Anybody using Pro-Labs out of Florida?

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Anybody using Pro-Labs out of Florida?

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Ken Jones

B-E Home Inspections (Indiana License # HI00500393) Serving All of NW Indiana and SW Michigan
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User: kjones
Posted: Sep 2, 2005 11:58 AM       Post Subject:
They contacted me today about using them for testing materials, equipment and lab work - They have a $499 package that is interesting for someone like me just getting into mold testing.

Any comments on them from anybody? icon_biggrin.gif

Their web site is - www.reliablelab.com/catalog
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Caoimh?n P. Connell
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Posted: Sep 3, 2005 7:28 AM       Post Subject:

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Hello Mr. Jones:

Pro-Labs has been discussed in this forum in the past. Pro-Labs is great? if you want to get sued and have your data dismantled by an expert on the stand like me.

On the other hand, if you want tenable data, then I would use a laboratory that provides standard accepted service, and tenable reports.

I have contacted the AIHA concerning Pro-Labs certification. The AIHA is now aware of the problems with being unable to withdraw certification for labs that do not follow accepted practice. Unfortunately, due to an oversight on the inability to take disciplinary action, it seem that Pro-Labs will maintain their certification in spite of their practices.

By the way ? Pro-Labs refused to take my calls when I contacted them to discuss these issues.

Cheers,
Caoimh?n P. Connell
Forensic Industrial Hygienist
www.forensic-applications.com

(The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

AMDG
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Ken Jones

B-E Home Inspections (Indiana License # HI00500393) Serving All of NW Indiana and SW Michigan
NACHI Member: Yes
(as of 3/25/07)
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User: kjones
Posted: Sep 3, 2005 8:47 AM       Post Subject:
Dear Mr. Connell

Thank you for your responce. I must have missed your previous post on Pro Labs.

I have been reading over the last few days the questions and responces from you and others.

Trying to run a reputable and technically accurate service seems to run into real problems when it comes to enviormental testing. As HI's we currently are not getting trained to the level to do it right, it seems. The stuff being offered to us is questionable at best.

My clients are asking for it, but I don't want to offer a service, if I can't offer a level of acceptable service. As you can guess, the rub comes from turning your back on a new avenue of revenue for my company.

In your experienced opinion, is there a middle ground. Can proceedures and testing methods be established (or are they now) that a HI can offer.

Is there a acceptable lab that we can turn to that can give acceptable reports, that might be acceptable if brought into court.

Sorry if I'm asking questions that have already been answered. Over this holiday weekend, I am going to spend more time reading all the message board questions and comments.

I'm hope it has been already said many times by NACHI members, but Thank You for your comments, your time, and for the fact of sharing you wide expertice on the subject.
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Jeffrey Campbell

Campbell Property Inspections
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Posted: Sep 3, 2005 10:13 AM       Post Subject:
Mr. Connell,

Are you comments specific to Pro Lab's Mold services? or to the rest of the services as well... Radon, water etc...?
Thanks...
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Gary Porter

GLPs Home and Mold Inspections LLC
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User: gporter
Posted: Sep 4, 2005 8:08 AM       Post Subject:
Emlab is one you can look at.

--
Gary Porter
GLP's Home and Mold Inspections LLC
Orlando, Fl 32828
321-239-0621

www.homeandmoldinspections.com

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Caoimh?n P. Connell
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Posted: Sep 4, 2005 10:15 AM       Post Subject:

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Messrs Porter and Campbell:

Good questions. In my opinion, there are many ways in which HIs can develop useful environmental testing markets, and offer those services to their clients. That?s not a problem ? but the representation of the service and the presentation of the data are what get many HIs into trouble.

For example, its one thing for an HI to submit a little test-kit for mould in a home. It is another thing entirely to present those data from that little test as some kind of microbial assessment or mould assessment of the property, or to make ANY comment about health or health effects based on that lab report.

