Monster Mold Threatens Health in the South  0

Posted on September 27th, 2005. About .

Monster Mold Threatens Health in the South
Sep 27 3:22 PM US/Eastern

See the link at —> http://www.breitbart.com/news/2005/09/27/D8CSPNVO1.html

By JULIA SILVERMAN and MARILYNN MARCHIONE
Associated Press Writers

NEW ORLEANS

Wearing goggles, gloves, galoshes and a mask, Veronica Randazzo lasted only 10 minutes inside her home in St. Bernard Parish. Her eyes burned, her mouth filled with a salty taste and she felt nauseous. Her 26-year-old daughter, Alicia, also covered in gear, came out coughing.

“That mold,” she said. “It smells like death.”

Mold now forms an interior version of kudzu in the soggy South, posing health dangers that will make many homes tear-downs and will force schools and hospitals to do expensive repairs.

It’s a problem that any homeowner who has ever had a flooded basement or a leaky roof has faced. But the magnitude of this problem leaves many storm victims prey to unscrupulous or incompetent remediators. Home test kits for mold, for example, are worthless, experts say.

Don’t expect help from insurance companies, either. Most policies were revised in the last decade to exclude mold damage because of “sick building” lawsuits alleging illnesses. Although mold’s danger to those with asthma or allergies is real, there’s little or no science behind other claims, and a lot of hype.

“We went through a period when people were really irrational about the threat posed by the mere sight of mold in their homes,” said Nicholas Money, a mold expert from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and author of “Carpet Monsters and Killer Spores,” a book about mold.

“If you give me 10 minutes in anybody’s home, I’ll find mold growth somewhere,” he said.

Mold is everywhere. Most people have no problem living with this ubiquitous fungus. It reproduces by making spores, which travel unseen through the air and grow on any moist surface, usually destroying it as the creeping crud grows.

Mold can’t be eliminated but can be controlled by limiting moisture, which is exactly what couldn’t be done after Hurricane Katrina. Standing water created ideal growth conditions and allowed mold to penetrate so deep that experts fear that even studs of many homes are saturated and unsalvageable.

In fact, New Orleans is where mold’s health risks were first recognized.

A Louisiana State University allergist, the late Dr. John Salvaggio, described at medical meetings in the 1970s what he called “New Orleans asthma,” an illness that filled hospital emergency rooms each fall with people who couldn’t breathe. He linked it to high levels of mold spores that appeared in the humid, late summer months.

“These are potent allergens,” but only for people who have mold allergies, said Dr. Jordan Fink, a Medical College of Wisconsin professor and past president of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Molds produce irritants that can provoke coughing, and some make spores that contain toxins, which further irritate airways.

“The real pariah is this thing called Stachybotrys chartarum. This organism produces a greater variety of toxins and in greater concentrations than any other mold that’s been studied,” Money said.

Doctors at Cleveland’s Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital blamed it for a cluster of cases of pulmonary hemorrhage, or bleeding into the lungs, that killed several children in the 1990s, but the link was never proved.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is no firm evidence linking mold to the lung problem, memory loss or other alleged woes beyond asthma and allergy. However, the sheer amount of it in the South could trigger problems for some people who haven’t had them before, medical experts said.

“The child who didn’t have a significant problem before may be in a much different scenario now,” said Dr. Michael Wasserman, a pediatrician at Ochsner Clinic in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie whose office and home were flooded and are now covered in mold. He plans to tear down his house.

Even dead mold can provoke asthma in susceptible people, meaning that places open to the public _ restaurants, schools, businesses _ must eliminate it.

This is most true for hospitals, where mold spores can cause deadly lung diseases in people with weak immune systems or organ transplants. Such concerns already led Charity Hospital’s owners to mothball it.

Tulane University Hospital and Clinic’s cleanup is expected to take months.

“The first floor’s got pretty much mold. It’s going to be pretty much a total loss,” said Ron Chatagnier, project coordinator for C&B Services, a Texas company hired by the hospital’s owner, HCA.

“It might be difficult or impossible to reopen some of these medical centers,” said Joe Cappiello, an official with the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

“It’s not just the physical destruction that you see,” but ventilation systems and ductwork full of mold, ready “to seed the rest of the hospital with spores” if the heat or air conditioning were turned on, he said.

