Molds can cause structural damage to your home, leading to costly repairs which could reduce your home’s value.
When molds are present in a home, they can cause allergic reactions. The most common symptoms are runny nose, eye and skin irritation, cough, and congestion. They can even trigger asthma attacks.
Mold is found in places where there is a lot of water or condensation, such as under a leaking sink, damp basements or the tracks of poorly insulated windows. Once the source of moisture is found, fix the leak and dry the area as quickly as possible.
Some places to look for mold include:
If mold is found on a non-porous or semi-porous surface, it can usually be cleaned. Below are some guidelines on cleaning mold:
Do not assume that just because you cleaned mold from the front of a surface that the back is clean as well. Mold is often found inside walls, under and in carpet padding, and under vinyl wall coverings.
For General information on Mold click here
For Health information click here
To find an Indoor Air Consultant click here
Long term exposure to elevated radon levels increases a persons' risk of developing radon-induced lung cancer; in addition, if you're a past or present smoker, your risk of developing radon induced lung cancer is even greater. Radon is our nation's second leading cause of lung cancer, and is the leading cause among non-smokers. Radon exposure is estimated to be responsible for thousand of deaths each year. Common entry points include: raw earth floors and crawl spaces, cracked or porous walls and floors, hollow cavities inside walls, floor and wall joints, floor drains, sump pits, annular spaces around piping, duct work, and wiring in walls and floors.
See video clip: “Eddies Story”
If you’ve tested your home for radon and found elevated radon levels (levels greater than 4 picocuries per liter—4 pCi/l), and if you’ve confirmed those levels with a follow-up test, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality recommends that you take action to reduce your exposure.
The most common technique for reducing exposure is to prevent or reduce radon entry. This can sometimes be achieved by caulking and sealing entry points such as the floor/wall joint; sump openings; cracks in the floor or walls; space around plumbing, wiring or ductwork; or openings at the top of a hollow block wall. Unfortunately, caulking and sealing is rarely adequate as a stand-alone reduction technique, though it does sometimes work when the radon levels are only marginally elevated.
To achieve guaranteed results; a trained contractor should be hired to install a radon mitigation (reduction) system. Almost any radon level, regardless of how high it is, can be brought down to below 4 pCi/l. The most common technique used in Michigan is active soil depressurization (ASD). This reduction method involves reducing the pressure under the house so radon isn’t being pushed in through openings in the foundation floor or walls.
Mercury is a naturally occurring metallic element that exists in a variety of forms. It is found in soil, water, rocks, and living organisms and it can exist as a gas, a liquid, or a solid. Because it remains liquid at room temperature, mercury is used in many consumer products. Mercury is used in barometers, blood pressure instruments, thermometers, and other pressure-sensing instruments. Batteries containing mercury are used in some small electronic devices. Mercury also has valuable uses in outdoor lighting, motion picture projection, and the making of some medications.
Exposure to even small amounts of mercury over a long period may cause negative health effects including damage to the brain, kidneys, lungs, and the developing fetus. Brief contact with high levels of mercury can cause immediate health effects including loss of appetite, fatigue, insomnia, and changes in behavior or personality. Depending on the length or degree of exposure, additional symptoms such as nausea, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, eye irritation, weight loss, skin rashes, and muscle tremors may occur.
When exposure to mercury stops, most symptoms usually go away; however, effects on the brain and nervous system may be permanent. Once mercury has entered the body, it can take months before it is eliminated, mainly through the urine and feces. Levels of mercury can be measured in blood, urine, and scalp hair. These tests may help to predict possible health effects.
See video clip: “Don’t Mess With Mercury”
The amount of liquid mercury from a typical broken thermometer would be considered a small spill. If more mercury than this is spilled, it would be considered a large spill. Some people save mercury from various sources and store the product in containers. This is dangerous because mercury may escape from broken or improperly sealed containers. Individuals may often be exposed without their knowledge.
Persons involved in a large mercury spill should leave the area immediately and contact the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality at 1-800-292-4706. Consult with your physician or the Poison Control Center for possible treatment and testing options.
The following precautions should be taken if a small mercury spill occurs:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Michigan Department of Community Health
Don't Mess with Mercury
How to Clean Up Spilled Mercury (for Homes)
Methamphetamine, or what is commonly referred to as “Meth” is one the most commonly used and manufactured “illegal” drugs in Michigan. Its harmful effects far outweigh any short-term euphoria it produces.
As far as an environmental health concern, many of the chemicals used in making meth are considered to be toxic to the environment and are more than not improperly disposed of into the soil, surface water, or are released into the atmosphere with open burning.
If you have reason to believe that your dwelling or premises may have been used for the production or use of meth, then there are several steps you may want to take. First would be to have your home evaluated by a trained and reputable consultant familiar with meth. In addition to a home evaluation, would be to have some analytical testing done to show whether or not any meth residue is still present and to what degree of toxicity. To find out more about methamphetamine and the risks associated with using methamphetamine, please visit http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdch/Methamphetamine_2006MSP_rv2011_355108_7.pdf. You may also want to contact our Department’s Environmental Health Division to see if we have any information regarding a meth lab or meth activities at your home.
For guidance on cleaning up a clandestine drug laboratory click here