Archive for the ‘Toxic Mold’ Category

Ask a Mold Expert: What Do I Use to Kill Mold on a Roof?

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

We often get some very interesting questions from our members, and others in the building and construction community. We recently were posed one that we believe would be helpful for the public. A roofing contractor recently sent us this message:

“I saw your article about sodium hypochlorite not killing mold on asphalt roofing by Doug Hoffman. I am a soft washing and roof washing contractor. I was never taught that it was mold on a roof. I always thought it was lichen, algae, and moss. Further, he said to use a biocide, and chlorine is one. Can I get some clarity on this? Who was told or tested roofing materials to see if the black streaks where mold? And if not mold why will chlorine not kill moss, lichen, and algae? Finally I read that chlorine will kill mold on non porous surfaces but it will not kill mold on porous surfaces?”

Our Executive Director, Doug Hoffman, had this to say in response:

“Great question! All of the chemistries that are approved by the EPA to kill mold (fungus) are registered with the EPA as pesticides. In fact, the LA Dept. of Agriculture requires Licensed Mold Remediators to also carry a pesticide ground-applicators license because, again, what they are using are pesticides. Sodium Hypochlorite is registered with the EPA as a disinfectant because it is good, as a sanitizer, on hard surfaces but will not adequately penetrate the mold to kill the “bio-slime” and actually eliminate it from growing. If you read the use instructions, it’s incredibly toxic and requires some dwell time to actually kill any of the microbiologicals it can address.

In 2004, Oregon State University performed a study to address this issue, and determined exactly what I wrote in “Mold-Free Construction” five years earlier (the first edition). Bleach will affect the discoloration (making it look like it disappeared) but will not actually kill the mold. Even when you add detergent and high levels of surfactants, it simply will not penetrate the mold. That’s why bleach should never be used on mold remediation projects either…people have been slow to come to the table but the science is proving this position to be right!

In regards to what is actually growing on the roof, that varies significantly based on geography. Moss is really bad in the Northwest US while mold is worse in the Southern states. Here’s the fact that needs to be considered: any microbiological contaminant will feed on the DIRT that is accumulating on the roofing system (from acid rain, settled dust, etc.) and, under the right conditions, its roots (depending on the type of mold) could grow into the shingle (especially asphalt shingles that have a lot of fillers in them and very little asphalt or petro product). Killing that growth is paramount to extending the life and improving the appearance of virtually any roofing system (even tile) and using a pesticide with surfactants that actually will penetrate that growth is best, by far!

BTS, I love the concept of “soft washing” (which is what we did with our company) to maintain the integrity of the ballast and protect the shingle from UV. BUT, experience has shown over and over again that bleach will only make it go “clear” and then it will reappear with a vengeance.”

Salem VA Cited for Mold Exposure

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017


Source: Roanoke Times 03/28/2017

A federal workplace safety agency has cited the Salem VA Medical Center for a serious violation for allowing employees to be exposed to indoor mold, thereby creating unsafe and unhealthy working conditions.

U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspections of Building 75 at the Department of Veterans Affairs medical facility, starting with an inspection on Dec. 20, determined that “employees were exposed to the hazard of mold in work spaces and corridors” in the building.

According to an OSHA citation issued March 16, the exposure created a potential for the “onset of allergic reactions, asthma attacks and exacerbation or aggravation of allergies, asthma and other health conditions.”

OSHA alleged that “the employer did not implement adequate measures to prevent active mold growth in the building.”

On March 10, OSHA gave the center 30 days to respond with remediation to remove the mold.

The Salem VA Medical Center describes Building 75 as a non-patient care building that serves as a wellness center.

Stanley Dutko, area director in Norfolk for OSHA, said the agency investigated after receiving a signed complaint about the mold from a current employee.

Dutko said six employees reported having respiratory reactions they attributed to the mold. He said OSHA’s investigation found that the Salem VA Medical Center had been aware, going back as far as 2007 and 2011, that there were issues with mold in Building 75.

He said the center’s lack of adequate response triggered the citation.

