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Blog posts of '2011' 'November'

The Economics of Black Mold

AdVnt Biotechnologies LLC, the first company to design a rapid Bio-Warfare detection device that can run 5 test from one sample, decided that the next project they would develop should be one that hits close to home. Not just close to home but actually in the home or office and with good reason. With the highest foreclosure rate in American history showing no sign of slowing down while the mortgage of many houses are costing more then the property is worth. The current economic crisis is taking a horrendous toll on both the homeowner and business owner. The very last thing a concerned homeowner wants to hear about during these uncertain times is an economic threat that could be growing behind the walls or floorboards of their biggest investment. Unfortunately for those residences that live in regions that have had high water and moisture accumulations or flooding this past year, mold growth and it’s economic impact is a very real concern. So when AdVnt Biotechnologies LLC was looking for the next big biological threat to US citizens, the decision to research and develop a product to add to their catalog of Bio-Threat Detection Tests was a no-brainer. AdVnt Biotechnologies set out to design a low-cost device that could accurately detect the dangerous black mold species responsible for costly damages to both health and hearth. Their efforts paid off and now AdVnt Biotechnologies is proud to announce it’s successfull new black mold detection device… “The Informant 15-Minute Black Mold Detection Test”.

Since there are over 100,000 + species of mold and scientist are always finding more new species, there is no getting away from mold. It is just as much a part of the world we live in as the air we breathe, the ground we stand on and the water we drink. Mold is everywhere, but when mold enters a home under the right conditions, the only course of action is to take action before things get out of control. Like the old Benjamin Franklin quote goes…”Time is money… and when it comes to mold growth in a home, there simply is no other statement that sums it up best.

Mold enters a home as microscopic spores that are most generally carried by airflow. Once these spores find the perfect condition such as high humidity, water, moisture, oxygen and a food supply the spores starts to thrive, grow and reproduce until they become more then a common nuisance. Festering and feeding themselves on the materials that makes up the very structure of a home or office, such as wood, drywall, leather goods, food, ect … Once these intruders take root, the mold spores then grow until they become an economic liability with horrific long-term financial consequences. Not unlike the deregulation of our banking system during the greed rush of the 90’s that set the stage for the eventual crisis we are all now having to confront. Mold spores like Enron, Maddoff, and those shifty real estate investments conspire to eat away at your hard earned investments without giving you the slightest clue to the amount of damage that is being done to your health and welfare. A black mold infestation left untreated in a home or business can have a staggering impact on the building infrastructure resulting in expensive mold remediation bills and extremely high medical cost to those unlucky enough to be living or working within the structure.

When mold is left untreated, it becomes unsightly, smelly and in the case of three types of species, hazardous to your health. This type is known as Black Mold. The staggering economic losses that come from a severe black mold infestation ranges from decreasing the value of your home and rising medical cost for the treatment of symptoms such as allergies, asthma, bronchitis, respiratory infections, migraines, and in the case of those who live with immune challenged systems, long-term damage to their health or even death. Structural damage to buildings that require mold remediation can be as little as a simple clean-up to having the entire building demolished.

The Center for Disease Control as determined that of the 100,000 known species of mold, three qualify for causing hazardous health problems for humans. Penicillium , Aspergillus and Stachybotris. These three species are capable of producing Mycotoxins, a type of metabolite that can be poison to some species but not to others. The type of mycoxins produced depends on the type of species produces it. It is the effects of these mycotoxins that the Center of Disease Control was able to narrow down the mold threat to humans to just three species.

Thanks to a device like the “Informant 15-Minute Black Mold Detection Device”, Accurate early detection of black mold infestations can now be done for a low cost and in the privacy of your home or office. Once the mold spores are collected with our easy to use sample collection kit, you will know in as little as three to 15-minutes if you have active, dangerous mold spores. With this information you will have the evidence you need in making the decision to contact your insurance broker or a qualified mold remediation specialist. Saving both time and money. The long-term savings in protecting yourself, your family and the value of your home will more then pay for itself.

