Curren Environmental Blog

Tiffany Byrne

Recent Posts

What Can You Do On Earth Day?

Posted by Tiffany Byrne on Apr 21, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Earth_day_photo.png

Earth day became a National day from Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin.  Founded in 1970, Senator Nelson was inspired after witnessing the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.  Following the anti-war movement, Senator Nelson thought that he could bring this to colleges across America with campus teach-ins. Working with Pete McCloskey, a Republican Congressman as co-chair they recruited Harvard student Denis Hayes.  Denis Hayes was very interested in what Senator Nelson had in mind for the environment that he directly went to interview Senator Nelson and from the interview, Denis Hayes became the national coordinator building a staff of 85 to promote events, selecting April 22nd as the Earth Day date because it fell between spring break and final exams. 

On April 22nd, 1970 over 20 million Americans were lead to streets, parks and large gatherings to demonstrate the need to for a healthy and sustainable environment. Earth Day received such support from both the Republicans and the Democrats that by the end of the first year (1970) the government created the Environmental Protection Agency, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Acts.  By 1990 Earth day became global with more than 200 million people in over 141 countries involved with environmental issues taking the world stage.  Recycling efforts became more global leading to the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit.  Senator Nelson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1995 for his contribution of Earth Day.

Now, Earth day is celebrated by more than a billion people ever year.  What can you do on Earth Day, April 22nd, 2016?

Events in New Jersey, Central PA,  Philadelphia, and check out the EPA for events around the country.

Did you know that Mold comes in many different colors?

Posted by Tiffany Byrne on Apr 13, 2016 10:18:00 AM

Did you know that Mold comes in many different colors?

 At Curren, some of the most common questions are regarding the color of mold. For example:

 "Is this mold bad because the mold is black or grey?"

 "What type of mold is black mold?"

 “Is black mold toxic?"

The most popular used term for describing mold is “Black Mold”. Technically, there is no mold that is named black mold, many sources attribute the term black mold to the media. In reality there are many different types and colors of mold. Some types of Mold can be harmful (regardless if the mold is black) and can cause health issues.

Molds come in many different colors and can mean many different things. As you can see below, mold may be black, grey, orange, green, brown and even white. Many molds may not be harmful. Black mold may be completely innocuous (not harmful or producing no injury) or it could be problematic. Mold can be difficult to determine on your own. The mold you think you see might just be mildew or dirt. Remember, mold is usually not a problem unless mold spores land on something wet  indoors. Mold evaluation and interpretation is best left to the experts. At Curren, we have over 20 years’ experience testing mold, air testing and mold remediation.

  

Black Mold                    Green Mold

Mold_in_Basement3-424194-edited         Green_mold

White & Black Mold        Brown Mold

IMG_5501-877705-edited        Brown_mold-968330-edited

Grey Mold                     

Grey_Mold-078065-edited

Please don't hesitate to call us for your mold testing, mold remediation and mold questions at 888-301-1050.

 

How Can You Conserve Water?

Posted by Tiffany Byrne on Mar 23, 2016 3:00:00 PM

Are you taking a 20 minute shower? Do you leave the water running while washing dishes?

There are many theories and thoughts about our water supply.  Are we going to have enough in the future?  Is our water supply depleting?  We have stories from NASA, CBS News, and the National Geographic, these stories are telling us that we need learn how to conserve water.  Water conservation is using water efficiently and avoiding waste. Everyday use of water such as dishwasher use, laundry use and long hot showers significantly reduce clean water and add to more strain on septic and sewage systems which then lead to contamination of groundwater.  Conserving water is a national topic and the information that can be found on the web is abundant. 

Earth is made of 70 percent of water but only 1 percent of that is considered fresh, clean water available for use.

