Mold tests alone for homes in Naples, Marco Island, , Cape Coral
or anywhere in Florida should not be used to determine if a structure needs mold remediation.
A thorough visual inspection, including infrared thermal imaging cameras and moisture meters
is the most important part of any mold assessment. Mold Inspection should include source identification, extent of mold growth
with documentation and recomendations for corrections based on accepted industry standards such as the S520 and S500
assessment is to determine the sources, locations and extent of mold growth in a building, to determine the condition(s)
that caused the mold growth, and to enable the assessment consultant to prepare a mold remediation protocol.” TX DEPARTMENT
OF STATE HEALTH SERVICES
email from EMSL
"Should You Trust a Laboratory to Interpret Your Mold Results? Indoor air quality as a scientific discipline is evolving as our knowledge of the subject increases. We know that
sample results for fungi and fungal spores are highly variable even under the most controlled sampling conditions. Given the
complexity of interpreting your results, can you really rely on a lab doing this for you?
Here are some reasons not to: 1.Laboratory results by themselves should not be used alone to form the basis of your data interpretation.
Visual inspection of the site, site location and nearby land use, understanding the site history, identifying indoor micro-climates,
and interviews with affected occupants should play a major role in your result interpretation.
2.Fungal counts have spatial, geographic, local
land use, seasonal and diurnal variability just to name a few. This variability can be orders of magnitude different in samples
that are taken a few minutes apart! An interpretation of your samples that is based on subjective, un-validated internal criteria
developed by a laboratory is a great way to make incorrect conclusions!
3.We know that different sampling devices result in different
collection efficiencies that depend on the spore size. This variation is significant when comparing sampling devices. These
collection efficiency differences are not taken into account by labs offering this type of data interpretation! What are you
really getting? The sole purpose of a laboratory is to provide you with independent, objective, and scientifically defensible
Labs that offer you statistical data interpretation, a score, or tell
you whether your samples have elevated mold levels are jeopardizing your reputation and exposing you to professional liability.
No one can afford that kind of service. "
EMSL, an Independent Testing
Laboratory that you can rely on!
that a negative sampling report must not be used in place of a visual survey. Factors such as barometric pressure, inside and outside temperatures, activity levels, and humidity may dramatically
reduce or increase the spore levels within a building. Air sampling for mold provides information on what was in the air only
for the moment when the sampling occurred. It is important, therefore, that sampling not replace visual inspection."
Can your home inspector interpret
your lab results?
"Sampling for mold should
be conducted by professionals who have specific experience in designing mold sampling protocols, sampling methods, and
interpreting the results." EPA
"Experience in interpretation of results is essential.” EPA
American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists
ACGIH Bioaerosols: Assessment and Remediation states [section 1.2.3]: Some
organisms and sources release aerosols as 'concentration bursts' which may only rarely be detected by limited grab sampling
and may be masked in measurements of long-term average concentrations. Nevertheless, such episodic bioaerosol releases may
produce significant health effects. -- thanks to S. Flappan for suggesting this citation.
"Spores are not always airborne during sampling: Mold spores may not
be in interior air at the time of the sample but may be present in high levels at other times."
The book "Fungal Contamination" is considered one of
the best mold inspection resources documents in the country by professional mold assessors.
"A Manual For Investigation, Remediation And Control"
"Anything can be toxic in high enough concentrations, even water! If
you drink too much water to quickly, your body fluids will become dilute. The result is tissue damage and death."
"The overall visual observations made of the building must be considered in combination with the results
of any testing, to determine the overall condition of the building. Test results alone should
never be considered to give a definitive account of the building's condition."
"Testing is just another tool that provides us with information.
By itself, testing does not do anything, accomplish anything, or fix anything."
levels of fungal spores may also be elevated as a result of poor interior hygiene and housekeeping. This by itself, or in conjunction with inadequate air movement and filtration,
can easily result in elevated levels of spores both in the dust on surfaces (transitory) and in the air."
"No single type of testing or piece of information
should be used to determine the condition of the building; findings made as a result of observations should never be discounted
in favor of measurements."