As a perfect example, on this board recently, someone stated ?I did an Indoor Air Quality test for a customer?? and then stated that the data quality objective (DQO) for the test was ?The reason for the test was that during heavy rains water flowed into her downstairs apartment.? If this goes to court, the tester and his ?data? will be shot down within minutes of the litigation process since his stated DQO has absolutely nothing to do with IAQ testing or any kind of stated test that he performed. As such, that alone (although there is more) would be used as the foundation to demonstrate that the tester had no competency in indoor air quality testing, and his tests, and therefore data, have no probative value. Its an example of an HI going way way way outside their area of expertise and competency and making a mess of things along the way (and increasing his own liability for a law suit). I make a tidy sum as an expert witness/rebuttal witness, and blasting HI?s mould reports to smithereens are one of the easiest parts of that job. If, on the other hand, an HI has merely followed, for example, a radon testing protocol, and exclusively reported those data within the context of the protocol, and made no interpretive statement regarding risk or health, then I can?t impugn that HI's work or results, I can only challenge the protocol and the organization that established the protocol.

Here?s the flip side -I have absolutely no competency in home inspections, and although I ?inspect? homes, I am not an HI, and I tell clients that I am not an HI and that I don?t do ?home inspections.? However, I do enter homes and ?inspect? those homes as part of microbial assessments, or IAQ issues, ghosting, or even radiological issues. But that doesn?t make me an HI. And when my clients ask me questions about UBC or foundations or windows, I tell them I lack the technical competence to answer those questions.

In my opinion, HIs can sell environmental testing by keeping the results within the context of the protocol and their expertise. For example - mould ? without a water problem there is NEVER a mould problem. An HI is ideally suited to identify moisture intrusion and other water related problems. Ergo, applying that high technical competence and tenable expertise can very effectively be a ?mould inspection? without ever collecting a single mould sample, ever having to know the difference between an Ascomycetes and a Deutermycetes, and ever having to make any statement about health effects from mould exposure.

Also, HIs can collect water samples for lead analysis according to standard protocol, and report those data, not as a toxicological assessment or risk assessment or making any statement about health effects, but simply report the data within the published protocol and regulatory guidelines. Similarly, one can perform radon monitoring, and narrowly report the data within the context of the state or EPA guidelines WITHOUT attempting to go out on a limb and interpret the data. If a client asks ?What is the risk from this radon reading?? the HI can recommend the client seek proper consultation from a consulting industrial hygienist or health physicist, and explain that the data has simply been collected according to a set protocol, and reported according to that protocol and is NOT an exposure assessment, radiological assessment, risk assessment, or health based assessment.

HIs can provide similar environmental services for asbestos inspections, lead based paint inspections, etc, even EMF inspections, by merely reporting the objective data according to the selected protocol. There are established protocol, and established reporting formats ? which, if followed, can result in expanding one?s services into those areas, limiting one?s liability, and providing a useful service.

Finding an ?acceptable? lab is a different issue. For a start, I would NEVER EVER use a lab that interpreted the data. A respectable lab will merely objectively report units without ANY comments, since those comments would be made in a vacuum and can conflict with the consultant?s expert opinion, and better knowledge of the situation. If a lab makes interpretive comments on a report ? send it back and instruct the lab to re-issue the report without the comments. If the HI cannot interpret the raw lab data within the context of the protocol, then the HI should not have collected the samples in the first place without receiving proper training.

Regarding my comments about ProLabs, let me first state ? I have ten years experience as an analytical chemist working for commercial and government contract labs; I have managed SW846 CLP QA/QC for the EPA; I have worn the shoes of the Lab QA/QC manager. The backbone of a lab?s credibility is the QA/QC department which, for respectable labs, will be central to all lab operations. Any lab that puts out reports the likes of ProLab?s reports reflects the overall QA/QC office for the service. As such, incredulity in one report imparts incredulity in the entire service ? in my personal opinion.

There are many, many good labs in every state - For my work, for spore counts and viable mould ID, I use AeroTech Labs in AZ, for Bacteria and Mycobacteria (especially TB, MAC, etc), I use PathCon in Georgia. For macrofungi, I use the mycology department of the Denver Botanical Gardens.

These are just my opinions, of course. But if you or your client is being sued, and I meet you in court as an expert, and I attack your tests, testing protocol, results or interpretations, then those opinions can be very compelling in deciding which way your wind of fortune blows.

Cheers, on this beautiful Sept morning ? undoubtedly with fishing somewhere in the mix!

