Beyond home and mold inspections, we offer additional environmental inspection and testing services, that we have specialized expertise, as well as any required state, federal and professional certifications.
Environmental Testing Available
Radon: This odorless gas is the number one cause of mortality in residential homes. The EPA and U.S. Surgeon General recommend that all homes be tested. Radon comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe. Radon can be found all over the U.S. Radon is estimated to cause 22,000 thousand of deaths each year. The Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths.
Because of the significant health danger from Radon, you were asked if you wanted Radon testing, when your inspection was ordered. Steve Zivolich is a certified Radon Measurement Provider 105129RT, by the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), and registered with the California Department of Health. Non-Profit Radon Survivors Group Link: http://www.cansar.org
Mold: If probable moisture and mold conditions are observed, your inspector will recommend that a collection of samples be submitted to a certified laboratory for further analysis. If mold concern conditions are not observable, a mold screen test can also be collected for lab analysis. The World Health Organization has reported that microbial pollution is a key element of indoor air pollution: WHO Link It is caused by hundreds of species of bacteria and fungi, in particular filamentous fungi (mold), growing indoors when sufficient moisture is available. The report concludes that the most important effects are: increased prevalence of respiratory symptoms, allergies and asthma as well as perturbation of the immunological system.
Water Quality: Water quality is a term used to describe the chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of water, usually in respect to its suitability for a particular purpose such as drinking or bathing. A water quality screen test can be conducted for: bacteria, lead, pesticides, nitrates, nirtrites, chlorine, hardness and ph. EPA WATER QUALITY
Formaldehyde: Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable, strong-smelling chemical that is used in building materials and to produce many household products. When formaldehyde is present in the air at levels exceeding 0.1 ppm, some individuals may experience adverse effects such as watery eyes; burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat; coughing; wheezing; nausea; and skin irritation. In 1987, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classified formaldehyde as a probable human carcinogen under conditions of unusually high or prolonged exposure. A 24 hour formaldehyde gas test can determine current indoor exposure levels. https://www.epa.gov/formaldehyde
Electromagnetic Fields: (EMF) EMF is classified as a possible carcinogen; studies have concluded an association of childhood leukemia, adult cancers & miscarriages with low EMF levels in residential homes (above 4 milliGauss). EMF is found in all homes; levels are influenced by types & locations of appliances, electrical system, above & below ground exterior power lines. NIH Link on EMF
Allergens: Allergen screen testing is a quantitative analysis for any of the following: Cat Allergens (Fel d 1), Dog Allergens (Can f 1), Cockroach Allergen ( Bla g 1), Dust Mite Allergens (Der p 1, Der f 1), Mouse Allergens (Mus m 1), Rat Allergens (Rat n 1).
Lead Paint: In 1991, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services called lead the “number one environmental threat to the health of children in the United States.” Lead levels in U.S. children have been greatly reduced since lead has been removed from gasoline. However, there are still many ways in which humans are exposed to lead including deteriorating paint, and dust. Lead at high levels cause convulsions, coma, and even death. Lower levels of lead can cause adverse health effects on the central nervous system, kidney, and blood cells. Blood lead levels as low as 10 micrograms per deciliter can impair mental and physical development. Lead paint was banned from residential use in 1978. Effective 10/1/10 the EPA requires special lead dust protection procedures by contractors, while renovating homes built before 1978. NOTE THAT WE DO NOT TEST FOR LEAD, CONTACT A STATE LICENSED LEAD PAINT PROFESSIONAL. https://www.epa.gov/lead
Although the use of asbestos has decreased, and even been banned in several countries, it’s still used throughout the United States. Asbestos is a natural mineral that can be found in rock. The two types of asbestos are:
Serpentine Asbestos which are wavy fibers that the body can expel almost as easily as they can be inhaled. Since the fibers can be exhaled and don’t linger in the lungs or abdomen, very few cases of mesothelioma develop as a result of serpentine asbestos.
