Call us now ! Send us an email http://maps.google.com/maps?q=4470 Jackson Rd Ann Arbor United States

Back to Top

Call Us Today
(734) 663-4423
(888) 39-PROBE
Call Us Today
(734) 663-4423
(888) 39-PROBE

Services

Asbestos Abatement

It is PROBE's sincere belief that providing professional and competent asbestos services to our clients is of paramount importance. In keeping with this ideal, we offer flexible, expedient and high quality asbestos services at competitive prices.

PROBE asbestos services begin with a building survey to determine the extent of contamination, material location, and condition of asbestos containing materials (ACMs). The building survey may include environmental testing (hazard assessment) and ambient air monitoring of buildings to determine baseline air borne fiber concentrations and occupants' exposure levels.

PROBE then consults with building owners and managers on the proper handling and control of ACMs in buildings. PROBE then developments and implements an AHERA management and abatement plan that has proven highly successful for schools, hospitals, commercial buildings, residential homes and public structures for the long-term control and management of ACMs.

Finally, PROBE's highly trained and fully licensed asbestos abatement team will remove all ACMs quickly and safely.

In addition to an AHERA management plan and abatement services PROBE also provides:

  • Environmental and personnel air monitoring of asbestos abatement projects on-site, in accordance with the federal, state and local rules and regulations
  • Asbestos materials, laboratory and/or on-site air sampling and analysis during all phases of abatement project in accordance with regulatory requirements
  • Asbestos post project final air clearance certification (Post abatement with TEM, PCM and visual inspections).

Since 1989 our team of professionals have combined technical, industrial and managerial experience to develop comprehensive solutions for our clients' asbestos related needs from the project's initial conception to its final completion.

ASBESTOS SERVICES:

  • Asbestos Abatement - Removal, repair and/or encapsulation of asbestos containing building materials for residential, commercial and industrial buildings.
  • Building Surveys - Residential, commercial and industrial asbestos building inspections and assessments. Bulk sampling and air testing.
  • Project Design/Management Plans - Project specification and AHERA management plan development.
  • Project Management and Air Monitoring - On-site project management, air monitoring, testing and consulting during all phases of an asbestos abatement project.

PROBE is structured to offer its clients a full range of asbestos management services in response to our clients' needs for compliance with EPA's 40 CFR 763.506, Sub-part G (Worker Protection Rule), 40 CFR 763 AHERA School Rule, 40 CFR 61 Subpart M (NESHAP), OSHA 29 CFR 1926.58 Industry Standard, MDPH Acts 135, 147, and 440 (asbestos training, contractor certification), MDNR Acts 64 and 641 (solid and hazardous waste).

For more information on Asbestos and its health effects please visit our FAQ's page.

"...your staff responded to my asbestos project very quickly and completed the work safely and below cost...Your friendly crews workmanship kept my renovation project on schedule and exceeded my expectations...overall I had a great experience with Probe Environmental, Inc."

- David Larvick
Asbestos Mold and Radon Remediation
September 15, 2004

Mold Remediation

PROBE is structured to offer its clients a full range of high quality fungal mold testing, remediation and management services in response to our clients' needs. PROBE's services start with mold contamination building inspections to determine the extent of mold contamination, location and type. PROBE also offers more in depth mold sampling and analysis, both air and bulk, viable and non-viable, and speciation upon request.

PROBE then consults with building owners and managers on the proper methods of remediation of mold in the contaminated buildings. These consultations result in the development and implementation of mold remediation strategies for mold elimination. Additionally, PROBE provides solutions for long-term control and management of conditions supporting mold growth. Finally, a clearance test by PROBE is used to verify the successful remediation of the mold.

PROBE has extensive experience providing mold remediation services for banks, mortgage companies, insurance agencies, building owners, schools, government agencies, commercial, public and private concerns. It is PROBE's attention to detail and dedicated work ethic that ensure that our clients mold contamination is remediated on time and on budget.

MOLD SERVICES:

  • Building Inspections - Residential, commercial and industrial fungal mold building inspections and assessments.
  • Remediation - Removal and decontamination of identified fungal mold in residential, commercial and industrial buildings.
  • Project Management and Air Monitoring - On-site project management, air monitoring and consulting during all phases of a mold remediation project.
  • Project Design - Specification development and design for fungal mold remediation projects.

For more information on Fungal Mold and its health effects please visit our FAQ's page.

"I would like to thank you for the professionalism and excellence of work quality that we experienced with Probe. The people we encountered were extremely polite, reliable and easy to work with. We are very happy with the quality of the work that was done and our house was left in absolutely clean condition.We feel that Probe's price was very fair in light of the work that was done."