“We always try to work with the employer first,” Dutko said.

Brett Robbins, a spokesman for the Salem VA Medical Center, said Monday that the hospital has contracted with a company to perform the necessary remediation, which he said should be completed by April 5.

“Salem takes all reports of safety concerns seriously and will continue to provide a safe working environment for its veterans, visitors and employees,” Robbins said in an email.

He said the facility’s safety office had performed an indoor air quality review of Building 75 in November that was related to potential mold.

“Following the review, the facility removed any items with visible substance identified, completed plumbing repairs and ensured scheduled maintenance on the HVAC system was accomplished,” Robbins said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that indoor mold can cause respiratory infections and worsen illnesses such as asthma.

There are reports and also evidence that indoor mold and other hazards associated with water-damaged buildings can cause additional health problems. But CDC has said there is no conclusive evidence that indoor mold is associated with many other health problems, such as pulmonary hemorrhage, memory loss and lack of energy.

Reporter Tiffany Stevens contributed to this report.

For more information training and solutions to this and other IAQ issues, contact or call 877.251.2296

Dr. Oz Recommends Certification/Licensing for Mold Professionals

Sunday, March 12th, 2017

Abita Springs, LA  03/12/17

Dr. Oz completed a great segment on 02/27 dealing with toxic mold and the dangers the public may face when being scammed by unlicensed, untrained mold guys.  NORMI and the IICRC were upheld as “the good guys”, credible, national training/certification organizations that help clients with assessing and cleaning up mold problems in indoor environments.

NORMI, the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors was founded July 4, 2004 to train and certify mold remediators under the State of Louisiana Mold Licensing Law.  Since then, NORMI has trained thousands of assessors, remediators and IAQ professionals throughout the United States and Canada.  Its certifications have been recognized by states who require training for licensure including, but not limited to, New York, Florida, Louisiana and the District of Columbia.

The mold profession has long been plagued with scammers, non-professionals who claim they can detect mold and clean it up.  Many of these do NO testing, are not trained building assessors and do not know that bleach WILL NOT clean mold.  Dr. Oz addresses each of these subjects in his well-written segment which include Mike Holmes, a builder and television personality who touted the importance of finding good guys like NORMI and the IICRC.

For more information, contact NORMI at or visit or call 877.251.2296 to find classes at a location near you.  Visit to locate a mold professional in your area.

FREE Florida CEUs for NORMI Members

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

ACTIVE NORMI Members have access to ongoing continuing education training every Tuesday night (48 times a year) in our BTS Training Room. These interactive webinars provide an opportunity for members to get ongoing training, news and other information regarding the mold profession. Unique to the NORMI organization, members are given the opportunity to “meet and greet” other NORMI members across the country on a regular basis and get their specific field questions answered.

NORMI is an approved training provider for many stated, including the State of Florida (PVD MRS0003605), and continues to offer onsite classes for CEU (continuing education units). The State of Florida requires each licensed Mold Related Services Assessor and/or Remediator to take fourteen (14) hours of approved continuing education during each renewal cycle (every two years).

The State of Florida recently approved NORMI CEUs to be given in a LIVE ONLINE format. These classes are offered at various times throughout the year and on specific Tuesday nights inside of the regular weekly training. ONLY ACTIVE NORMI Members may take advantage of this option to receive, over the course of a year, all the CEUs needed for renewal at NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE!

“We are pleased to make this announcement,” said Doug Hoffman, Executive Director of NORMI, the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors. “NORMI continues to lead the industry in filling the void of training and this is just another high-tech way of delivering relevant and current information. Connecting our active members to the organization and to the industry through this member benefit is one of our unique offerings and we’re thrilled that the State of Florida has recognized its value.”

