Don't Let Mold Inspectors Remediate!Source: Habitat Quarterly - Issue 2
Two jobs - two professionals. Beware of mold inspectors who also do remediation work, or who "recommend" a remediation contractor. This is one of the most common scams in the fast-growing industry forming around indoor mold.
A mold inspector who gets financially involved in remediation has a serious conflict of interest. Unfortunately, we all deal with this kind of conflict all the time, like the auto repair garage that finds all kinds of things wrong with your car when all you asked for is an oil change. But you can always get a second opinion, often at little or no cost, on your car. It's not so simple - and it's not cheap - with a mold inspection. Properly done, a mold inspection takes time and requires considerable equipment, training and experience.
Imagine a doctor who also sells prescription drugs in his office. Would you trust his diagnosis? If you're pulled over for a questionable traffic offense and then discover the policeman is also the town judge, would you feel confident going to court to argue your case?
The 20 or so states that have begun to regulate the mold inspection business (the latest being Arkansas, Florida,
Maryland, and Virginia) have recognized this and have banned (or will ban) the practice. Still, that leaves 30 other states wide open. Even where mold inspectors and remediators are barred from financial connections, the consumer needs to maintain control. A mold assessor should never participate in the hiring of a remediator.
There are some companies that have rejected this practice from the start, among them 1-800-GOT-MOLD?, which will work only for the customer and will not engage in any business relationship with a remediation or restoration contractor. They will detect and locate mold growth, using Mold DogsTM, bolstered by infrared thermal imaging and other technologies, plus air sampling.
From there, at the customer's discretion, 1-800-GOT-MOLD? will write a "scope of work" that a number of remediators bid on and then follow to perform the remediation. 1-800-GOT-MOLD? also performs clearance testing to make sure that the areas in question have been restored to a normal condition and no contamination of the rest of the house has occurred. A failure on clearance testing should be corrected at the expense of the remediator.
It's important when choosing a mold inspector to find one who shares this commitment, and who has the tools and experience to carry it off. To allow a mold inspector to also participate in remediation invites a scenario in which mold is allegedly found where there isn't any. The ensuing "remediation" can run into tens of thousands of dollars.
In the meantime, these slipshod operators frequently fail to find hidden mold, and the victim homeowner continues to experience health problems. Believing those health problems are not the result of mold exposure, thousands more are spent on medical treatments that can't work, because the cause has not been eliminated.
"It's very important for people to educate themselves about mold," says Jason Earle, founder and CEO of 1-800-GOT-MOLD?. "And it's also critical, when shopping for a mold inspector, to do your own background check via the Better Business Bureau and any government consumer agencies that may exist in your area.
"You also need to ask the tough questions, like 'Do you do remediation work?', and 'Do you accept any kind of payment from remediators you work with?'," Earle says. "If you don't get clear, absolute negative answers to either question, move on to the next candidate."
A call to your local or county health department often will get you names of mold inspectors in your area who have clean reputations, but be sure to put each one through your background checks and question them carefully on conflicts of interest.
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