- Amy Jennings
Mold Remediation and Reconstruction
April 25, 2005

Indoor Air Quality

PROBE has extensive experience conducting Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) assessments for residential, commercial and industrial buildings. IAQ assessments qualify and quantify contaminants such as: carbon monoxide and dioxide, formaldehyde gas, ozone, hydrogen sulfide, natural gas such as methane, radon gas, asbestos fibers, environmental bacteria, fungal mold and over 100 volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds. Probe also provides specialized IAQ assessments for clientele with unique needs.

With over 25 years experience of providing high quality environmental consultation and an on staff Council-certified Indoor Environmental Consultant (CIEC), PROBE will help solve your IAQ problems today.

The specific indoor air pollutants which PROBE will test for are:

1. Carbon Dioxide, CO2:

Carbon dioxide is a good indicator of ventilation in a building or area of a building. Due to the fact that the human respiration process produces carbon dioxide, the levels of this gas can be measured to determine if it is accumulating in one or more areas of the test site. If buildup occurs, it is highly likely that the area is not being properly ventilated.

2. Carbon Monoxide, CO:

Carbon monoxide also contributes to indoor air quality problems. Due to the fact that this gas is odorless and tasteless, it may be present inside a facility with no indication of its presence. Carbon monoxide is generated from many combustion sources such as automobiles, gas fired boilers and appliances; and even burning cigarettes. In low levels, carbon monoxide can cause headaches, fatigue and other nonspecific symptoms.

3. Formaldehyde, HCHO:

Formaldehyde is a well known indoor air pollutant. It is used in building materials such as plywood, paneling, and particle board, as well as other building products and furnishings. Elevated levels of formaldehyde are often indicated by eye, nose, and upper respiratory irritation.

4. Ozone, O3:

Ozone is a form of oxygen that has three atoms per molecule rather than two atoms found in oxygen; it decomposes quickly and turns into regular oxygen. Ozone is now known to be one of the most powerful disinfectants. Ozone is generated as a result of electrical discharges such as where concentrated electrical equipment, i.e., elevator rooms, electrostatic air filters on furnaces, ozone generators, etc.

When generated, it seeps into all building space, cracks and crevices, as well as furnishings such as carpets, drapes, etc., with normal air currents.

5. Oxygen, O2:

Oxygen (O2) depletion is usually associated with the presence of H2S and CH4. PROBE will monitor the levels of O2 with a meter in conjunction with the measurements for H2S, CH4, and CO.

6. Hydrogen Sulfide, H2S:

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is usually associated with and found in the presence of methane gas (CH4) and this may also be indicative of a natural gas source. H2S is a highly corrosive and toxic gas which has a distinctive "rotten egg" odor at low levels. However, H2S tends to deaden the human olfactory sense, thus persons in the presence of H2S for prolonged periods no longer smell the gas. PROBE will use a meter to measure for this gas.

7. Natural Gas such as Methane CH4 - Lower Explosive Limits:

Methane (CH4) is a component of natural gas thus when present it is indicative of a possible natural gas leak. However, other sources such as decomposition of organic matter generate methane gas. Methane gas has explosive limits, both lower and upper limits. PROBE will monitor for this gas's lower explosive limit in an attempt to determine a source or origin of the gas.

8. Nuisance Dust:

Nuisance dust results from construction or maintenance activities both inside and outside of the building, and has been identified as a respiratory tract irritant.

9. Temperature and Humidity:

Temperature and humidity, when not properly controlled, can contribute to complaints of nose and throat irritation and soreness, and skin irritation. High humidity may also contribute and support the growth of fungal molds and spores.

10. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) TO-15:

Volatile organic compounds or VOCs result from the off gassing of vapors from various chemicals, compounds and furnishings stored, used or installed in the building. The vapors or gases are organic in the nature and contribute to diminished indoor air quality. Testing for VOCs identifies the presence of 69 VOC's in the area's air.

The TO-15 method is used frequently in situations where unidentified odors are present and or the source of odors is not known.

11. Non-Viable Molds and Spores Tape Lift:

Fungal Molds which find a suitable location and surface for growth and which offers food, moisture, and darkness, will establish itself and will grow or amplify. When the mold matures it will produce spores which will be emitted. When these spores are present in our indoors, air quality diminishes. By employing air and surface sampling techniques, PROBE can determine their source and control.

12. Radon Gas Testing:

Radon gas is known to seep into a building through openings in the floors and walls and may travel through porous blocks and other materials from contact with soils. Radon gas is a known carcinogen and at levels above 4 pCi/L is suspected to contribute to between 14,000 and 21,000 additional cancer deaths per year. PROBE will test for radon gas with a continuous radon gas monitor using the EPA "48 Hour Closed House Condition" protocol.

