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Mold-Causing Problems In Your House and What to Do About Them

Posted by MikaB on July 12, 2017

mold growth in home

Mold can have deleterious effects to the structure of your home and your health. Preventing mold growth is the best way to prevent any ill-effects from occurring. Once mold sets in, its spores will quickly spread and elimination can be difficult and expensive.

We want to help homeowners prevent this situation from happening by showing you how and where mold grows, and what homeowners can do to stop it.

How Mold Grows

Mold needs one thing to grow: moisture. There are many types of mold which can grow in both warm or cold temperatures. However, it all needs water or moisture to grow. So if there is a mold problem in the home, you must take steps towards mold cleanup and fixing the source of moisture.

Moisture Culprits in Your Home

One of the most common places for mold to grow is in the bathroom. The surfaces of the bathroom, like the tub and walls, are usually damp. Make sure you are checking your bathroom’s surfaces every few weeks, particularly if you notice any odd smells. Areas like behind toilets, underneath sinks, and around any tile near the shower are usual culprits.

However, there are also other moist places in your home, many of which are hidden. These places include the HVAC system, unit ventilator, and the roof, wall, and water pipes where water leaks can happen. Many of these areas can be hard to reach and require a professional inspection.

Control the Moisture

Controlling moisture requires preventing water leaks, controlling humidity, and preventing condensation.

Preventing Water Leaks In the case of water leaks, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) homeowner’s guidelines recommend cleaning up the leak as soon as possible, ideally within 24-to-48 hours. Typically, mold will not grow if the moisture dries out within this time. You must also fix the source of the leaks.

Being proactive is the best way to ward off any mold growth from water leaks! Do the following EPA-sanctioned steps to make sure your home is always protected from an emergency:

  • Repair roofs and clean gutters
  • Make sure water does not pool around your property’s foundation; make sure the ground slopes away from the building
  • Clean and repair air conditioning drip pans and drain lines

Controlling Humidity

In controlling indoor humidity, ventilation is key. Opening windows, running bathroom exhaust fans, and using de-humidifiers will help protect your home. Remember that the ideal indoor humidity environment is between 30% to 50% humidity. Pro tip: you can measure this using an inexpensive humidity monitor!

Preventing Condensation

Condensation can accumulate on windows, walls, or pipes. It usually occurs when the indoor environment is very humid, or when there is a difference between surface and air temperature. For example, a hot steamy shower will cause condensation on (colder) mirrors. Cold water pipes may also accumulate condensation if the air around it is warmer. Once condensation accumulates, wipe and dry surfaces as soon as possible. Afterwards, prevent condensation by increasing ventilation, increasing air temperature, and covering cold surfaces with insulation.

Now that you know where moisture hides in your home, and what you can do to prevent it, your home will be significantly more mold-free!

Need assistance preventing mold in your home? Titan Environmental Services stands ready to assist you with sound, results-oriented solutions. We serve customers throughout the Midwest region and beyond. Contact us today at (913)-325-4328.

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.

The Top 3 Types of Mold & Where to Find Them in Your Home or Business

Posted by MikaB on May 30, 2017

3 kinds of mold in your home

We build our homes and businesses according to functionality and safety. Unfortunately, one of the elements that affects safety is something small and often hidden…mold. Mold comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

Could you identify the most common types of mold and where they are found within your home or business? Most people cannot. Let’s discuss the top three kinds of mold and where to find them in your residential or commercial property.

Aspergillus

Aspergillus is an allergenic mold. It is most associated with homes in warm and humid climates, where constant dampness is hard to avoid. Here’s an interesting fact about aspergillus: it was first discovered and cataloged by Italian priest and biologist, Pier Antonio Micheli, in 1729.

This type of mold is seen all over the world, from the tropics to the Arctic. Although this type of mold is fairly common, it does not normally cause illness, except to those with weak immune systems. Aspergillus mold looks just as you would think, the greenish, grayish, slightly fuzzy growth that was on the strawberry you threw out last week!

Given the fact that this mold is most common in areas that have experienced flooding, calling professionals to assist in addressing all issues is a wise idea.

Cladosporium

Cladosporium is a black or green “pepper-like” substance that is usually found growing on the back of toilet tanks, painted surfaces and fiberglass air ducts. Ranging in color from dark green, brown, or black, this mold is well known to aggravate those with allergies. It has even been reported to cause infections.