To become an ACTIVE NORMI member, go to the “JOIN” tab at the top of For more information, contact NORMI at 877.251.2296 or email

Top Ten Tips to Avoid Structural Mold from Flooding

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

Nonprofit Contact Person: Doug Hoffman
877.251.2296 ext. 876

May 31, 2016 (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 (, a nonprofit organization that trains and certifies indoor air quality professionals. Taking the necessary steps to avoid structural mold growth not only preserves the integrity of a structure 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 Hurricane Katrina. Flooding area residents must be proactive, act quickly, and use proper personal protection equipment when implementing the following ten steps:
1. Remove any standing water using a pump or a wet vac. If the water damage is from a broken pipe, be sure to turn off the water supply.
2. Remove wet carpets, rugs, draperies and personal belongings. Clear mud and debris from floors and foundation walls to allow the subflooring and foundation to dry.
3. Remove and discard water-saturated sheetrock and insulation 18 inches above the highest watermark to increase structural drying. Remove water-damaged flexible ductwork and water-damaged insulation around metal ductwork.
4. Remove all mold growth on remaining structural building materials by mechanical means or complete removal if necessary. The easiest and most effective way to initially clean mold from structural building materials is to use a commercial wet/dry HEPA vacuum, followed by wiping, scrubbing, scrapping or sanding for complete removal.
5. Don’t use bleach to clean mold. Bleach is an effective sanitizer but it will not remove mold at its “root”. The mold will look like it’s gone but it is not; it will only grow back.
6. Use sanitizers on any portion of the structure contaminated by sewage or flood waters.
7. Dry the structure out as quickly as possible as structural mold begins to form in the first 24-48 hours. As soon as the above removal steps are completed, turn up the heat, circulate the air with fans, and use a dehumidifier to keep the indoor humidity below 50 percent. Hot, dry air dries things faster than cold moist air. If there’s no electricity, open windows and doors to get air moving to speed up the drying process, if weather permits.
8. Check the attic as undetected roof leaks can later cause structural mold problems.
9. Inspect windows on the outside of the structure, checking for damaged caulking and seals that could lead to future water leaks.
10. Don’t seal it up until it’s dry. Siding, sheetrock, and flooring repairs should be done only after the substrates are completely dry. Confirm moisture content by using a moisture meter.
For more information on water damage and flood resources, please see, or to locate a certified mold inspector or remediator in your area, log onto or call 1.877.251.2296.

OSHA Cites Indoor Air Quality As Important For Worker’s Health

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

Mold in the WorkplaceGood indoor air quality is important for homes, but also for businesses. A poor work environment leads to more sick days and sluggish employees. All of this combines to poor productivity and employee performance. An investment in clean air for a workplace can repay itself many times over.

OSHA says the following about workplace indoor air quality:

“The quality of indoor air inside offices, schools, and other workplaces is important not only for workers’ comfort but also for their health. Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) has been tied to symptoms like headaches, fatigue, trouble concentrating, and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat and lungs.”

If you are interested in determining the state of your workplace indoor air quality, contact one of our NORMI certified indoor air quality professionals at

photo credit: UIS Students in the Workplace via photopin (license)

Syracuse Class for NY Mold License Set

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

Abita Springs


NORMI, The National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors announced today that their first licensure class for the State of New York Labor Law has been set for 12/01-04 in Syracuse, NY at the offices of CleanTec Enterprises.  The flyer for this class has been emailed to prospective students and the class details have been posted on the Best Training School website on a special page for the New York Labor Law.  NORMI has been approved as MTP-005

“We are very excited about our class because we take a very unique approach to this industry,” said Doug Hoffman, Executive Director of NORMI.  “We believe assessors must know what remediators do and remediators must know what assessors do so we train them in the same classroom.  In the case of the New York license, the Assessor needs 32 hours, the Remediation Contractor needs 24 hours and the Abatement Worker needs 16 hours before applying for licensure.  The first day we have only assessors, then the remediation contractors join us the second day and we have all three disciplines the third and fourth day.  It maximizes our ability to teach a singular message and a group of mold professionals who need to know how to work together!”  The curriculum for each discipline is listed at Best Training School.

