Basement Waterproofing: What You Need to Know

Spring is almost here. That means rain. Is your basement waterproof? Want to DIY the job? Here is a handy video that walks you through the steps of how to waterproof your basement.

But it’s not a job for novices. Disaster can strike. Before you know it, you could find yourself standing in a lake of water at the bottom of your basement stairs. This video shows some of the worse that can go wrong.

Contact a professional before you’re in over your head (or your ankles)! EnvirDoc specializes in basement waterproofing in the greater Dayton, Ohio area.

Nasty Mold Found in Toy Giraffe

Would you let your kid kiss a moldy giraffe? If your child plays with teething toys that have an enclosed interior, they’ve probably kissed worse. And it usually doesn’t take a professional mold testing kit to know when a toy is too gross to use.

ABC News reports that one family recently found excessive mold in a “Sophie the Giraffe” doll. The parent, Pediatric dentist by profession, was suspicious when she noticed a musty odor coming from her child’s toy. She cut it open and “discovered a science experiment living inside.”

The company issued a statement:

“First of all, it’s important to know that Sophie la Girafe [Sophie the Giraffe] is composed of 100% natural rubber, so the cleaning instructions have to be carefully respected. As indicated on the packaging and in an explanatory leaflet inside the packaging, we recommend to clean the surface of Sophie la Girafe with a damp cloth. It should not be immersed in the water nor rinsed off, to prevent water from getting inside, as she may become damaged. We thus would like to emphasize on the fact that is it important, while cleaning the product, that no water gets inside the whole.”

Cleaned According to Instructions

The parent, Dana Chianese, told Good Housekeeping that she always cleaned the doll according to instructions, with hot, soapy water and a damp sponge, and was careful never to submerge the toy in soapy water.

And she’s not the only one to have a problem. One customer review on Amazon warns: “Beware!! If you have a drooly baby, moisture will get in the hole and you’ll end up with mold! We’ve had ours for two years and the entire inside is coated with black mold!”

Nasty. And the photo is worth a thousand reviews. You don’t need to have the mold tested to know it’s time to throw this toy out!

Girl Dies, Family Sicked from CO Poisoning

An 11 year old Illinois girl died and her mother and her mother’s boyfriend suffered carbon monoxide poisoning due to a generator that was powering a kerosene heater in a makeshift living structure.

“They city had no knowledge about someone living there and there was no variance on file that allows anyone to use that commercial building for a residence,” Springfield City Manager Nathan Henne told the Battle Creek Enquirer. “To my knowledge no one was operating a business out of the building and there was no variance for living there.”

Not a Legal Residence

Deputies were called to a building bearing signs for an upholstery shop after neighbors heard what sounded like a gas powered generator. Nobody responded, so a deputy positioned his vehicle outside a window to stand on it for a better view. He saw the unconscious bodies inside.

The building was zoned for commercial use but no business appeared to be using the building.



Why You Should Test Your CO Detector Every Snowstorm

Most people don’t realize it, but heavy snowfall like Winter Storm Stella in March pose an increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. It is a good idea to make sure carbon monoxide testers are in good working order with fresh batteries, especially during the winter months.

Is Snow Blocking Your Vents?

High efficiency gas burners vent carbon monoxide gas outside the home through vents. So do gas dryers and water heaters. These vents can be blocked by heavy snowfall or drifts from snow shoveling. Family homes are especially home to carbon monoxide poisoning during snowstorm season. And since winter seems to be late to the game but sticking around longer than usual this year, pay extra attention to your carbon monoxide detectors.

This YouTube video provides a handy demonstration on how to make sure your alarm is working properly.



Radon Testing Reveals High Levels in PA

If you live or have family or friends living in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, testing your water for radon may be a good idea before drinking anything out of the tap. Government testing found radon concentration levels in the water that exceeded health standards. Samples were also found to contain arsenic or methane in levels higher than recommended safety standards.

