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Topic: RWAP? Strong smell of mold though none visible

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Subject: RWAP? Strong smell of mold though none visible
Date Posted: 8/24/2008 8:36 AM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2008
Posts: 2,835
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Is this RWAP?

Book is in good condition. Looks as if it were never read. However...

When I cut open the package around 6 am this morning, a mold smelling stench just poured out of the wrapper, sending me fleeing for the zyrtec.

It is now 830 am. The book sits on my desk. I can still smell it from 18 inches away. My face still itches a bit. I cannot put it with my other books.

Date Posted: 8/24/2008 8:42 AM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2007
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Eeew. I'm sorry this happened. That smell is narsty. The HC book guidlines say no mold. Does it have to be visible to count? I would say no...but how can you prove it beyond sending it back?

Date Posted: 8/24/2008 8:45 AM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2008
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I give people benefit of the doubt all the time and mark it received okay, then reminf the sender in a PM, BUT I think this needs to go on recoed so if it's a pattern, evidence will start to build up. No visible evidence.

Rick B. (bup) - ,
Date Posted: 8/24/2008 8:51 AM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2007
Posts: 2,625
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Was it wrapped in plastic? Did the outer wrapper look like it got wet en route?

I'd say RWAP. I mean, if you're having an allergic reaction to it, that's real mold.

Date Posted: 8/24/2008 8:59 AM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2008
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Book mailed with PBS postage on the 18th, arrived yesterday. No evidence of wet; no wrapping. Bubble mailer. Now the mailer is reused, so that maybe the problem. I also smelled the iside of the book. Smell permeates  through the first half.

I did mark RWAP, with the following message:

Book is in good condition. Looks as if it were never read. However...

When I cut open the package around 6 am this morning, a mold smelling stench just poured out of the wrapper, sending me fleeing for the zyrtec.

It is now 8:50 am. The book sits on my desk. I can still smell it from 18 inches away. My face still itches a bit. I cannot put it with my other books.

I am not specially allergic, but most people react to mold, which is not allowed by the PBS conditions. I realize no visible mold is showing, but the book really smells to the extent that I will have to throw it out, not read it, and re-order it.

I really think you should give me a credit back. It's what I would do if it were my transaction.

Thank you very much.

Date Posted: 8/24/2008 9:01 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,690
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Playing devils advocate here....the guidelines I don't think saying anything about "mold smell" there isn't any visible so there is no proof that it is mold.  Did you have an RC regarding smells?  While you say the book smells you have zero proof as to what that smell is...

Date Posted: 8/24/2008 9:09 AM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2008
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Well, I can take it to the PBS offices I suppose, or mail it to them rather than throwing the book away which I was getting ready to do.

But, why would I make this up? All of this system is based on good failth anyway.

PBS will see that I re-ordered a book if they happen to look.

I think I will take it down there to PBS if the person doesn't do the proper thing and refund me a credit. Or maybe mail it.

Date Posted: 8/24/2008 9:11 AM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2008
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The guidelines do prohibit mold. I think it's a "reasonable test" issue, and microscopes are not required. I have resealed the book. I will have to go look and see if PBS has a street address or if I should mail it.

Date Posted: 8/24/2008 9:16 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
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You do realize that PBS cannot make the person give you a credit back and they prefer not to get involved in individual issues such as this.

I wasn't saying that you made it up but, smells are subjective...to me old stale smoke smells like mold and I react to it so, without visible mold how is one to know?

Also, just my opinion here but, in the future I would be a little less demanding or harsh sounding in my reply to the sender when I am requesting my credit back...may just be me but, to me it sounding demanding.

Date Posted: 8/24/2008 9:16 AM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2007
Posts: 881
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How can something smell of mold but not have it? This is one of those "where there's smoke, there's fire" sort of things.

Rick B. (bup) - ,
Date Posted: 8/24/2008 9:20 AM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2007
Posts: 2,625
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The guidelines don't say "mold smell," but they also don't say "mold visible." They say "mold."

If the book smells moldy, and makes someone itchy, it's got mold.

Date Posted: 8/24/2008 9:43 AM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2008
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I didn't mean to sound harsh just definite.

Wouldn't the person have to know  when they mailed it? It's a very strong smell. I was getting ready to post some books last weekend that were really cool. They had been in a carton and smelled ...mmm, musty. Not mold like. I put them out to air. Several still had an odor, so I didn't post them. Very simple.

I have received many books with a cigarette smell. Usually, if you just fan the books and set them out for a bit it goes away. I am not someone really sensitive to smells, but I do give the books a good sniff before I post them.

Date Posted: 8/24/2008 9:53 AM ET
Member Since: 11/24/2005
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Last Edited on: 2/21/10 11:51 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/24/2008 12:27 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,187
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If there are no visible signs of mold, I don't think you can prove its moldy. Many house "stinks" get on books. They come smelling like cat pee because the house does, but the book was never in contact cat pee. Same with smoke, dogs, bad cooking and musty/moldy smells. The book could very well have only been in the house for a short period of time and never come in cotact with moisture or mold. Book paper just really sucks up smell (to some of us with more sensitive noses). Often times those strong odors in houses are not noticeable to the people living there because they are in it all the time.

If you have a strong dislike/reaction to smells then I suggest an RC on them like the rest of us. Then you will have the RC that is clearly broken and not just a wiff of maybe a rule was broken.

Please don't take the book to PBS. They CLEARLY say they WILL NOT get involved in individual transactions. They have better things to do with their time than sniffing books. Report if RWP, or don't, that is a decision you yourself have to make. Giving a credit back is a decision the sender will make. Sometimes the two never agree, but it is not PBS's responsibility to deal with it. 

