June 2017

How Can I Eliminate Mold in My Home?

Posted by MikaB on June 20, 2017

mold removal technician

If you’re an unlucky homeowner who has just discovered mold, you can soon breathe easy. Yes, it’s true that mold is a common problem for homeowners, and if left unchecked, can be dangerous – not only to your home’s structural integrity but also to you and your family’s health. The best way to combat mold in the home is to enlist a trusted professional who will eliminate the problem quickly and safely while educating you on the best mold preventative measures.

How Can I Prevent Mold in My Home?

Mold grows in damp or wet environments; to continue growing indoors, it also needs a food source, such as sheet rock, your bathroom floor, the kitchen ceiling, and even pieces of furniture inside your home. The best preventative strategy is to control water and moisture intrusion.

This may start inside the house, by ensuring there are no leaky taps or windows with broken seals, but can also require taking a closer look at outside areas around your home’s foundation where water can easily find ways to seep inside.

If you do find areas where water is accumulating, dry them out thoroughly, and consider calling a professional to assist you in preventing further issues.

What If I’ve Already Found Mold?

When mold is suspected or detected, enlisting an experienced professional is the only way to be certain that all mold – and what’s creating it – will be eliminated from your home. Why? Professional expertise is required to properly contain and remove mold, for many reasons.

  • Mold can cause structural damage, creating dangerous and even life-threatening environments which are unsuitable to address on your own
  • Large commercial machinery is often needed to eradicate mold growth
  • Due to mold’s adverse health effects, personal protective equipment (PPE) may need to be worn during the elimination process
  • HVAC and air handling systems are often the root cause of mold, and require professional inspection
  • No matter what is causing the mold, specialized equipment must be used to locate the source, confirm the cause, and eliminate the problem thoroughly and safely
  • Professionals are able to set up strategic preventative measures, such as constructing vapor barriers, so you never have a problem with mold again

Mold is certainly bothersome, but uncontrolled, it can become a safety hazard. Don’t wait—call a trusted professional today. Titan Environmental Services has a proven track record of success and offers highly personalized service from a team of trained professionals.

Call us at (913) 432-5500. We’re here to help you say goodbye to your mold problem for good.

What are VOCs and Why It’s Important to Eliminate Them from Your Home

Posted by MikaB on June 16, 2017

volatile organic compounts

Starting in the 1970s, we began building homes and businesses with greater energy efficiency. While this was good for the environment as a whole because it decreased the use of polluting fossil fuels, in some cases it has led to worse indoor air quality because harmful emissions are trapped inside our well-insulated buildings. One contributor to poor indoor air quality is the prevalence of products containing volatile organic compounds or VOCs.

Defining Volatile Organic Compounds

All substances that contain carbon molecules are organic. Some are volatile in the sense that they easily emit gasses into the air. There are thousands of products that qualify as VOCs. Some of the most common are cleaning products and building materials.

Scientists are just beginning to study these compounds and it is not clear how many of them are dangerous, but some, for example benzene, formaldehyde, toluene and perchloroethylene, are clearly harmful to human health.

What the chemical is, the amount and length of exposure to it, all combine to determine the health danger. Individuals who are chemically sensitive, allergic, or asthmatic will also react stronger than the typical person.

Where Are VOCs Found?

We spend 90% of our time indoors. With so much time spent inside, it follows we should be conscious about what’s in our indoor environment, especially in the spaces we frequent, like our homes, offices, and schools.

Of particular concern are volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are gases emitted at room temperature as a byproduct of certain materials, many of which are common household items and office supplies. There exist a number of VOCs, with the most-known ones including formaldehyde, pesticides, cleaning supplies, and solvents.

VOCs can have an adverse affect on human health, much like microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs), which are gasses produced by mold. Like with MVOCs, symptoms of overexposure to VOCs can include dizziness, headaches, and/or irritation to the eyes or respiratory system.

However, certain VOCs, like formaldehyde and pesticides, are known carcinogens (i.e. cancer causing). Also, unlike MVOCs, VOCs are industrially produced and are not emitted from living organisms. As such, identifying the source of VOCs and their elimination entails different processes.