Tests were first carried out in 2014 by the US Geological Survey to assess groundwater and the environmental effects of mining and gas extraction efforts. Property owners participated voluntarily.

Wells were randomly selected and some were located near mining sites.

“As in many parts of the state, water quality data were lacking in Lycoming County,” said Gross, a physical scientist with the USGS’ Pennsylvania Water Science Center.  “This study provides much-needed information. The number of water samples was relatively small, so we can’t draw definitive conclusions about water quality throughout the county. But we want residents who get their water from private wells to know about our results, and to be aware that the EPA recommends regular testing of private drinking water wells.”

Water Samples Above Recommended Levels

Radon detection revealed radon-222, a radioactive gas that occurs naturally in some types of rock. Radon 222 is the second largest cause of lung cancer, second only to smoking. Two thirds of all water samples in the county tested above recommended levels.

“One of our goals was to collect baseline information, so future studies can determine whether there is a relationship between human activities and well water chemistry,” Gross said. “The variations in water quality that we saw can generally be explained by natural processes. In some instances human activities may play a role. For example, we found a wide range of levels of chloride, or salt, from less than 1 milligram per liter to nearly 1,000 milligrams per liter. The higher levels could be from road de-icing salts.”

Radon is an odorless but deadly gas. Whether you own your home or live in an apartment, radon testing is recommended for the health of the family. According to the EPA, radon is responsible for about 21,000 lung cancer deaths every year, including 2,900 nonsmokers. At 20 pCi/L, the radon exposure is estimated to be 250 times the risk of drowning. At even 4 pCi/L, the exposure is thought to be five times the risk of dying in a car crash. At these levels, the EPA recommends a UV air cleaner and radon eradication.

As of June 2018, new homes and buildings in Powell, Ohio will be required to mitigate radon; which is a radioactive gas prevalent in Ohio. Could this be the first step in future regulation for radon mitigation systems nationwide? Existing homes and commercial buildings will not be affected by the new regulation in Powell City. If you’re worried about the radon status in your apartment, home or office building, give us a call to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. We’re available to service radon mitigation in Dayton Ohio, as well as in the neighboring cities and communities of Ohio.

Air Quality Tests Reveal Dusty Conditions in Classrooms

Even without the presence of mold, air quality tests may still reveal dusty conditions that can be hazardous to your health.

While mold testing at several Manchester Elementary School in Maine did not indicate the presence of mold, air quality tests showed high levels of dust in several classrooms. The stage area was closed immediately, to be reopened after the problem is remediated and cleaned.

“If (Air Quality Management) thinks something needs to be done immediately, we’ll do it,” Superintendent Donna Wolfrom told the Morning Sentinel.

The school underwent mold testing following parent and community complaints that the district wasn’t doing enough to combat the mold.

The report indicated “no significant evidence of mold exposure of concern or atypical mold levels for each location sampled.”

Four classrooms were determined to be dusty.  The stage area was closed as a proactive move “err on the side of most caution,” Randy Geoffroy, owner of the Gray-based Air Quality Management, told the Morning Sentinel.

Anxious Parents Await Results

“I am anxiously awaiting the results from Monday’s testing and am hopeful they will show no areas of concern,” Jeremy Payne, a parent and outspoken critic of the district’s handling of the problem, told the Morning Sentinel. “I’m also relieved we will finally determine the school’s safety and the well-being of students, teachers and staff.”

Mold’s Potential Health Risks

The EPA points out that allergic reactions to mold are quite common. Sometimes these symptoms can be immediate. In other cases, they are delayed. “Molds can trigger asthma episodes in sensitive individuals with asthma. People with asthma should avoid contact with or exposure to molds,” the EPA warns.

According to the EPA, adverse reactions to mold include:

“Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions) and irritants. Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash.”

If mold testing reveals the presence of mold, a professional mold removal is pertinent to ensure the health of all occupants.

Handy Video for Electric Water Heater Repair

Wonder if your electric water heater needs repair? Check out this handy YouTube video on how to troubleshoot your electric water heater. Remember, first establish the fact that power is connected to the heater. And then disconnect the power.

