Air Date: 1-11-2013| Episode: 269
This week on IAQ Radio Eckardt Johanning, M.D., M.Sc., PhD joins us to discuss the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and the recently announced conference Safe and Effective Flood and Mold Remediation -After the Super Storm Sandy and other Natural Disasters…
This week on IAQ Radio Eckardt Johanning, M.D., M.Sc., PhD joins us to discuss the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and the recently announced conference Safe and Effective Flood and Mold Remediation -After the Super Storm Sandy and other Natural Disasters.
Eckardt Johanning, M.D., M.Sc., PhD. is the Medical Director of Occupational and Environmental Life Science, and the Fungal Research Group Foundation, Inc. (a nonprofit organization) in Albany, New York, USA. He is involved in direct patient care, research and teaching. He is on the faculty of Columbia University, Department of Family Medicine, New York. He is also the founder and principle organizer of the International Conferences on Bioaerosols, Fungi, Bacteria, and Mycotoxins (Saratoga Springs, New York 1994, 1996, 1998, and 2000 in Helsinki, Finland (together with Healthy Buildings 2000), 2003 and 2011 which brought together a wide range of leading international researchers and health specialists devoted to public health and prevention.
Dr. Johanning and N95 respirator donning
I along with millions of American TV viewers, simultaneously became aware of Dr. Eckardt Johnanning, MD and his medical practice during a segment on the TV series 48 Hours titled “Invisible Killers” which detailed Melinda Ballard’s family’s struggles with both Farmer’s Insurance Company and “toxic mold”. I vividly remember the horrific symptoms the family claimed to experience, Melinda’s son was asthmatic, coughed up blood and her husband allegedly suffered cognitive damage and memory loss. I remember chuckling over his investment banking co-worker’s choice of words when he said that “the mold had turned him into a nincompoop.”
Nuggets mined from today’s discussion with Dr. J:
•Expressed concern about untrained, inexperienced and un-personally protected workers and volunteers performing flood cleanup following Superstorm Sandy.
•According to OSHA, The levels of harmful contaminants at Superstorm Sandy cleanup sites in New York and New Jersey have so far not exceeded federal workplace exposure limits, officials said Wednesday.
•The Occupational Safety and Health Administration tested dozens of cleanup sites, measuring worker exposure to toxic substances. The agency fanned out to workplaces and debris sites ranging from beaches to landfills, testing for airborne contaminants and taking samples from debris and storm water.
•NYC Mold Remediation Guidelines was designed and focused on remedial procedures for residential properties.
•Structural drying techniques are known dislodge friable asbestos when used in buildings in which asbestos containing building materials are used.
•The importance of environmental controls to protect workers rather than reliance upon PPE.
•Unlike asbestos, if improperly remediated and/or dampness continues fungi can grow back.
•The Mold Health Symptom Pyramid; the rarer symptoms are at the top, hypersensitive pneumonitis is in the middle and reversible symptoms are on the bottom.
•Dr. J believes that fungi is responsible for neurocognitive disorders.
Organic Dust Toxicity Syndrome (ODTS) is an illness that is not very common but can affect farmers and disaster recovery/mold remediation personnel. According to Dr. Johanning it is more of a theoretical concept for a lung condition that is of temporary nature- it is clinically very similar to hypersensitivity Pneumonitis –but reversible. Sometimes referred to as grain fever.
•Mycotoxins are found in spores and hyphae and can be aerosolized as dusts during demolition and post flood cleanup.
•Stachybotrys mycotoxins are water soluble and may cross contaminate adjacent surfaces.
•Sampling is tricky, advised to expend resources on remediation not sampling.
•Levels of cleanliness vary according to building occupants. 0 spores after mold remediation is an unrealistic expectation.
•On March 13-15, the Flood, Fungal Research Group Foundation, Inc. is hosting “Safe and Effective Flood and. Mold Remediation –.after Super Storm Sandy and other Natural Disasters” an international meeting and educational opportunity in Atlantic City, NJ for more info go to:
Z-Man signing off