Caoimh?n P. Connell
Forensic Industrial Hygienist
www.forensic-applications.com

(The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

AMDG
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Gary Porter

GLPs Home and Mold Inspections LLC
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Posted: Sep 4, 2005 11:07 PM       Post Subject:
I appreciate your information. I just seems you are out to get the tester who is just providing the service. It almost seems like the insurence companies wants us to go away and tell the home owner you can hire a FIH for about $3000.00 or just accept what you have. This is just my opinion.

--
Gary Porter
GLP's Home and Mold Inspections LLC
Orlando, Fl 32828
321-239-0621

www.homeandmoldinspections.com

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James Eubank

Eubank Inspections
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Posted: Sep 5, 2005 8:04 AM       Post Subject:
Like some of the other inspectors who have posted to this thread, I'm struggling to find the balance on environmental testing. Since I stopped using Pro-Lab a few weeks back (there's another message board thread about that), I haven't been providing any environmental testing. But I continue to be asked about it. And I continue to believe it's a valid service to offer. People want to know about that aspect of their home's condition, and the inspector is the obvious person to ask.

I don't have an ethical problem with doing some of the rather simple tests and having them evaluated by a reputable lab. Obviously the home owners could do that themselves, so my service is just saving them some time and energy. As a certified inspector, I need to make sure I'm educated in the correct protocol for each test that I do. In NACHI's Standards of Practice, the exclusions section at the end states that an inspector is not required to determine the presence of various environmental hazards. So if I do an environmental test, it is an extra service beyond a standard inspection.

It doesn't make sense to me to do a test and receive the results without any interpretation or comment about the meaning of the results. What is wrong with stating that "EPA indicates that a certain level is the threshold for concern, and your test results are below that level" ?

--
Inspected once, inspected right throughout southern Colorado

www.eubankinspections.com

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Gary Porter

GLPs Home and Mold Inspections LLC
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User: gporter
Posted: Sep 5, 2005 9:23 AM       Post Subject:
I agree James.

--
Gary Porter
GLP's Home and Mold Inspections LLC
Orlando, Fl 32828
321-239-0621

www.homeandmoldinspections.com

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Roy Cooke

Roys Home Inspection
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Posted: Sep 5, 2005 9:27 AM       Post Subject:
jeubank wrote:
Like some of the other inspectors who have posted to this thread, I'm struggling to find the balance on environmental testing. Since I stopped using Pro-Lab a few weeks back (there's another message board thread about that), I haven't been providing any environmental testing. But I continue to be asked about it. And I continue to believe it's a valid service to offer. People want to know about that aspect of their home's condition, and the inspector is the obvious person to ask.

I don't have an ethical problem with doing some of the rather simple tests and having them evaluated by a reputable lab. Obviously the home owners could do that themselves, so my service is just saving them some time and energy. As a certified inspector, I need to make sure I'm educated in the correct protocol for each test that I do. In NACHI's Standards of Practice, the exclusions section at the end states that an inspector is not required to determine the presence of various environmental hazards. So if I do an environmental test, it is an extra service beyond a standard inspection.

It doesn't make sense to me to do a test and receive the results without any interpretation or comment about the meaning of the results. What is wrong with stating that "EPA indicates that a certain level is the threshold for concern, and your test results are below that level" ?


It might be a good thing to give the information you have and what you are doing to your insurance company and ask their opinion.
You might also wish to find out if your insurance covers you for this testing.


Roy Cooke sr .... RHI.... Be Happy Join NACHI
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jburkeson
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Posted: Sep 5, 2005 10:08 AM       Post Subject:

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Caoimh?n P. Connell wrote:

Regarding my comments about ProLabs, let me first state ? I have ten years experience as an analytical chemist working for commercial and government contract labs; I have managed SW846 CLP QA/QC for the EPA; I have worn the shoes of the Lab QA/QC manager. The backbone of a lab?s credibility is the QA/QC department which, for respectable labs, will be central to all lab operations. Any lab that puts out reports the likes of ProLab?s reports reflects the overall QA/QC office for the service. As such, incredulity in one report imparts incredulity in the entire service ? in my personal opinion.


I find it ironic that you make this statement, I use Pro-Lab ONLY because of their report. Mold sampling is an ancillary business for us, that being said we have (2) rules we abide by.

