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The 4 Best Shower Steam Cleaners By Tiana Crump - BustleThe 4 Best Shower Steam Cleaners By Tiana Crump - BustlePosted: 07 Jul 2020 01:54 AM PDT Cleaning the bathroom can be a drag, but the best shower steam cleaners, come with a variety of attachments to make it quicker and easier to maneuver through awkward corners and tight spaces. When shopping for a steam cleaner for your shower, look for models with attachments like a specialized nozzle for tricky corners or one for cleaning grout.When it comes to the accessories, for most people, it's essential that your steamer come with nozzles designed to clean tough spots, like the grout between your tiles, as well as brush attachments for scrubbing away stubborn stains on tiles and laminate. You may also want your steam cleaner to have an extension hose and longer cord to allow you to access every corner of your space, especially if you have a large bathroom or one with limited outlets.Next, look to the steamer itself. For those with la…

Preventing mold is more important than painting over it - GW Hatchet

Preventing mold is more important than painting over it - GW Hatchet


Preventing mold is more important than painting over it - GW Hatchet

Posted: 06 Nov 2019 09:45 PM PST

Getting sick because of mold is a pretty universal experience for freshmen living in Thurston Hall. But it does not need to be.

The University of Maryland, College Park was plagued by mold and common viruses that destroyed buildings, belongings and residence halls and caused sickness and the death of a student last semester. Officials responded to the incident by installing 50 moisture detectors that alert the school when a space was likely to grow mold. The University collects data from the sensors every 48 hours and plans on installing "smart sensors" that will notify facility workers in real time about potential mold outbreaks.

At GW, students have complained and dealt with mold, crumbling infrastructure and water damage issues in residence halls for years. Thurston mold has become part of the first-year experience for some freshmen, and students have been displaced from their residence hall rooms because of mold outbreaks. On one occasion, the quality of University buildings became so bad that D.C. fined GW.

In response to these instances, officials have hired an outside maintenance company to wipe down Thurston walls to remove mold and gave students a stipend after they were removed from the affected residence hall. But these actions inappropriately respond to the issue and do not fix the actual problem – mold will continue to grow without a proper prevention system.

The University should invest in moisture detectors similar to the ones implemented at UMD instead of spending money on maintenance every time there is a mold outbreak. A preventative measure like UMD's would decrease the number of student complaints because officials would be able to detect mold before it becomes a larger issue. The University could enable facilities workers to become notified of mold and wipe down walls before they cause mold infestations and harm a student's health.

Investing in preemptive measures would also help reduce the amount of money officials invest in renovations and pay off fines. Instead of spending millions on renovations for aging buildings and worrying about potential lawsuits, administrators can reassure students that the buildings they live in are mold-free.

Hearing jokes about catching an illness because a student has caught the "Thurston plague" might be funny, but the jokes are grounded in the reality that residence halls and buildings run rampant with mold that cause unsanitary and unhealthy living conditions for students. The University should care about the health and safety of their students and become more proactive in addressing mold outbreaks, especially if it could harm a student's health.

The University needs to prioritize stopping problems before they become costly for both the University and for students.

Hannah Thacker, a sophomore majoring in political communications, is the contributing opinions editor.

Hidden Toxic Mold Lurking In Schools: Why No One Is Testing - CBS Sacramento

Posted: 05 Nov 2019 10:49 PM PST

WEAVERVILLE (CBS13) —  It's rare that a school superintendent asks a reporter to investigate his district, but Jamie Green was so desperate to protect California students that he came to CBS13 for help. It was only after hidden toxic mold devastated the Trinity Alps School District, that Green realized just how dangerous invisible mold spores could be.

Turns out there is no required mold testing in schools – or any indoor air quality regulations, protecting kids in classrooms.

Now the Trinity County Department of Public Health plans to set the nation's first mold safety threshold for schools, and Superintendent Green is calling on lawmakers to protect students state-wide.

ALSO READ: What To Do If You Suspect Your Child Is Getting Sick From School?