13. Asbestos Fiber Levels:

Asbestos fibers maybe found in buildings were asbestos containing materials (ACM) are presented and have been disturbed and damaged. Asbestos is odorless, colorless, tasteless invisible material which is a known carcinogen. Test for asbestos is undertaken with PCM and or TEM. TEM which is Transmission Electron Microscopy is state of air and can detect small asbestos fibers and can distinguish between asbestos and non asbestos materials. PCM which is Phase Contrast Microscopy can not distinguish between asbestos and non-asbestos fibers.

14. Full Particle (Airborne) Identification:

Airborne particles such as particles from cotton fibers, cellulose, fiberglass, dander, dust mites and other unusual materials such as carbon black, metal oxides, and minerals in the air spaces can be responsible for occupant complaints of itching, skin irritation, nose, and eye and respiratory tract irritators and odors.
"...A foul odor emanating from our basement was making us sick...Probe inspected and spotted an uncapped sewage line in our basement. This was impressive because approximately ten other contractors and inspectors (including city inspectors) had tried and failed to locate the source of the smell... the problem was skillfully resolved. No homeowner could ask for more..."

- Howard Krausse
Environmental Survey
  December 18, 2004

Radon Testing

PROBE is a full service radon measurement and remediation contractor trained to perform specialized radon remediation and testing services. PROBE is equipped to quickly and accurately identify the presence of radon gas danger with use of advanced instruments and in-depth knowledge.

PROBE's custom radon remediation systems are installed by our expert staff and are built and installed for years of maintenance free operation. With expert installation, PROBE is focused on the delivery of the highest quality service, performed in the most comprehensive, efficient, and cost-effective manner.

PROBE radon gas testing and inspections include but are not limited to:

  • Residential and commercial radon inspection conducted by EPA trained radon diagnosticians
  • Radon gas testing, utilizing a state of the art Honeywell professional radon monitor (long or short term testing)
  • Site layout drawings
  • Brochures and information concerning radon
  • Full report and assessment of radon danger.

PROBE radon remediation systems include but are not limited to:

  • Durable, maintenance free construction
  • Water resistant internal and external seals
  • Modern styling, low visibility design
  • Discrete, low-profile fan and exhaust vent
  • UL listed wiring and hardware
  • EPA recommended system pressure status indicator
  • Post installation remediation test
  • Five year manufactures warranty on mechanical parts (fan unit)
  • Lifetime warranty on labor and materials.
RADON SERVICES:
Radon Gas Testing - EPA testing utilizing Honeywell Professional Continuous Radon Monitors which provide immediate on-site results.
Mitigation Systems - Durable and discrete mitigation systems, custom designed to fit any building or residence. Five year manufacturers warranty on the fan unit, lifetime warranty on parts and labor. Michigan Residential Builder #2102155288.

For more information on Radon and its health effects please visit our FAQ's page.

"...your calm and gentle nature in handling our radon situation cannot be expressed in mere words alone. Before you even began the project, you took much time with us to understand our concerns and to answer them. Your sheer determination to make sure you got the radon levels below 4 pCi/l. while keeping the Mitigation System custom to our home is untouchable!..."

- Rob & Deborrah Langbehn
Radon Remediation
  March 25, 2004

Lead Paint Testing


Environmental Audits

PROBE Environmental, Inc. in recognition of the need to provide its clients with diverse service options which address their RCRA, CERCLA, NEPA, and SARA Regulations, and non-asbestos environmental needs, is pleased to offer the following services.

Environmental management and monitoring of Hazardous Materials, including:
  • Consultation on hazardous waste identification, handling and disposal including PCBs, metals, sludge waste, etc.
  • Leaking underground storage tank investigation, tank testing and remedial actions project design
  • Environmental audits of hazardous materials/conditions existing prior to real estate transactions or major construction
  • Environmental air monitoring of structures for various indoor air pollutants, such as formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, methane gas, etc.
  • Ventilation systems dynamics evaluations
  • Radon Testing and remedial actions services consultation for schools, public and commercial buildings and private home owners to determine the radon gas concentration within the structures and available remedies

On-Site Sewage Disposal, including:

  • Consultation on design and construction of on-site sewage disposal/water supply systems for residential and commercial buildings
  • Consultation and assistance in sub soil evaluations (perk testing) prior to applications for on-site sewage disposal system permits
  • FHA, V.A., public and private sewage disposal and water supply evaluation, testing, inspection reports and certifications
  • Community wide sanitary surveys

PROBE also offers solid waste management services, providing consultation on solid waste management, handling, and disposal including source reduction and recycling.

ENVIRONMENTAL AUDIT SERVICES:

Phase I - Identification of known and unknown hazardous materials present on occupied and vacant properties for real estate transactions.
Phase II - Testing of suspected hazardous materials identified during Phase II inspections.