This handy heater repair trick requires a Philips & slot screwdriver, as well as a digital or analog multimeter.

Prison Radon Testing Reveals Exposure 5x EPA’s Safe Levels

When it comes to radon, homeowners have a choice: they can test for radon to ensure their family is living in healthy conditions. Prisoners, on the other hand, just have to accept whatever environment the state or federal authorities institutionalize them in. Last summer, prisoners at the Garner Correctional Institution (GCI) in Newtown, Connecticut filed a Class Action lawsuit stating their living facilities are radon contaminated. In 2014, radon testing revealed parts of the facility to be more than five times the acceptable EPA levels of radon, an odorless, colorless radioactive gas that is the second largest cause of lung cancer, behind smoking.

“The lawsuit was filed in August 2016 on behalf of nine named plaintiffs and other GCI prisoners who were exposed to excessive indoor radon gas, a recognized carcinogen,” the Prison Legal News reported on the lawsuit. “According to the complaint, exposing prisoners to high levels of radon gas, ‘far in excess of any published safe level for more than 20 years,’ constitutes deliberate indifference by prison officials.”

Radon Exposure Equivalent to 2.5 Packs of Cigarettes

State tests indicated that 58 of 117 test locations at GCI had radon levels at or above the EPA’s action level of 4.0 pCi/L (picocuries per liter of air). The highest level of radon at 23.7 – the equivalent of smoking 2½ packs of cigarettes a day, pretty ironic, as today’s prisoners are denied access to tobacco products out of health concerns, yet they can’t breathe the cafeteria air safely. Whether you are institutionalized or not, radon poisoning is definitely not something you want to mess with.

Carbon Monoxide Tests Reveal Cause of Family Death

An unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning incident that left one dead, seven hospitalized, is yet another reminder of the need for regular tests for carbon monoxide in homes.

Crews were called at 8:20 a.m. to a home in Anchorage, Alaska on Feb. 20. Responders found one man dead. Seven other residents were transported to the hospital. The residence was a single-family dwelling where one family lived. The source of the gas remains under investigation. Firefighters found 1,000 parts per million in the house, an unusually high amount, authorities reported.

Tragedy for Alaskan Family

Police later identified the deceased as 18-year-old Trevor Noble, according to US News.

“We were called originally for a cardiac arrest for one of the patients,” AFD’s deputy chief for operations, Jodie Hettrick, told the Alaska Dispatch News. “It was not reported as a CO call, and then when our crews got on scene we determined that there was more going on.”

Roughly every 10 years, over 400 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts recommend home air testing units in all home dwellings, and to have them regularly inspected on an annual basis.

The EPA recommends acceptable levels for carbon monoxide testing to be 50 parts per million (ppm) parts of air (55 milligrams per cubic meter) as an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) concentration [29 CFR Table Z-1].

Will Mold Testing Reveal the Source of Workers Health Troubles?

In a home, mold can be a health problem. In a post office, however, it can be an occupational health hazard. That’s why mold testing in government spaces can be especially critical when it comes to the public’s health.

Such was the case when employees of the General Post Office in St. Lucia revealed workers may have been working under moldy conditions for some time now. Employees state that many workers have been put on sick leave as result of exposure.

“I believe the time is right for the minister or whoever is responsible to know what is going on here – it’s not easy. You ask for dust masks – they don’t have. You have to purchase your own dust masks to wear, come to work and give the public the best that they can. It’s a shame,”  Gabriel Albert Joseph, an employee who is represented by the Saint Lucia Civil Service Association (CSA), told the St.Lucia Times. ““They  said until the report we must hold on, but they don’t understand what is going on.”

Long Time Problem?

The union is still awaiting official results of mold testing. But Joseph contends the mold situation has been an ongoing problem for years.

“Until the workers here take a stand and say enough is enough, this will go on,” Joseph said.