The Certified Industrial Hygienist and Mold Projects

The Certified Industrial Hygienist and Mold Projects

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The Certified Industrial Hygienist and Mold Projects

 

A third party often an industrial hygienist or Certified Industrial Hygienist is important in providing independent oversight of the mold abatement project.   The industrial hygienist functions as the expert to ensure the abatement contractor adheres to the scope of work and follows all established guidelines and clearance protocols.

An industrial hygienist is an environmental  health science professional specializing in the science of protecting and enhancing the health and safety of people at work and in their communities. Health and safety hazards cover a wide range of chemical, physical, biological and ergonomic stressors. Industrial hygienists are dedicated to anticipating, recognizing, evaluating and controlling those hazards.   The American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH) was established as an independent corporation with the sole purpose of providing a certification program that ensured a minimum level of knowledge and skills in industrial hygiene. The ABIH program has since become the world’s largest, premier certification scheme for Industrial Hygienists. Certification is a professional milestone, providing a 3rd party, independent indicator of achievement.

Often questions arise on how to abate a certain area, whether certain methods should be employed, or if unusual circumstances are present such as health risks to building occupants, or questions about how much of an area should be abated (i.e., half of the wall vs. the entire wall). Here are some specific examples of when third party oversight is recommended:

 

  • During mold abatement project(s) in a hospital, nursing home, rehabilitation facility or medical clinic;

 

  • In places where there are immunocompromised persons;

 

  • Where there has been raw sewage contamination and a determination must be made about what can be salvaged;

 

  • Where an independent assessment is called for;

 

  • Where it is determined that it would be beneficial to collect samples based upon a hypothesis generated from a site assessment.

 

NOTE- the Industrial Hygienist / Certified Industrial Hygienist should consult with their lab* prior to going to the site for instructions on how the lab wants the samples collected and transported.

 

*Laboratories should be accredited by the American Industrial Hygiene Association and be a current, successful participant in the Environmental Microbiology Laboratory Accreditation Program (EMLAP). EMLAP is specifically designed for labs identifying microorganisms commonly detected in air, fluids, and bulk samples during indoor air quality studies in a variety of settings. Participation assists the laboratory in maintaining high quality standards.

 

In the event that microbiological samples are to be collected and interpreted for the client, this should be conducted by the IH / CIH and not the mold abatement contractor.

 

Mold testing and interpretation of results is a very complex skill only to be performed by a highly experienced industrial hygienist or certified industrial hygienist. There are many types of mold testing methodologies and laboratory analysis. An incorrect testing strategy will lead to false results and conclusions. This will in turn place the occupants at further risk, extend the mold abatement project unnecessarily and increase the cost of the project. CT DPH recommends that all individuals acting as consultants on mold abatement projects, whether they are industrial hygienists and/or independent environmental professionals, obtain training regarding indoor air quality and sampling for and interpretation of bacteria and mold in indoor environments.

 

 

The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) and American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC) are some of the national organizations providing this type of training.

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