Tips for conserving water: 

  1. When washing dishes by hand, don't let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.
  2. Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
  3. Run your dishwasher only when it is full and you could save 400 gallons a month.
  4. Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Compost instead and save gallons every time.
  5. Plant during the spring or fall when the watering requirements are lower.
  6. Use a layer of organic mulch around plants to reduce evaporation and save hundreds of gallons of water a year.
  7. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and save 3 gallons a minute. That's more than 1000 gallons a year.
  8. Direct downspouts and other runoff towards shrubs and trees, or collect and use for your
  9. Time your shower to keep it under 5 minutes. You'll save up to 1000 gallons a month.
  10. Consider installing new appliances. They are more water and energy-efficient than older appliances. A new washing machine can save up to 20 gallon per load.
  11. Install low-volume toilets.
  12. Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the toilet bowl, you have a leak. It's easy to fix, and you can save more than 7000 gallons a year.
  13. Soak your pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
  14. Do one thing each day that will save water. Every drop counts!
  15. Start a compost pile. Using compost when you plant adds water-holding organic matter to the soil.
  16. Aerate your lawn. Punch holes in your lawn about six inches apart so water will reach the roots rather than run off the surface.
  17. Turn off the water while you shave and you can save more than 100 gallons a week.
  18. Do not use water to defrost your food, put it in your refrigerator to defrost.
  19. Store drinking water in the refrigerator rather than letting the tap water run cold
  20. Install Rain Barrels

What are Rain Barrels?

A Rain Barrel (rainwater tank) is a water tank used to collect and store rain water runoff, typically from rooftops via rain gutters.

Why install a Rain Barrel?

Drought and aquifer mining are increasing in terms of use. Many people are looking for a ways to minimize the impact of their municipal water supplies. Installing a rain barrel is way to help conserve water.  You will have your own water source in case of a drought.  You can water your garden from your rain barrel reserves.  Having your own rain barrel helps reduce runoff pollution by collecting water before it hits the fertilizer, and increase algae growth in lakes. Rainwater, unlike tap water, doesn’t have the salt and chemicals.

rain_barrel3.jpg

Photo courtesy of Emma Howell, Shawnee High School.

Some interesting facts about Rain Barrels: 1-inch of rain on a 1,000 square foot roof yields 623 gallons of water. Calculate the yield of your roof by multiplying the square footage of your roof by 623 and divide by 1,000. Depending on your roof area, a rain barrel can fill up when there has been as little as 1/10th-inch of rain. To collect twice this volume from the same downspout, connect the overflow hose from the first rain barrel to a second rain barrel.

Conserving water helps the community, the environment and may even help lower your electric bills.  Conserving water may also help keep moisture away from your house, keeping possible mold from growing in your home.

Check your local County website for different ways you can help and conserve your own water.  Many counties offer free classes on conserving water and how to build your own rain barrels. 

When is the first dayof Spring?

Posted by Tiffany Byrne on Mar 8, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Why does the 1st day of Spring Start on March 19th?

What is the first day of spring?  Well, naturally it means the flowers are supposed to bloom, the day is longer, the weather gets warmer and the rain never stops.  Astronomically speaking, it is when the equinox occurs when the Sun crosses the celestial equator on its way north along the ecliptic.   

Spring_image.jpg

In the years 2008 and 2012, those living in Alaska, Hawaii and the Pacific, Mountain and Central Time Zones on March 19. And in 2016, it if you are in California it will start on March 19, for the Eastern states it will be on March 20th at 12:30 AM.

There are a few reasons why seasonal dates can vary from year to year.

A year is not an even number of days and neither are the seasons. To try and achieve a value as close as possible to the exact length of the year, our Gregorian Calendar was constructed to give a close approximation to the tropical year which is the actual length of time it takes for the Earth to complete one orbit around the Sun. It eliminates leap days in century years not evenly divisible by 400, such 1700, 1800, and 2100, and millennium years that are divisible by 4,000, such as 8000 and 12000.

Another reason is that the Earth's elliptical orbit is changing its orientation relative to the Sun (it skews), which causes the Earth's axis to constantly point in a different direction, called precession. Since the seasons are defined as beginning at strict 90-degree intervals, these positional changes affect the time Earth reaches each 90-degree location in its orbit around the Sun.

The pull of gravity from the other planets also affects the location of the Earth in its orbit.

So Spring doesn’t start on March 21st not even March 20th for the western and mid-western states. Find your date and mark your calendars for the first day of spring! Get the garden tools out, check the lawn mower and prepare your cleaning supplies a day earlier.  Also, check your downspouts and make sure there is proper drainage that slopes the ground away from the foundation of your house or dwelling to ensure no water or moisture gets in to prevent against indoor mold.

For more information about Curren Environmental click here

 

The Truth about Mold in your House/Business.