Demolition/Construction

PROBE has diversified its service to include demolition and general construction capabilities to provide our clientele with full service solutions for their project needs. PROBE is capable of providing all services from permitting to abatement, decontamination to advanced remediation, and final structure removal to eventual construction. We can perform multifaceted projects in a streamlined manner; under one contract; using one company.

PROBE is a licensed asbestos abatement contractor and licensed Michigan residential builder whose staff has the experience and expertise to tackle any project. PROBE is also fully insured and bonded and offers exceptional project management for residential, commercial and industrial projects. Our reputation is one of a high quality demolition, construction and environmental services company who can get your projects completed on time and on budget.

Contact PROBE today and learn more about how our demolition, construction and environmental services can meet your needs!
"We get the job done right"

Training

PROBE asbestos abatement workers, contractors and supervisors, inspectors, management planners, project designers, building maintenance and custodial personnel.
Additionally, PROBE provides asbestos awareness training for building owners, administrators, managers, maintenance and custodial personnel, occupants, bankers, insurance agents, appraisers, government officials and the general public.
Listed below are some of the many training courses offered by PROBE's highly skilled technicians. PROBE will also design courses to meet all needs of the client as related to asbestos or other environmental hazards.
Abatement Workers Initial Course-24 Hours
This required course is designed in accordance with the EPA's AHERA regulation 40 CFR Part 763, for asbestos abatement workers involved with asbestos removal in primary and secondary schools.
Asbestos Abatement Contractor/Supervisor Course-32 Hours
This course is designed in accordance with the EPA's AHERA regulation, for contractors and supervisors in charge of asbestos abatement projects. This course further satisfies the "Competent Person" requirements mandated by OSHA Regulation 1926.58.
Asbestos Inspector Accreditation-24 Hours
This course is designed in accordance with the EPA's AHERA regulation 40 CFR Part 763.85, for persons conducting AHERA inspections in primary and secondary schools.
Asbestos Management Planner Accreditation-16 Hours
This course is designed in accordance with the EPA's AHERA 40 CFR Part 763.93, for persons involved in the development of management plans for primary and secondary schools.
Operations and Maintenance Course-16 Hours
This course is designed in accordance with the EPA's AHERA regulation 40 CFR Part 763.92, for school maintenance and custodial personnel performing activities which will disturb ACMs; such as small-scale, short-duration projects, and emergency repairs.
Operations and Maintenance Course-14 Hours
This course is also designed in accordance with the EPA's AHERA regulation 40 CFR Part 763.92, for school maintenance and custodial personnel who are performing O&M activities which will disturb ACMs and who have completed the two-hour Asbestos Awareness Course.
Asbestos Awareness Course-2 Hours
This course is designed in accordance with the EPA's AHERA regulation 40 CFR Part 763.92, for school maintenance and custodial personnel and other tradesmen who may work in buildings that may contain ACMs, but will not disturb ACMs in their normal course of work.
This is an excellent informational course for building occupants who are concerned about asbestos-containing materials located in their buildings.
Project Designers Course-40 Hours
This course is in accordance with the EPA's AHERA regulation 40 CFR Part 763 for individuals designing response actions for primary and secondary schools.
This course supplements materials addressed in the "Asbestos Abatement Contractor/Supervisor" Course.
Right to Know Training
This course is designed in response to the requirements of the Federal Hazard Communications Act, which mandates employers to inform employees and provide training on the hazardous materials in their work environment.

FAQs

Everyone has questions.  The following frequently asked questions and their answers are provided to better inform you about our firm, our services and our staff.  If you need more specific information, or would like to discuss your specific issues and needs, please contact us.

Asbestos FAQs

What is asbestos?
Where is it found?
Is it harmful?
How are health risks associated with asbestos exposure?
What health problems can asbestos cause?
How do you know if something contains asbestos?
What is vermiculite?
Why should I be concerned about vermiculite insulation?
What does "Friable Asbestos Containing Material" mean?
What do I do if there are asbestos materials in a construction project I am managing?
Is training required for maintenance and engineering staff?
Do workers need special training for working with asbestos?
If asbestos is being removed, how do I know if I am being exposed to asbestos fibers?
Can PROBE Environmental Inc. collect asbestos air samples and analyze the samples in an on-site laboratory?
What is the experience of PROBE Environmental Inc. staff?

What is asbestos?
Asbestos is the name given to a number of naturally occurring fibrous silicate minerals that have been mined for their useful properties such as thermal insulation, chemical and thermal stability, and high tensile strength. It is unique because it takes the form of long, thin fibers. It is fire resistant and a poor heat and electricity conductor, which makes it useful in many different applications.

