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Environmental Hazardous Material Survey

Oct 8, 2019

Environmental Hazardous Material Survey - Lead and PCBs 

(Polychlorinated biphenyls)

EBS Ltd were asked to carry out a Diagnostic, Non-destructive, Environmental Hazardous Material Survey, for lead and PCBs, at a large building in Central London.


Lead in Paint and PCB’s

The purpose of the exercise was to investigate the incidence of residual contamination relating to lead and PCBs in the lower ground, first and second floors of the building.

This building is currently undergoing further substantial refurbishment.  We were advised that the building was constructed in around 1970 and that it had undergone a previous major refurbishment in 2002.

The client’s requirement on the project was to meet the required “THE WELL Building Standard”. The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), enables organizations to enhance their spaces and improve human well-being by applying the WELL Building Standard (WELL), WELL is the leading tool for advancing health and well-being in buildings. 

Taking into consideration the targeted issues, the floors were visually inspected to identify any potentially hazardous materials.

The work was conducted in accordance with the Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002 and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health regulations 2005, which are deemed equivalent to the US WELL standard 40 CFR 745.65.

Our opinion, based on analysis of the results, was that the residual contamination levels of both the lead and PCBs, were unlikely to adversely affect the performance of the building or pose a risk to future occupants.


Hidden Moulds and Indoor Air Quality

EBS Ltd was asked to investigate an increase in sick leave from staff.  These complaints of ill health were linked to suspected poor indoor environment and air quality, caused by mould.

We performed a preliminary investigation, concentrating on indoor mould issues.  We looked at the mycoflora and environment to determine airborne, surface and hidden particulate contamination by moulds and biological matter.  This also included monitoring and analysis of house dust mites.

We undertook contact mould sampling in areas of mould infestation by tape lift method. Mould analysis was carried out to species level because it is important to know if the species found in the monitored locations were pathogenic or toxic.  We also commenced sampling for viable and non-viable moulds, to determine the total biological burden.

The results of monitoring revealed that the concentration of moulds in the monitored areas of the indoor environment was significantly high, when compared to the scale proposed by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Active house dust mite infestation was detected in the mould infested areas.  Exposure to the faecal pellets of house dust mites can trigger a variety of true allergic reactions in susceptible individuals.   

The cause of the problem was linked to high levels of humidity in the cavities and voids due to a range of building defects, resulting in hidden mould growth proliferation.  We recommended that mould remediation should be carried out in the infested areas, including the cavities and voids.  

Following the completion of the remediation works, our surveyors retested the building and all the mould readings were within acceptable limits.  There was also a marked reduction in staff sick leave and complaints of ill health.  We recommended long term environmental monitoring of the indoor environment throughout the building, to continually assess the quality of the indoor environment.  


Mould in Hidden Ductwork



Mould Sampling



 Mould Sampling


Mould Sampling


Dry Rot Discovery

Our Director, Dr Singh, first discovered the origin of dry rot in the Himalayas, during a 1992 expedition. 

EBS Ltd is continuing to research the origin and spread of dry rot from the Himalayas.  Our searches for the dry rot fungus in the Himalayas, Rocky Mountains, and the Czech Republic, have enabled us to understand more fully the biology, ecology and physiology of this unique fungus.  

Some questions remain unanswered; where it originated in the wild, how it entered the built environment and what adaptations it has made to cope with the ever-changing environmental conditions in the western hemisphere, compared to the agreeable environment in the Himalayas?


Legal Case - Age of Dry Rot Outbreak & Decay

We investigated a legal case where the client’s requirement was to determine the age, extent, source and cause(s) of dry rot. 



Measuring Moisture Content at Depth


Cuboidal Cracking to Floorboards



Dry Rot Fruiting Body


Misidentification of Dry Rot

EBS Ltd investigated a legal case of a suspected dry rot outbreak.  Our survey and testing concluded it was wet rot (Antrodia vaillantii), not dry rot. 

Wet Rot (Antrodia vaillantii)


Peziza misidentified as Dry Rot

EBS Ltd investigated a case of a suspected dry rot outbreak. Our survey and testing concluded it was ink Cap (Coprinus Spp) not dry rot. 

We advised the client not to consume the fungus after having alcoholic drink as this can be fatal.