Radio Joe Reports – Sloan Research to Practice Kickoff & IAQA

Air Date: 1-26-2018|Episode 492

Radio Joe is on the road at the IAQA Annual Meeting and last week attended a Sloan Workshop: Roadmap Research to Practice. Radio Joe will be reporting on both events this week and we will debut our new format for the show. The Sloan workshop was put together by Richard Shaughnessy, PhD and Jordan Peccia, PhD.

Full Description:

Radio Joe is on the road at the IAQA Annual Meeting and last week attended a Sloan Workshop: Roadmap Research to Practice. Radio Joe will be reporting on both events this week and we will debut our new format for the show. The Sloan workshop was put together by Richard Shaughnessy, PhD and Jordan Peccia, PhD. It was a fascinating meeting of about 15 practitioners, 15 researchers and a handful of government representatives from agencies such as EPA, HUD and CDC. It was designed to allow practitioners to let researchers know what we need from research to do a better job helping people live in better indoor environments. This workshop focused on the Microbiome of the Built Environment and included a lot of discussion on mold and water damage topics. Radio Joe will review the presentations by both researchers and practitioners to bring listeners up to speed on what was discussed. The IAQA Annual Meeting is always a highlight of the conference season. This year it was in Chicago and was in conjunction with the ASHRAE AHR Expo. As always there was a huge expo hall with thousands of exhibitors and some excellent presentations at the Hilton Chicago.

Z-Man’s Blog:

20 Years of Mold WE ARE NOT DONE
This week on IAQradio we presented highlights from the IAQA Annual Meeting and the Sloan Research to Practice Workshop.
Nuggets mined from this week’s show:
IAQA Annual Meeting
2018 IAQA Hall of Fame Inductees were: Andy AskJoe LstiburekLew Harrimanand Jeff May
There were more international attendees than at past conferences, there is also a little more diversity on the board of directors which now has two women Alice DeLia and Melissa Helmick.
There are always opportunities for learning both in and out of the classroom. IAQA dealt with logistic challenges of combining with ASHRAE by having buses to the AHR Expo and over 2000 exhibitors. They also had a nice reception for attendees the first evening of the event.
There was an IAQ pavilion with IAQ specific exhibitors all in the same area. It was small but informative. They also had some refreshments available at no charge on the second day.
An interesting somewhat new product was the Breezeometer an- Israeli technology that provides instant outdoor IAQ readings. Learn more and download the app at
The presentations were well received and included quite a few new faces.
The Hayward Score presentation by Carl Grimes presented data from over 5000 users of Hayward
After a discussion about drains around homes the Z-man suggested Copper Sulfate can be used to control root growth in French drains.
Sloan Workshop: Roadmap Research to Practice
The event was an intimate gathering of about 35 researchers, practitioners and government agency representatives.
Richard Shaughnessy and Jordan Peccia organized the event and put together the format and questions that would be discussed. Both are passionate about researchers working with practitioners.
Practitioners were given the opportunity to discuss research needs/gaps with researchers, etc. The focus was the Microbiome of the Built environment and it followed up on much of the research Sloan sponsored on the topic.
Laura Kolb of EPA gave a quick overview of the EPA’s initiatives on indoor environments.
  • EPA’s Indoor Environmental Group interested in reducing health effects and financial burdens of dampness and mold.
  • #1 EPA inquiry for her group 20 years ago and still today is mold.
Peter Ashley of HUD gave a quick overview of his perspective.
  • The seven essentials of “Healthy Homes” Program is important
  • Real Estate Assessment (Sec. 8) now working on a pilot program that incorporates moisture meters & IR imaging into inspections.
Ginger Chew of CDC gave a quick overview on indoor environments.
  • CDC interest grew after the Dampness and Mold publication
  • It increased more after Hurricane Katrina which also led them to look at chronic exposure.
  • They have fairly recently published recommendations for clinicians
  • One current focus is on infectious fungi.
Mark Mendell gave a presentation that established “what we know now” per the research.
The health impacts continue to be researched and evidence mounts. What within damp environments is the culprit is still murky.
There are separate Levels of Inspection
Building Condition
Occupant Health
There are different ways to assess mold:
  • See or smell mold
  • measured building moisture
  • measured microorganisms
The 3 sets of questions that the event tackled were:
Fungal ecology.
  1. a.   Can the normal fungal ecology of a building be described for different geographies, climates, and for buildings surrounded by different land uses (e.g. urban vs. rural)? Does it need to be?
  2. b.   Do we know the ecology of fungi growing on damp building materials well enough to determine if a building is impacted by fungal growth due to dampness? How do these fungi differ from fungi that are part of the natural ecology?
  3. c.    Do practitioners even care? If so, what are the research/practitioner needs for fungal ecology?
New tools for microbial assessment.
  1. a.   How can DNA-based tools be used to indicate a need for remediation or to notify if a building has been cleared? Meeting of standards?
  2. b.   How can mVOC measurements be used to indicate the need for mold remediation or to indicate clearance? Meeting of standards?
  3. c.    How can (and should) building sensors (RH, ERH, T, VOC sensors) be incorporated into inspection and restoration practice?  What applied research is required to advance these tools?
The practice of mold prevention and remediation
  1. a.      What applied research is needed to advance the prevention or remediation effectiveness of mold in buildings?
  2. b.      What innovations are needed to reduce the cost of effective moisture/mold remediation?
  3. c.       Do we need additional or improved guidelines or standards to guide inspection and indicate the success of remediation?
Perspective from Lew Harriman and James Scott
Driver of sampling is building condition and people sample for the following reasons:
Part of the assessment Process
Post Remediation Verification (PRV)
Perspective from Rachel Adams (Berkeley) and Tiina Reponen
  • Need to better understand the association between fungal species and water damaged buildings.
  • Finland has guidelines based on cultures about what is normal in buildings
  • Looking at water damage and fungi in different types of materials
Perspective from Terry BrennanJason Dobranic and Rachel Adams (IICRC)
  • What is normal fungal ecology?
  • D 7391 12 categories of mold required to be reported on spore trap sample results
  • Common water damage indicators are globally distributed
  • Comparisons used in the past include indoor/outdoor, Spearman Rank Correlation, Friedman Chi-square
  • What is Condition 1, 2, 3 per IICRC S520 was discussed so researchers have a better idea of the type of standards practitioners commonly use.
 Perspective from Martin Taubel
  • Finland doesn’t have as many visible mold issues as it seems we have in US. They mostly deal with hidden mold. There are more HRVs used in homes and homes commonly have neutral pressures.
  • New tools for microbial assessment include the use of DNA methods such as qPCR, which has shown promise.
  • Had a great quote comparing a Tolstoy quote and one his professor used goes similar to this:
    • All happy families resemble each other but each unhappy family is unique Tolstoy
    • All healthy homes resemble each other but each unhappy home is unique
  • There is less Richness of fungi and bacteria found in properties after remediation.
James Scott
  • Standard air and dust sampling useless for exposure assessment
  • They are also rarely helpful in assessment or after remediation
  • There are 100,000 types of mites we only know about allergens from a dozen or so. Point brought out by a photo of a mite eating mold in a T. Brennan slide.
  • qPCR methods have shown some promise in predicting health outcomes
 Terry Brennan
  • Practical thinking-find out what’s wet, has been wet, or gets wet?
  • We need x-ray vision
  • Field microscopy can be helpful in guiding investigations
Drew Gentner
  • Focus on VOC’s and how to possibly use them for answering some of the questions we have.
  • Could they help in finding hidden mold. Not yet but work continues.
Brent Stephens
  • The built environment is a microbial wasteland.
  • Discussed ongoing research looking at microbiome on surfaces of different materials such as MDF, OSB, Gypsum board, etc.
  • Short discussion ensued about the duration of loss and Ralph Moon’s research
Steve Caulfield
  • 20-30 years ago I sampled everything
  • Now he tells customers “this is your problem if you want me to prove it that will cost another $$$$”.
Lan Chi NguyenWeekes
  • We already have issues with the type and number of samples, what materials to sample? Do we know what the results mean? We will need those answers for the new techniques.
Bill Sothern
  • He is doing some fascinating work with standardized protocols while working with NYC housing authority on dampness and mold problems.

