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By Rick Mullen,
Maintenance Sales News Associate Editor

During his presentation to an audience of cleaning industry professionals titled, “Mold Won’t Hurt You … Unless You’re You,Doug Hoffman, CEO/president of the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors (NORMI™), outlined some of the ways mold and other environmental contaminants can be harmful in the workplace, as well as in schools.

Doug Hoffman

“I’ve been involved in this industry since 1995, and its been amazing how much misinformation there is in the marketplace about managing mold,” Hoffman said. “When we formed NORMI in July 2004, our goal was to get the correct information into people’s hands, and to help facility maintenance directors and people working in the cleaning industry to understand what they can do to assess environments, prior to hiring a professional.

“It is not always necessary to pay somebody lots of money to do an assessment for mold and bacteria. There are some things that can be done leading up to hiring someone, which can be very inexpensive.”

From www.normi.org: “NORMI … is one of the fastest growing certifying agencies in the country, and has been involved in providing high quality training for mold and indoor environmental professionals since 2004. Having trained thousands of construction professionals throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and South America, NORMI provides over 14 certifications and is the only training/certification provider that meets licensing laws now established in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Maryland, New York and Washington, D.C., the five states now licensing mold professionals.

“Many states are considering regulations regarding mold professionals licensing, and NORMI is in the forefront of that legislation to help protect the public and the trade without jeopardizing business growth. Sound, reasonable regulations become a solid foundation on which well-trained professionals can operate their businesses with success and credibility. NORMI offers legislation to states that are currently considering establishing a mold licensing law.”

“There are specific laws and guidelines that govern the way assessments and remediation can be done,” Hoffman said. “NORMI is the only organization currently qualified to be approved in all five states that have licensing laws.”

In discussing the impact of mold and other contaminants have on people, Hoffman said individuals react differently to whatever environment they might be in at any given time.

“My wife and I recently celebrated our 47th wedding anniversary. I learned a long time ago that I am not my wife. She is very different from me. She sees things very differently from how I see them,” Hoffman said. “I had to learn early on, just because I would walk into an environment and couldn’t smell anything, I couldn’t ignore that fact that she could.”

Hoffman urged employers in the audience to be aware of, and not ignore the fact that individual employees are likely to have various reactions to contaminants, such as mold, dust, bacteria, etc., that might be present in their work environment.

“Sometimes, as employers, we forget that our employees are sensing and feeling different things than we are in the environment,” Hoffman said. “At times, we have ‘canaries’ who work for us, and they can tell there are things going on in the environment that we don’t know about.

“People are beginning to understand they are reacting to their environment. For example, when they get headaches at work, it is not just because of their bosses, but there might be something going on in the environment that has to be addressed.”

As an example, Hoffman played a video featuring Dr. Doris Rapp, a pediatric physician and a pioneer in the allergy field, who promotes a practice called provocation-neutralization, which is, essentially, applying diluted allergens to treat allergies. Dr. Rapp spoke of a case study involving an 8-year-old boy.

“I’d like to show you why some people become very angry,” Dr. Rapp said. “It can affect children and adults, and, much to my amazement, this is frequently precipitated by molds — exposure to a moldy house, a moldy room or rainy days. This particular 8-year-old boy had difficulty on moldy, damp, wet days — his whole personality changed.”

Dr. Rapp said, when exposed to mold, the boy would go from being a normal, happy child, to one who displayed anger, and even aggressive behavior. Using provocation-neutralization, when the boy was given a drop of allergy extract his behavior returned to normal.

“Can you imagine a child reacting to the environment this way?” Hoffman asked. “What would our reaction typically be? We might blame it on bad parenting saying, ‘That child needs to be disciplined.’ Or maybe, ‘We need to give that child some drugs.’ The reality is, because of the environment, that child was demonstrating what we call ‘hyperactivity.’”


Also, in the video, Dr. Rapp said, “We have polluted our air, our food, our water, our phones, our workplaces and our schools, so that schools are no longer environmentally safe. Children can’t learn, they can’t behave, they don’t act appropriately. Teachers can’t teach, and it is because of the various environmental factors inside the school that are polluting much more than the outdoors.”