HEALTH ISSUES

Alyssa Keyes and her son were both new to campus at Weaverville Elementary last year.

"I had an upper respiratory infection last year, my son had pneumonia, we had respiratory issues throughout the classroom for three full months," recalled the preschool teacher, who goes by Miss Aly. "I was the sickest I'd ever been," she added.

Chyann Giddings' son was also new and suffered from headaches and respiratory issues. "We actually had an attendance meeting because he was out of school a lot sick," Giddings said.

Mom, Hanah Parkenson, says her older daughters had suffered from chronic bronchitis and migraines on campus for years.

Like the other parents, she chalked it up to normal kid stuff. Then, last summer, everything changed.

DISCOVERING HIDDEN MOLD

School superintendent Jamie Green was just as shocked as the parents to learn that there was toxic mold lurking in his schools.

"Until you test for it until you look for it, you just don't know," Green said.

After someone flagged a mold patch in a cafeteria, they decided to hire an Industrial Hygienist to test for airborne mold spores district-wide.

"It was very high, the highest I've seen," recalled Kristalynne Anderson, Trinity County Director of Environmental health. "And this is not our first set of schools to have [a] mold issue.

Anderson immediately quarantined the buildings on both campuses after mold tests found spore counts ranging from a few hundred spores/m3 to hundreds of thousands. It was only then that they started searching for hidden mold and, across the district, they found it hiding under carpets, behind walls, and in the ceilings.

SWIPE TO SEE PICTURES OF THE MOLD FOUND INSIDE TRINITY ALPS:

MOLD CONCERNS STATE-WIDE

Anderson notes that Trinity County does not have a particularly humid climate. She, along with many others, believes there are schools across the state with hidden mold issues just as severe as theirs.

In fact, a state report to the legislature in 2004 found the majority of California schools surveyed reported signs of moisture or mold in their classrooms.

The report linked mold spores to allergies and asthma, noting asthma was the "number one cause of chronic school absences, accounting for as many as 3 million missed school days a year."

Fifteen years later, there is still no required testing for mold in schools and no law that regulates air quality in schools. However, the Department of Education tells CBS13 that mold concerns are the most common complaint that they get.

The state reports the primary health hazards for mold in schools include asthma, allergies, respiratory infections, eye irritation, and rashes, like eczema.

However, more severe symptoms ranging from tremors to memory loss have been reported. 

NO MOLD LIMITS IN SCHOOLS

Weaverville Elementary school principal Katie Porpurko says she was shocked to learn there are no state or federal guidelines for airborne mold spores in schools.

"My frustration came from, once those test results came back, What did they mean? I don't know," Porburko said. "We had to do research on our own."

She struggled to provide guidance for parents and faculty, like Miss Aly and school secretary Deanna Briggs, who's currently on chemo. Briggs' doctors say she's immune-compromised and at greater risk for infection. She worked in one of the buildings with the highest spore count.

"There just isn't a guideline out there, and that's what was shocking to me, Briggs said.

"As a teacher, our number one job is to keep them safe and if we don't know what the harm is we can't do our job," Miss Aly added.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) insists they can't set science-based exposure limits and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) notes that standards for acceptable or normal levels have not been established.

Both agencies recommend against the type of airborne mold spore testing done by Trinity Alps, noting that it can be expensive and difficult to interpret without established limits or standards. Unlike some other states, California does not require mold assessors and remediators to be licensed so the industry is largely unregulated here. There are no federal mold licensing regulations.

CDPH adds, "The establishment of health-based permissible exposure limits for indoor levels of mold would imply that some levels of mold are safe, when in fact, they may not be."

Instead, both agencies say that any visible water damage, mold or musty odor is unhealthy and should be immediately addressed.

However, Green argues, "It's invisible unless you test for it!"

Trinity Alps Unified stresses that they didn't know they had water damage or mold until they tested the air and started ripping open walls to look for the source.

"It's an invisible toxin so you don't know it's there. "It grows in dark places so it's not visible on the wall," Green points out.

