Hot Environmental Topics

Tiffany Byrne

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Unmasking Health Mysteries: Beyond Indoor Mold?

Mar 6, 2024 1:42:00 PM / by Tiffany Byrne


Are you having health issues, such as being sleepy, irritable, angry, tired, achy, or even joint pain? There is a possibility that it could be airborne mold spores that are making you feel ill, but what if it’s not airborne mold spores?

Curren Environmental fields many calls where the client hasn’t been feeling well has several health symptoms, and has not had any findings as to what is causing these symptoms. Google is a great resource and people find that they may have health issues due to mold growth. People then hire a mold inspector to visually inspect the home and provide air samples of some sort. Air sampling is when a machine is used to capture air in a small capsule, which is sent to the laboratory to look for mold spores. Every house will have some sort of airborne mold spores, no home is completely mold-free.

Photo Feb 09 2024, 10 26 22 AMOnce the inspection is complete, you should receive a report detailing what was done during the mold inspection and the interpretation of the lab data. Curren finds many inspectors leave out the interpretation of the lab data, which is pertinent information for the homeowner.

Per the mold inspection report, and the lab data, no visual mold is present and the airborne mold spore lab data shows airborne mold spores below industry standards and complying with typical indoor airborne mold spores – what do you do next?

Some homes accrue large amounts of dust. What is dust? Dust in homes is composed of about 20–50% dead skin cells. So most of the dust is from you, your family, and the animals that share your home with you. If the dust is not cleaned, it can lead to insect growth and a larger problem, health issues. Curren recommends periodically cleaning the interior of your home when mold is not present but dust and dirt are, dust can cause allergies and health issues as well. The CDC says “Maintaining safe cleaning habits helps remove most germs, such as harmful viruses or bacteria, on household surfaces”.

If you have health problems and have exhausted your investigations, it might be time for a deep cleaning.

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Did you need a Mold Inspection?

Sep 21, 2023 11:15:00 AM / by Tiffany Byrne


Mold is a four-letter word, and it seems simple, right? Mold is indoors and outdoors, while outdoors it is needed to break down some parts of the environment, mold growth indoors can be very different. Molds are spores that grow in specific environments and can harm your health when found in abundance inside of your home.   When mold grows on organic indoor surfaces, it then can become airborne mold spores.

Why do you get a Mold Inspection?

A mold inspection is requested when mold growth is suspected. Mold growth is suspected when you either see a difference in color on an organic surface, or there is an odor coming from a room or area. Mold is also suspected if there is a leak somewhere on the interior of a property that was not properly fixed or fixed within 72 hours of the leak.

Mold Inspections are also requested during real estate transactions. During the home inspection, the home inspector may notice a “mold-like substance”, “discoloration” or “an odor that smells like mold growth”. Many home inspectors do not do mold testing, nor mold reporting and refer the buyer to have a mold inspection.

How is a Mold Inspection performed?

Mold inspectors differ in the way they provide mold inspections. An experienced mold inspector would walk the outside of the property and look at the grading towards and away from the building/home. The mold inspector would look for signs of water intrusion that would come from the outside of the property.

After the exterior of the property is thoroughly examined the mold inspection moves to the interior of the property. Once on the inside the area of concern is inspected. The area of concern would be certain rooms, rooms or it may be the entire property.

Once inside the property, the visual mold inspection looks for certain clues for mold such as discoloration, smell, and insects. Yes, insects seem to be around areas where mold growth is present due to the Mold Inspection moisture. If requested, or suggested mold testing is done. Mold testing is done either by surface sampling an area where mold seems visual and is questioned, or when there is a finish area and there is a foul smell and there are no visual signs of mold and if someone is curious as to what type of mold spores are airborne.


Mold Testing

There are different ways to test for mold. Curren Environmental provides two types of mold testing, surface, and airborne testing. There are take-home tests that use petri dishes, and some other mold inspectors use a swab sample.

Mold Surface samples are acquired by placing the piece of glass tape side to the area of concern. The sample area is photographed and then placed into a container. That sample is taken to a laboratory where the mold spores are inspected under a microscope for mold spores.

Mold air sampling is acquired by using a small container, the size of a shot glass, and placed on a tripod at breathing height in the center of the room. Mold testingA photograph of the sample area is acquired prior to starting the mold sample. The sample can be acquired for five minutes or ten minutes. Depending on the debris that is in that certain room, industry-standard most likely uses the five-minute sample (75 liters).