It  is commonly found in fans and ventilation systems, a serious issue for people with asthma and other breathing conditions. It can be present in carpet, wallpaper, and mattresses, making it hard to avoid. Again, maintaining humidity is necessary to restrict the growth of this mold. Wiping off visible mold and cleaning with the right solution will help, too.

Stachybotrys Atra (also known as “black mold”)

This kind of mold is most likely to appear in areas of your home or commercial property that are warm, humid, and damp. Basements are particularly susceptible to the growth of black mold. Leaky pipes or a leak in the roof can also lead to excess moisture buildup that may go unseen, leading to mold growth.

Prevention is key, such as proper ventilation in bathrooms and using a dehumidifier in the basement. Mold resistant paint is also an option. The first step is to repair leaks and thoroughly dry areas that have been exposed to moisture. Hard surfaces can be cleaned but care should be taken to follow directions of the product you use.

For those with allergies or compromised immune systems, care has to be taken to avoid exposure as it can cause illness. Black mold can cause a variety of health problems in people who reside in buildings that contain it. Symptoms of mold exposure include: chronic fatigue or headaches, fever, eye irritation, sneezing, rashes, and chronic coughing.

Four Steps for Mold Prevention

Now that we know the three most common types of mold and how to identify them, let’s talk about how to prevent mold growth. First of all, you want to identify mold problems areas in your home:no mold sign

  1. Dry areas that have become wet immediately.
  2. Prevent extra moisture in the air by making sure that your home has proper ventilation. An example of this would be cleaning your vents frequently and running an exhaust fan while showering.
  3. Monitor the humidity in your home or commercial property. The EPA recommends that indoor humidity should be between 30 and 60 percent.
  4. Try to keep mold off of your indoor plants. A good idea for this is to add a little Taheebo tea to the water that you give your indoor plants. The oil in the tea helps to decrease mold growth in the soil.

If you suspect or know that your home or business has a mold problem, Titan Environmental Services provides professional and affordable solutions. For more information about how we can help, please contact us.

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Mold 101 – What Is Mold & Why Is It Dangerous In My Home?

Posted by MikaB on May 3, 2017

dangerous mold in home

Chances are you’ve have some encounter with mold, but have you ever wondered what it’s really made of? Or where it comes from? Lucky for you the experts at Titan Environmental Services are breaking down the most frequently asked questions about this common organism.

What Is Mold?

Mold is an organism that’s found both indoors and outdoors. They are in our environment, everywhere, all the time. While sometimes referred to as fungi or mildew, mold is neither a plant nor animal; it’s a part of the Fungi Kingdom.

Various types of molds are a natural and important part of our environment and play a critical role of breaking down and digesting organic material, such as dead leaves.

How Does Mold Grow and Spread?

Molds multiply by producing microscopic spores (or sporulation), and upon their release, they easily float through the air and are carried great distances or across the room to colonize.

The number of mold spores suspended in both the indoor and outdoor air fluctuates from season to season, day to day, and even hour to hour….it’s constantly changing.

Why Is Indoor Mold a Problem?

We know that mold is usually not a problem indoors until water and/or moisture is introduced into the indoor environment, and when left unchecked, molds will start to grow on and digest porous contents and cellulose rich building materials such as sheetrock, cabinets, carpeting and padding, etc.

Unchecked mold growth can cause damage to building materials and furnishings, and can even eventually cause structural damage. Mold also poses a threat to human health. It is important, therefore, to prevent mold from growing indoors.

The Color of Mold

If you thought mold was always black, you’d be wrong. Molds exist in practically every color you can imagine, ranging from purest white to darkest black with stops along the spectrum at brown, tan, green, red, orange, yellow, and even blue.

“Black mold” is not a species or specific kind of mold, and neither is “toxic mold“…although the news media likes to loosely throw those terms around. Biologically a mold is a mold is a mold. Many black molds are relatively benign and common in the environment.

The mold growths that cause the most concern among mold specialists are actually the white molds which can include some very dangerous characters indeed.

Mold Needs Two Things to Grow Indoors

To grow indoors, mold needs water and/or moisture and a food source. Mold can grow on virtually any organic substance and most buildings are full of organic materials that mold can use as food, including paper, cloth, wood, carpet, furniture and other cellulose rich contents. Water and moisture intrusion control is the key to mold control.