Dr. Rapp said one important concept that must be understood in dealing with contaminants in the environment is called the “barrel effect.”

Hoffman played another video in which the narrator said, “Think of your body as a barrel that will remain healthy if it is only partially full. When it is filled to the top, you will become ill. This helps to explain why someone can become ill at one time but not another, in spite of exposure to offending substances.

“For example, suppose you were exposed to a little dust and mold — not enough to cause any deeper problems because your barrel was partially empty. Then, on another occasion, (when) your barrel is filled to the very top because you are being exposed to too much of a combination of dust, molds, foods, pollen, or chemicals … you will become ill. If you can keep your total exposure below that critical level, you will remain well, even though you have been exposed to things that can bother you.”

Hoffman said these concepts are not new, as Dr. Rapp has been talking about how exposure to contaminants in the environment impacts people, as well as the barrel effect, for 30 years.

“Doctors are finding it is absolutely true that we can only tolerate so much in our environment — some of us less than others,” Hoffman said. “The reality is, when we are exposed to these contaminates, whatever they may be, and mold is just one of them, our immune system can’t overcome the stress.”

In the second video, the narrator discussed the case of a fourth-grade teacher who became profoundly ill because of her sensitivity to chemical odors at school.

Hoffman gave another example of his dentist who suffers from chemical sensitivities.

“He has a sign in his lobby that says, ‘If you came this time with perfumes, next time don’t come.’ People are becoming more and more sensitive to environments,” Hoffman said. “As employers, we need to be aware that some people are incredibly sensitive. It is not just mold or bacteria, but also the chemistries in the cleaning solvents that we use.

“What is happening in our industry is fascinating. We are learning to be able to link what is going on in the environment with what is going on in our bodies.”

Hoffman said DNA testing can now be conducted in association with a particular environment, connecting the environment to what is happening in people’s bodies. He gave an example of a cruise ship passenger who became ill with Legionella. Such testing could have pinpointed that the ship was the environment in which the man contracted the Legionella bacteria.

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website www.cdc.gov: “Legionella bacteria can cause a serious type of pneumonia (lung infection) called Legionnaires’ disease. The bacteria can also cause a less serious illness called Pontiac fever.”

Hoffman cautioned business owners that if, as the result of testing, their workplace environment was found to have caused someone to become ill, that could be grounds for a lawsuit.

Hoffman showed a slide involving another case study done by Dr. Rapp, in which a child wrote his name backwards after being exposed to mold. Before the mold exposure, his handwriting, PFM and pulse rate were all normal.

According to www.hopkinsmedicine.org, a peak flow meter (PFM) is a small handheld device made of plastic that measures the amount and rate of air that can be forcefully breathed out of the lungs.

During a reaction to a mold allergy test, the boy’s PFM decreased, while his pulse increased. In addition, he wrote his name right to left, with the letters backwards, as though they were being viewed in a mirror.

Following a mold allergy treatment, his handwriting and pulse returned to normal and his PFM was elevated.

“Typically, how would he have been diagnosed? — as dyslexic, right?” Hoffman asked. “For the rest of his life, he would have been known as a child with a learning disability, when, in fact, he was reacting to the environment. Had the environment been cleaned up, he might not have had that reaction.”

Hoffman said Dr. Rapp advocates paying attention to what she calls the “big five” as indicators that there may be something in the environment affecting an individual in a negative way.

As outlined in her book “Is This Your Child,” Dr. Rapp’s “big five” consists of:

■ When there is a characteristic change in how you, or your child, feels, acts, or behaves;

■ When there is a characteristic warning change in how you look. Red earlobes, dark eye circles, nose rubbing, throat clearing and wiggly legs are all typical clues;

■ If your pulse becomes irregular or too fast after a chemical or allergenic exposure, your entire body is in an alarm state, because your blood vessel circulation or heart has been affected. In others, it is the blood pressure that is affected;

■ If your handwriting or drawing is altered, your nervous system and brain have been affected;

■ If your breathing becomes more difficult or your peak flow meter (PFM) reading drops, this indicates your lungs have been affected by some exposure.