1). The customer must understand that the home inspector is NOT an environmental expert, an IAQ expert or trained in the science of microbiology. They must see us as an agent of the lab that merely collects and delivers samples for testing.

2). The 25 Sq-Ft Rule: Any visible contamination greater than 25 Sq-Ft will not be tested. These clients will be directed to contact an environmental expert for consultation.

It all boils down to this; we mostly perform mold sampling on homes with no visible mold. Primarily our services are utilized by out of state home buyers who simply want to know if there is an elevated mold condition within the home. On top of this, we never combine our inspection report with the lab report, they are sent under separate cover. The recipient of this report is advised to notify the lab if they should ever have any questions about the lab report. We never attempt to advise or interpreter the report, we are just not qualified to make such determinations.

On the other hand, our training, expertise and specialty revolves around discovering the Red-Flags of moisture intrusion and the simple collection and transportation of mold-like samples, which we do very well.

You seem to be an extremely learned person and I appreciate you sharing your knowledge with us, I would like you to please comment on our practice and advise me if you perceive any inconsistencies in our offering to the public. Thanks in advance.

--
Joseph Burkeson, RPI (Hooperette)

?Anyone who has proclaimed violence his method inexorably must choose lying as his principle.?
~ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

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Ken Jones

B-E Home Inspections (Indiana License # HI00500393) Serving All of NW Indiana and SW Michigan
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User: kjones
Posted: Sep 5, 2005 12:40 PM       Post Subject:
Does NACHI as a corp entity have a opinion on testing, procedures that HI's can adhere to?
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James Eubank

Eubank Inspections
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Posted: Sep 5, 2005 5:26 PM       Post Subject:
I'm following this discussion with interest, for two reasons. First, I'm trying to figure out how to handle environmental testing. So far, I like Joseph Burkeson's approach, making the disclosure that I'm not an environmental expert, and that I'm collecting samples to send to the lab. I still need to chew on that whole approach to see if it fits who I am as an inspector.

I have a second reason for being interested in this discussion, and it has to do with how we make business decisions. This is getting away from the original topic of Pro-Lab, but it does affect our use of environmental testing. If I mainly care about profit, then I'll only do enviro testing if it's profitable. If I'm afraid of lawsuits, then I might let Ms. Connell's comments frighten me away from enviro testing.

But personally I can't let the profit issues or the legal issues be the deciding factors. I need to know how to offer a good quality service, and I want to include enviro testing since my clients are requesting it. I don't want to go in Ms. Connell's direction by becoming an enviro and forensic legal expert witness. Instead I need to find a lab that I can work with, to provide simple and reliable data to my clients.

--
Inspected once, inspected right throughout southern Colorado

www.eubankinspections.com

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Caoimh?n P. Connell
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Posted: Sep 9, 2005 10:17 AM       Post Subject:

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Hello Gents ?

A lot of good comments and criticisms. Mr. Porter, it?s not that I am ?out to get the tester,? but rather, testers get themselves into trouble by going outside their area of expertise. I?m just an industrial hygienist doing my job.

I agree with Mr. Eubank that environmental testing by HIs is a valid service to offer, and I have said so many times on this board that HIs should be offering those services. However, as with ANY kind of service, if it is offered in a vacuum, or without proper training, or performed badly, or interpreted incorrectly, then it is a disservice; however well intentioned.

However, regarding, interpretation ? it is one thing for an home inspector to say ?I have performed a radon test according to EPA protocol, and I have sent the test to a lab that analyzed the test according to EPA protocol. The results from the lab were X pCi/l. According to the EPA, ?.etc? That is good and is NOT interpreting the results. However, that is NOT what a lot of home inspectors say in their reports. Instead, HIs say they have measured the radon concentration in a house (which they haven?t done) and the radon concentration in the house is X pCi/l (which it isn?t), and the risk of cancer is XXX (which they can?t support or defend); THAT is interpretation (worse still, it is misinterpretation) and is not good.

Similarly, it is one thing for an HI to take a mould swab and send it off to the lab, and then report: ?The laboratory reported observing spores of Chaetomium, Penicillia and Stachybotrys in the swab.? That is NOT interpreting the results; but another thing entirely to say ?The lab reported finding toxic moulds?(which they are not), and these pathogenic moulds (interpretation out of context) have been associated with X diseases (out of context, and not meeting with any DQOs), and this indicates a mould problem in the house (which it doesn?t). Big difference.

