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Q?I can see mold growing in my home. Do I really need an inspector before fixing it?

Mold detection can be tricky—it’s impossible to see every area where it may be present—and requires comprehensive sampling by a certified professional. Additionally, do-it-yourself kits can be unreliable. The best way to determine the full scope of your mold problem is through professional testing by a certified and trained mold inspector at RTK.

Q?When should I test for mold?

You should test for mold when you see it, and when you suspect it’s present—if people or pets are experiencing allergy-like symptoms, if there’s a foul or musty odor in the air or if a basement or other area is damp. You should also test if you’ve had a flood, leak or sewage back-up, if an ice dam has formed on your roof or if you plan to purchase or sell your home. An RTK inspection will ensure reliable results.

Q?Can I use the same service to test for mold and to remediate the problem?

Consumer advocates such as Angie’s List do not recommend it because there’s a blatant conflict of interest. RTK is an independent, certified testing service that doesn’t do remediation; so we offer customers a totally unbiased assessment of the problem. You can trust that we will not inflate your mold problem so we can make money on remediation. Additionally, it is now illegal in New York State to have the same company perform testing and remediation on the same job.

Q?Is all black mold toxic?

No. All black mold is not toxic mold, and while toxic mold can bring on the most serious health problems, all mold can cause health issues in healthy people—especially those who suffer allergies. The best course of action is to test for mold by using certified inspectors who can scientifically determine your mold hazard.

Q?Then I should not be concerned if mold isn’t black? In other words, does color matter?

The color of mold has no bearing on how dangerous it might be. There are over 100,000 kinds of mold, and the only way to be sure what kind is growing in your home is to have a mold test conducted by an environmental inspector. RTK professionals can provide you with an unbiased assessment of the situation and recommend safe, effective ways to resolve the problem.

Q?What is lead dust, and how can I protect my family from it?

Lead dust is a toxic metal produced when lead-based paint is sanded or chipped—usually during a renovation—and can cause serious health problems in children and adults. Chances are that lead-based paint is present in homes or apartments built before 1978, the year its use was banned for residential use. Lead dust also can travel from a neighbor’s home and may lurk in your swimming pool, soil and sandbox, making its way onto floors, furniture, toys and hands. To find out if your home or soil has been contaminated by lead dust, call the professionals at RTK to schedule a test.

Q?How do I know my well water is safe to drink?

Well water can contain a host of contaminants—from E. coli bacteria to lead, arsenic, radon and pesticides. The bulk of these cannot be identified by taste or odor, making it difficult for homeowners to know about the quality of their well water. You should test your water annually—the minimum standards recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Protection—or if you notice a change in the color, taste or smell of your water. RTK can provide an accurate, unbiased assessment of the potential health hazards in your water.

Q?When should I test my home or office’s indoor air quality?

Always test residential or workplace indoor air quality when unexplained health issues—such as allergies, nausea, headaches and skin irritations— emerge. Since renovations can release asbestos and lead dust into the air, it is wise to perform a professional environmental inspection, which can confirm the presence of asbestos and lead without disturbing the surface. VOCs and formaldehyde can also cause poor indoor air quality, which can result in headaches, fatigue, nausea, and other health issues. Finally, disasters can turn a building toxic. It is important to test the premises after a pest infestation or a flood, fire or other catastrophe. A professional inspection by RTK can determine the root causes of air quality problems and will include a detailed report with recommendations for mitigation.

Q?I’m house hunting and looking at older homes. Should I be concerned about asbestos?

If the properties you’re looking at were built before 1980, yes. Though it was banned in 1970, asbestos, a known carcinogen, was used in the manufacturing of thousands of building materials that took several years to phase out. Asbestos monitoring by RTK’s certified professionals can help homeowners and commercial property owners identify potential risks prior to purchase or renovation.

Q?Why should I test the soil around my home?

What you may not realize is that the soil around your house may be brimming with contaminants, including lead, pesticides, bacteria, and heavy metals. And if Superstorm Sandy flooded your yard, your soil may have been coated with a toxic sludge that contained fecal matter, bacteria, petroleum, and salt water, among other possible contaminants—not a good recipe for your family’s health. Call the certified environmental inspectors at RTK to be sure your soil is free of environmental hazards.


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