After ten years anthrax is still a threat

Despite the passage of ten years, the threat of an anthrax, or similar attempt of bioterrorism still looms large over the United States. Stringent security measures are in place to scan the US mail systems. Since September 2001 when these bioterrorism attacks started, the postal authorities have responded to around 52,000 calls concerning suspicious mails. The US Postal Inspectors office has implemented the best detection technologies available in today’s marketplace. One of the threat detectors used by the US Postal Inspectors Office is Advnt’s Pro Strip Rapid Detection System.

The US authorities are making no compromise over such threats and anyone taking it light has to face imprisonment under the same charges. Likewise Jay Stuart DeVaughn, who wrote 26 letters to President Obama and others inscribed with “Take a whiff of this”, landed him in jail for six-year imprisonment. Again, Advnt’s Pro Strip is a product utilized by the US Secret Service, due to it’s unique operating capabilities, the ease of use, sensitivity and specificity make it a must have for “pointy-end-of-the-sword” assets that guard the most prized targets.

Though the white powder inside the letters later proved to be a coffee sweetener and no one was harmed, the event raised suspicions of being an Anthrax-like attack, of which now hundreds occur every year in this country. In 2001-02, the multiple attacks of anthrax delivered in letters killed fifteen people and injured many others and illuminated the inherent security weaknesses of the mail industry.
Most American’s have forgotten the entire issue. Perhaps incidents like that of DeVaughn may help bring the anthrax and bioterrorism case back into the news. I’ve found that the US media purposefully does not report about the hundreds of false threats that occur each year in America.

As per revised security parameters, the postal system now depends on both manual checks as well as machine screenings. The postal inspectors receive multiple calls daily on postal security with the majority of them being false alarms. Regardless, such calls show that anthrax threats are still at the top of the preparedness chain requiring utilization of state-of-the-art, instantaneous bio-threat screening systems like Advnt’s Pro Strip Rapid Screening System.

Historically anthrax has been used as a deadly weapon for centuries. Biological and chemical agents have been used throughout history. Individuals, as well as organized groups, use these naturally occurring agents to attempt murder. Just 60 years ago a woman was arrested in 1952 after she mailed a box full of cyanide-laced Bon Caramels to her estranged husband who was doubtful of it and called the legal authorities.

Another horrid mail related crime involved Theodore Kaczynski who killed three people and injured 23 over 15 years by sending mail bombs. He was finally arrested in the mid 90’s. A few years ago, inspectors arrested a West Virginia man for mailing an improvised explosive device to a former neighbor in Minnesota. He’s serving 2½ years in prison.

Bottom line appears to be that living in an open and free society is fraught with many security leaks. Organized groups and sick individuals will always have ample opportunity to strike with deadly agents to attempt pre-meditated murder on an individual or communities of people who are un-suspecting of the threat.

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Anthrax Vaccine for Children?

A recent article published in the Homeland Security Newswire Oct 26,2011 titled “Government considers testing anthrax vaccine on children” discusses the issues currently being considered by the US Government for inoculating children for Anthrax. While the vaccine has been administered to adults with no ill effects to date. The question about the safety of vaccinating children has raised some serious questions. How is it justifiable to vaccinate children for Anthrax with a new untested drug when there is no immediate danger of anthrax present? The more rational answer of course is it’s better to test the drug now then to wait when there is a full blown emergency and find out only then whether or not the vaccine is safe for children.

The article does not go into detail about how well the vaccine was received by the adults (mostly military personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan) or list any ill side-effects. Nor does the article explain where the US Government plans to locate these parents who will be willing to subject their children to a untested vaccine for a serious life threatening disease. Especially for a threat they may never come into contact with in their lifetime. Since this is an issue of proper preparedness there might be other options to consider. Companies like AdVnt Biotechnologies LLC, now provide early detection test for anthrax and now it is possible get results to show in as little as 3 to 15 minutes. Early detection of exposure will noramlly allow plenty of time for proper medical attention. But how much more prepared can we be through the use of vaccinations and more important, how safe can we make our children?