Back to Top

Where is it found?
Asbestos is commonly used as an acoustic insulator, thermal insulation, fire proofing and in other building materials. Asbestos fibers are incredibly strong and have properties that make them resistant to heat. Many products are in use today that contain asbestos.

Back to Top

Is it harmful?
Asbestos is made up of microscopic bundles of fibers that may become airborne when disturbed. If these fibers are inhaled or ingested, they may cause significant health problems. Asbestos is not always an immediate hazard. It is only when asbestos containing materials are disturbed or the materials become damaged that the fibers separate, become airborne, and becomes a hazard.

Back to Top

How are health risks associated with asbestos exposure?
Asbestos fibers must be inhaled to cause disease. Disturbing asbestos containing material or dust containing asbestos will result in exposure unless precautions are taken. When insulation containing asbestos is disturbed, lightweight asbestos fibers are released into the air and can be inhaled. In general, the more you are exposed to asbestos, the greater your risk of developing related diseases. Exposure may not have immediate health consequences, however. In many cases, individuals do not develop related diseases for years or even decades after exposure.

Back to Top

What health problems can asbestos cause?
Serious health problems include: 1.) Asbestosis - an incurable diffuse fibrous scarring of the lungs resulting in a 99% mortality rate, 2.) Mesothelioma - a cancer of the outer lining of the lung and chest cavity, 3.) Cancer of the lung or gastrointestinal tract, 4.) Malignant tumors, and/or 5.) pulmonary hypertension and immunological effects.

Back to Top

How do you know if something contains asbestos?
You can not always tell if a material contains asbestos by looking at it. The only sure way to know is to have a sample of the material analyzed by a laboratory.

Back to Top

What is vermiculite?
Vermiculite is a naturally occurring mineral used in construction, insulation and gardening products. It looks like shiny, small pieces of popcorn, and is usually light-brown or gold in color. Vermiculite came from mines in Libby, Montana (closed in 1990) as well as other mines in the U.S. and other countries. Vermiculite is still mined and distributed for a number of uses, including insulation.

Back to Top

Why should I be concerned about vermiculite insulation?
Much of the Libby vermiculite was used as attic insulation. It was sold under the product name Zonolite. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated in 1985 that 940,000 American homes contained Zonolite attic insulation.

Over 70% of vermiculite ore mined worldwide came from the Libby, Montana mine. The ore from this mine also included a natural deposit of amphibole/tremolite asbestos. Much of the vermiculite from Libby was contaminated with asbestos. Asbestos fibers are invisible to the eye and can only be professionally detected. Homeowners should consider the following:

  • Vermiculite used for residential insulation may contain asbestos.
  • If you are unsure whether the insulation in your home contains vermiculite, avoid disturbing it until either you or a professional can confirm that it is vermiculite.
  • Vermiculite mined today for use in insulation is from a source considered to be free of asbestos contamination.

Back to Top


What does "Friable Asbestos Containing Material" mean?
A friable asbestos containing material is a material that contains more than 1% asbestos and can be crumbled or reduced to powder by hand when it is dry. Friable materials may release more asbestos fibers into the air than non-friable materials.

Back to Top

What do I do if there are asbestos materials in a construction project I am managing?
If asbestos materials may be disturbed during renovation activities, the asbestos materials must be removed. Probe Environmental, Inc. will work with you and the project architect or engineer to define the scope of work for asbestos removal, develop removal specifications, and help select qualified and licensed contractors.

Back to Top

Is training required for maintenance and engineering staff?
Employees who may have contact with asbestos materials but will not intentionally disturb the materials should receive "Asbestos Awareness" Training. The training should include recognition of asbestos containing materials, hazards of asbestos exposures, and procedures to follow if damaged asbestos materials are encountered. Probe Environmental Inc. Can provide the valuable training to your organization at an economical value.

Back to Top

Do workers need special training for working with asbestos?
Yes, federal, state and local laws and regulations require that all persons who work in any asbestos occupation must be licensed. This certification is received by taking a training class and passing a written test. In addition they must under go a rigorous physical and medical examination including, pulmonary function testing, X-rays and medical history review. Upon medical approval the applicant will then undergo respirator training, fit testing and qualification.
These certifications and testing must be updated annually.

Back to Top

If asbestos is being removed, how do I know if I am being exposed to asbestos fibers?
Asbestos removal can only be conducted inside a 'regulated area'. The regulated area is sealed with polyethylene sheets sealed with tape. Caution signs are placed at the entrances to warn people that asbestos fibers may be released inside the containment. HVAC systems are sealed to prevent dispersal of fibers throughout the building. Probe Environmental Inc. will monitor asbestos removal projects and conduct visual inspections and air sampling to verify that asbestos fibers are not released from the regulated area.

