terms and conditions in writing (These do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of IAQA):

1. No chemicals without full disclosure and written approval by the client. (Chemicals, especially for mold, are rarely necessary. Just killing mold doesn’t improve conditions and may make them worse). If the original concern is chemical in nature, using more chemicals won’t help.

2. Assessment of the damage and a written scope of the work necessary should be conducted by someone truly independent of the contractor. That report can then be presented for a number of contractors to bid on. They will be within 10-15% of each other. If each contractor conducts their own assessment and determines their own scope, it is not unusual to receive variations in bids of 200% to 400%, or more.

3. If mold sampling is recommended (rarely necessary) the sampling plan should be submitted for approval and the plan should be based on a comprehensive assessment before any sampling takes place. Without that initial assessment, how does anyone know what to test for, how to test, or how the results should be interpreted?

4. Interpretation of the possible range of results should be identified before any samples are collected. That provides a critical control on how the results can actually be used. If the results are interpreted after they are received others are free to apply their own criteria for interpreting the data as they each see fit for their own self interest. These disputes cannot be resolved without prior criteria.

5. Agreement up front on what criteria will be used to determine that the job is done. Without this prior agreement it is not unusual for the contractor to insist he completed the terms of the contract and the consultant will verify that the lab data says there is less mold now than before. Despite your claim the house is still not habitable. It is way too late to change the contract.

6. Habitability means the ability of the occupant to re-enter the home without reaction per ACGIH Bioaerosols 8.6.3 and 15.5 plus EPA Mold Remediation for Schools and Commercial Buildings Page 26 item 5.

7. It’s never just mold! Mold growth (not just presence of spores) is the result of dampness. But dampness also increases levels of bacteria, among other results. But if only mold is tested than it can be truthfully gone while the other exposure sources remain. Other than bacteria, at least half the time mold is accused of being the culprit it is actually something else. About half the time mold is the culprit, it is mold and something else. If only one of several exposure sources is resolved the complaint will continue. Another compelling reason to obtain a comprehensive assessment to guide contractors on their bids rather than attempt to save money by starting with a contractor.


healthy home consultants
Create Your Healthy Home
The Enviro Health Environmental Home Inspection is a professional in-depth screening of indoor air and water quality, mold, and electromagnetic field issues.

Mary Cordaro of Mary Cordaro, Inc.
Healthy, Green Environmental Consultant, Certified Bau-Biologist.

Carl Grimes of Healthy Habitats, LLC
Indoor air quality assessment with a focus on both individual susceptibility and exposure.

Chris Rea
Recommended by Dr. William J. Rea, M.D., director of the Environmental Health Center-Dallas (EHC-D). Call (214) 789-9524 for more information.

Anne Stewart of Environmental Health Consulting, Inc. (southern Ontario, Canada)
Provides Healthy Home Check Ups, conducts workshops and presentations for groups, and consults about spaces and products (personal care products, cleaners, building materials, etc.).


chemicals
Carl Grimes of Healthy Habitats, LLC
Indoor air quality assessment with a focus on both individual susceptibility and exposure.

Mary Cordaro of Mary Cordaro, Inc.
Healthy, Green Environmental Consultant, Certified Bau-Biologist.

Anne Stewart of Environmental Health Consulting, Inc. (southern Ontario, Canada)
Provides Healthy Home Check Ups, conducts workshops and presentations for groups, and consults about spaces and products (personal care products, cleaners, building materials, etc.).


emfs
Carl Grimes of Healthy Habitats, LLC
Indoor air quality assessment with a focus on both individual susceptibility and exposure.

Create Your Healthy Home
Enviro Health Residential EMF Inspections for AC and DC magnetic and electric fields, RF/MW (radio frequency/microwave radiation), ionizing radiation, pulsed signals, grounding and wiring issues, microwave ovens, cellular phones, lighting concerns, computers, and more

EMF Interface Consulting / James B. Beal
Elimination, shielding, reduction, and/or avoidance of electromagnetic fields and micro-wave pulse modulated radio frequency (RF) radiation can often be rapidly accomplished on site. An inspection recommends solutions and environmental improvements: 1) for those who wish to maintain a healthy lifestyle, with minimum stress, on their property, and in their home, or office, and, 2) for those with allergies, and who are electrical hypersensitive (EHS), chemically sensitive, and chronically ill.

Mary Cordaro of Mary Cordaro, Inc.
Healthy, Green Environmental Consultant, Certified Bau-Biologist.

