Industrial Hygienist (IH): Long Island & New York City

An Industrial Hygienist (IH) is a scientist and/or engineer committed to protecting the health and safety of people in a workplace or community.

A professional industrial hygienist is a person possessing either a bachelor's degree in engineering, chemistry, or physics or a bachelor's degree in a closely related biological or physical science from an accredited college or university, who also has a minimum of three years of industrial hygiene experience. A complete doctoral in a related physical, biological, or medical science or in a related engineering can be substituted for two of the three year requirement. A completed master's degree in a related physical or biological science or in a related engineering can be substituted for one year of the three year requirement. Under no circumstances can more than two years of graduate training be applied toward the three year period.

While this definition does not include certification, the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) recognizes the need for such certification by every professional industrial hygienist as an appropriate hallmark by one's peers and strongly urges all eligible members to obtain American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH) certification.

The ABIH has established that successful candidates for certificates shall attain the status of Diplomat of the American Academy of Industrial Hygiene subject to compilance with requirements established by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene.

 

Industrial Hygienist (IH), Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), Mold Testing, and Water Damage

The goal of the industrial hygienist is to keep workers, their families, and the community healthy and safe. They play a vital part in ensuring that federal, state, and local laws and regulations reagarding Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) are followed in the work environment.

In general, when it comes to any kind of mold testing, there area few things the IH has to take into consideration.  First of which, mold spores are everywhere. So let's say Mrs. Smith calls an IH home inspection because she thinks she has indoor air quality issues. The IH will perform a visual inspection. He/She will also use his/her moisture meters to find out if there is any wet building materials because that moisture from water damage is the main ingredient for mold growth.  If the IH finds any visible mold or water damage issues the IH will then perform mold testing by taking air samples in the area(s) in question.

The number of air samples taken in a given area is at the discretion of the IH.  It varies depending on size, occupants, and conditions in and around the area in question. The IH will then take an air sample(s) from the outside environment and unaffected areas of the structure.  Again, the number of samples may vary depending upon size of building, occupants, and conditions to name a few. They take a sample from the outside air and a known unaffected area(s) to use those levels as a base line to compare it against the levels found in the affected indoor environment.

In a perfect world, the interior sample levels should be at or below the exterior samples. So let us say for example, the total outside mold spore counts are 500. The levels inside should be at or below those baseline sample(s).  There are some situations where the total spore count of the baseline sample is higher than the total spore count of the affected area samples and still have an issue that requires mold remediation.  One example of this is if there is a species of mold spore(s) that is higher in individual concentration inside than in the baseline samples. Another reason would be if the IH also finds a species of mold spore(s) in the indoor environment that is not found in the baseline sample(s). Both examples would require some type of a mold remediation and/or air scrubbing to remediate the indoor air quality issue due to the mold spores.

The Industrial Hygienist will then take all thie information gathered through an inspection, sampling, and interviews of occupants and write a mold remediation protocol for their client. The mold remediation protocol contains in writing the egineering controls and recommended scope of work necessary to bring the interior air quality to within acceptable levels. 

The client then gives that written protocol to a qualified mold remediation companies so they can provide a written estimate for the work that needs to be done. A professional mold remediation company MUST abide by the IH's written protocol. If during the course of the project, the mold remediation contractor uncovers something that was not in the IH's protocol, work should stop until verbal confirmation is obtained by the IH and all interested parties are notified and everyone is satisfied about plan of action.

 

Any Industrial Hygienist (IH) Will Tell You: Mold Spores Are Everywhere!

Please understand that mold spores are EVERYWHERE. There is no such thing as a mold free environment, unless the space is setup as a "Clean Room" or an operating room.  

As an example, Advanced Restoration Corporation's trained technicians can perform mold remediation in an area, have mold testing performed by an Industrial Hygienist (IH) in that area, and receive a passing clearance on the indoor air quality in that area from the IH.  As soon as the engineering controls like the containment air filtration equipment is broken down, we have introduced acceptable levels of mold spores into the area from the surrounding areas ambient air. 

The mold testing kits sold to the public in Home Depot are ALWAYS going to find mold spores.  

If you leave the little petri dish in any normal environment the test will come back positive.  The hundreds to thousands of mold spores that are everywhere are going to get caught in culture.  It will show you that there is mold spores present in the environment, but it will not indicate the type and quantity of mold spores, which are the important factors.