He notes that there is a set threshold for student safety when it comes to lead in the water and wildfire smoke outdoors, but there is nothing regulating the indoor air that students breathe for much of their eight-hour day.

Teachers do have some mold protections under the CAL/OSHA regulations for workers. In some countries, students are classified as workers, because they're working in school, so they also have protections. But students have no indoor air quality protections here.

"It's time for the state to look into the air quality of students in their buildings," Green said.

NO TESTING IN SCHOOLS 

"If (schools) were tested on a regular basis you wouldn't have these multi-million-dollar projects." Green argues. "You would know that one classroom is at a high level you would simply abate that classroom and you would move on and keep student safety."

He points out that his district spent millions over the summer to build a temporary campus made up of portable classrooms until they can secure the state funding needed to safely clean and restore their buildings.

Green worries the funding could take years to get and fears other districts might be tempted to leave kids in contaminated classrooms as they wait.

State law does require that schools are "maintained in good repair" which includes being free from water damage and visible mold. Schools have access to a voluntary visual checklist, known as the "Facility Inspection Tool" (FIT), to help them document any signs of moisture or mold. The results are incorporated into the annual School Accountability Report Card (SARC). 

But the inspections are self-regulated by the districts themselves and, according to the state, "FIT was designed to be a visual inspection tool by a common person." The Office of Public School Construction, which developed the tool, acknowledges the FIT would not have identified the issues in Trinity noting, "The mold in Trinity Alps case could not be seen until it penetrates the ceilings or walls."

Green stresses that if schools were required to test for airborne mold spores earlier, they might have identified the hidden problem earlier and avoided this massive mitigation that could bankrupt the district.

SETTING THEIR OWN LIMIT

Tired of waiting for regulators to step in, Trinity county has decided to do what the state and Feds have not. The director of Trinity County Public Health disagrees with CDPH's assertion that science-based mold exposure limits can not be established.

"I think that there is a way to set a limit. And here in Trinity, we are working on a way to do that," Anderson said.

The Trinity County Department of Public Health plans to set the nation's first mold safety threshold for schools. They plan to use the  naturally-occurring outdoor mold spores as a baseline, taking indoor and outdoor readings every day for a year, and using an average of the two to establish an indoor threshold for classrooms.

"So if the inside levels are much higher than the outside levels, you have something inside your building producing mold. Find it eradicate it move on," Green explains.

They stress that they still intend to address any visible mold or moisture issues – regardless of the spore count. But setting an airborne baseline will alert them to when they may need to search for hidden mold that can't be seen.

"I think we will be the first school in the country where we're going to say we will not allow our students to breathe toxic air. And we'll have a number… and it will be scientific and it will be data-driven," Green points out.

ROAD TO RECOVERY

In the meantime, it's not clear how long students will be stuck in temporary portables without a cafeteria, library or gym.

But teachers are optimistic that it will be a healthier year.

"I have to wonder if it's not related," Mrs. Aly said.

"It'll be really interesting to see as the cleanup happens. Do our illnesses go down?" added Principal Porpurko

A neighboring school reported a drop in sick days and an increase in attendance after mitigating their campus for mold.

Hoopa High School reports their attendance increased from 82.2% during their mold remediation in the 2016/17 school year, to 94% last year, their first full year with the new facilities. They add that they are already on track to see even higher attendance this year.

Superintendent Green is now calling on lawmakers to require regular mold-spore testing in schools, making it his mission to shed light on what's growing in the dark.

STATE & FEDERAL RESPONSE 

To date, no California or Federal health agency has been willing or able to set a mold threshold for students.

We spoke on background with five different agencies, but none would agree to an interview on the record.  Each agency did stress, however, that any level of mold can be dangerous, and that any building can be contaminated regardless of climate.

The EPA notes that indoor mold is generally due to water intrusion and leaks, related more to building materials and plumbing than climate. They also note that an increase in mold and "some moisture problems in buildings have been linked to changes in building construction practices during the 1970s, 80s, and 90s."

