The Importance of “Bau Biologists”, Indoor Air Quality Experts, and Environmentally-Trained Physicians Extend Far Beyond a Singular Discipline
By Cesar Collado
From the day I started writing this newsletter about mold, I have had the privilege of getting to know numerous professionals who are experts in building science, Bau-Biology, and from my observation, they focus on the sick patient living in the home to determine why a space is making them sick. To do this, they not only have formal training in building science and mold mycology; but, they are in a continuous learning mode to find out the specifics of the mold species and mycotoxins involved with the patient’s symptoms and diagnosis. They continuously network amongst themselves to share wisdom, personal specialties, and experience as well as cooperate with the patient’s physicians. I can relate to those in this profession, because my experience is anchored on the disease physiology and I regularly consult these individuals for professional advice to communicate to our newsletter community.
For some people, a water leak, flood, or other water damage requires immediate fixing to maintain a healthy environment and retain property value. Many of these people aren’t necessarily “mold sick.” They may have some minor symptoms; but they do not have severe mold illness. Many service providers are equipped to remove mold and leave the home in a “healthy state” that the occupants can tolerate and not get sick. In the cases where patients are severely ill, inadequately trained and inexperienced “certified” mold remediators can miss the mark entirely, leaving unhealthy levels of mold remaining in the environment and future expenses on the horizon.
“Mold Remediation Experts”
To better understand the benefits of consulting with a Bau Biologist, you need to look at the broad field of service providers that are competing for your dollars. An inadequate selection can result in ultimately higher human and financial costs in both dollars and health, such as pain and suffering and relationship strain. Read More…
Here is a categorization of service providers we sometimes encounter when talking about mold remediation.
- The restoration industry and building contractors who primarily focus on smoke, fire and water damage, and carpet cleaning. They prepare for mold remediation by taking a Mold Remediation Course. The requirements are 1 Year of Verifiable Experience in Contracting, Restoration or a Related Field. A course to become certified costs $299, and is 40 hours. The same requirements apply to a water restoration license. Only 6 states in the US require this license: FL, MS, LA, TX, MD, NY. These professionals focus on remediation and renovation costs without listening to the patient. In many cases, these professionals will not even test for mold species or mycotoxins due to lack of understanding of the role mold plays in the home dweller’s health.
- HVAC providers who see IAQ/mold as an opportunity to sell more stuff, such as air cleaners, UV lights and dehumidifiers. HVAC-trained providers can receive an Indoor Air Quality Certification by taking an open book, online test for $25. HVAC companies can also gather further certifications by taking course training in a 2-day seminar or 16- to 36-hour online training courses for Certified Indoor Environmentalists (CIE), Certified Microbial Investigator (CMI) and Certified Microbial Remediator (CMR). Costs range from $300-$800 per class. HVAC providers profit from selling add onss, like air filtration, dehumidification, and ultraviolet decontaminations products. These professionals do not address mold remediation or water damage from other sources like leaks. HVAC professionals do not study mycology and often do not test for mold.
- EPA-certified professional certificates can be acquired by purchasing manuals and taking online tests for minimal costs. These courses provide theory around numerous subspecialties in HVAC, Electrical, Measurement with an emphasis on Energy Efficiency and other topics. Unfortunately, none of the topics include human health care and mold remediation.
- Certified Bau-Biologists are building professionals (experienced builders, architects, and multidisciplinary contractors with HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and other relevant trades) These professionals take a 1-2 year course consisting of four 4-5 day seminars, online training, and a final project conducted with an assigned mentor to demonstrate competence, a final exam, and continuing education. In addition, professionals must sign a code of ethics to practice the profession. Bau-Biology (Building Science in US) is a secondary expertise to building professions that 1) understands building science physics and psychrometrics (a field of engineering concerned with the physical and thermodynamic properties of gas-vapor mixtures); and 2) applies engineering competence focused on the human health aspects of living in a home. The main focuses of Building Biology include testing and inspecting for:
- Healthy Indoor Air (free of antigens and toxins);
- Thermal and Acoustic Comfort (moisture control and mold);
- Human-Based Design (focus on the sensory perceptions of sight, hearing, smell, and touch);
- Sustainable Environmental Performance (avoid causing environmental harm when building new or renovating);
- Socially-Connected and Ecologically-Sound Construction (create a living environment that meets human needs and protects the home and environment.)
