REPRINT from News Press, Ft. Myers, FL (Dick Hogan)
A national mold remediation trade organization was in Fort Myers on Thursday demonstrating a Chinese drywall fix that carries a 10-year warranty and follow-up visits to ensure the hardy bacteria that cause air quality problems are gone for good.
The drywall, imported from China mostly between 2004 and 2008, emits sulfur compounds that corrode air conditioning coils, electrical wiring and numerous other metal items. Residents claim health symptoms ranging from nosebleeds to respiratory problems.
Almost 1,400 Lee County homeowners have reported to the property appraiser’s office that they have defective drywall.
Experts disagree on exactly what causes it, but many builders remove the drywall, strip a house down to the studs and use a powerful vacuum to get rid of any remaining dust.
The Abita Springs, La.-based National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors developed its procedures to give homeowners some assurance that they can get long-term relief, said Doug Hoffman, executive director of the organization.
“Prognosis without diagnosis is malpractice,” said Hoffman, who is one of the instructors at classes his group is giving around the state to introduce the program.
About a dozen state-licensed mold remediators and building contractors got instructions in such arcane topics as preserving enough of the drywall as legal evidence so that the homeowner won’t be precluded from suing the builder or drywall manufacturer.
“It’s not cheap,” Hoffman said – $86 to $96 per square foot for spraying a biocide formulated to penetrate walls and kill the bacteria that cause the problem, then ripping out all the bad drywall, vacuuming out all the possibly contaminated dust and retreating with the biocide.
After that, he said, the drywall remediator does annual checkups and puts a monitor that records temperature and humidity to make sure the homeowner doesn’t leave the house without air conditioning – a sure way to trigger a relapse.
“It loves moisture,” Hoffman said. “Anytime you have moisture in the environment, you’ve got a problem.”
Della White, co-owner of Fort Myers-based Environmental Services Group, said she thinks the training and certification will make the process of drywall remediation more certain for homeowners and the people doing the work.
“I think it’s going to provide us with a path to follow,” she said.
For more information on training go to www.BestTrainingSchool.com/cdw.php and register for an upcoming class in your area or call the NORMI Hotline 877.251.2296×8911