We need:

  • better inspections
  • better understanding of the connections between health and environment
  • better information on the HVAC fiberglass nightmare
  • better methods for documenting inspections
  • better ways of preventing re-occurrence
 Rachel Adams (IICRC)
  • How much PPE is really needed?
  • What is normal?
 John Lapotaire
Topics that came up during his talk:
  • Must we clean to a “clean room” standard?
  • Do plumbers, handyman, etc. really cause health issues?
  • Is it better to fix the moisture and clean up as we do with other construction or are HEPA vacs, neg air etc. vital to properly completing these projects?
  • Do we need new standards?
 Lew Harriman
  • Is there need for additional guidelines to improve on mold inspections, or to improve on successful mold remediation? Probably!
Here are some other speakers I did not get to talk about on the show, because we ran out of time. There will be more information on their presentations in the paper written to summarize everything. We will let listeners know when that is available. We will also be working on getting some of them on the show.
Jack Gilbert
  • What are the implications of residual surface contamination in specific environments.
Gene Cole
  • Discussed the metrics/markers for gauging surface contamination.
  • Went over existing research on ATP applications.
  • We hope to get Dr. Cole on a future show to follow up on this!
 Greg Whiteley
  • Spoke about the practical aspects of cleaning metrics, including ATP.
  • Fascinating presentation on bio-films we did not get to discuss on this show. We must get Dr. Whitely on the show. An Aussie that is doing work with cleaning products in highly sensitive populations (healthcare) worldwide.
 FINAL THOUGHTS FROM TWO PARTICIPANTS: I emailed Carl Grimes and Jordan Peccia for some final thoughts:
Jordan Peccia
What I learned from practitioners
  • They like to tell inspection/remediation stories – homes are very different;
  • Microbial analysis is a part (small) of the large array of tools used for inspection and remediation;
  • We all clearly need to discuss spore traps;
  • Nuance in following standards and post-remediation verification.
  • Practitioners should to be involved in almost every building mold/moisture study.
Research Roadmap:  What are the questions?
  • What fungi or bacteria grow on damp building materials?
  • Normal fungal (bacterial) ecology is a primary concern/task?
  • What VOCs (SVOC’s, IVOC’s) indicate mold/bacterial growth?
  • What is the normal VOC (SVOC, IVOC) background?
  • Sensors with high selectivity and low cost would be very useful….make those.
  • There is a large suite of questions surrounding containment, personal protection, etc… that practitioners would like evidence based researcher guidance;
  • Molecular methods are totally ok with practitioners…..but they need to work, they need to be cheap, and they need to be fast.
Carl Grimes Takeaways
  • The event was appropriately structured and presented. The gulf between research and practice transforms from an obstacle to an opportunity for both.
  • Each side heard important information from the other that directly affects the work that they do.
  • We all want to do a better job and that means we must be more comprehensive which means we need the points of view and the expertise from other disciplines.
  • My hope is that the follow up and next steps will occur quickly so the momentum can continue and can spread.
Good Day!
Radio Joe