Where Does Mold Grow?

Mold can be found anywhere moisture and a food source are found. Many times darkness accompanies mold growth as well. Often, more than one type of mold can be found growing in the same area, although conditions such as moisture, light, and temperature may favor one species of mold over another. Common sites for indoor mold growth include:

  • Sheetrock walls and ceilings
  • Bathroom tile and grout
  • Behind refrigerators and dishwashers
  • Under and behind sinks and toilets
  • Behind clothes washers and dryers
  • Surrounding, under and in furnaces and air conditioning systems
  • Finished basements and the contents within

Types of Mold

The most common types of mold include aspergillus, cladosporium and stachybotrys atra (also known as black mold).

Aspergillus

Aspergillus is a fairly allergenic mold that is commonly found on foods and in home air conditioning systems.

Cladosporium

Cladosporium is typically a black or green “pepper like” substance that grows on the back of toilets, painted surfaces and fiberglass air ducts. While this mold is nontoxic to humans, it can trigger common allergy symptoms, such as red and watery eyes, rashes and a sore throat.

Stachybotrys Chartarum

Toxic black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum, as it’s known to scientists, can release spores as it feeds on organic materials in common household items like drywall, carpet, insulation or subflooring that have been exposed to moisture.

These spores, if ingested or inhaled, can cause a range of unpleasant and even dangerous symptoms in humans including:

  • Chronic coughing and sneezing
  • Irritation to the eyes and mucous membranes (nose and throat)
  • Rashes
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Persistent headaches

In particularly severe cases of prolonged exposure, and compounded by allergic reaction to the black mold spores, symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, and bleeding in the lungs and nose. Understanding black mold symptoms and health effects can help you and your family identify these indicators and take swift action to protect your health and your home.

If you suspect mold in your home or business, give Titan Environmental Services a call at 913-325-4328 and we’ll send someone to investigate.

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Is Exposure to Lead Paint Causing Your Children Developmental Issues

Posted by MikaB on August 25, 2015

The answer, in many cases is, YES! If you have young kids, it’s important to find out whether there’s any risk that they might be exposed to lead, especially if you live in an older home.

Long-term exposure to lead, a naturally occurring metal used in everything from construction materials to batteries, can cause serious health problems, particularly in young kids. Lead is toxic to all of us, but unborn babies and young children are at greatest risk for health problems from lead poisoning — their little, growing bodies make them more predisposed to absorbing and retaining lead.

Each year in the United States 310,000 1- to 5-year-old kids are found to have unsafe levels of lead in their blood, which can lead to a wide range of symptoms, from headaches and stomach pain to behavioral problems and anemia (not enough healthy red blood cells). Lead can also affect a child’s developing brain.

The good news is that you can protect your family from lead poisoning. Talk to your doctor or contact us about potential lead sources in your house or anywhere your kids spend long periods of time, especially if they are under 3 years of age.

And it’s important for kids to get tested to determine their blood lead levels if they’re at risk of exposure — many people with lead poisoning show only mild symptoms or even no symptoms at all.

Why Is Lead Dangerous?

When the body is exposed to lead — by being inhaled, swallowed, or in a small number of cases, absorbed through the skin — it can act as a poison. Exposure to high lead levels in a short period of time is called acute toxicity. Exposure to small amounts of lead over a long period of time is called chronic toxicity.

Lead is especially dangerous because once it gets into a person’s system, it is distributed throughout the body just like helpful minerals such as iron, calcium, and zinc. And lead can cause harm wherever it settles in the body.

Most lead ends up in the bone, where it causes even more problems. Lead can interfere with the production of blood cells and the absorption of calcium that bones need to grow healthy and strong.

Effects of Long-Term Lead Poisoning

Lead poisoning can lead to a plethora of health problems in kids, including:

  • decreased bone and muscle growth
  • poor muscle coordination
  • damage to the nervous system, kidneys, and/or hearing
  • speech and language problems
  • developmental delay
  • seizures and unconsciousness (in cases of extremely high lead levels)

Treatment

Treatment for lead poisoning varies depending on how much lead is in the blood. Small amounts often can be treated rather easily; the most important part of therapy is reduction of lead exposure. Gradually, as the body naturally eliminates the lead, the level of lead in the blood will fall.