As for houses, “anything that’s been submerged probably will be a tear-down,” said Jeffrey May, a Boston-area building inspector, chemist and book author who has investigated thousands of buildings for mold problems.

Clothes can be washed or dry cleaned, but most furniture is a loss. Ditto for carpeting, insulation, wallpaper and drywall, which no longer lives up to its name. Mattresses that didn’t get wet probably have mold if they were in a room that did.

“Anything with a cushion you can forget about,” May said.

The general advice is the same as when food is suspected of being spoiled: when in doubt, throw it out.

When is professional help needed?

“It’s simply a matter of extent. If you’ve got small areas of mold, just a few square feet, it’s something a homeowner can clean with 10 percent bleach,” said Anu Dixit, a fungus expert at Saint Louis University.

She studied mold after the Mississippi River floods in 1993 and 1994, and found cleaning measures often were ineffective, mainly because people started rebuilding too soon, before the surrounding area was completely dry.

In the New Orleans suburb of Lakeview, Toby Roesler found a water line 7 feet high on his home and mold growing in large black and white colonies from every wall and ceiling on the first floor.

Wearing goggles, a mask and rubber gloves, he sprayed down the stairwell with a bleach solution. A crew will arrive soon to gut the lower floor.

“I think it’s salvageable,” he said, but admitted, “It’s going to be some gross work to get it ready.”

Others won’t try.

Dionne Thiel, who lives next door to the Randazzo family, was only 7 when Hurricane Betsy raced through her neighborhood 40 years ago. Returning on Monday, after Hurricane Katrina, something was instantly familiar.

“The mold and the water,” she said. “It’s the exact same smell.”

Mold covered her dining room walls, snaked up doorframes and even found its way into the candles she sold for a living. She and her husband salvaged his golf clubs but left the rest. They’ll move to Arizona.

“I would never want to live here again,” said her husband, Don Thiel. “It’s not going to be safe.”

___

Associated Press writers Julia Silverman and Allen G. Breed contributed reporting for this story from Louisiana; Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione reported from Milwaukee.

THANK GAWD IT’S FRIDAY!!!  0

Posted on September 9th, 2005. About .

What a week!

I hope everyone has a WONDERFUL weekend!

That is all!

:-)

HomeOwner’s Insurance  0

Posted on September 6th, 2005. About .

12 Ways to Lower Your Homeowners Insurance Costs

The price you pay for your homeowners insurance can vary by hundreds of dollars, depending on the insurance company you buy your policy from. Here are some things to consider when buying homeowners insurance.

1. Shop Around for Homeowners Insurance
It’ll take some time, but could save you a good sum of money. Ask your friends, check the Yellow Pages or contact your state insurance department. (Phone numbers and Web sites are listed here.) National Association of Insurance Commissioners …………

Click HERE for the rest of the article

~ Jimmy

BEFORE You Hire a Contractor  0

Posted on September 6th, 2005. About .

TAKE THE TIME TO CHECK THEM OUT!

The Contract

A Contract is a legally binding document that details the expectations and responsibilities of all parties involved in a project. It clarifies the goals of both homeowner and contractor, and it protects each party’s rights regarding the project.

Now Get Started!
Your contract should include the items listed below. Scroll down for a thorough overview, or click the links below for a summary of each item. Keep in mind that this is simply a guide – contracts vary significantly by project.

The Big Stuff
Contact Information
Scope of Work
Project Schedule
Schedule of Payments
Building Plans & Permits
Licensing & Insurance The Details
Contract Cancellation
Conflict Resolution
Mechanic’s Liens
Warranties
Punch Lists
The Brass Tacks

CONTACT INFORMATION
It seems obvious, but make sure that you include in the contract the contractor’s name, physical address, phone number, insurance company ……….

Click Here for the rest of the article!

~ Jimmy

Sean Penn’s Rescue Bid Sinks  0

Posted on September 6th, 2005. About .

GRRRRRR! How was he going to get any wet and hungry, stranded folks into his small boat with an entourage and a personal photographer to boot?

DORK!

~ Jimmy

_______________________________________________________________

EFFORTS by Hollywood actor Sean Penn to aid New Orleans victims stranded by Hurricane Katrina foundered badly overnight, when the boat he was piloting to launch a rescue attempt sprang a leak.

