Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

47th Tip of 50 by Kurt Billings

Friday, November 30th, 2012

This is a reprint of an article posted by Kurt Billings, co-author of Mold: The War Within. Thanks to Kurt for his recommendations. Please check out his Facebook page for a ongoing educational blog.

TIP OF THE DAY:

Day 47 of Our 50 Days of Fun—no sugar/no grains. Building a house or making repairs to an already existing house can be a daunting task. There are so many choices to research and decisions to make. Even more overwhelming,  is trying to make sure that the choices we make will result in a mold-free structure for years of problem-free living.

Preventing structural mold in our homes and work places is imperative to maintaining a healthy quality of indoor air. Many structural mold problems begin innocently enough—a threaded pipe under the sink becomes unscrewed causing water to leak into the cabinet, a crack forms in the wax ring under the toilet allowing water to leak into the flooring and subflooring, or blowing rainwater enters under a front or back door where the weatherstripping has become cracked and dried with age. Other times, structural mold is a direct result of errors made in the design stage or during the construction process.

How do we, as mere lay people—non contractors—protect ourselves and our properties from these all-too-commonly occurring maintenance and construction mishaps? It’s not likely we can become experts in all phases of the remodeling or building processes, but some helpful tips from someone who is an expert in mold-free construction can give us the shortcut to knowledge that will work for our tight-schedules.

Such invaluable tips can conveniently be found in the book, Mold-free Construction, which is authored by Doug Hoffman, Executive Director of the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors (NORMI). His straight-to-the-point advice is drawn from his years of experience as a professional in the building industry with certifications and licenses as a general contractor, roofing contractor, plumbing contractor, indoor air quality consultant, mold inspector and remediator. As the head of NORMI, Mr. Hoffman is a uniquely qualified expert to guide us, the property owners, through the process of creating a mold-free structure.

In Mold-Free Construction, Mr. Hoffman addresses the decisions property owners face in all facets of the building process and details the impact each decision has on the goal of creating a mold-free structure:

• Lot selection, grading and drainage
• Foundation considerations
• The “dry-in” stage
• Plumbing considerations
• Roofing considerations
• HVAC considerations
• Indoor air quality considerations
• Finishes and furnishing considerations

The best time to educate ourselves regarding the many subspecialties in home construction and remodeling is before design and construction begins. We can’t rely on budget-focused general contractors or time-pressed crews. We have to become knowledgeable ourselves about the details that make a difference in creating a mold-free home or workplace. We don’t want to learn the hard way—as it can not only put our pocketbooks in peril but also our health in distress.

Mold-Free Construction is now available on Kindle for only $4.99; and Amazon Prime members can “borrow” it for free. Just click on this embedded link:

 

NORMIProETF Free Seminars Help Hurricane Sandy Victims

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

November 16, 2012 (New Brunswick, NJ)—The first of a series of FREE online seminars to help victims of Hurricane Sandy were held by the NORMIPro Environmental TASC Force (www.NORMIProETF.org) on Friday, November 16, 2012. Lance Eisen, Executive Director of the TASC Force, interviewed a panel of national experts who presented information to help hard-hit Sandy residents more effectively cope with the challenges that resulted from the devastation of one of the worst hurricanes to ever hit the Northeastern seaboard.

The panel included Doug Hoffman, Executive Director of the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors (www.NORMI.org) who discussed the importance of understanding how to deal with the rebuilding process when professional contractors are hard to find. “NORMI has done some of the most comprehensive training in mold remediation techniques in the industry today,” said Hoffman. “Homeowners need to know how to do the work themselves or understand the process well enough to be sure that those who are doing the work are doing it properly to protect themselves and their employees from the harmful effect of mold and bacteria contamination and to be sure that the structure will be safe for the occupants. Our discounted online training, available at www.BestTrainingSchool.com and my book, Mold-Free Construction, available at www.Amazon.com are full of invaluable information to help the homeowner through this rebuilding process.”