Photographing the area where the mold sample was acquired is a must, if this is not represented in the mold report, you will not understand where the mold growth is and where it is coming from. Also, from a mold remediation standpoint, you will not know how to quote mold remediation without photographs.


What is mold lab data, and do you read it?

Mold lab data is acquired after samples are dropped off at the lab of choice. Once the mold samples are looked at by the lab, lab data is generated. This lab data states the type of mold spore and the amount of mold spores.

Many mold inspectors only include lab data and say that is the mold report – it is not, it is just that mold lab data. You are not expected to read mold lab data and figure out where the mold is, how much mold you have, and why you have mold from lab data. For example, you go to the doctor to get blood work. You see your lab data first, the lab data says you have high cholesterol, so you kind of freak out. Once you speak to the doctor, your doctor says no, that it is not high because you do not have these other three underlying issues. So, you were incorrect, which is what we see with people reading lab data.

Mold will be in your house at some level, there are no mold-free homes. There are spore types that are extremely related to health issues and others that are not. It is not for you to figure out, but for your mold inspector to report and relate to you.

What does a Mold Inspection Report Detail?

Mold Inspection reports are not lab data from EMSL or EMLab or any other lab. A mold inspection is a detailed representation of the mold inspection that occurred on the property on the day of the inspection.

What should the mold inspection include?

  • Photos, more photos & more photos
  • Reporting on where the inspection took place.
  • What was done at the inspection, such as Infrared, Air Testing, Surface Testing, etc.
  • Whether or not mold exists.
  • If mold exists, where is the leak/moisture problem?
  • What and where the testing occurred, with clear photos of the actual acquired sample area.
  • Discussion on the lab data, and what the lab data means in the perspective of mold growth and airborne mold spores on the property.
  • If there is mold growth, recommendations for removal.

Mold reporting after the mold inspection paints a clear picture of what mold is to your property. Where the mold is, where it is coming from, and how to fix the water problem and the mold issue.

Mold Peer Review

A mold peer review is just that, reviewing the information that was given to you from another mold inspection. Usually, mold peer reviews are done because the mold inspector or person who took the samples can't give a clear answer as to whether there is mold growth or airborne spores in the property. Peer reviews typically ask for the lab data, any photos, the inspection report (if any), and the reason for the mold inspection. Many reasons for mold inspections are due to a driver such as a real estate transaction or health issues, rental properties, or when leaks and environmental issues occur, and the homeowner is asking for the home inspection.

Mold Remediation based on Lab Data

Mold remediation is the removal of mold. Mold RemediationMold remediation is based on different factors pertaining to mold at a property. To prepare a mold remediation quote the following is required/needed:

  1. Area of concern
  2. Size of area
  3. Is there sheetrock?
  4. Is containment needed?
  5. Is the area accessible?
  6. Many more questions and depend on the property itself.

When it comes down to it Mold Remediation is HEPA vacuuming, cleaning, and using a fungistatic coating to keep the mold growth from coming back.

What did you pay for in your mold inspection?

An experienced mold inspector will inspect the exterior of the property, and the interior area of concern and provide feedback. Remember, as it is said with almost everything, you get what you pay for. If you want a remediation quote, you may need a mold inspection so that you don’t overpay on your remediation costs…that’s another topic to cover later.


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What is a No Further Action Letter?

Mar 7, 2023 10:32:00 AM / by Tiffany Byrne


NJDEP No Further Action Letter or "NFA"

An NFA is a document, typically one page, that is issued by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s (NJDEP’s) Heating Oil Tank (HOTs) program to close out the contamination issue of a heating oil tank discharge.

Basically, the No Further Action Letter is an environmental release of “No Further Action” from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and the culmination of a property's environmental remediation, which can include tank removal, remediation, and testing.

Only residential sites receive an NFA.

Can an NFA be rescinded?

Unfortunately, an NFA can be rescinded or withdrawn if it is found that the subject site that received the NFA has contamination that is above applicable NJDEP standards for either soil or groundwater. Rescinding an NFA is rare but does happen.

Will every residential oil tank receive an NFA letter?