What may seem an easy interpretation may not be correct at all. For example, If you have just collected a vacuum sample from a carpet for mould, and submitted the results to the lab who reports the values in CFU/g, which number below represents an higher mould concentration in a carpet sample:

1,000 CFUs/g

or

5,000 CFUs/g

if you answered that 5,000 CFUs/g was higher than 1,000 CFUs/g, then get your attorney ready, because you are going to need his services to save your business when I take the stand and blow your "interpretation" out of the water within 20 seconds.

Mr. Burkeson: You state ? ?Primarily our services are utilized by out of state home buyers who simply want to know if there is an elevated mold condition within the home?? But my point is precisely that ? I will wager that you have NEVER actually EVER determined what the concentration of mould spores in a house are let alone made a determination of whether or not, based on those results, the concentration is elevated or not. For a start, it is very expensive to do ? I just wrapped up such a determination, and it was pretty cheap at $2,800.00.

Also ? you say ?The recipient of this report is advised to notify the lab if they should ever have any questions about the lab report.? Again, that is my point, because the lab has ABSOLUTELY no knowledge of the home, the conditions, the test parameters, or any other knowledge whatsoever about the property and CANNOT CANNOT CANNOT answer any of the questions concerning interpretation of the results for the property. As I said, if the consultant cannot completely and thoroughly interpret the raw data from the lab, then, in my opinion, they should not be collecting samples in the first place. The ONLY answers the lab can (and should) give is 1) who analyzed the sample 2) how was the sample analyzed 3) when was the sample analyzed and 4) what was the QA/QC. The lab should NEVER even attempt to answer the question ?What do the results mean?? because they CANNOT answer that question; and yet, that is precisely what Pro-labs does, and they get slammed for it every time a respectable industrial hygienist/ microbiologist has to discredit their lab reports.

Then you say ? ?We never attempt to advise or interpreter the report, we are just not qualified to make such determinations.? And yet, how can you possibly determine if there is an elevated spore count, if you do not interpret the data, and the laboratory cannot interpret the data? I don?t get it, and I think that there are certainly inconsistencies in the service you are providing.

I?m not trying to beat up on the HI profession ? I have tremendous professional respect for HIs, and their excellent technical knowledge and expertise in their field ? I have relied heavily on HIs for my own home purchases since I am not technically competent in that area. However, I have never yet, not once, in 17 years, come across a ?mould test? performed by a HI that was even slightly collected correctly and/or interpreted correctly. Without exception, I have successfully shot down absolutely every such test performed by a HI, based solely on the gross technical errors and lack of microbial expertise used by inspector who frequently, in their report, regurgitate technically inaccurate goo and microbial myths that they have gleaned from goofy sources.

When I am in somebody?s house, I don?t make any comments about foundations, siding, or wiring, etc, because I am not technically competent to so do; and I know that a competent HI would make dog?s dinner out of me for my incompetent comments. Why, then, should an HI, who probably hasn?t got the first notion of sampling theory, and couldn?t develop a DQO or describe the difference between authoritative sampling and judgmental sampling and who wouldn?t know a chemoorganotroph from a basidiospore take mould samples?

Ultimately, my only point is this ? if you, or if I step out of our areas of expertise and venture into testing and professional consultation for which we have no knowledge or expertise, we are going to get egg on the face or sued. And an expert who really does have knowledge in that area will make us look like monkeys and harm our professional reputations.

If you are interested in seeing how sampling plans are derived, you may be interesting in reading the sampling plan I prepared for some regulations for the State of Colorado. In 6 CCR 1014-3, Appendix A and Attachment to Appendix A, I lay out some standard concepts that are used in sampling. These are the very same concepts used whether sampling for mould, or lead, or radon or asbestos, or methamphetamine, or_______ fill in the blank. And if an HI is not already familiar with that kind of discussion, and could not sit down with their client and clearly describe these things, then that HI, in my humble opinion, should not be collecting any samples for which a definitive protocol does not exist (such as radon) and certainly should NEVER attempt interpretation. Those appendices, by the way, are found on the Colorado Dept. of Public Health page at http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/regulate.asp just scroll down to ?6 CCR 1014-3? and download the PDF, or go to my website and I have it there as well. If you are interested specifically in mould air monitoring aspects, I discuss that elsewhere at
http://www.forensic-applications.com/moulds/mvue.html and you may find that interesting.