Anne Stewart of Environmental Health Consulting, Inc. (southern Ontario, Canada)
Provides Healthy Home Check Ups, conducts workshops and presentations for groups, and consults about spaces and products (personal care products, cleaners, building materials, etc.).

LessEMF.com
meters and detectors
surveys & consulting services

The American Environmental Health Foundation
EMF detecting meters.


hvac
Carl Grimes of Healthy Habitats, LLC
Indoor air quality assessment with a focus on both individual susceptibility and exposure.

Mary Cordaro of Mary Cordaro, Inc.
Healthy, Green Environmental Consultant, Certified Bau-Biologist.

Anne Stewart of Environmental Health Consulting, Inc. (southern Ontario, Canada)
Provides Healthy Home Check Ups, conducts workshops and presentations for groups, and consults about spaces and products (personal care products, cleaners, building materials, etc.).


lead
Create Your Healthy Home
Enviro Health tests for lead in paint, dishes, glasses, solder, water, soil, and hair.

Mary Cordaro of Mary Cordaro, Inc.
Healthy, Green Environmental Consultant, Certified Bau-Biologist.


mold
Carl Grimes of Healthy Habitats, LLC
Indoor air quality assessment with a focus on both individual susceptibility and exposure.

Create Your Healthy Home
Enviro Health Residential Environmental Inspections for Aspergillus, Stachybotrys, Penicillium, Alternaria, Cladosporium, and other allergenic molds

Mary Cordaro of Mary Cordaro, Inc.
Healthy, Green Environmental Consultant, Certified Bau-Biologist.

Mold Inspector
Mold remediation information and do-it-yourself-at-home testing kits

The American Environmental Health Foundation
Choose from several kits that offer an easy and inexpensive way to find out if you have airborne or Stachybotrys mold in your home.


real estate pre-purchase
Carl Grimes of Healthy Habitats, LLC
Indoor air quality assessment with a focus on both individual susceptibility and exposure.

Create Your Healthy Home
Pre-purchase/Pre-rental Residential Environmental Inspections from Enviro Health address mold risk—including on-site microscope investigation—electromagnetic fields from power lines and stray voltage in the Earth, electromagnetic fields from wiring and grounding issues, radio frequency transmissions, chemical lead screening (unless an XRF inspector is called in), other topics such as pesticide history, volatile organic compounds, and ventilation concerns, as well as an assessment of ductwork

Mary Cordaro of Mary Cordaro, Inc.
Healthy, Green Environmental Consultant, Certified Bau-Biologist.


ventilation
Carl Grimes of Healthy Habitats, LLC
Indoor air quality assessment with a focus on both individual susceptibility and exposure.

Mary Cordaro of Mary Cordaro, Inc.
Healthy, Green Environmental Consultant, Certified Bau-Biologist.

Anne Stewart of Environmental Health Consulting, Inc. (southern Ontario, Canada)
Provides Healthy Home Check Ups, conducts workshops and presentations for groups, and consults about spaces and products (personal care products, cleaners, building materials, etc.).


water
Carl Grimes of Healthy Habitats, LLC
Indoor air quality assessment with a focus on both individual susceptibility and exposure.

Mary Cordaro of Mary Cordaro, Inc.
Healthy, Green Environmental Consultant, Certified Bau-Biologist.

Anne Stewart of Environmental Health Consulting, Inc. (southern Ontario, Canada)
Provides Healthy Home Check Ups, conducts workshops and presentations for groups, and consults about spaces and products (personal care products, cleaners, building materials, etc.).

The American Environmental Health Foundation
83-item screen for: bacteria (presence/abence test for Coliform and E. Coli bacteria), 19 Heavy metals and minerals, 6 other inorganic chemicals, (5) physical factors, 4 trihalomethanes and 47 volatile organic chemicals. The Watercheck with pesticide adds an additional check for (20) pesticides, herbicides and PCB’s. Turn-Around Time: 7-12 days from date of receipt.

National Testing Laboratories Mary Cordaro recommends this lab as the best in the country. They send out kits, and sell to consumers.

Water Reports
Check here if you do not receive a water report in July from your water utility (ask your landlord if you rent)—or call EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800.426.4791 to find out which utility serves you and how to get a report

Water Testing
Test the water coming out of your faucet at state-certified labs that analyze for everything from certain bacteria to minerals—costs range from $35 for a lead check to $200 for a comprehensive screening.


top photo: © 2009 Julie Genser | The home of a woman with severe sun sensitivity; notice the front windows sealed with Denny Foil panels to keep the light out.

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