Back to Top

Can PROBE Environmental Inc. collect asbestos air samples and analyze the samples in an on-site laboratory?
Yes, our field staff and project managers are trained to collect and analyze samples following NIOSH methods. Field analysts participate in our in-house quality assurance program, and are approved by the AIHA Asbestos Analysts Registry.

Back to Top

What is the experience of PROBE Environmental Inc. staff?
PROBE Environmental Inc. staff includes Certified Industrial Hygienists, Asbestos Building Inspectors, Management Planners, Project Designers and Project Monitors. All senior staff has technical degrees and 10 to 25 years of experience in asbestos consulting services. We can assist with all phases of an asbestos project, including surveys, project designs, project management, and environmental quality assurance monitoring.

Back to Top

Lead Paint FAQs

The health risks of lead (Pb)
What are the Dangers of Lead?
How does remodeling impact lead?
How can you get lead poisoning?
What homes are at risk for having lead based paint?
Why is lead based paint a hazard?
How do I determine if lead paint is present in my facility?
How will lead based paint affect a renovation project?
How do I know if lead paint dust has been cleaned properly?

The health risks of lead (Pb)
Lead poisoning can cause severe and irreversible damage to the central nervous system. However, if detected, lead poisoning can be reversed by medical treatment and/or by eliminating exposure.

Back to Top

What are the Dangers of Lead?
About 75 percent of homes built before 1978 contain some lead-based paint. You should assume that a house painted before 1978 contains some lead-based paint. Older homes may have many layers of paint, and the older layers of paint are more likely to contain lead. These older layers of paint can be disturbed during remodeling. The only way to know if the paint does not contain lead is to have it tested. You can test the paint by using a home test kit available at paint and hardware stores (if allowed in your State), by sending a paint sample to a lab to be analyzed, or by hiring an individual licensed by your State's Department of Health to do a lead evaluation of the home (Contact your State's Department of Health to learn more about testing old paint, dust, drinking water and soil for lead).

Back to Top

How does remodeling impact lead?
Anyone involved in remodeling an older home can be exposed to lead in old paint, dust, paint chips, fumes and soil. Lead dust can get on hair, skin and clothing. Lead paint chips, dust and soil can also be tracked into the home. People can be exposed to lead any time they breathe lead dust or fumes, or swallow anything that contains lead.

Back to Top

How can you get lead poisoning?
People living in older homes can become lead poisoned during remodeling. People working with lead on the job can also be exposed to lead dust and bring it home to their families. Lead poisoning may cause permanent problems with health, learning and behavior in young children. Adults poisoned by lead can suffer from high blood pressure, kidney damage and fertility problems.

Back to Top

What homes are at risk for having lead based paint?
The older your home, the more likely it is to contain lead-based paint. Paints containing up to 50 percent lead were used on both the inside and outside of homes through the 1950s. Lead was still used in some household paints manufactured until 1978, although these newer paints usually contained much smaller amounts of lead.

Back to Top

Why is lead based paint a hazard?
Lead dust can be absorbed into the body via inhalation and ingestion. If lead accumulates in the body, it can damage the liver, kidneys, blood-forming organs, nervous system and reproductive systems. In housing, lead presents a hazard for children who may ingest lead dust and/or paint chips. If children ingest lead during early stages of development, their mental development may be impaired or mental retardation may occur.

Back to Top

How do I determine if lead paint is present in my facility?
A survey can be done by probe Environmental Inc. using an XRF survey instrument or one of our Inspector/Risk Assessors can take bulk samples of representative paint. Typically, each color of paint, and each type of substrate is sampled separately. Surfaces that may be coated with lead based paint include but are not limited to: structural steel, exterior siding, interior wood trim, door and window frames, metal staircases, plaster, concrete block, and sheetrock walls. Older facilities are more likely to have lead based paint on various building systems.

Back to Top

How will lead based paint affect a renovation project?
Lead based paint may be present on structural steel, concrete block walls, wood windows, wood trim, plaster and sheetrock walls and other building materials. Building components may be demolished with intact paint adhered to the surfaces, but the contractor must take precautions to protect the workers and prevent dispersion of dust. Loose and peeling paint should be removed and disposed of as lead waste. If lead paint is on structural steel, the paint must be removed before the steel is cut by torching or welding. Lead based paint should not be dry sanded or abraded. Surface preparation for repainting should be done under controlled conditions. Probe Environmental Inc. can prepare specifications for the control of lead dust during renovations and demolitions.

Back to Top

How do I know if lead paint dust has been cleaned properly?
The contractor should use a combination of wet cleaning with TSP or other appropriate detergent and HEPA vacuuming. At the conclusion of the project, Probe Environmental Inc will collect wipe samples to measure the concentration of lead on various surfaces, and air samples to measure the concentration of lead in the air. The results are compared to industry standards or HUD guidelines to assess whether additional cleaning is required.

