The Millers – Part 5
Over the last few weeks, we have followed the Miller family through the ups and downs of dealing with mold and water damage.
We have watched as they struggled to find accurate and trustworthy information. We have watched as they suffered from the consequences of unsafe and inadequate interventions. We have watched as they slowly connected the dots between their health and their home.
Today we reach the conclusion of the Miller family’s journey and answer a very important question – was their remediation successful?
PART 5: The Light at the End of the Tunnel
In her mind, Sarah replayed the events that led her to this point.
Her mother’s intuition had been right. Something else – something largely invisible – had been causing her family’s long list symptoms. “If only I had connected the dots sooner,” she thought.
The guilt Sarah felt at times was intense. She hadn’t truly understood the impact that water, and the subsequent mold, would have on her family. She had repeatedly trusted the wrong people. It was her job to keep her family safe and she felt like she failed.
But the truth is, the way we build our homes today had failed her. A lack of public health information, as well as laws and regulations regarding mold and water damage, had failed her family, too.
A few weeks earlier, her Indoor Environmental Professional (I.E.P.) had called with an important update. It was a call that would change everything for Sarah and her family….
Sarah had felt a sense of relief when her I.E.P informed her that the post testing results were back and indicated the remediation had been successful. The areas had passed the thorough physical inspection as well as air and swab sampling. It had worked.
Her children, Sam and Sophie, had been eager to return home. They had been out of the home for weeks at that point. The remediation protocol not only addressed the three areas found by her I.E.P., but also dealt with the cross contamination throughout the rest of the home.
She remembered thinking the ultimate test would come once they moved back into the home – how would they feel?
The relief she felt the day she received the phone call only grew once they moved back home. She and her family were slowly getting better. This filled her with hope.
Her daughter Sophie’s rash had disappeared. To Sarah’s surprise, even her own brain fog and fatigue were improving. She realized the way she had been feeling previously had less to do with stress and getting older than it did with the hidden toxins in her home.
For the first time in over a year, Sam saw improvements too. The bed wetting stopped completely, and his anxiety and mood swings improved. They weren’t gone entirely, but things were finally moving in the right direction.
While mold may not have been the only issue affecting Sam, it was clear that it was making him worse, much worse.
She would find him a new doctor. One that might help her begin to untangle what might be at the root of Sam’s downward spiral. She had recently learned of a condition called Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (P.A.N.S.) and was determined to learn more.
If this experience had taught her anything, it was that her home played a vital part in their everyday health.
Finally, it was the improvement she saw in her father George that had surprised her most of all. He had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s several months ago. The newer symptoms that had been creeping up on him had started to ease. He was more like his old self, the fun-loving grandfather Sophie and Sam had always known.
Looking back, Sarah recalled how insurmountable the journey had felt at times. She had made many mistakes. She hadn’t truly understood the impact the water and the subsequent mold would have on her home and her family.
This journey hadn’t been easy, and she knew it wasn’t over either, but she could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Sarah finally felt hopeful about their recovery and their future.
Thank you to everyone who joined over the last 5 weeks as we checked in on the Miller family.
While the Miller family is fictionalized, their story is based upon real encounters with families worldwide.
Their story highlights how overwhelming, lonely, and scary it can be to tackle mold and water damage.
At Change the Air Foundation, we are here to support you on this journey by bringing your accurate and reliable information so you can feel empowered when talking with professionals and making decisions for your family.
-GET THE FACTS-
Every remediation should have 3 key people!
You have probably heard remediation doesn’t work….
Unfortunately, that often feels like an accurate description for a variety of reasons.
One of the biggest of which is not having the right people on your side to do the investigation and remediation. So, who should be included?
Ideally, any mold remediation project should include 3 KEY people…
1. An Indoor Environmental Professional (I.E.P)
Is specifically trained to seek out sources of water intrusion, mold, and other indoor toxins.
Investigates your ENTIRE home using a variety of tools and tests.
Understands that mold is often hidden and uses a variety of tools and testing modalities to help you find it.
Understands that air is ever changing, and an air sample is not the best and only methodology to detect if your home is contaminated.
Writes the remediation plan for your remediation company to follow.
Ensures that the practices and procedures used are what is best for YOU! Not what is fastest, cheapest, or easiest for the mold remediation company.
Provides clarity to both you and the remediation company to ensure the plan can be effectively followed.
Performs Post Remediation Verification (PRV) as an unbiased party to ensure the work was followed properly, and that the expected outcome has been successfully achieved. Do NOT let your remediation company do the post testing – it’s a conflict of interest!
2. A Remediation Company:
Is knowledgeable of the standards laid out by the ANSI IICRC S520 and can perform remediation accordingly.
Uses the recommendations from the I.E.P., creates a contract that matches those recommendations, and clearly defines and guarantees the final outcome of the work performed.
Focuses on removal of mold (not killing) and does not rely on harsh chemicals, encapsulates, fogs, etc., as the sole method of remediation. (For example, fogging may be useful in cleaning; encapsulation may be useful in prevention; neither on its own count as remediation.)
Understands how to work with those sick, immunocompromised, or sensitive to mold.
3. The Homeowner or Occupant:
Provides key insight into history of home or building.
Provides key insight into the health and symptoms of those in the home or building.
Is ultimately the one who has the most to gain or lose from the situation (physically, financially, and emotionally).
Tip: The company doing the initial inspection of your home should be different than the company doing the remediation. Otherwise, it’s a conflict of interest.
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