Mr. Eisen also interviewed Dr. Doris Rapp, a Board Certified Pediatric Physician who has dedicated her life to helping diagnose allergic reactions. “My book Is This Your Child’s World talks about the unrecognized effects of mold contamination,” said Dr. Rapp. “My website at www.DrRapp.com is full of great information to help people realize that reactions to poor environments are real and can have long-lasting effects on anyone, even if they don’t already have asthma or allergies.”

During the one-hour segment, Lee Ann Billings, co-author of Mold: The War Within, Lessons Learned from Katrina, expressed her concerns about people in groups she calls “hidden high-risk groups”. Ms. Billings said, “All high-risk groups should be careful to protect themselves by either staying out of mold-contaminated environments or by creating a clean sleeping room to lessen the amount of mold and bacteria contaminants in the air they are breathing.” She suggests this can be done very inexpensively with the right kind of air purification technologies. Lee Ann, her husband Kurt, and their children became ill from mold and chemical exposures as a result of Hurricane Katrina and, now recovered, they help as victim’s advocates sharing information that is often difficult to dig out from the overabundance of misinformation that seems to follow these kinds of events.

Mr. Eisen also spoke with Linda Eicher, a certified disaster recovery expert, who shared valuable information about preparedness and what steps should be taken immediately following such a disaster. “Resources are often hard to find,” said Ms. Eicher. “However, there are often people willing to give of their time and money to assist those who have been left homeless and simply need some financial assistance to get them through events like this.”

“The NORMIPro Environmental TASC Force has provided information to the public and will continue to do so through free seminars. NORMIPro Environmental TASC Force members are also available to provide information to the media,” Mr. Eisen states. “It is our goal to help as many people as we can. We feel these free seminars are a first step in the right direction.”

For more information about upcoming events, donation outlets or to schedule a seminar in your area, please contact Lance Eisen at lance@NORMIProETF.org or call 877.751.3100

Hurricane Sandy: Top Ten Tips to Avoid Structural Mold from Flooding

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

October 31, 2012 (Abita Springs, LA)—A few simple steps can save property owners thousands of dollars of damage due to structural mold growth, according to Doug Hoffman, executive director of the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors (www.NORMI.org), a nonprofit organization involved in providing training and certifications for mold and indoor air quality professionals. Taking the necessary steps to avoid structural mold growth will not only preserve the integrity of a building but also the health of its occupants, further explains Kurt and Lee Ann Billings, authors of the book MOLD: The War Within, which details lessons learned from Katrina. Disaster area residents must be proactive, act quickly, and use proper personal protection equipment when implementing the following ten steps:
1) Remove standing water—remove wet carpets, rugs, draperies, personal belongings (if possible) and exterior mulch against the foundation walls, etc., to allow the subflooring and foundation to dry.
2) Dry the structure out as quickly as possible—this is the most important thing you can do as structural mold will begin to form in the first 24-48 hours. Remove water-saturated sheetrock 18 inches above the highest watermark to increase structural drying.
3) Turn up the heat and use a dehumidifier—when drying out a structure and/or its contents, reduce the indoor humidity to less than 60% and use heat to speed the drying process. Hot, dry air dries things faster than cold moist air.
4) Circulate the air—turn on fans and dehumidifiers or open windows if there is no electricity to get air moving around to increase drying.
5) Don’t seal it up until its dry—siding, sheetrock, and flooring repairs should be done only after the substrates are completely dry. Only use plastic to prevent further water damage.
6) Don’t use bleach—it is an effective sanitizer but will not remove mold at its root. The mold will look like its gone but it won’t be.
7) Check your attic—undetected roof leaks can become big structural mold problems later
8) Inspect windows on the outside of the structure—check for possible water seepage through the caulking/seals.
9) Remove all mold growth on building materials by mechanical means—such as sanding or complete removal.
10) Use sanitizers—on any portion of the structure contaminated by sewage or flood waters.