There is a voluntary federal program to help schools identify and prevent indoor air quality problems, but the state found, at last check, in 2004, only 11% of California schools took part. Neither CDPH or the EPA could provide updated numbers.

SCHOOL MOLD RESOURCES

  • PARENTS:
  • NEW NEWS:
  • OTHER RESOURCES

Cornered by mold, a St. Louis mother holds her baby tight - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Posted: 06 Nov 2019 06:30 PM PST

ST. LOUIS — Displaced by a fire last winter, Amanda Jackson and her infant son, Marquise, needed a place to land fast. She chose Southwest Crossing Apartments, a T.E.H. Realty property off Interstate 55 in far south St. Louis.

Jackson liked the one-bedroom apartment that management showed her. It was cozy enough, in a good location and affordable: $550 a month, including water, trash and sewer.

But soon after she settled, a neighbor on the top floor moved out. Then the people in units directly above and beside her. They were fed up with ceiling collapses and shoddy repairs. Then, the fire department showed up early one morning a few weeks ago after a swath of the roof finally collapsed.

Still, she stays. Even though Marquise, 1, is allergic to mold, which is a trigger for his asthma. He gets multiple breathing treatments a day. She's rushed him to the hospital lots of times.

"I don't want to stay here because it's making my son sick, but I can't afford to just pick up and move without getting my security deposit," Jackson, 34, a construction worker, said Wednesday.

Since late 2014, the firm gobbled up as many as 12 large low-income housing apartment complexes in the region that have generated numerous complaints from residents, housing officials and attorneys. Earlier this year, a bank foreclosed on Park Ridge Apartments in Ferguson. On Wednesday, a new management company took over control of Northwinds Apartments, also in Ferguson, and Crown Manor Apartments in unincorporated north St. Louis County.

The fate of other complexes in the region was unclear Wednesday. Owner Eliram Rabin, executive Shlomo Lerner or other T.E.H. associates could not be reached for comment. A manager who didn't want to be named said T.E.H. is trying to get out of the St. Louis market.

The challenges at Southwest Crossing are the same at nearly all the T.E.H. Realty properties, according to numerous visits by the Post-Dispatch over the past year and a half.

And Jackson's situation of being trapped by poverty isn't unique, either.

Last summer, following advice from her pediatrician, Jackson said she called the city Health Department because her son was getting sick from mold at home. She said property management would only spot treat her apartment with bleach.

"If there is mold in the other units, they aren't dealing with all the problems," she said. "They just wanted to put a Band-Aid on things. They didn't want to actually fix them."

According to Leilani Liddell, the recent property manager at Southwest Crossing, 25 to 50 of the occupied units have water damage or mold; about 50 vacant units have either mold or plumbing issues.

"I just think it's a superiority thing," Liddell said of T.E.H. Realty's lack of investment. "It's impossible to run it better if they don't value people as much as they value themselves."

"They would say," she added about high-level management at the firm, "people choose to live this way."

Liddell, who was fired this week after she and other employees blocked in one of the owners for not paying them, confirmed that a roof recently collapsed in Jackson's building. Liddell said there is mold in the vacant units surrounding Jackson's apartment. She said she has tried to move Jackson to a different unit.

Jackson said that was true, but that Jackson feared moving would be a major disruption and that the next unit wouldn't be any better.

On Wednesday, her living room was piled with clothing and toys for Marquise. She said they mainly stay in the living room because she fears the mold is worse in other areas.

"We stay in here and keep the bedroom doors closed," she said.

Harold Bailey, public information officer for the health department, said the city received two internal mold complaints at Southwest Crossing in 2019.

"We can't cite them for mold," he said. "There is no ordinance. If we did do something, it might have been just giving them some advice about that probably being the result of a water problem."

He said an inspector who visited the property Wednesday was probably going to cite Southwest Crossing for excessive trash, and possibly other matters. He said the full report wasn't complete.

Southwest Crossing has a private contract for trash pickup, a bill that apparently hasn't been paid. A recent maintenance worker told the Post-Dispatch that he saw a notice that the water was also supposed to be cut off in the next few business days. Liddell said the water bill rose to about $63,000 over the summer.

