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Explanation of Environmental Tests

Radon | Asbestos | Mold | Water Quality | Septic | EMF - Electromagnetic Fields | Formaldehyde

Environmental Tests Environmental tests are usually performed at the same time as a home inspection. Sometimes, a client only needs some environmental testing done, in which case we perform them alone. There are no shortcuts taken with Home Depot - type do-it-yourself kits that are not always accurate. We collect actual samples as needed, based on our expert risk assessment procedure, and submit them to certified labs.

We then mail you the results with a cover letter from us explaining the results in easy-to-understand, non-technical language. If there proves to be a dangerous substance present, we will give you phone numbers or places to look to find a service that mitigates, or repairs the problem. If you are purchasing a house, the seller will usually pay for this, or reduce the asking price.

Radon Back to Top of Page

An odorless, colorless gas that is found in the soil and rocks in hilly parts of the country, and in houses of any age, including brand new. It is the radioactive byproduct of uranium and radium, and the Surgeon General of the United States calls it the second leading cause of lung cancer after cigarette smoke. For smokers, it increases the chances of contracting cancer many times over. If found, radon can be vented out or sealed in at a fairly reasonable price.

Asbestos Back to Top of Page

Found in heat duct, boiler and pipe insulation, attic insulation, exterior shingles and in floor and ceiling tiles and panels, asbestos can cause cancer and lung disease. There are 2 types - soft (friable) and hard (non-friable). Usually, we look for it in houses built before the 1970’s.

Mold Back to Top of Page

Although naturally occurring in the air, it can grow in moist areas without sufficient ventilation or where leaks have occured - usually in bathrooms, basements, kitchens and attics, but sometimes in bedrooms or closets. We often find it in places you’d never think to look. There are numerous types of suspicious substances ranging from yeasts and hyphal elements to allergenic and toxic molds. These can cause headaches, respiratory problems like emphysima and bleeding in the lungs, rashes, permanent memory loss, and cancer. We perform swab, carpet, and air sampling.

For more details on Mold Testing, see the Mold page.

Water Quality Back to Top of Page

Environmental Tests Bacteria, lead, nitrates, and other chemical pollutants can render water unsafe to drink. Iron can cause reddish stains which damage sinks, tubs, and other fixtures. Highly acidic water can corrode your pipes causing eventual leaks. Hard water can make soap difficult to dissolve, and look unsightly in a glass or pot. Most inspectors tell you they will perform a “water test,” but only test for coliform bacteria. The water still may contain other pollutants and be unfit to drink. We run a multi-element profile to give you a true understanding of the water’s safety, and charge a discounted package price.

Septic Back to Top of Page

If a house has a septic system, it is important to have it checked for underground leaks. If sewage leaks from it, it can be very costly to repair. A recently pumped tank does not mean the system is opperating properly. There could be leaks in the fields, which are separate from the tank.

EMF - Electromagnetic Fields Back to Top of Page

There is much controversy surrounding the dangers of EMF. In many areas of the country, such as Long Island, there have been attempts to correlate high incidences of cancer to power lines. We have sophisticated equipment that can test all around your house for high levels of electromagnetic fields.

Formaldehyde Back to Top of Page

This is an industrial chemical used in insulation, glues in plywood & particleboard products, fabric coatings, etc. It is released in the air by burning wood, gas or cigarettes and can cause watery eyes, nausea, rashes, and other respiratory and flulike conditions. Sampling of materials is performed, and occaisionally, air sampling.


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