NORMI has been training mold professionals since 2004 when Louisiana established the first licensing law for remediators and since that time has become an approved training provider for Louisiana, Florida and now New York.  Other states are moving toward licensure and initial training is almost always included in the requirements.  “There are some organizations in the marketplace that tout the fact they don’t require training for certification but that ignores the dynamic nature of the industry and the importance of professionals staying up with the techniques and equipment changes,” said Lance Eisen, COO of NORMI.  “Fortunately the states are seeing the need for basic training AND experience.  It just doesn’t make sense to hold a license holder responsible for a law he’s not been trained in so these legislatures are moving in the right direction!  We’re glad they are seeing the needs in the industry.”

“The mold industry has been riddled with ‘fly-by-night’ operators who decided they could make a lot of money at the owner’s expense,” said Linda Eicher, BTS National Training Director. “Requiring a license is the direction each state should take, not for the purpose of telling mold professionals how to do their job any more than they should tell a surgeon how to perform surgery, but to regulate the bad guys and get them out of the industry.  That’s the best way to protect the public.”

NORMI has been involved in the legislative process for many years and served as a stake holder for multiple states in their process of establishing guidelines and standards of practice.  For more information on the New York Labor Law or other state requirements, see our website at or call 877.251.2296

Where Were YOU When Katrina Hit NOLA?

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Abita Springs, LA

Coming up on the 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, we take a moment to ask, “Where were you and what is your story?”  There are many, many stories and we need to listen to one another about our experience…it was life-changing!

NORMI, the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors was formed in Hammond, LA on July 4, 2004.  Created to become a national certifying agency for mold professionals, our first trainings were held in the New Orleans area to train mold remediators so they could become licensed as Certified Mold Remediators in the State of Louisiana, the first state in the union to have licensing for mold professionals!  It was a small beginning to what turned out to be a very fast and successful growth over the next eleven years.

But what happened just a year later following Katrina catapulted NORMI into the national spotlight because we were not carpet-baggers or “vultures” coming in for the kill, we were home-grown, already planted and dedicated training professionals committed to helping people clean it up right!   Here’s what we did: 1) we held training sessions (some held even in our home) for homeowners and remediators to hone their skills and educate them on proper safety precautions and protocols, 2) we held FREE public seminars at the library in Jefferson Parish (with Paul LaGrange, Ronnie Wirth, Doug Hoffman and other experts) to help property owners work through the maze of insurance, the building department and other issues, handing out free copies of our book Mold-Free Construction, 3) we negotiated with underwriters to write a NORMI Certificate of Sanitization that could verify that work done was done properly and without the use of bleach, 4) we helped the DEQ (Department of Envionmental Quality) find a solution for the formaldehyde problem in FEMA trailers, and 5) we appeared on multiple TV stations and radio channels answering questions, simply making a positive difference in an environment that seemed all but positive!

The years following Katrina have dramatically changed the complexion of metro New Orleans.  Covington, Mandeville and Abita Springs (where NORMI is now located) became a Northshore magnet for folks wanting to move out of the bowl of New Orleans yet remain close enough to enjoy the spirit of New Orleans.  The look of neighborhoods in Lakeview changed dramatically as previously ground-based homes were elevated to avoid future flooding.  Over and over again citizens expressed their gratefulness to God and others for having survived with their lives even when they had lost virtually every material possession.  And faith-based organizations, rather than government, shined as the true heroes of a disaster because they were first to respond and first to supply the needs of those who needed a hand up not a hand-out!  And so the recovery continues, even now.

This spot is not normally reserved for feedback but here, and wherever this is shared on social media, it would be wonderful to hear once again the wonderful stories of heroism, sacrifice and selflessness that marked the days following Katrina.  Is there someone you’d like to honor?  Do so here for we will never forget how the Gulf Coast continues to grow stronger as a result of a storm that could have destroyed lesser men!  Thank you for being such an inspiration.

For more information about NORMI and training for mold professionals, email or call 877.251.2296

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New York Mold Law Training Starts Soon!