All siblings of a child found to have lead poisoning also should be tested. Doctors will report cases of lead poisoning to the public health department.

The Titan Environmental Solution

We here at Titan pride ourselves on ensuring you and your entire family’s safety. Lead remediation is a service we provide all year round to make sure we are available to you when you need our help most. We work mostly within the mid-west region:

  • Missouri
  • Kansas
  • Oklahoma
  • Arkansas
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Nebraska
  • Minnesota
  • Iowa
  • Illinois
  • Wisconsin

Here are some helpful links to all of these, and many more, states’ Environmental Health Departments.

Protecting Your Family

Have your kids tested for lead exposure, particularly when they’re between 6 months and 3 years old. Kids this age spend a lot of time on the floor and trying to put things in their mouths.

If you suspect that you might have lead-based paint on your walls, use a wet cloth to wipe windowsills and walls. Watch out for water damage that can make paint peel. Don’t sand or heat lead-based paint because doing so increases the risk that lead will be inhaled. If the paint doesn’t have many chips, a new layer of paint, paneling, or drywall will probably reduce the risk. It’s best to consult a professional, especially because other precautions might be needed to contain the lead in the paint.

The children are our future, so the quicker we can completely eliminate their threat from lead, the brighter our future will be! For more info contact us today for an inspection before you and your family fall victim to this unforgiving poison!

Asbestos And The War On YOUR Lungs!

Posted by MikaB on July 9, 2015

What Is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a mineral fiber. It can be positively identified only with a special type of microscope. There are several types of asbestos fibers. In the past, asbestos was added to a variety of products to strengthen them and to provide heat insulation and fire resistance.

How Can Asbestos Affect My Health?

From studies of people who were exposed to asbestos in factories and shipyards, we know that breathing high levels of asbestos fibers can lead to an increased risk of:

  • lung cancer:
    — mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the chest and the abdominal cavity; and
    — asbestosis, in which the lungs become scarred with fibrous tissue.

 

The risk of lung cancer and mesothelioma increases with the number of fibers inhaled. The risk of lung cancer from inhaling asbestos fibers is also greater if you smoke. People who get asbestosis have usually been exposed to high levels of asbestos for a long time. The symptoms of these diseases do not usually appear until about 20 to 30 years after the first exposure to asbestos.

 

Most people exposed to small amounts of asbestos, as we all are in our daily lives, do not develop these health problems. However, if disturbed, asbestos material may release asbestos fibers, which can be inhaled into the lungs. The fibers can remain there for a long time, increasing the risk of disease. Asbestos material that would crumble easily if handled, or that has been sawed, scraped, or sanded into a powder, is more likely to create a health hazard.

Where Asbestos Hazards May Be Found In The Home

  1. Some roofing and siding shingles are made of asbestos cement.Asbestos in walls
  2. Houses built between 1930 and 1950 may have asbestos as insulation.
  3. Asbestos may be present in textured paint and in patching compounds used on wall and ceiling joints. Their use was banned in 1977.
  4. Artificial ashes and embers sold for use in gas-fired fireplaces may contain asbestos.
  5. Older products such as stove-top pads may have some asbestos compounds.
  6. Walls and floors around woodburning stoves may be protected with asbestos paper, millboard, or cement sheets.
  7. Asbestos is found in some vinyl floor tiles and the backing on vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives.
  8. Hot water and steam pipes in older houses may be coated with an asbestos material or covered with an asbestos blanket or tape.
  9. Oil and coal furnaces and door gaskets may have asbestos insulation.

How To Manage An Asbestos Problem

If it is a problem, there are two types of corrections: repair and removal.

 

REPAIR usually involves either sealing or covering asbestos material.

workers removing asbestos material

 

Sealing (encapsulation) involves treating the material with a sealant that either binds the asbestos fibers together or coats the material so fibers are not released. Pipe, furnace, and boiler insulation can sometimes be repaired this way. This should be done only by a professional trained to handle asbestos safely.

 

Covering(enclosure) involves placing something over or around the material that contains asbestos to prevent release of fibers. Exposed insulated piping may be covered with a protective wrap or jacket.