Posted by Tiffany Byrne on Feb 16, 2016 2:30:00 PM

Raised_mold1.jpg

(Raised Mold On Wood)

There are so many myths out there regarding Mold.  If you Google “Does Mold Cause Cancer” you will get many different answers.  Let’s see if we can find the truth.

The best and only place that you should ever visit on the web regarding mold are government sites, such as the CDC, EPA  or state sites. Many states have no standards regarding mold and Mold Inspectors and Remediators do not have to be licensed.  New York is one of the only states at this point that Mold Inspectors and Remediators have to be licensed and this began starting this January (2016).

Examples of Government websites.

www.cdc.gov/mold/faqs

This website details many different issues that arise regarding mold.

http://www.epa.gov/mold

Good information on keeping a home mold free.

The State of New York

http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/environmental/mold.shtml

Can Mold really make you sick?

No and yes, not all molds cause illnesses or even cause cancer.  There are thousands and thousands of types of mold and mold spores that are alive in every area of our living space. This means both inside and outside there are some levels of mold.  The most important part of understanding mold is finding where the moisture problem is – take care of the moisture problem first, then address the mold.  With that being said, if mold is present and there is belief that this is causing some sort of illness, testing for types of mold and mold spores would be a good idea.  In the event that you have certain types of mold spores a remediation would be necessary. For example, if there is Aspergillus spores, there is a possibility of illness in those with weakened Immune systems. (https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001326.htm).  That is just one example of types of spores that have possibility of causing illness. 

Remember – always double check your information.  The internet is not always correct.  Double check the information and again make sure that these sites you receive your information are government websites.  

For more information on Types of Mold click here.

Questions about Mold?  Please call us at 888-301-1050 or fill out the form below.  Thank you.

Tags: mold

Is a Tank Sweep (tank scan) necessary?

Posted by Tiffany Byrne on Feb 4, 2016 8:30:00 AM

GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar)

Ground Penetrating Radar surveys (GPR) can locate subsurface obstructions – including utilities, Underground Storage Tanks (UST), former swimming pools and more.  For more information GPR systems click here.

Why do you need a tank scan (tank sweep)?

Sometimes homeowners are unaware that they are the owners of an Underground Oil Tank (UST). They had gas since they bought the house, or there was an above ground oil tank but had no knowledge of an UST. When the homeowner decides it’s time to sell notably there is no evidence of an UST. This is when the Buyer makes the decision to do a tank scan. 


Things to know if you believe a tank scan is necessary.
1. House built before 1985
2. Above Ground Oil Tank
3. Fill Pipe
4. Vent Pipe
5. Copper lines
6. Neighborhood that typically has Underground Storage Tanks
7. A furnace chimney
8. Oil Emergency Shut Off Switch by heater

House built before 1985
Almost always there was an oil tank if the house was built in the 1940’s and early 1950’s
If the house was built before 1985 you should presume that there is an Underground Oil Tank unless the seller provides otherwise.

 

find buried tank

Above Ground Oil Tank
Before oil tanks homes were heated with coal. Then the underground oil tanks were followed by above ground oil tanks. If there is an Above Ground Oil tank there is a large possibility that there, at some time, was an Underground Oil Tank.

A Furnace Chimney
In many old homes the chimney was not just used for wood burning, it was used for coal or oil. Check the chimney and see how many flues there are.

chimney.jpg

Need a tank scan (tank sweep)?  Please fill out the form below or please call at 888-351-1050.

Prevent Mold Growth Over the Winter...

Posted by Tiffany Byrne on Jan 27, 2016 9:00:00 PM

Prevention Tips to keep a clean and moisture free home.

Steps to prevent Mold in the Winter Months...

Don’t let mold grow over the winter…

Mold_on_ceiling_of_bathroom.jpg

 

Steps to prevent mold in the winter months.