For more information on water damage and flood resources, please see www.Flood.NORMI.org or to locate a certified mold inspector or remediator in your area, log onto www.normipro.com or call 1.877.251.2296 x 876

A Review of “Mold: The War Within”

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

Abita Springs, LA 11/05/10

Subtitled Lessons Learned from Katrina, this book peaked my interest from the onset because we, too, were in the midst of the toxic mold problems that resulted from the most devastating hurricane ever to hit southeastern Louisiana. NORMI, the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors, www.NORMI.org, was formed in July of 2004 just one year before Hurricane Katrina hit and, because we had been training on mold assessment, remediation, and the health issues related to this biological contaminant already in place, we were right here poised to help hundreds, maybe thousands, of people with resources and information that was accurate and timely.  Some of our efforts have been archived at www.YouTube.com/NORMIPro.
“Mold: The War Within” could have been one of the most valuable resources a homeowner could have in the midst of the damage from Katrina but it took this natural disaster and the personal struggles of Kurt and Lee Ann Billings to become the basis for this incredible resource. There is no doubt that the generations that follow will now have a comprehensive understanding of how mold and other biological contaminants could change their lives forever.

I was excited to receive and read this book. As a mold professional specializing in creating healthier environments, I have been interested in the short and long-term effects of mold and their myco-toxins on normal, healthy people. For years we have known that immune-compromised individuals, pregnant women and young children have been especially susceptible to the ill-effects of toxic mold exposures but Kurt and Lee Ann have put the spotlight on the real dangers that can affect the average, otherwise healthy, person. It’s not just awareness of the health issues that was so insightful but their straight-forward approach to develop a road map, a path to run on, for people who have had nowhere to turn for answers. Some people don’t even know the right questions to ask and this book is a great starting place for them, too.

Dr. Doris Rapp, my good friend and who has been a pioneer in this field for years, wrote the forward. As a Board Certified Pediatric Physician and NY Best Selling Author (“Is This Your Child” and “Our Toxic World”) Dr. Rapp lends credibility to the Billings’ approach and, by endorsement, invites them onto a team of professionals who are finally focusing on these serious, life-changing issues. Any parent who has found little help in the current medical industry, should take seriously the cries of people like Rapp and Billings. As Dr. Rapp concluded, “Too many people continue to hope for our government to take appropriate and responsible action for what has turned their lives and health upside down.” And the public continues to wait.

It is obvious that Kurt and Lee Ann spent countless hours investigating and studying the mycology of mold, the testing process, the interpretation of lab reports and the scientific data that supports their conclusions. Why were they so interested in this subject—because they themselves experienced the devastating effects of toxic molds and their myco-toxins. As a “victim” of the bureaucracies, ill-informed medical community and confusing, sometimes contradictory, regulations, Kurt and Lee Ann waded through the mire of information and emerged with a clear, comprehensive understanding of the problem and solution. They have unselfishly shared this information through their book and are probably unaware of the thousands of people they have helped through this effort.

Traditional medicine seems to close its eyes, psychologists imagine psychosis and health officials continue to compile study after study while they ignore the “here and now”. To add insult to injury, the evaluation of indoor environments process has been fiercely protected territory for some “professionals” who have made it virtually impossible for a homeowner to afford assessment. NORMI has taken the ball to develop trainings and do-it-yourself programs that will assist the homeowner to begin the evaluation process in an inexpensive way through www.BestTrainingSchool.com. Once assessed, toxic mold and other biological problems can be managed and that process often results in an improvement to the quality of life indoors.

I am proud to recommend this incredible book to our readers and members. “Mold: The War Within” is available through many book outlets including www.BestLivingSystems.com and is a “must read” for anyone who is seeking answers to questions regarding molds and their devastating effects. A great big “Thank You” to Kurt and Lee Ann Billings for carving out the time to make this book possible.

For more information on toxic mold and to find a mold professional in your area who will be able to help, please see www.NORMI.org and its link to www.NORMIPro.com or call 877.251.2296