 

With any type of repair, the asbestos remains in place. Repair is usually cheaper than removal, but it may make later removal of asbestos, if necessary, more difficult and costly.

Asbestos Removal

 Titan Asbestos Removal and Abatement Services

Titan Environmental Services can facilitate a wide range of asbestos abatement and removal services to meet the needs of our clients. Whether the asbestos removal is driven by planned renovation, demolition, restoration, or is needed through rapid response due to a flood, fire, or other emergency, Titan has the solution to the problem and can oversee the project from start to finish.

Our team of experienced independent contractors has the expertise to perform abatement projects ranging from large industrial sites to the smallest of commercial and residential properties.  All asbestos removal projects are conducted in strict accordance with all applicable local, state, and federal regulations. Contact Us today to insure your families safety from the silent dangers of Asbestos.

We serve a large range of mid-west areas such as:

  • Missouri
  • Kansas
  • Oklahoma
  • Wisconsin
  • South Dakota
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Nebraska
  • Arkansas
  • Minnesota

 

 

Living in a Meth Lab – Meth in Your Own Home, Business, or Car

Posted by MikaB on April 28, 2015

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The methamphetamine (meth)  lab problem is growing. Meth labs, used to make the illegal drug methamphetamine, are discovered in houses, apartments, motel rooms, sheds, or even motor vehicles. Just as of 2014, federal, state and local authorities were involved in the seizure of more than 1,045 labs in Missouri alone, and the number of meth labs seized by law enforcement agencies increases each year.

As the problem grows, and companies work to restrict the products needed to make methamphetamine, the methods and the locations of its production are changing. This adds to the trouble that health and environmental agencies face in monitoring meth related health risks.

big-DinningroomChandelier

Everyone knows that meth is bad for your health. When people make or smoke meth everything around them is coated with a film that contains methamphetamine. When people or pets rub against these contaminated surfaces the meth enters their bodies through their skin and contact from hands to mouth and nose. Babies who crawl on contaminated carpets and furniture are most vulnerable. They naturally get the highest doses. How much third hand meth exposure is too much?

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The effects of meth residue transfer on to people through surface contact has been compared to studies that include: ingestion of pesticides that are sprayed on surfaces and absorbed through skin and mouth; level of adverse reactions from methamphetamine for children when used for behavioral issues; pregnant women using methamphetamine for weight control.

Some expert researchers, however, linked meth houses to respiratory, even neurological problems, in children. Research conducted by Mike Van Dyke at National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado, reveals very high levels of toxic chemicals are produced during meth cooking and hazardous chemical exposures can continue in rooms and buildings for an extended period of time, even if there is no methamphetamine left present in the home.

methlab

Using these studies, proposed residue limits of .05, .1, .5 and 1 micro gram per hundred square centimeters, or the amount of meth residue that on a  surface a little larger than a square yard, were studied to decide if they offered protection for occupants. These also happen to be the lowest levels detected by test kits available to professionals.

Currently, there is no one method for tracking or listing homes that were used as meth labs. MDOH is creating a list of reported addresses. Your local health department can verify if the property in on that list. You should call your local law enforcement agency to confirm that a seizure of chemicals took place on the property, and to get the name of any hazardous materials contractor who may have removed materials. The contractor should have information on what chemicals were present on the property. Additional information may be obtained from your county health department, fire department, or the owner of the property. To find contact info or specific statistics on the states we work with select a state link:

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Exposure to any toxic material isn’t healthy, but in our modern world we are constantly faced with pollution from sources we may not even be aware of. We have come a long way in protecting people from dangerous materials such as lead and asbestos, and mold. Unfortunately, the odds of meth manufacturers and users becoming environmentally responsible and protecting the rest of us from their pollution, are very low.  It’s up to you to decide if the protection offered by laws and regulations is enough to protect you and your family from this danger.

We here at Titan dedicate all of our to time protecting the environment around you and your family. Whether it be the hazardous chemicals from a previous meth lab , lead paint in your home, mold growing silently behind your walls , or asbestos lingering in your home; our goal is to make sure everyone is safe from these silent dangers. Now is the time to take the steps to having a clean worry free home by getting an inspection. From there, if the test result come back positive, schedule an appointment with us and rest easy knowing that Titan Environmental Services will take thorough action to protect your family from anymore potential risk.