These professionals will often work with physicians and/or patients to focus on the problem that is causing aspecific illness (ak mold, mycotoxins, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pollutants, electromagnetic fields (EMFs), and radiation).
- There are also many seasoned professionals in mold remediation, HVAC, and home renovation that have learned through experience and hands-on education. In my experience, many of these professionals have mechanical engineering backgrounds which serve as the foundation for making the proper reparations to a home. I have encountered several of these individuals throughout the US and find humility, continuous learning, and a network of colleagues as common attributes to solving the human health issues and causes in the home versus simply remediating. They also can explain what they are doing in plain english and pay special attention to safety and containment of mold to avoid systemic contamination.
- Environmental Illness Physicians. These medical professionals understand environmental illness, disease physiology and health, and understand that the source of the illness may be the result of living in an unhealthy home. They often work with a select few local professionals that are experienced and who have a reputation for providing the proper solutions to address the cause of the illness. They understand that the patient will not get well without getting out of the environment or properly remediating mold and toxins and the building conditions that cause them. Many patients often complain that their Dr. will not recognize mold as the cause of their illness.
- DIY Mold Remediation is not recommended if the mold issues go beyond a small area (10 sq. ft), if mold contamination is systemic to the entire household, or if DIY is mold sick. These efforts require extensive training and safety requirements. In addition, inexperienced mold removal can often result in a severe exposure to DIY participants. This level of contamination can result in an individual reaching their Toxic Load immediately, causing the need for immediate medical care. Read about immediate DIY testing and cleaning prior getting professional estimates.
Building Science Experts in Action
I want to share an example of how these professionals work. As mentioned, I have had the privilege of knowing several personally. They always begin the discussion focused on the health issues facing the home dweller. With the individuals I will describe here, they understand the pain and suffering these families are going through and are conscientious of managing costs and affordability. As a result, they provide very detailed explanations of the home issues, the science behind them, and the necessary work required to make the home safe to live in, so that healing is possible.
I find myself as part of an email list where several of these professionals share new and valuable information that may be of interest to the others. The information often consists of publications, videos, or documents that provide insight and that can explain complex concepts to their sick customers in layman’s terms.
Last week, I received an email about a specific project addressed to several Bau-Biology professionals and others with contributing perspectives. The chain of replies all occurred within days. The level of dedication and open sharing of expertise and knowledge was inspiring. Customers of professionals like these are wither very diligent, follow their physician’s recommendations, or are just lucky.
Conclusions on Mold Remediation Experts
For those suffering from serious environmental illness, this example describes the need for compassionate, collaborative professionals to address the illness together. Cost issues are understandable; however, having a knowledgeable treatment team (Drs., Building Science Professionals, Mold Remediators) is priceless for solving an illness that can last a lifetime and eventually lead to death.
These specialists can often consult with you and provide direction and recommendations for local mold remediators and safety precautions to mitigate exposure.
I would like to give a special thanks for these Building Science Professionals for their continued advice in writing these newsletters, contributing to the health of the patient, s they serve, AND for their passion and dedication to help others to get better that goes beyond just profits.
Energy Solutions, Inc.
PO Box 745
Lewisville, NC 27023
336 463 2005
336 463 5855 Fax
Martine Davis, BBEC
Certified Building Biologist
Indoor Environmental Testing Inc.
Madison, Wisconsin and Minneapolis, Minnesota
Voice: 608-241-9883 Text: 608-354-5111
Joe Spurgeon Ph.D., (Expert on Mold)