Air Date: 6-29-2014 | Episode: 332
David Lark is Principal Mycologist at MouldLab located in Newcaslte, Australia. MouldLab is one of Australia’s few laboratories specializing in environmental mycology as it relates to indoor environments and the health of occupants…
David Lark is Principal Mycologist at MouldLab located in Newcaslte, Australia. MouldLab is one of Australia’s few laboratories specializing in environmental mycology as it relates to indoor environments and the health of occupants. Mr. Lark is a graduate microbiologist and professional mycologist with over 40 years experience in a variety of settings. He has presented training and published research papers and posters locally and internationally. He has also co-authored several granted patents in the field of the application of biocides to control mould and bacterial growth. He is a scientific adviser and consultant mycologist to many mould remediators and has mould focused research projects in several states of Australia. He is known throughout the Australian IAQ, mould, and water damage industries as the “go to” guy when it comes to mould assessment, microbiology and related expert witness support services. He has appeared on “A Current Affair” and radio interviews, particularly in reference to the aftermath of the Queensland floods. We met at last year’s Summer Break at Hidden Valley, PA where he was continuing his constant quest for new knowledge after attending a course at McCrone Institute. Cliff and I were impressed with his broad knowledge and thirst for learning even after 40 years in the industry. His years of diverse experience and professional education will be a great resource for our listeners
A Wizard in Aus
David Lark is Principle Mycologist at MouldLab in Newcastle, Australia. With 40 years of experience, David is Australian go-to-guy for IAQ, water damage and microbial remediation issues. Committed to learning and self improvement, he travels the world to study and take training courses to improve his knowledge and expertise so he can bring the best advice to his clients in Australia.
Nuggets mined from today’s episode:
- Indoor Air Quality is not in the forefront of people’s minds in Australia.
- For the past 4 consecutive years a mold remediation events has been held in Australia.
- There are 2 mould labs and 10 general labs in Australia.
- The Australian government has not written any mold remediation guidelines. The one Aussie document was privately written. IICRC S-500 water restoration and S-520 mold remediation standards are the primary documents used by Indoor Environmental Professionals and remediation contractors in Australia.
- The Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists has over 650 members and is the equivalent of American Industrial Hygienists Association (AIHA) in the US
- Conducted research work and co-authored patents on extending the shelf life of foods. Vaporized peroxide or acetic acid is 100-1000 more effective than liquid solutions of the same.
- While consultants “won’t get out of bed without” professional indemnity errors & omissions insurance, contamination and pollution liability insurance doesn’t seem to be present in Australia.
- There was/is no “mold is gold rush” in Australia, as yet, although access to the Internet has brought some focus to societies perception of the problem.
- On expert witness work: Expert witness legal work is demanding & consultants try to avoid it, but the number of court cases is growing and “it’s fun to see people get justice”. Australia has a loser pays legal system which reduces the number of nuisance lawsuits. Some Aussie attorneys will take cases on a “no win, no pay” contingency basis.
- According to David, Building Biologists are group of young folks who are passionate about helping their clients but don’t want to crawl under buildings and get dirty and don’t like to work very hard.
- In the USA, due to what some perceive as potential conflicts of interest, some separation of the specialties of mold assessment and mold remediation occurs. In Australia while separation has its benefits, differentiation between specialties is blurred and both services are most often performed by the same firm at this stage, although this is changing as the importance of differentiation is better understood.
- Awareness of Building Science is dawning in Australia. “Architects either are either keeping the information to themselves or they don’t want to know”
- AS3666 is the Australian Standard which provides guidance for the control of Legionella in cooling towers.
- Case Study: Unique project at the 2000 Sydney Olympic games. David knew the Asset Manager at the stadium. The stadium wasn’t purpose built just for the Olympics but rather constructed for use a permanent multiuse facility. The stadium featured a rubber running track. For some competition grass sod needed to be installed over the athletic surface resulting in blue staining of the track. $160,000 was spent trying to determine what the blue stains were. The combination of watering the sod and the lack of sunlight beneath caused fungi to proliferate. He was able to identify fungi was the culprit using his microscope onsite. Commitment to hosting “Green Games” mandated an environmentally friendly solution. Mold was eradicated using a 10% peroxide solution. The application was reviewed by the Olympic Committee and other bureaucracies. During an onsite demonstration of the methodology when the rubber track turned white so did the faces of the Olympic Committee thinking that their running surface had been damaged. Hosing off treated surfaces with water confirmed that the surface hadn’t been damaged. 3 treatments corrected the problem and “no one was the wiser”.
- The vinegar controversy. Mycologia, an Australian environmental consulting firm and laboratory who believes that “the world provides answers” recommends a natural and sustainable 20% water and 80% white vinegar solution is used for mold remediation.
- Opined that antimicrobials are an essential remediation tool as long as remediators validate what they use. The same brands of products used in the US are also used in Australia. Encapsulants and coatings are not a substitute for good remediation.
- There are many ways to kill pests. While the .25% solution of Dursban (prescribed on the product label) was effective in controlling insects in and around his house and didn’t harm him or his cat; moving the decimal point will cause problems.
- Uses bleach to kill weeds and control mold in his shower stall.
- Most chemical horror stores are the result of chemical misuse.
- Mr. Fluffy, an Australian insulation contractor, insulated an undetermined number of homes by blowing in asbestos containing materials into roof cavities from a truck mount.
- Stupid people shouldn’t get the job.
Today’s music: From the Wizard of Oz movie, We’re Off to See the Wizard, YouTube
Z-Man signing off