Back to Top

Mold FAQs

What is Mold?
What does mold need to grow?
Should I be concerned about mold in my home?
Can mold make me and my family sick?
Are some molds more hazardous than others?
What types of mold exposure can affect me?
What symptoms might I see?
What are some of the common health symptoms associated with mold and bacterial exposure in buildings?
How much mold can make me sick?
Is it necessary to clean up mold contamination, not just to kill the mold?
Is chlorine bleach recommended to kill molds?
Will applying a biocide fix my mold problem?
Do I want to sterilize the area?
What is Soda Blasting?
What about attic ventilation?
What will happen if my attic eve vents are blocked?
What should be done if musty, earthy, mushroom, and moldy like odors are perceived?
 

What is Mold?
Molds are fungi. Molds grow throughout the natural and built environment. Tiny particles of mold are present in indoor and outdoor air. In nature, molds help break down dead materials and can be found growing on soil, foods, plant matter, and other items. Molds produce microscopic cells called "spores" which are very tiny and spread easily through the air. Live spores act like seeds, forming new mold growths (colonies) when they find the right conditions.

Back to Top

What does mold need to grow?
Mold only needs a few simple things to grow and multiply:

  • Moisture (Water, Condensation, Excessive Humidity)
  • Food source-Nutrients (Typically Organic cellulose based materials)
  • Mold spores (Deposited on surfaces by other mold colonies)

Of these, controlling excess moisture is the key to preventing and stopping indoor mold growth.

Back to Top

Should I be concerned about mold in my home?
Mold should not be permitted to grow and multiply indoors. When this happens, health problems can occur and building materials, goods and furnishings may be damaged.

Back to Top

Can mold make me and my family sick?
Mold can affect the health of people who are exposed to it. People are mainly exposed to mold by breathing spores or other tiny fragments. People can also be exposed through skin contact with mold contaminants (for example, by touching moldy surfaces) and by swallowing it.

The type and severity of health effects that mold may produce are usually difficult to predict. The risks can vary greatly from one location to another, over time, and from person to person.

Back to Top

Are some molds more hazardous than others?
Some types of mold can produce chemical compounds (called mycotoxins) although they do not always do so. Molds that are able to produce toxins are common. In some circumstances, the toxins produced by indoor mold may cause health problems. However, all indoor mold growth is potentially harmful and should be removed promptly, no matter what types of mold is present or whether it can produce toxins.

Back to Top

What types of mold exposure can affect me?
There are three (3) easy ways for mold spore to enter your body:

  1. Inhalation: Mold spore can be airborne, and get indoors through doors, windows or cracks and crevices, or be carried in from the outdoors on shoes and clothing.
  2. Skin: Touching moldy surfaces such as furniture and coming in contact with plants that may have molds can result in local skin irritation (redness or mild swelling), or possibly ulceration (rare).
  3. Ingestion: Several toxic fungal species on spoiled food stuff (nuts, grain, rice, agricultural products) can cause serious intestinal food poisoning, liver cancer (aflatoxin from Aspergillus mold) or even death.

    Back to Top

What symptoms might I see?
The most common health problems caused by indoor mold are allergy symptoms. Although other and more serious problems can occur, people exposed to mold commonly report problems such as:

  • nasal and sinus congestion
  • cough
  • wheeze/breathing difficulties
  • sore throat
  • skin and eye irritation
  • upper respiratory infections (including sinus)

    Back to Top

What are some of the common health symptoms associated with mold and bacterial exposure in buildings?
Health effects associated with mold (fungi) include: infection, allergy, and toxic and irritant effects. Common complaints from occupants in problem buildings include: headache, sinusitis, upper respiratory infections, skin rashes, asthma, general malaise, and central nervous system effects. Some molds are pathogenic and actually grow in and on people.

Back to Top

How much mold can make me sick?
It depends. For some people, a relatively small number of mold spores can cause health problems. For other people, it may take may more. The basic rule is, if you can see or smell it, take steps to eliminate the excess moisture, and to cleanup and remove the mold.

Back to Top

Is it necessary to clean up mold contamination, not just to kill the mold?
It is necessary to clean up mold contamination, not just to kill the mold. Dead mold is still allergenic, and some dead molds are potentially toxic.

Back to Top

Is chlorine bleach recommended to kill molds?
The use of a biocide, such as chlorine bleach, is not recommended as a routine practice during mold remediation, although there may be instances where professional judgment may indicate its use (for example, when immune-compromised individuals are present).