Hoffman reiterated that businesses that ignore potential negative environmental issues are opening the door to litigation.

“The question is, ‘How can we avoid that possibility?’” Hoffman said.

In answering his question, Hoffman outlined a five-step process of assessing an environment, from “Managing Indoor Air Quality” by H.E. Burroughs and Shirley J. Hansen.

■ Phase I: The Preliminary Assessment Process;

“The preliminary assessment process can be conducted in-house,” Hoffman said. “We have a NORMI questionnaire that well help guide you through this process.”

■ Phase II: The Qualitative Walk-Through Inspection;

The NORMI™ Professional Screening Partner process is a DIY program available as a guide through this process, Hoffman said.

■ Phase III: Simple Quantitative Sampling and Assessment Techniques;

This phase involves the use of do-it-yourself testing kits.

“You have to know which ones are good and which ones aren’t, and which ones work and which ones don’t,” Hoffman said.

■ Phase IV: Complex Quantitative Diagnosis;

This phase involves hiring a NORMI professional to conduct the diagnosis.

“It will probably include air and surface samplings and maybe a building science evaluation,” Hoffman said.

■ Phase V: Proactive Monitoring and Recurrence Prevention.

This phase involves the NORMI IAQ Management Plan, Hoffman said.

NORMI’s solution-based training includes classes for the public and industry professionals who want to know more about mold and other indoor air quality contaminants.

Onsite classes can be tailored to fit a specific business model or corporate need for training. For more information, visit www.BestTrainingSchool.com.

Hoffman is a state of Florida Certified Class A General Contractor, Certified Master Plumbing Contractor and Certified Roofing Contractor. He is also the author of “Mold-Free Construction 2.0” (www.MoldFreeConstruction.com).

Contact: NORMI, 22174 Prats Road,
Abita Springs, LA 70420.
Phone: 877-251-2296.
Email: doug@normi.org.
Website: www.normi.org.

Americo Promotes Francesca Evans To Vice President Of International Sales

Francesca Evans

Americo Manufacturing Company, a manufacturer of commercial cleaning products, which include Green Seal® certified floor pads with Full Cycle® technology, hand pads, utility pads, TrapEze® Disposable Dusting Sheets and floor matting, has promoted Francesca Evans to vice president of international sales.

Evans has been with Americo since November 2016, serving as international sales manager for the Commercial Products Division.  

“In her current role, she has brought valuable insight to the manner in which we export our materials globally. She has improved our processes to better serve our international customers, and elevated Americo’s stature in the global marketplace. She is fluent in three languages (English, Italian and Mandarin), and is conversant in two additional languages (Spanish and French). In her new role, she will continue her work on developing international relationships for Americo, and expanding our footprint within the 70-plus countries in which our products are currently sold,” according to Americo.

For more information, visit americomfg.com.

Mill-Rose Introduces Quick-Release Pliers For All Types Of Push-Lock Fittings

“Removing all types of push-lock fittings is fast and easy with Quick-Release Pliers introduced by Clean-Fit Products, a division of The Mill-Rose Company,” according to a press release.

The Quick Release Pliers feature a cushion-grip handle with spring action that facilitates a quick and secure grip on copper, PEX and CPVC tubing. Ideal for hard to access areas, Quick Release Pliers work on all types of 3/8-inch, 1/2-inch and 3/4-inch push-lock fittings and eliminate the need for hard-to-use, and often hard-to-find plastic disconnect clips. Quick Release Pliers feature a heavy-duty design to deliver years of service. This one tool does it all saving time, aggravation and money removing push-on fittings.”

Clean-Fit Products is a division of The Mill-Rose Company, supplier of PTFE thread sealants and the largest manufacturer of twisted-in-wire brushes in the U.S., according to the company. For further information contact,1-800-321-3598, or e-mail info@cleanfit.com or visit the company's web site at www.cleanfit.com.

A company statement said 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of The Mill-Rose Company. Founded in 1919 by Victor H. Miller, Mill-Rose has grown to become the largest U.S. manufacturer of twisted-in-wire brushes used in virtually every type of industry throughout the world. Mill-Rose is a family-owned organization, now in its fourth generation, operating manufacturing and warehouse facilities throughout the United States and Mexico.