To be applicable for an NFA letter you would need a site with a tank that leaks.   You would then need to document that the leak as it occurred is to the extent (minimal) that petroleum levels are below NJDEP standards or that remediation was performed that reduced petroleum levels to be within NJDEP acceptable standards.  If your oil tank does not leak, you will not obtain an NFA. If your oil tank does not leak, the NJDEP and the EPA are not contacted.  

How do you obtain an NJDEP NFA?

You must employ an NJDEP-licensed firm and an individual for the work and submit documents in the form of a report with applicable NJDEP forms to NJDEP with a $400.00 review fee. The NJDEP will review these documents, typically within 30 days, and issue an NFA if applicable. If the NJDEP reviews submitted documents and find the site is not in compliance, the NJDEP will not issue an NFA and will list what is lacking and needs to be performed to obtain the NFA

Can a site receive two NFA letters?

If the site has two leaking oil tanks, of which some properties had 2 oil tanks, then yes two NFA’s can be obtained.

Can a property be sold without an NFA letter?

There is no law that prevents the sale of a residential oil-contaminated site. Yes, a property can be sold without an NFA letter, and a contaminated property can be sold, it is finding a buyer that would be difficult.  That buyer may not be able to get a mortgage or home insurance due to the contamination. 

How can I obtain a copy of an NFA for a site where an NFA was issued?

First, if an NFA is issued, the property owner should hold a copy of the letter and the NFA should be issued to subsequent property owners during the sale of the property.

NFAs are now electronic.  

An NFA is a matter of public record so a copy can be obtained via an OPRA.  An NFA is issued to the responsible party (RP), typically the property owner, a copy to the local Board of Health and to the municipal clerk of the city, township, or municipality where the property is located.  The NJDEP also has a copy.


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Don't forget your environmental inspections!

Feb 23, 2023 10:51:00 AM / by Tiffany Byrne


When I bought my house, environmental inspections were not advised.

As a first-time home buyer, we bought a single-family home. During that period, inflation was high, interest rates high and home prices were high. There were not many homes on the market so there were bidding wars, pay by cash (not paying by cash), and at that time, environmental inspections didn’t matter. What mattered was purchasing your first dream home fast, before it was gone, and being near friends and family, and that home was hard to come by.

Environmental Inspection

Environmental inspections during real estate transactions were not advised at the beginning of the 2000s. Our inspections included a home inspection, carbon monoxide, well water and that’s it. We negotiated a few items and boom, after a little trouble with hurricanes and insurance at closing, we were homeowners. Luckily for us, we had friends on both the mortgage and title side who helped the transaction pull through. But our friends weren’t environmental experts, and we barely had any environmental inspections performed.

Regarding environmental inspections,   I wish I knew what I know now. Working at Curren Environmental is an eye-opener regarding performing environmental inspections. Some of the environmental inspections that every buyer should do are the following:

  • Underground oil tank sweep using ground-penetrating radar.
  • Radon Inspection.
  • Lead Inspection.
  • Air quality test.
  • Mold inspection.
  • Roof inspection.
  • Septic – if I had a septic tank.
  • Termite Inspection.
  • Sewer line scope
  • Well water testing.
  • Asbestos

While you may think that all those environmental inspections are a little over the top when buying your home, it's not. All of those environmental inspections addressed above may cost you more money, but that money that you are putting out for inspections will save you in the long run.

Underground oil tanks can cost thousands and thousands of money, time, and anguish. If the property you are buying was built before the 1980s, get a tank scan. While the owners may not know there is a tank, they may have bought a home when tank scans were not being performed and may honestly not know if there is an underground oil tank on the property.  

Radon inspections are of the utmost importance. You should be able to search your state for a map of where radon is located, if you are in a high radon zone you should have a radon test run and a mitigation system installed. Radon is unseen and deadly.

Lead inspections are for houses built before 1978. If you have small children, lead inspections should be performed. Lead paint tastes sweet to children and lead is a metal, it never leaves your body.

Mold inspections, mold testing, and air quality tests are considered environmental inspections. Mold inspections look for signs of visual mold growth and water entry. Testing for mold can be done through surface sampling when you think that spot may be mold. Air testing for mold and air quality testing should be done when there was a leak or moisture intrusion and you can not see any visual mold growth and a smell that seems musty, for example, intrusion from an exterior water source such as through the walls. Leaks can occur from above as well, through roofing or through leaking pipes and condensation. A must for air testing is in finished basements, no one has x-ray vision and you don’t know what lurks behind that sheetrock wall.