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

Abita Springs, LA

NORMI, the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors, announced today that, pending Department approval, they will begin training in New York after the first of the year.  The New York Mold Licensing Law will go into effect January 1, 2016 requiring Assessment Consultants, Remediation Contractors and Mold Workers to be licensed to perform work on mold projects in excess of 10 square feet of visible mold.  The law includes a training requirement where such training must be approved by the Department.  Applicants are responsible for confirming such approval before investing in classes that claim to meet the State of NY requirements.

“The process for approval has been quite detailed and strenuous,” said Doug Hoffman, Executive Director of NORMI, “but that means the training will meet a very high standard so that those who are trained will understand the importance of protecting themselves and their clients from the potentially devastating effects of mold contamination.  This industry is very dynamic with constant changes in techniques and technologies so it is vital that mold professionals NEVER stop learning!”

NORMI has been training mold professionals since its founding in July, 2004 across the country, which coincided with the State of Louisiana mold remediation licensing law, the first State to have such licensing.  “We have been privileged to do mold training throughout the US and, even in Canada,” reported Mr. Hoffman.  “States that currently have mold licensing laws include Texas, Florida, Maryland and Louisiana with the District of Columbia and New York coming on board on January 1, 2016.  New York has established a curriculum that requires 32 hours of training for assessors, 24 hours of training for remediators and 16 hours of training for workers, probably the most detailed requirement of all the licensing laws.”  NORMI will provide training that includes the NORMI Professional Practices, an improved standard of care for mold professionals.  For non-professionals, NORMI offers the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Guidance Document at the homepage of their website.

Licensing laws have successfully separated the functions of mold professionals into two major categories: those who assess the problem(s) and those who perform the work to resolve the detected problem(s).  “The real value in licensing by the State is avoiding the conflict of interest that has traditionally plagued this industry,” according to Lance Eisen, COO of NORMI.  “When a remediator is also the one who determines whether or not the problem is large enough to require remediation, there’s an inherent conflict of interest.  You never want the fox guarding the chicken coop!”

Licensing classes are planned throughout the State of New York and registration for those classes will be available at  For more information contact NORMI at 877.251.2296 or email

HomeAdvisor 2015 “Best of HomeAdvisor Award”

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

Abita Springs, LA

May 7, 2015

We are pleased to announce that thirteen of our NORMI members have been honored by HomeAdvisor with the “Best of HomeAdvisor Award”!  HomeAdvisor is the premier lead-sourcing program in the construction industry and NORMI members are encouraged to take advantage of the lead-sourcing they provide which benefits their individual business and the public.

“I am so proud of these entrepreneurs who have been certified with us, connected to us and provided outstanding service to the public,” remarked Doug Hoffman, Executive Director of NORMI (National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors).  These folks are doing exactly what we encourage them to do and have proven successful following our model.  Congratulations to them for their dedication to providing the best service in the industry!”

HomeAdvisor said, “Thank you for being a partner of HomeAdvisor. We value our relationship, and we look forward to continuing to develop and grow our partnership in the coming year.

“We are pleased to announce that 13 pros in your network have received the ‘Best of HomeAdvisor Award’ for 2015! This distinction recognizes top industry professionals based on quality, service and value in the HomeAdvisor network. These members were chosen because they exemplify superior work practices, are committed to first-rate service and provide a fair value for the work they’re performing. Only the top pros in the HomeAdvisor network are bestowed this prestigious award!”

Recipients of the 2015 Best of HomeAdvisor Award are:

Curtis Roberts Mold Inspection

Green Way Solutions

AirTech Solutions 4U

MicroClean Technology, Inc.

Integrity Air Quality Solutions

Residential Air Quality

Jose Technologies, Inc.

A Healthier Home, LLC

Environmental Services Group Carolinas, LLC

Pure Air Solutions, LLC

The Best Restoration, LLC

Gnl Enterprises, LLC

DMC Environmental Service

For more information regarding training and certifying with NORMI, see, contact us at or cal 877.251.2296  NORMI is an approved training/certifications provider for multiple states and offered thirteen certifications.