Date Posted: 8/24/2008 1:07 PM ET
Member Since: 7/20/2007
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If you had an allergic reaction, there's mold. It doesn't have to be visible in my opinion, if it sent you running for allergy meds.

Mold is not a smell. Mold is spores. Spores are NOT visible til they grow into ugly green and gray crap. A book, in my opinion, cannot smell like mold without there BEING mold.

I say, if she gives you back the creedit, it's deserved, even if she couldn't smell the mold herself. If she doesn't give it back, then you're out a credit. Some people have a conscience, and some don't, so let's hope she is one of the ones who will feel bad about this.

Sorry you got a bad book. I know i'd have felt the same way. I am allergic to some things that i am not sure what they are, and if one of my allergies was confirmed absolutely by a book, i'd definately have a problem with that book.

Date Posted: 8/24/2008 1:14 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2007
Posts: 881
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Exactly my point. Mold is dangerous.

Date Posted: 8/24/2008 1:24 PM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2008
Posts: 2,835
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<sigh> It is not that I am so sensitive that I need an RC. I go to many USBs that have musty smells. The point is that this smell on this particular book was so incrediblly strong that I just wonder how the person could not smell it. I am not particularly allergic to mold I would think, but I actually felt very itchy all over my face and my nose began to run. So the mold spores were so strong that they caused an allergic reaction to someone who is not really that sensitive. I cannot imagine what the overall house must be like if just being there caused that strong a stench.

I get confused. Folks ask how can I "prove" it and then seem to say it doesn't matter if I can prove it. (not just me).

What I can do is my second RWAP.(First was damaged by PO, maybe, giving benefit of doubt.)

This one is so bad that I don't want the book in my house and have already re-ordered it.

I have cats. I check the books, but when you are mailing 20 books out at a time, mistakes happen.  I had a requestor state that one I sent smelled like cat pee. Possible, and the culprit was probably Indigo who is a bad kitty and probably zapped after I had all the books lined up. I did my usual thing if someone  complains. I offered either their credit back or the option to choose 2 free books from my shelf for their hassle.

Date Posted: 8/24/2008 1:24 PM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2008
Posts: 2,835
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inadvertent double post



Last Edited on: 8/24/08 1:25 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/24/2008 2:43 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2006
Posts: 4,972
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If you had an allergic reaction, the book has been wet at some point for it to become moldy(whether you can visibly see the mold or not). If you can smell it, the sender should have smelled it too and known it was not postable. It is a RWAP imo.

Date Posted: 8/24/2008 3:05 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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<<How can something smell of mold but not have it? This is one of those "where there's smoke, there's fire" sort of things.>>

Tracy is right here.  I asked my hubby, who is a professional botanist, and he confirmed that the mold may not be visible (could be hidden in the binding or wherever), but if you smell mold, there is mold.  (he also wondered if you'd be willing to send samples he could look at under a microscope, and I rolled my eyes and threw a book at him) :-)

JK, throw the book away once you've resolved this with the sender, as it is a health hazard.  If they don't respond after a week, follow up in your transaction record as "sender did not respond", which will prompt an auto-response email from PBS to the sender.

No, you shouldn't need an RC against mold, since it is against PBS policy, but I've got one anyway, as I'm highly allergic, and we all know there are folks that don't always read the rules and/or think they apply to them.

Cheers,

Catt

Date Posted: 8/24/2008 3:27 PM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2008
Posts: 2,835
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Pm me your husband's address at work and I will mail it to him so you won't be exposed. Then he can tell you and you can post it here! proof!

Date Posted: 8/24/2008 3:33 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2007
Posts: 881
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LOL @ sending samples for microscopic analysis.

Date Posted: 8/24/2008 3:38 PM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2008
Posts: 2,835
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Actually, I don't think the book has to be wet to get mold. I think it can catch mold from being exposed to mold spores and humidity will provide enough dampness to activate the spores. Not my field, so Elizabeth, ask your husband.

Date Posted: 8/24/2008 4:30 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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<<Actually, I don't think the book has to be wet to get mold. I think it can catch mold from being exposed to mold spores and humidity will provide enough dampness to activate the spores. Not my field, so Elizabeth, ask your husband.>>

JK is absolutely correct here -- don't need a wet book to start a mold factory.  Spores + humidity = fungal festival :-)

<<Pm me your husband's address at work and I will mail it to him so you won't be exposed. Then he can tell you and you can post it here! proof!>>

Hee hee, that book would promptly end up in our basement "lab" -- thank you, but no thank you.  The smell of mold is proof enough that you've got mold :-)

Cheers,

Catt

Date Posted: 8/25/2008 2:31 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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More mold information...

http://www2.lib.udel.edu/Preservation/mold.htm

Active mold produces enzymes that allow it to digest paper and cloth, which eventually weakens and destroys these materials. Inactive mold does not damage library materials, but the spores can be spread through the library if affected materials are handled, and will become active if environmental conditions are conducive to their growth. The musty odor of mold often remains in library materials even after mold has been inactivated and removed by vacuuming or wiping the mold off.

...

In many cases, the best decision for mold-affected items in the general collection without artifactual value is to discard them. If their information content is important for the collection, finding replacements is often a better course of action than attempting to clean them. Rare and unique materials that have become moldy, however, usually are worth the cost and effort to clean. For potential gifts, only the most rare or scarce materials are worth the difficulties presented by mold. Cleaning moldy materials is time consuming and also carries some level of risk for staff who do this work. In addition, materials that were once moldy are always susceptible to future mold blooms to a greater extent than other materials, and must be stored in appropriate environmental conditions and monitored.

 

 

 

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