On the surface it seems that maybe the US Government is acting a bit hasty in getting this new vaccine to the general populace. It is important to remember in the framework of Domestic Preparedness, the argument can seem rational when confronted with the day to day possibility that at any time one person acting alone or in concert with others can create a bio-terror crisis by releasing weaponized anthrax or other harmful bio-agents into a heavily populated area. Therefore, being able to conceive of a plan to prepare a nation of fully vaccinated bystanders could go along way to contain the spread of such a threat if such an bio-terrorist event such as the release of anthrax were to occur. So we also have to take into consideration, what are the chances going to be of this event happening in or around our children?

To get a better understanding of this discussion, it might be a good idea to take a moment to step back and reacquaint ourselves with anthrax and why it has become one of the most notorious bad boys in the bio-threat arena. The Center of Disease Control has listed Anthrax as a class A agent meaning it poses a hazard to human health and is able to affect large population and requires a great deal of planning to control

Anthrax comes from the bacteria Bacillus anthracis and is able to spread through spore growth. Anthrax infection can be introduced through three manifestations, cutaneous (skin), inhalation, and gastrointestinal. The most common mode of Anthrax infection is cutaneous, which can enter the body though cuts or abrasions on skin. Anthrax can contaminate animal hides such as wool, hair products and leather goods from infected animals. It is also known for it’s ability to lay dormant in the ground or in the environment for extremely long periods of time. The symptoms of anthrax depends on the manner in which it is delivered to your system. If it is through the skin, symptoms include raised itchy bumps that resembles insect bites but within 1-2 days develops into a vesicle and then a painless ulcer, usually 1-3 cm in diameter, with a characteristic black necrotic (dying) area in the center accompanied by swollen Lymph glands near the adjacent area. Deaths are rare if treated with the appropriate antimicrobial therapy.

The second manifestation of anthrax is gastrointestinal and most likely to come from contaminated meat. Incidents of death through gastrointestinal contact is usually very high. Infections through gastrointestinal anthrax is an acute inflammation of the intestinal tract. Initial signs of nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, and fever are followed by abdominal pain, vomiting of blood, and severe diarrhea. Cases of gastrointestinal anthrax is higher then skin infection.

Anthrax can also be transmitted through inhalation. This method of infection presents the most serious threat to humans. Inhalation of anthrax resembles a common cold or flu like symptoms accompanied by a sore throat, mild fever, muscle aches with weakness and lightheadedness. Because of the familiar flu like symptoms, anthrax can infections can often be overlooked as a possible cause of infection for several days until the symptoms progress to severe breathing problems and toxic shock. The inhalation of anthrax is usually fatal.

Once the forensic details of the anthrax threats are laid out, it is easy to see why the development of a anthrax vaccine and it’s application has become a matter of concern for the US Government in designing a preparedness plan in case of a bio-terrorist anthrax attack. The risk of vaccinating children with a yet unproven drug seems pale in comparison with the harsh reality of what those children could be facing should they ever come into contact with weaponized anthrax. Imagine how parents felt when confronted with the choice of inoculating their children with the then unproven polio vaccine when they were confronted with the very real possibility of seeing their children infected with polio.

If the thought of you or your children getting vaccinated may seem irrational it is important to keep in mind that this controversial topic falls within the framework of Domestic Preparedness. Since 2006 AdVnt Biotechnologies LLC has been actively on the forefront of Bio-Warfare Detection, working actively within this framework and has a proven track record of success in bio-warfare detection world wide. AdVnt Biotechnologies has been awarded with the “Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act of 2002 ( SAFETY ACT)“ Cerificate of Conformance and both AdVnt Biotechnologie’s BADD Anthrax Detection Test and Pro-Strip Multi-Agent Detection Test have been used around the global by first responders to rapidly detect the prescience of anthrax and other serious bio-threats targeted by bio-terrorist. Proven to reliably detect anthrax spores down to 1.55 – 1.6 x104FU/ml (Less than an infectious dose and not visible to the human eye), in as little as 15 minutes or less. AdVnt Biotechnologies rapid, reliable hand held assays have raised the bar in bio-detection standards.

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