Dr. Sobek says “Mold means misery for many Americans”
Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 | Categories: Indoor Air Quality, Mold Lab, Toxic Mold, Water Leaks | No Comments
Mold Means Misery for Many Americans.
by Dr. Ed Sobek on September 2, 2014
The drama associated with these microbes is taxing. Homeowners, property managers, renters, realtors, investors, banks, insurance companies are a handful of stakeholders affected when suspicions are raised that “Mold” is the culprit. I deal with mold on a daily basis. As an expert witness and professional consultant, my job is to provide answers to the myriad of mold questions that my clients have. I’ve been doing this for over fourteen years, and I would say that very few weeks pass where I haven’t figured out something new about mold. I’ve worked on million dollar homes and HUD homes, manufacturing facilities, large commercial business parks, and medical complexes contaminated with mold. The one common factor that all those places have is the ecology of the built-environment. Moreover, the ecology is complex. While the building materials may be similar; the composition of those materials in construction is unique for each location. Just add moisture, and a once stable property, with respect to microbial issues, rapidly decays into a seemingly chaotic ecosystem. No pun intended! But chaos need not reign. There is a pattern. Mold growth is an ecological phenomenon. That pattern of the phenomenon emerges from both the environmental factors that drive mold growth (moisture, temperature, relative humidity, etc.), and the composition of mold species responsible for that growth.
Prevention is key to avoid mold, and always protect your health when cleaning mold. If the mold problem becomes overwhelming, or continues to return, find help. Do your research, but be smart when searching the internet. There is good info, but a ton of garbage and scams too. Also consider contacting an AIHA accredited laboratory. Ask for an employee that deals with microbiology testing. Those employees often have experience of working with inspectors to solve mold issues. Tell them your story. If they seem unsure, or uninterested, move on and call another lab. Also, the best labs will be able to detect mold species using DNA methods.
Unfortunately, mold will continue to plague American properties for the foreseeable future. The molds are incredible biological creatures that adapt readily. They can consume everything from cellulose to jet fuel. Take care of your property. Fix those overflowing gutters; make sure sprinklers are not pointing at the house; keep the humidity low indoors, paint and clean exterior when needed, and fix leaks immediately. Be handy around the house or hire someone to do those jobs, it will pay dividends in the long run, and hopefully keep both mold and chaos at bay.
About Dr. Ed Sobek
Dr. Ed Sobek has over 14 years experience in mycology and indoor air quality. He has a master’s degree in Plant Pathology from Iowa State University, where he studied Fusarium disease transmission in field crops. He received his doctorate degree from Texas Tech University where he studied the ecology of desert molds (mitosporic fungi). Dr. Sobek is an active researcher. He holds the appointment of Senior Research Scientist with the University of Tennessee’s Center for Environmental Biotechnology CEB and has developed and patented several mold detection technologies. He is a sought after speaker on the scientific circuit by educational and governmental organizations that are anxious to learn how to use DNA to detect mold in residential and commercial properties. He has also published a variety of scientific papers, book chapters, white papers, and trade articles for the IAQ industry.