Back to Top

Will applying a biocide fix my mold problem?
The application of biocides may kill mold spores but it does not necessarily eliminate their mycotoxin metabolites. The only sure way to do this and the goal of any remediation program should be removal of all microbial growth. This generally can be accomplished by physical removal of materials supporting active growth and thorough cleaning of non-porous materials.

Back to Top

Do I want to sterilize the area?
In most cases, it is not possible or desirable to sterilize an area; a background level of mold spores will remain in the air (roughly equivalent to or lower than the level in outside air). These spores will not grow if the moisture problem in the building has been resolved and is part of what is called a "Normal fungal ecology". Any mold growing within a building is not part of a "Normal fungal ecology".

Back to Top

What is Soda Blasting?
In the past, the only way you could remove paint or some other unsightly material from a contaminated surface, was to either chip it off, sand blast it, use harsh chemicals, or sand it until your arm fell off, or your equipment failed. In most cases, after these time consuming, or hazardous methods, are discarded, the final solution was just to paint over it and hope no one noticed. There is now a process, known as Soda Blasting, where a surface is cleaned or paint is removed or coatings of any kind are stripped from a substrate both efficiently and safely. It is very similar to traditional sand blasting yet has the significant advantage of cleaning the surface without causing any harm to the substrate or the environment.

Applications
From the removal of graffiti from brick and concrete to the cleaning of boat bottoms, from the removal of carbon, char, mold and odors from buildings damaged by fire to refurbishing stainless steel kitchen equipment, from removing oil and grease from engines to removing offensive odors in stairwells, from cleaning washrooms in manufacturing facilities to removing paint from brick and steel, from removing rust and paint from cars to line removal off highways, the Soda Blaster approach has proved to be successful time and time again. The system has been used for:

Example Applications

Paint Removal

Tank Cleaning

Brick & Concrete Cleaning

Wood Cleaning

Degreasing

Odor Elimination

Metal Cleaning

Grease/Sludge Removal

Food Equipment Cleaning

Flood Restoration

Rust Removal

Cars-Paints/Rust

Stain Removal

Airplane Parts

Clean Monuments

Graffiti Removal

Fire Restoration

Marking Removal

Mold Removal

Printing Presses

Back to Top

What about attic ventilation?
An attic ventilation system should remove both heat and humidity. While heat is the obvious link to high utility bills, humidity/moisture buildup can degrade the insulation and reduce the performance of the system equivalent to a 40 degree hotter attic. Many experts believe removal of excess moisture to be a even more important function of attic ventilation than lowering temperatures. Moisture causes mold, mildew, wet insulation, even a buckled roof deck. Proper ventilation in both summer and winter keeps moisture off the insulation, keeping it fluffy, dry, and effective. No matter how tightly sealed a home is, moisture from showers, etc will enter the attic through ceiling fan openings, can lights, cracks created by natural shifting of the house, plumbing and electric openings and poor caulk jobs (caulk is a temporary, cosmetic seal anyway). The typical family generates 2-4 gallons of moisture daily through cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. This moisture must be flushed out with the soffit/ridge vent system. Attic ventilation should never be blocked or covered up in any way at any time of year because of this moisture removing benefit.

Back to Top

What will happen if my attic eve vents are blocked?
Eve venting is critical to your homes well being. Lack of eve venting can cause ice dams, roof deterioration, insulation degradation, roof deck rot, and mold growth.

Back to Top

What should be done if musty, earthy, mushroom, and moldy like odors are perceived?
Contact Probe Environmental Inc. to conduct a survey to check for recent moisture intrusion and building materials that have been wet. It is possible there is mold growth, possibly hidden in the structure. Perform a visual inspection and sampling survey for the presence of microbiological contamination or growth.

Back to Top

 

 

Radon FAQs

What is Radon?
Radon is a Cancer causing radioactive gas that is produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water.

Where is Radon found?
It is found all over the world including Michigan. Radon can be found in any home whether it is new, old, slab, crawlspace, or basement.

Will I be able to tell if there is Radon present?
No, Radon is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. The only way to tell if Radon gas is present is to test for it.

How can Radon get into my home?
It typically rises up through the ground and into your home through holes in the foundation, where the concentration can build up. Air pressure in a structure is usually lower than pressure in the soil under and around a structures foundation. Because of this difference in pressure a structure may act like a vacuum drawing radon in through small openings in the foundation. Radon is a radioactive element.

  • Reload
  • Contact Information

    PROBE Environmental, Inc.

    Ann Arbor Headquarters
    4470 Jackson Road, Suite 200
    Ann Arbor, MI 48103
    Toll Free: (888) 39-PROBE
    Phone: (734) 663-4423
    Fax (734) 665-4177
    Detroit Metropolitan Office
    2727 Second Avenue
    Suite 314-C
    Detroit, MI 48201

    Phone/Fax: (313)963-1625