I see most projects as teamwork ? and few of us have such a broad spectrum of expertise that we can do it all, do it all by ourselves, and still do it right. That is why I hire HIs, and why HIs hire me.

Cheers!
Caoimh?n P. Connell
Forensic Industrial Hygienist
www.forensic-applications.com

<SMALL> (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

AMDG </SMALL>
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Ken Jones

B-E Home Inspections (Indiana License # HI00500393) Serving All of NW Indiana and SW Michigan
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Posted: Sep 9, 2005 1:05 PM       Post Subject:
After reading these posts and replies, I have to say I don't have a positive feeling about enviro testing.

Mr. Connell points out that he debunks HI reports in court on a regular basis, do to their bad collection methods or labs interpretation. I believe he stated he has never seen a good report, and if I'm reading him correctly, he has set up conditions for collection and lab reporting that are acceptable by him if interpreted only by a Forensic Industrial Hygienist, like himself, or other like trained and educated person.

As an HI I'm trained to look for problems. If I see an questionable electrical problem, I point this out, but recommend that a electrician be called in to assess. I am not a trained electrician.

The other day a client wanted his water tested for several things. I went over to our local board of health, purchased their bottles, followed their collection instructions and their lab returned a report that showed tested levels as compared to EPA recommended levels. I didn't attempt to interpret, the client was happy.

I think I would do a disservice to not offer some sort of structured testing and reporting - that is what most of my clients are asking for. They don't want a real costly test done, unless it is required. As the first line they just
want to know is could there be a problem.

I think if I do offer testing, it will require a new contract only for testing, with a clearly worded and statement on what the testing is and isn't.
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Brian Kelly

Dwelling Doctors LLC
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Posted: Sep 9, 2005 2:10 PM       Post Subject:
So Caoimh?n, 1000 colony forming units is a smaller number than 5000 colony forming units, correct.

Is the data not useful as the CFU's are not identified as mold or mold spores? Or is it something else?

BK

--
"I used to be disgusted, Now I try to Be amused"-Elvis Costello

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rwand
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Posted: Sep 9, 2005 4:45 PM       Post Subject:

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In Canada CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corportation - A Federal Governement Agency) has set a SOP for Indoor Air Quaility Investigations. Their protocol is look, assess, and find and remediate conditions which promote bad IAQ, such as moulds, mildews, basement leakage, pets, plants, buidling materials, et ceteras, and forget about extensive testing or testing of any kind is frowned on, and remediate conditions by removal of same, and finding the source of the conditions. To me this is the best approach, CMHC's thinking that if you have mould in a residence you already have a problem. They (CMHC) feel this is the best approach and leave lab testing to qualified and educated people.

This whole discussion is similar in my thinking to crime scene investigation such as the screw ups associated with O.J. Simpson case and the sampling and contaminations issues that were revealed. You had better know what protocols to follow, and proper testing methods. You can't learn stuff like this from experience or collecting swabs, you have to have the education and technical training to do so properly in my opinion. While I have done IAQ assessments to CMHC protocols I would not and have not ever become involved in collecting and reporting on mould issues, et ceteras.
Sometimes a little information and little practical experience can get one in a lot of trouble, especially in such a litigious society. Not to mention the fact that very few if any insures will provide coverage for mould related items both home owner insurance and professional E&O. At least in Canada.

Lets also remember many people will be predisposed and show all kinds of symptoms, while others have no symptoms, it is a real guessing game and the courts are leary of awarding settlements with unproven and speculation based evidence, they like cold hard proof from what I have read.

Fwiw.

Raymond Wand
Alton, ON

--
The value of experience is not in seeing much,
but in seeing wisely. - Sir William Osler 1905

http://www.raymondwand.ca
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Registered Home Inspector (R.H.I.)

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Caoimh?n P. Connell
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Posted: Sep 9, 2005 6:15 PM       Post Subject:

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Hello Gents-

I?m glad to see folks open for discussion. My objective in these posts is to broaden the picture a bit, in the hope of clarification.