Jacob Long, a spokesman for Mayor Lyda Krewson, said Wednesday that the city was not going to cut off the water though the apartment complex is behind "several thousand dollars in payment."

Heather Dixon, 26, feels like she dodged a bullet. She changed her mind about moving into Southwest Crossing this week. Still, she'd like the $700 back that she paid to have her application processed. On Wednesday, the front office was closed and she wasn't getting anywhere with T.E.H. Realty.

Dixon has an 11-month-old baby. She wants to move somewhere soon.

"We need stability," she said, "and that's what I am trying to create for my daughter."

Big apartment owner faces complaints across St. Louis area

T.E.H. Realty acquired a dozen big apartment complexes here since 2014. Those apartments are an important provider of affordable housing in the St. Louis area, but many are in bad shape. The Post-Dispatch has chronicled efforts by tenants and others to address those conditions. 

Ferguson apartment complex tenants seek class action lawsuit against T.E.H. Realty

They want the firm to make repairs. 

St. Louis County housing officials sever ties with T.E.H. Realty

The authority has paid the firm more than $1.25 million in rental subsidies since 2015. 

Why St. Louis County can’t keep up with T.E.H. Realty’s problem properties

Here's what happens when local code enforcement inspectors are overwhelmed and property owners avoid making costly improvements.

Bank forecloses on T.E.H. Realty’s Park Ridge Apartments in Ferguson

It was one of 12 low-income apartment complexes the firm has purchased in the region since late 2014. 

St. Louis County officials won't offer subsidized housing at some T.E.H. Realty properties

T.E.H has been on the radar in recent years following publicity over poor living conditions primarily at Springwood Apartments in Bel-Ridge, the first of at least a dozen properties that affiliates of the firm purchased in the area since late 2014.

Official in Bel-Ridge weighs mountain of complaints at Springwood Apartments

The hearing Monday night was the latest in a series of events to address poor living conditions at the troubled apartment complex. 

Hammered by complaints, T.E.H. Realty pledges to provide high-quality housing

For the first time, a co-founder of fast-growing apartment company responds to criticism, and discusses plans for the St. Louis region.  

At rundown apartment complex in Bel-Ridge, complaints fly about mold, heating and plumbing

Affiliates of T.E.H. Reality purchased more than 2,400 apartment units in the St. Louis area since late 2014. Many of them are falling apart. 

Confusion reigns at Ferguson apartments where tenants were ordered out

Some residents fear they will be homeless soon because of letters sent by the complexes' owner.

Ferguson apartment complex tells some low-income tenants to leave, but housing authority says they can stay

Residents of Park Ridge Apartments were left wondering whether they needed to follow the orders of their landlord, T.E.H. Realty.

With only 24-hour notice, residents scramble to move out of condemned Ferguson apartments

Residents of one building in Park Ridge Apartments are under orders from the city to clear clear out by 2 p.m. Wednesday after a chunk of concrete fell from a second floor balcony.

Trouble deepens for St. Louis-area apartment complex facing dozens of citations

Rent is cheap at Springwood Apartments, but Bel-Ridge officials are finding lots of problems.  

Residents of rundown St. Louis area apartment complex trapped by poverty, indifference

Springwood Apartments in Bel-Ridge was the first of 10 large complexes that affiliates of T.E.H. Realty have purchased in the St. Louis region since December 2014. Village inspectors recently wrote the firm at least 167 building code citations.  

Troubled Ferguson apartment complexes change hands, but owners' plans are unknown

Residents cite crime and maintenance issues at the Park Ridge and Northwinds complexes, whose owners have benefited from millions in low-income housing tax credits.

Ogden Utah Water Damage Cleanup Performed By The Flood Co. - StreetInsider.com

Posted: 07 Nov 2019 02:05 AM PST

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Ogden Utah Water Damage Cleanup Performed By The Flood Co.  StreetInsider.com

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