Roof inspections will determine how old the roof is if there are problems with the roof, and when the roof should be replaced. If you have a septic system, have it inspected.  Find out if it is the original septic system with the property or if it is the 2nd system. Scoping your sewer line is a must for an environmental inspection. Coming from someone who just had their lines replaced, it is no fun, and no offense to the contractors who do the job, your yard is going to be a mess after.

Well water tests for certain chemicals and contaminants in your drinking water. Also, look for whole-house water filters and tankless water heaters. Water heaters don’t last forever, and a tankless water heater saves on bills, it only heats the water when needed.

Asbestos is found in older homes because asbestos, in the past, was the wonder fiber of the future. Not all asbestos needs to be removed, if it is contained, it shouldn’t be a problem. When asbestos is airborne, it is a problem. Testing the home will help in making decisions later if you decide to renovate the home.

Environmental inspections are key to any real estate transaction. You may not be advised or may not be aware. Do your due diligence and get the environmental inspections done prior to purchase. Once you buy your home, you buy every problem in and around it. We have come across a few environmental problems in our home, and if we had done the environmental inspections, we would have been aware and had those issues fixed prior to purchase.

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Oil Tank Removal Contracts

Jan 5, 2023 2:31:43 PM / by Tiffany Byrne


Homeowners, Sellers, and Buyers seem to have oil tank removal issues.

Curren receives calls from people after their tank is removed that may or may not have an environmental issue and Curren sees this in both NJ, DE & PA. 

Where’s the Tank Removal Report

leaded_gas_tank_removalHomeowners with old underground oil tanks need to remove these tanks before they leak, well hopefully. When looking for tank removal companies, homeowners should receive a tank removal contract that provides costs and tank removal reports. Many removal companies provide no written tank removal report included for the tank removal work performed. Clearly, tank owners should and want their tank removal documented. The documentation of the tank removal can be passed on to a buyer when it is time to sell the property. The most important statement of an oil tank removal is “the tank didn’t leak”. The written report should provide documentation on the tank removal soil samples and explain how the tank removal company determined the tank leaked or did not leak. If the tank leaked, the tank removal report should explain what was seen, and the determination of the oil tank leak. Examples would include

  • Were there two pin holes in the tank?
  • Were there no holes in the tank but the soils had evidence of an oil impact?
  • What did you see when you removed the tank?

At Curren, we find homeowners don’t get a tank removal report regardless of if the tank did or did not leak.   Of course, if you read the tank removal contract you can clearly see no report is referenced, but people don't know a tank removal report should be expected once the tank is removed and soil sample tests have been received.

Underground Oil Tank RemovalAnother problem is that tank removal companies do not prepare tank removal clients regarding the “what if the tank leaked”. We often hear from people who had their tank removed and it leaked.  The conversation before a tank is removed pertaining to the “What If” scenario of a tank leak is,   “we can address a tank leak when it happens”. Here at Curren, we see every tank removal could be a leaking tank removal so the potential downside should be discussed with the tank owner in preparation for a tank leak and what soil remediation involves.

Companies are removing tanks and not taking any soil samples and most notably, not including soil sampling in the tank removal cost. When tanks leaks and samples are not acquired (certainly not the 5 to 6 samples you would want if a tank leaked to evaluate if remediation is warranted), the tank owner is informed that remediation is required. The less scrupulous companies that remove tanks want remediation, even when they don't know 100% that remediation is warranted. By not including soil samples many tank removal companies provide a very low-cost tank removal and quickly flip the client a quote for remediation, when often remediation is not warranted and, in many cases, lacks any qualitative data that’s oil levels are above standards. We see this in all three states all the time.  You can't tell someone's cholesterol level by just looking at them, right?  Bloodwork is needed to know the levels of cholesterol and what types of medication are warranted.

Tank Removal Contract

Underground Oil tank removals require permitting in the state of NJ. People do not understand that when a permit is required, the permit is for the tank removal alone, no environmental testing is required to pass inspection.  Tank leaks and soil contamination are not a construction matter, which means the permit does not cover that part of the tank removal process, that part is environmental.    Some inspectors might not even get out of their vehicles if they see the removed tank aboveground.  Other inspectors will be more thorough and ask if holes were found in the tank, which if present will be referenced on the permit of either approval or fail, some inspectors fail tanks if holes are found in the tank.  The tank failing inspection complicates matters even more because the permit's objective was achieved, which was the tank removal. There are times when the inspectors fail the tank because holes were seen, but the soil samples come back days later and are clean.