Amphibole Asbestos is the type of asbestos that triggers most cases of mesothelioma asbestos cancer. These types of fibers are very rigid and look almost like tiny needles. After being inhaled, the fibers lodge in the soft tissue of the lungs and over time turn into cancerous cells.
How Does Asbestos Exposure Lead to Mesothelioma?
When asbestos fibers are disrupted, such as when construction is being done on a building, the small asbestos fibers are released into the air and are either inhaled or ingested. If the fibers can’t be exhaled, they lodge themselves into the protective lining that encases the heart, lungs, and abdomen. As time goes by, the surrounding cells which are called mesothelial cells, become irritated. Eventually genetic mutations, that turn into cancerous tumors develop. The entire process can take 20 – 50 years. Since early mesothelioma symptoms closely mirror colds, flus, and pneumonia, the cancer often isn’t detected until it reaches the later stages when curative treatment becomes difficult.
How Exposure Happens
Most individuals who develop mesothelioma experienced occupational exposure. The more industrial a work environment was, the greater the odds of mesothelioma developing 20 – 50 years later become. In addition to veterans, dockyard workers and electricians are the groups who seem to have experienced the highest asbestos exposure.
Just because an individual didn’t work or live in an asbestos rich environment doesn’t mean they aren’t at risk of developing mesothelioma. A startling number of the cases are determined to have been caused by secondhand exposure to asbestos.
It’s believed that the asbestos was brought home on the hair, skin, and clothing of a loved one who did work somewhere with asbestos. The longer the secondhand asbestos was inhaled, the more at risk the entire household is for developing mesothelioma.
Many people are surprised to learn that asbestos isn’t a man made fiber, but actually a naturally occurring mineral. If a person lived in an area that was close to an asbestos deposit, it’s likely they were exposed to the mineral through their ground water or by breathing in the dust created by a mining operation.
Although the use of asbestos has not yet been abolished in the United States like it has in other countries, regulations are in place that requires all material containing asbestos to be labeled as either friable or non-friable asbestos. If a material is classified as friable, it means it can easily be broken or crumbled and release asbestos fibers into the air. The government believes that the sturdy nature of non-friable asbestos material are safe to use. The problem is that just because material starts out as non-friable doesn’t mean it can turn friable as it ages and becomes more brittle or gets damaged. In 1981, in an attempt to protect Americans the Environmental Protection Agency started requiring businesses in the United States to list the products they made that contained asbestos. Seven years later, the Asbestos Information Act was developed which is legally requires manufacturers of asbestos materials to provide the EPA with detailed information about each asbestos rich product they produce.
NOTE: WE NOW LONGER TEST FOR ASBESTOS; TO TEST FOR ASBESTOS IN YOUR HOME CONTACT A STATE LICENSED ASBESTOS CONTRACTOR.
Please inform your inspector of any environmental exposure or testing questions in advance of your inspection.
He will provide further consultation and inform you of lab testing costs.
These environmental areas are also referenced the CRA real estate purchase contractual written documents, disclosures and warnings regarding a property purchase.
STATEWIDE BUYER AND SELLER ADVISORY, Page 2.
“5. ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS: Buyer and Seller are advised that the presence of certain kinds of organisms, toxins and contaminants, including, but not limited to, mold (airborne, toxic or otherwise), fungi, mildew, lead-based paint and other lead contamination, asbestos, formaldehyde, radon, methane, other gases, fuel oil or chemical storage tanks, contaminated soil or water, hazardous waste, waste disposal sites, electromagnetic fields, nuclear sources, urea formaldehyde, or other materials may adversely affect the Property and the health of individuals who live on or work at the property as well as pets. If Buyer wants further information, Buyer is advised and Broker recommends that Buyer have the Property inspected for the existence of such conditions and organisms, and conditions that may lead to their formation… Brokers do not have expertise in this area…”