  • Keep moisture from creeping in your home or building.
  • Check for cracked or defective areas in your basement. Water can find those areas and seep in.
  • Inspect all outside drainage areas, all the roof leaders (downspouts), all gutters should be cleaned and clear.
  • If the home is vacant for the season make sure all pipes are dry and the water has properly been shut off.
  • Set the heat to a proper temperature to ensure no pipes can freeze and burst.
  • If there are freezing temperatures, take measures to insulate pipes inside and out to ensure they will not crack and/or burst.
  • Make sure all the seals on the windows and doors are not compromised and in good-working condition.
  • Ensure proper ground sloping away from your home or building foundation so that water does not collect in a certain area to enter it.
  • Properly use your bathroom fan.  Always use when the shower is on and try to keep a window open.
  • Always act quickly if you see condensation on windows, pipes, or walls inside a building. Find the source of the condensation and provide a solution.
  • Keep everything clean and dry.

Cold and wet moisure can creep into cracks, holes and small areas of your home or building.  If you see any moisture build up find the source as soon as possible to prevent mold growth.  

Questions or concerns on Mold?  Contact us by filling out the form below.

 

Don't let Mold Grow in your Humidifier...

Posted by Tiffany Byrne on Jan 19, 2016 11:30:00 AM


Dry skin? Bloody noses from dry air?  

A humidifier can ease these symptoms during the dry, cold winter months.  But be careful, when you use a humidifier it is recommended to keep the humidity at a certain level and keep it clean. Dirty humidifiers can produce mold and bacteria which then filters into the air. Minerals can be released in the mist and settle as fine white dust. The white dust may contain particles that can enter the lungs. While the health effects are not quite clear yet, any type of impact on human health depends upon the types and the amounts of minerals found in the water used.



Use the following steps to keep the humidifier clean.

  1. Replace old humidifiers.  Old humidifiers can build mineral deposits that are difficult to remove and contain bacteria growth.
  2. Use distilled or demineralized water. Tap water contains minerals that can deposit and promote bacteria growth.
  3. Clean your humidifier every three days. Make sure you unplug the humidifier first.  Empty any unused water.  Add undiluted white vinegar and let sit for 30-45 minutes.  Empty vinegar and use small scrub brush to remove any leftover residue. Rinse.  
  4. Disinfect your humidifier every three days. Remove any mineral deposit and use a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution.  (Found at any local pharmacy usually in the brown bottle). Add the hydrogen peroxide and let sit for 30 minutes.  Scrub and rinse the tank after cleaning so no chemicals become airborne.
  5. Change water daily.
  6. Change the filter. Read the directions and change the filter as often as the manufacturer recommends.
  7. Prepare humidifier for storage. When the spring comes prepare your humidifier for proper storage.  Follow procedures to properly clean, remove filters and dry the humidifier.

Don't let your humidifier look like this.    It should look like this.

Dirty Humidifier                                     Clean Humidifier

 Humifier_dirty.jpg          humidifier_clean.jpg

 



 For more information on Mold fill out the form below or call Curren Environmental, Inc. at 888-301-1050.

Tags: mold

Health Concerns with Mold Exposure...

Posted by Tiffany Byrne on Jul 13, 2015 3:00:00 PM

Health Concerns with Mold Exposure

Mold_on_the_ceiling

Mold emits spores and chemicals as part of their normal life cycle. Individuals near and around  Mold may exhibit health concerning reactions.  These spores from Mold are microscopic and once airborne can be inhaled easily.  These spores may contain allergens and can cause serious irritation in the nose, throat, and the respiratory tract. 

Common allergic reactions include but are not limited to:

  • Sneezing
  • Nasal Congestion
  • Coughing
  • Skin Rashes
  • Asthma attacks
  • Eye Irritation

Watery_eyes

In addition to allergens, mold can emit Microbiological Volatile Organic Compounds (MVOC’s).  These chemicals usually have a very strong and unpleasant odor and can be associated with that musty smell that many individuals equate to Mold.  These chemicals are released into the air and can also cause serious health concerns.

Common reactions to MOVC’S

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

Headache

Molds can also produce toxic substances called Mycotoxins.  Mycotoxins can be inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin.  Mycotoxins are potent, toxic chemicals that can cause significant health problems.

Mycotoxins can affect the following:

  • Central Nervous System
  • Immune System
  • Respiratory System
  • Digestive System

Curren Environmental, Inc.  can inspect your residential or commercial property, help define the cause of the mold and offer a solution with both mold remediation and mold prevention. Please call at 609-858-9509 or email at info@currenenvironmental.com.

For more information on Mold visit please visit Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.