But first, I completely agree with Mr. Wand, and the CMHC protocol as he describes it to the extent that far too much time and financial resources are spent on sampling. Earlier this year, I was an expert witness on an IAQ issue wherein the building owner spent (if I remember correctly) half a million dollars in IAQ investigations; most of that money was spent on useless sampling by individuals with no competency in such sampling. I solved the IAQ puzzle, and I think my total fee was around $6,000 or so. Very often, IAQ issues can be solved without collecting a single sample. (I think I discuss this at www.forensic-applications.com/iaq/iaq.html)

Next ? Mr. Kelly ? Remember, I have a long history as a lecturer, so I can be prone to agitate thought before just giving the answer. Look closely: I didn?t ask which value was a larger number, I asked which sample result indicated a greater mould contaminant level in the carpet; 5,000 CFUs/g or 1,000 CFUs/g; (if you want, you can select any genus or genera you choose, and plug that into the equation, but you would still be wrong if you said that the result of 5,000 CFUs/g indicated a worse problem than 1,000 CFUs/g).

So for those HIs who perform mould sampling in houses, and who follow these posts, step forward. If microbial sampling and interpreting microbial data is easy, then explain why I?m wrong. These are common units used by the majority of microbial labs, and the values are very much in the realm of possibility. Pretend your project ended up in litigation and now you have to defend the data ? pretend that you had collected the two samples from two different carpets, and you declared one carpet (5,000 CFUs/g) more contaminated than the second carpet (1,000 CFUs/g); and I?m the rebuttal witness about to take the stand and point out that the data show exactly the opposite. What the heck am I likely to say about your data that could possibly support my position? Surely, you're on solid ground... right?

Give it a shot.

Cheers!
Caoimh?n P. Connell
Forensic Industrial Hygienist
www.forensic-applications.com

(The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

AMDG
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rwand
NACHI Member: No
(as of 3/25/07)
Very Active Poster
Posts: 1637
Posted: Sep 9, 2005 6:25 PM       Post Subject:

Please Note: This user is a non-member guest and is in no way affiliated with NACHI.
Hi firstly I am not sure how you pronounce your first name, no disrepect but could you spell it phonetically for us Caoimh?n?

I think inspectors wishing to do IAQ should strive to follow CMHC guidelines. I took their 3 day course and it was very interesting. Inspectors wishing so could also be qualified by doing three full inspections to CMHC guidelines for review by peers. I submitted one report and passed, but realized that there was no interest by John Q. Public who did not want to pay a very minimum $400 for such a review and report so I ceased trying to become a name on a list of such qualified personnel. Nor did many of the public seem to put a loved ones health before the cost. So I opted out of being on a qualified list by CMHC. I have not in recent memory been queried by people asking for an such an inspection.

Does any association or Federal or State body have similiar IAQ protocols such as CMHC? That may be the best solution for inspectors wanting to enter this field. Personally I think sampling has been over hyped.

Thank you Caoimh?n for your enlightenment. Good posts, you obviously know a thing or two about your field and thanks for sharing.

Cheers
Raymond Wand
Alton, ON

--
The value of experience is not in seeing much,
but in seeing wisely. - Sir William Osler 1905

http://www.raymondwand.ca
NACHI Member
Registered Home Inspector (R.H.I.)

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Roy Cooke

Roys Home Inspection
NACHI Member: Yes
(as of 3/25/07)
NACHI Member
Posts: 1987
User: rcooke
Posted: Sep 9, 2005 6:39 PM       Post Subject:
I to took the three day course with CMHC.
I also took another course with a private organization .
One scientist said one thing .
Another scientist said a different thing .
I decided I did not have near the knowledge to get involved with disagreeing with either one .
If I was on the other side in court I would be the looser .
No way do I want to be involved with a court case .
I write Hard talk soft and recommend they get immediate further evaluation by qualified personal.
I could care less if they do or don't ,I just make sure I Cover myself.
I am a generalist in many things but I am not an expert in any thing .
I report what I see tell what I feel and make most clients very happy.
In most cases I do not have to recommend further evaluation but if I am not sure I DO!.
Roy Cooke sr ... RHI...
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