Tank RemovalThe tank removal company will make the inspector look like the bad person in the project for failing a removed tank that has holes. The permitted task of removal was achieved, the tank was removed from underground. This leads the tank removal company to push for the need for remediation.   Inspectors want to make sure an observed tank leak is documented, and they typically request to be supplied with the tank leak incident number. This all leads to the tank owner thinking the local inspector failed their tank removal due to the leak when the bad news of a tank leak falls on the tank removal company.  If the company is licensed, they are familiar with the environmental regulations.  

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Health Concerns with Mold Exposure

Oct 12, 2022 3:37:00 PM / by Tiffany Byrne


Health Concerns with Mold Exposure


Mold emits spores and chemicals as part of its 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 respiratory tract. 

Common allergic reactions include but are not limited to:

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

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

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

Mold comes up quite often during a real estate transaction.  In some cases, Sellers have mold, didn't know that even had mold, and said they live with it and they have no health concerns.  There is a reason why mold is not federally regulated.  Health concerns regarding mold depend on the person themselves.  Mold is like peanuts, you may be allergic to mold but I may be fine. If the seller is fine with mold, the buyer may not be. 

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. 

Call for Mold Questions.

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

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Where are Mosquitoes in the Winter?

Jan 25, 2022 1:33:00 PM / by Tiffany Byrne posted in mosquito, Mosquito Remedation, mosquito control service



Did you know that Mosquitoes, like all insects, are cold-blooded creatures? Because of this, mosquitoes are incapable of regulating their body heat and their temperature is essentially the same as their surroundings. Mosquitoes will function best at 80 degrees F, then becoming lethargic at 60 degrees F. Mosquitoes cannot function below 50 degrees F. In most tropical areas, mosquitoes are active year-round. In temperate climates, adult mosquitoes of some species become inactive with the onset of cool weather and enter hibernation to live through the winter.

mosquito life cycle

Some kinds of mosquitoes have winter hardy eggs and hibernate as embryos in eggs laid by the last generation of females in late summer. The eggs are usually submerged under ice and hatch in spring when water temperatures rise. Other kinds of mosquitoes overwinter as adult females that mate in the fall, enter hibernation in animal burrows, hollow logs or basements and pass the winter in a state of torpor (these are the mosquitoes one might see on a warm January or February day).

Life Cycle

In spring, the females emerge from hibernation, search for food (blood from you) and lay the eggs that produce the next generation of adults (could be within 7 days). A limited number of mosquitoes overwinter in the larval stage, often buried in the mud of freshwater swamps. When temperatures rise in spring, these mosquitoes begin feeding, complete their immature growth and eventually emerge as adults.


Find out how you can remove mosquitoes from your backyard in the spring, summer and fall months.


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MOLD...the four letter word in real estate transactions.

Nov 15, 2021 1:00:00 PM / by Tiffany Byrne posted in mold, mold remediation, mold cleanup, mold contractor, mold assessments, Mold, Mold growth, mold remediation


Mold is the new four-letter word of real estate transactions. If either mold is visually found or testing is done (airborne mold spores and/or surface sampling), the transaction has a high percentage that it may not happen. There are many stories of real estate transactions with mold growth, but this one is very interesting.

The story goes that a buyer was interested in a home and during the home inspection, the home inspector took an air sample in the basement and the outside (exterior) for comparison.  There was no photo or knowledge of where the air sample was acquired from, for example the photo below documents where the air sampling was acquired (ex. kitchen).

Air sampling

Back to the story - The buyers wanted the entire basement remediated down to the studs.  The seller contacted Curren Environmental and  we provided sampling as well.  Our sampling showed mold was present in the basement bedroom. 

Sample results before and after

What does this lab data mean?

 The Stachybotrys as shown above in the sample results prior to remediation , should not have a raw count above one, and it was at 43.  Penicillium/Aspergillus was also very high, with the spr/m3 at 23,467 where it is recommended that should not be above 1000.  The second set of numbers are after remediation where the airborne mold spores dropped dramatically and were within industry standards.  Note - no home will be mold free. 