Penn had planned to rescue children waylaid by Katrina’s flood waters, but apparently forgot to plug a hole in the bottom of the vessel, which began taking water within seconds of its launch.
The actor, known for his political activism, was seen wearing what appeared to be a white flak jacket and frantically bailing water out of the sinking vessel with a red plastic cup.

When the boat’s motor failed to start, those aboard were forced to use paddles to propel themselves down the flooded New Orleans street.

Asked what he had hoped to achieve in the waterlogged city, the actor replied: “Whatever I can do to help.”

With the boat loaded with members of Penn’s entourage, including a personal photographer, one bystander taunted the actor: “How are you going to get any people in that thing?”

Hardwood Floors on a Budget  0

Posted on September 4th, 2005. About .

If your hardwood floors are in dire need of refinishing, get a few estimates from professionals. You may be surprised at the figures. You’ll want to sit down when they tell you it will cost you $1200 to have your living room redone. You could carpet over it for less, but doesn’t carpeting over beautiful hardwood floors seem, well, wrong?

Contrary to what you may have heard, the finish doesn’t take days and days to dry. It’s quite simple actually. Go to your favorite local home improvement store, Lowe’s, Menard’s, Home Depot or other. Rent a sander. You’ll need a drum sander, a belt sander or both. They will explain to you how to use the machine and tell you what kind of sand paper to purchase. They will also tell you what kind of stain and finish to get. Make sure you also pick up some dust masks because you will have saw dust everywhere.

The sanders are very easy to use. They’re a bit on the loud side. The key is to keep it moving at all times. Do not stop or you will get a divot in your wood. Think of it like a clothes iron. You need to keep it moving or you will burn your clothes. Same deal with the sander. It creates a lot of heat and you will burn or dent your floors if you hesitate in one place too long.

You will feel like a Zamboni driver smoothing out your surface. Word of caution, you do need to maintain control of the machine at all times. It is self propelled, like a lawn mower or a basset hound on a leash. When you power it up, hold on to the machine tightly. Don’t be afraid of it and after a few passes, you’ll start to even have fun.

Redoing your floors is like redoing your fingernails. First you need to remove the old finish, basecoat, color, and top coat. You may opt to forgo the color (stain) and just use the nature color of the wood. You will still need to apply a finish to it.

There are basically two types of floor finishes: one is oil-based and the other is water-based polyurethane. Oil-based is available in a satin, semi-gloss or gloss finish. Satin works well on floors because it hides small flaws and lets the natural beauty of the wood show without a bright shine. Oil-based also produces a warm amber look that gives you the traditional glow of wood floors. Water-based polyurethane dries clear and resists yellowing. Water-based also dries quicker.

Make sure you let each coat thoroughly dry before applying the next; same as you would nail polish. Give your floor at least 24-36 hours before moving furniture back on it. It will continue to harden in the first couple of weeks.

Don’t be overwhelmed. Instead of looking at refinishing your hardwood floors as a humungous job, look at it as giving your room a manicure, one step at a time. You’ll also save yourself as much as $1,000 by doing it yourself.

Frank Free
www.lakerealty.com

How To Help Hurricane Katrina Victims  0

Posted on September 1st, 2005. About .

How To Help Hurricane Katrina Victims

September 1, 2005

FEMA lists the following agencies as needing monetary donations to assist Hurricane Katrina Victims:

• American Red Cross
1-800-HELP NOW (435-7669) English
1-800-257-7575 Spanish

• Operation Blessing
1-800-436-6348

• America’s Second Harvest
1-800-344-8070

• Adventist Community Services
1-800-381-7171

• Catholic Charities, USA
703 549-1390

• Christian Disaster Response
941-956-5183 or 941-551-9554

• Christian Reformed World Relief Committee
1-800-848-5818

• Church World Service
1-800-297-1516

• Convoy of Hope
417-823-8998

• Lutheran Disaster Response
800-638-3522

• Mennonite Disaster Service
717-859-2210

• Nazarene Disaster Response
888-256-5886

• Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
800-872-3283

• Salvation Army
1-800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769)

• Southern Baptist Convention — Disaster Relief
1-800-462-8657, ext. 6440

• United Methodist Committee on Relief
1-800-554-8583

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