Possible Sources of VOCs

There are literally thousands of products that produce VOCs. Common household products include cleaning sprays, paint, finishers, moth balls, bug spray, and air fresheners. Common workplace products include printers, copiers, permanent markers, and adhesives. Even with caps tightened and items put away, VOCs can still escape from bottles and cabinets. Here are some other examples of sources of VOCs:

  • paints
  • varnishes
  • waxes
  • cleaning and disinfecting products
  • air fresheners
  • fuels
  • degreasers
  • glues
  • markers
  • photography chemicals
  • dry cleaning solvents (commercial and home use)
  • carpet, vinyl and composite flooring
  • upholstery and foams

While we can eliminate the source of these VOCs by using these products more responsibly or throwing them away, such is not necessarily the case with building materials. Exposure to VOCs may be of particular concern in newly-constructed or remodeled buildings, as formaldehyde-based resins are commonly used in compressed wood, plywood, paneling, and subflooring. In other words, VOCs may be entirely surrounding you, as they emit from the walls, floors, and furniture of your home or office.

What Can You Do?

ventilation covers

If you suspect you have been affected by the presence of VOCs, or if you would like to limit the amount of VOCs in a new construction project or renovation, consulting a professional is a sure way to identify and mitigate your exposure.

Professionals are well-equipped to identify sources of VOCs, suggest proper venting and other solutions for your particular space, as well as distinguish the presence of VOCs from other possibly harmful air pollutants, like MVOCs.

  • Limit direct exposure: Check the products you buy to reduce that amount of VOC emitting products in your home or business. The less VOCs you live with in the form of building materials, and the less you use in the form of cleaning and craft supplies, the better.
  • Avoid leaks: Some of these chemicals can leak out, at lower levels, when stored. So don’t stockpile solvents, paints or other products. And what you do store, store in a basement or garage where you aren’t exposed every day, all day.
  • Ventilate: Swap out the indoor and outdoor air by opening doors and using fans in doorways and windows.

How Important Is It To Eliminate the Presence of VOCs?

Quite important. Due to their health risks, VOCs are on the radar of various agencies that seek to limit our everyday exposure, like the American Medical Association, the American Lung Association, the U.S. Consumer Safety Product Administration, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Possible Symptoms of Short-Term Exposure

  • eye, skin or respiratory irritation
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • memory or vision difficulties
  • nausea
  • lack of coordination
  • asthma attacks

Possible Long-Term Health Consequences

  • damage to liver, kidneys or central nervous system
  • cancer

Want more information on VOCs? Need a consult on what remedial measures you can take? Contact us at Titan Environmental Services. We’re always happy to lend our expertise and lead our customers towards results-oriented solutions.TYP-CTA-Link-to-Download-Mold-101-Guide

Is Mold Making You Sick? The Top 3 Mold Symptoms to Look For

Posted by MikaB on June 6, 2017

woman with sickness caused by mold

While mold looks unpleasant and you probably don’t want it in your house, is it actually hurting anyone? At Titan Environmental Services, this is one of the most common questions we get asked. The answer is that as some, not all, molds grow, they can create toxic byproducts. These are called mycotoxins, and so far scientists have identified 200 mycotoxins in common molds.

Common Mold Symptoms

Research is ongoing as to the health implications. Meanwhile we do know of three common symptoms associated with mold. If you notice anyone in your home suffering from these symptoms, it’s worth it to have your home checked for mold.

1. Allergic reactions

Some people are allergic to mold. If they are, exposure to it often exacerbates the allergic reaction. If they aren’t allergic to begin with, repeated exposure can sometimes create a sensitivity. If you are allergic to mold, you may experience hay fever like symptoms such as headache, sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, or a skin rash.

2. Asthma Attacks

If you have asthma, and you are allergic to mold, it can bring on an asthma attack, from mild to severe. If you notice anyone in your home having worse asthma attacks or experiencing them more often than normal, mold could be the culprit.

3. Irritation of Eyes, Nose & Throat

Mold can irritate the membranes in the eyes, nose, throat or lungs.as well as skin,  or lungs. Anyone can experience this irritation, even those who aren’t allergic to it.

Related Read: Top 3 Kinds of Mold and Where to Find Them in Your Home

Other Irritants That Cause Similar Symptoms

Although these are all associated with mold, other irritants in the home can cause the same symptoms.

  • Dust mites, cockroaches, or other household pests.
  • Bacteria is another possible culprit.  Another source of potential contaminants are Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs.
  • VOCs are gases emitted from 1000s of household products such as paints, varnishes, cleaners, solvents, fuels, pesticides, craft products, building supplies and office machines.  Concentrations can be up to ten times higher inside a building, and some of these gasses can have short and long-term health effects.

So is mold making you sick? It might be. If you are experiencing the allergy symptoms listed above, your doctor can conduct tests to see exactly what you are allergic to, mold or something else.mold-101-homeowners-guide-titan-environmental