As part of the story, you need to know that this property was vacant for over 2 years. The heat and air were on as part of maintenance but not properly dehumidified. Mold growth occurs where there is moisture and organic materials. In this case, there was visual signs of mold growth on some furniture in the basement bedroom, but not in the basement living space and  small visual signs on the sheetrock wall in the basement bedroom.  There was no need to remediation and remove the entire basement back to the studs. 

What happened next?

When the humidity is high and the property is not well ventilated, mold growth will occur. These spores can become airborne and move throughout the home. This home had a lot of carpet which holds mold spores. Curren Environmental provided Mold Remediation at this property.

  • Carpet was removed and tack strips were removed.
  • All organic furniture that could not be wiped down was disposed.
  • Removed mold impacted sheetrock, 18 inches past mold growth in basement bedroom. 
  • HEPA vacuum walls and floors in the entire basement
  • A broad spectrum, FDA approved, fungicide was applied to the walls and the flooring in the rooms.
  • Air scrubbers were on during remediation and left at the property for at least 72 hours.

As the story goes, post air testing showed elevated spore levels dropped dramatically at the property. Please see below. For this story, only the sheetrock area that had mold growth was removed and the carpet, no other sheetrock was removed.  


Mold the four letter word

The ending, a happy buyer, a happy seller and clean home. Not every property that has elevated mold spores needs to have everything torn down and removed. A mold remediation professional will look at the data, photos provided and any other detailed information prior to handing over a cost. It is very important to understand that mold is everywhere and there are no “Mold Free” properties.

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Lead-Based Paint in Residential Homes

Dec 14, 2020 11:00:00 AM / by Tiffany Byrne posted in Lead


Lead is sometimes considered the first metal. The ancient Romans used lead for plumbing and regarded lead as the “father of all metals”. Even though they discovered that lead could cause madness, and even death lead was still used. Especially among the aristocrats who used it in wine carafes, glasses, and food plates, all which contained lead. Leading to, what many scholars researched, the fall of the Roman Empire.

Moving towards the “New World” era, lead was beginning to be mined in the state of Virginia. The first use of lead was known to be used in the manufacturer of arms and ammunition by American Colonies. Lead also began to be used in the US for drinking water pipes. The lead was less expensive and more durable than iron, lead piping could also be easily bent making it better to use in existing buildings. It was believed that the earliest health concerns were raised in the 1850s but in the 1920s the effort to ban or limit lead piping became known.

lead water pipe

Lead can be found in the air, soil, and water. Where is lead in our homes today? Much of our exposure comes from our activities, such as the past use of leaded gasoline, industrial facilities paint, and lead piping for water use.  Did you know after leaded gasoline was banned lead in our bloodstream diminished?

What made lead paint so popular?

Lead in the paint allowed the paint to dry quickly, allowed the paint to resist moisture & made the paint more durable.

lead paint

  •  The lead was thought to make products better.
  • It is easily shaped, soft enough to be malleable
  • The low melting point for easy casting into shapes.
  • Lead has durability you did not get from, ceramics, used to seal jars, give roofs waterproof lining, be used in sewage and water pipes that would not crack easily.

Where can lead paint be found?

  • Windows and windowsills
  • Doors and door frames
  • Stairs, railings, banisters, and porches

lead paint house-1

Is lead paint in your home or the home that you are purchasing? Depends on the age of the home.


As you can see lead in paints was immensely popular and the older the home the more likely lead-based paint will be present.   Lead paint was phased out in the 1970s.   If your home is older than 1978, you likely have lead paint. EPA Fact:  Approximately three-quarters of the nation’s housing built before 1978 contains some lead-based paint. This paint, if properly managed and maintained, poses little risk.

If you want a lead paint-free home buy a home built after 1978. But also understand that paint containing lead applied to pre-1978 likely has multiple coats of paint on top of it. The risk of human exposure to lead paint directly correlates to the quality of the painted surface. Chipping and peeling paint can be a concern. If you do renovation and disturb painted surfaces, you are likely to encounter lead paint.   You are much more likely to be exposed to mold than lead paint in the average home.