J&M E-Commerce With

When a customer needs “PunchOut” ordering, J&M Technologies can be of service.

 “PunchOut customers will view your customized online catalog in their internal procurement site and add items to an internal shopping cart for processing. Your PunchOut users still experience all of J&M’s features that make e-commerce easy, including a simple graphic layout, user-friendly navigation, a prominent search bar, and detailed item descriptions with images,” according to a press release.

For more information, visit www.jmcatalog.com.

Tolco Corporation Announces Staff Changes

Pictured left to right, are: Alberto Martinez, director of marketing & product development; Rich Spencer, director of sales; and Sara Papenfuse, sales support.

Director Of Marketing & Product Development
Alberto Martinez has stepped down as director of sales and marketing for Tolco Corporation, and is taking on the new position of director of marketing & product development.

Martinez has led Tolco’s sales and marketing efforts since 2015 with consistent year over year growth.

Director Of Sales
Rich Spencer has been named director of sales for Tolco Corporation.

Spencer has worked in the janitorial and industrial industries including long tenures with Betco and Veritiv. He now heads the Tolco sales team as Tolco expands sales efforts.

Sales Support
Sara Papenfuse has been promoted to the sales support position at Tolco. After three years in customer service, she is moving to the sales team, working on quotes, bids, trip preparation, and other sales efforts. Papenfuse will be working with both the internal Tolco sales staff and independent manufacturers' reps on sales effectiveness and coverage.

Visit www.tolcocorp.com to learn more.

WAXIE, Sustain One, And APC Honored By Seattle Mariners

Pictured from left, are, Paul Trimberger, Seattle sales manager, WAXIE Sanitary Supply;
Brian Work, sales manager, APC; Paul Rebner, account consultant, WAXIE Sanitary Supply;
The Mariner Moose; Lydia Work, president/owner of Sustain One/APC;
Jeff Roberts, president/COO, WAXIE Sanitary Supply; and
Rick Jones, Seattle general manager, WAXIE Sanitary Supply.
Photo courtesy of the Seattle Mariners.

The Seattle Mariners recently recognized Lydia Work and her company, Sustain One, along with Paul Rebner of WAXIE Sanitary Supply for their combined support of the Seattle Mariners and Major League Baseball’s Supplier Diversity Program.

“The Mariners have established diversity goals that align with the Supplier Diversity Program of Major League Baseball (MLB) in their purchasing practices. Sustain One is a Woman-Owned Small Business as well as a Minority-Owned Business that partnered with WAXIE to help the Mariners exceed their goals,” according to a press release.

“Work has owned Sustain One for more than 22 years. After emigrating from Nicaragua, she earned a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Washington in 1974. She worked in the paper product industry for several years prior to forming American Paper Converting (APC) in 1997, which is the parent company of Sustain One.

Work, president/owner of Sustain One/APC and her son, Brian Work, sales manager of APC, were present at the recognition ceremony. Representing WAXIE was the Pacific Northwest Vice President and General Manager Rick Jones, Seattle Sales Manager Paul Trimberger, Account Consultant Paul Rebner and President/COO Jeff Roberts.

Work and WAXIE were honored on the Mariners’ home field on the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jackie Robinson. They met John Stanton, Seattle Mariners’ owner. A commemorative award was presented to Work with the number “42” in honor of the number Jackie Robinson wore on his uniform.

During the award presentation, Norma Cantu, director of procurement for the Mariners, spoke of the hard work and dedication displayed by Rebner, and the partnership that exists between WAXIE, Sustain One/APC and the Seattle Mariners.

WAXIE Sanitary Supply is a family-owned distributor of sanitary maintenance supplies. For more information, visit www.waxie.com.

Major League Baseball is engaged in a Supplier Diversity Program, also known as Diverse Business Partners. This program seeks to promote efficiency and profitability for Major League Baseball and its clubs while extending baseball's ability to contribute to the economic growth, strength and well-being of diverse communities, according to the release. For more information on this program, visit www.mlb.com/diversity-and-inclusion/about-supplier-diversity.

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