Call Curren Today 

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Top 5 Environmental Deal Breakers in Real Estate

Oct 1, 2020 11:00:00 AM / by Tiffany Byrne posted in Selling a house, Buying a house, Real Estate


You found the perfect house, it's beautiful inside and out.  This is not the first house you looked at, you actually lost count, so you have a large pool of houses you considered before you decided to make an offer on this one.  There may be a few adjustments when you move in (that worn carpet is going, that wall separating the kitchen and family room is going to go  and lastly the large pink bathroom is getting redone.) but mostly it is actually your dream home (great location, yard, large bedrooms and closets).  You do the walk through and make an offer on the home.  Move forward and now even though the home was your dream home, you never even thought about the environmental issues would impact the purchase of that property. 

Underground Oil Tank

The house has charm, it was built in 1950, so oil heat is assured (there really weren't any other choices).  You do a tank sweep Oil Tank Sweep and find a long forgotten oil tank in the side yard.  Should be easy to remove, cost is around $1,600.00.  You request it be removed. Oil Tank Removal.  The seller's google oil tank leak and get skittish.

tank found with oil tank sweep

Mold in the Basement

Home inspection find suspect fungal growth in the basement.  You hire a mold consultant and the basement is tested and mold is confirmed Mold Inspection & Testing.  Mold remediation as well as mold prevention measures are $2,700.00.  Seller gripes about having to remediate the mold, but their realtor and attorney advised that now that the presence of mold is known it must be disclosed to future buyers and many buyers may be hesitant to buy a home with old.    You are told that mold is not a selling feature.    But hey the mold remediation comes with a long warranty, who doesn't want piece of mind.  Mold Remediation

mold remediation

Call for Mold Questions.

Asbestos in the Wall you want to remove.

Asbestos was actually considered a green building product back in the day.  It was used everywhere, including in plaster and since the house was built in the 1950 (asbestos was banned in the 1970's).   The contractor you had walk through to give you a renovation budget said the presence of asbestos is almost guaranteed as he has worked in the town for years and it comes up on all his projects of homes from that era).   Not a huge problem, but it is going to add thousands to the renovation budget, the landscaping budget just evaporated).  The money for the asbestos is not a concession the seller is willing to step up to, since its well documented that older homes have asbestos.  In fact your realtor tells you that it would be a real feat to find a home built before 1970 that doesn't have asbestos somewhere in the home.

The HVAC System has poor Indoor air quality.

You learned during the home inspection process that the HVAC system is the lungs of the home.  Makes sense hot and cold air run through the system so anything that the system does to improve air quality helps.  This system doesn't do much.  You learned that the little 1"  (inch) filter does next to nothing to remove particulate from the air.  You need a MERV 13 or 16 filter, which is 5" thick.  MERV: minimum efficiency reporting value.  The MERV 16?  Well that filter captures >95% of particles in the entire size range tested (0.3-10.0 microns), one micron — a millionth of a meter, kind of like adding a N-95 mask to your HVAC system.    The system also needs to add more fresh air every hour to compensate for people consuming air and adding carbon dioxide with every breath exhaled.  The house doesn't have a whole house humidifier, which you need in winter to raise humidity.  Apparently viruses can thrive in a low humidity environment.    Lastly you need a UV light added to the system.  Why UV Light?  Ultraviolet lights have been proven to  kill mold, viruses and bacteria for more than 100 years. In 1903, Niels Finsen was given the Noble Prize in Medicine for using UV to effectively treat patients with skin infections.     UV Light is also being used to clean areas of Covid-19.   It all makes sense, you though a heater was a heater, but indoor air quality is on everyone's mind and improving indoor air quality.  Again the sellers are not contributing to the cost since the HVAC was visible, but your untrained eye missed what the HVAC system as missing.  On a side note, their realtor tells your realtor that they are making the same changes to the HVAC system on the home they are buying.

Oil Tank Leaked.

Sellers agreed to remove the tank, and yes a buried metal tank in the ground will rust and oil will leak through the holes.    Remediation cost you are told is around $19,000, and that is not a really expensive cleanup either.  The sellers move forward with the work, but settlement is delayed 45 days due to the remediation and the government signoff of the work.  Again your realtor and attorney explain that a looming oil tank remediation is going to deter other buyers.   Side note, both your mortgage company and home owner's insurance carrier had issues providing insurance and a mortgage on a property with oil contamination.

Want to learn about environmental issues in real estate?

What to know how a home can be green?

Curren Environmental is an education provider and lectures on these topics?   Want to make your staff, your company, your associates smarter about environmental topics?   Call Tiffany Byrne to learn how we can help   856-858-9509


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