A R V A R D U N I V E R S I T Y
Environmental Health & Safety
Indoor Environmental Quality
"Sampling results are of limited value because mold concentrations
inside and outside vary considerably, methods of collection and analysis are not standardized and no widely accepted exposure
"warm weather spore counts vary during the day as weather conditions (humidity, temperature, period after rainfall) affect
sporulation and spore movement.
American Conference of Governmental Industrial
Section 220.127.116.11 of The ACGIH Bioaerosols: Assessment and Remediation offers: Investigators
should bear in mind that samples provide information about a site as it existed at the time tested. However, the findings
may not represent conditions at a time in the past or future, even the relatively recent past or near future. Changes in the
kinds, concentrations, and proportions of biological agents in the air can be rapid and substantial. -- thanks to S. Flappan for suggesting this citation.
"OPINION: There are severe
problems in the standard practice comparing indoor and outdoor spore counts to decide if a building has a mold problem."
Individual samples of particles in air show tremendous variation from minute to minute, making "ok" airborne mold spore
test results a thing to view with skepticism. Examples of factors which can cause an exponential difference in particle levels
in indoor residential air over short time intervals include: mechanical disturbance (walking across a carpet or moving a moldy
cardboard box), operation of hot air heating system or central air conditioning system, operation of other building fans,
particularly ceiling fans and vacuum cleaners, turning lights on and off, and opening or closing windows and doors
"Risk of false negative
mold tests: Experienced mold contamination investigators should have little confidence that a one-time low
or "ok" "toxic mold test spore count" is an assurance that problematic particles are not present."
mold inspector does not rely only on air sampling results to decide whether or not a home has a mold problem. Carefully conducted sampling is combined with visual inspections and discussions with the homeowner.
In addition, many different factors affect the reliability of an air sampler. The professional mold inspector understands
these variables and accounts for them in the sampling plan."
"The University of Minnesota
fungal experts observe that an outdoor-baseline comparison to indoor air is not valid when the outdoor sample was taken during
or immediately after precipitation (spore counts plummet outdoors in the rain and might soar right after it),"
New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene Bureau of Environmental & Occupational Disease
on Assessment and Remediation of Fungi in Indoor Environments
2.1 Visual Inspection
visual inspection is the most important initial step in identifying a possible contamination problem."
Mold inspection companies only perform "Mold Testing". Mold testing should not be confused with a Mold Inspection.
Mold testing refers to collecting air or surface samples which are analyzed by a laboratory, this procedure will only determine
the mold spore count and spore identification. This process will not help determine what caused the problem, the source
or the solution to it; but is very helpful when performed in conjunction with a full inspection.
A mold inspection report should at least include:
· Air and or surface sampling · Findings of visual assessment · Boroscope
inspection · Air Conditioning test and inspection · Identification of water intrusion
sources · Relative Humidity and condensation readings · infrared thermal
imaging inspection · Particle counts · Building pressure test · Moisture
detection · Prevention and correction Recommendations
Most Common Mistake For Outdoor Air Sample Collection.
Outdoor or base line air sample must be collected at least 10 feet from the structure according
Standards Organization (IESO).This is the only standard for mold testing
approved by the American National Standards Institute.
Environmental Solutions Association (ESA) requires outdoor air sample
to be taken at least 5 feet from the structure. (good stanard but not approved by ANSI)
Common example of not following accepted industry standards:
Many Home / Mold Inspectors collect outdoor air samples on the
lanai or balcony (not to standard). This can possibly cross contaminate the outdoor sample,
resulting in a false spore count.
"Is there any way to teach home inspectors enough about mold that they don't scare homebuyers with false alarms"
"As more than one person suggested, a home inspector can be compared to
a general practitioner (GP), while calling in the mold inspector is like visiting a specialist.
The GP may be able to get a sense that something is wrong with the patient, but it's up the specialist to perform tests to discover the real problem and its significance. The goal is to keep the GP from sending
patient running away in fear before the specialist can determine that those
headaches are really a result of minor dehydration, not of a massive tumor.
It's been said that a little bit of knowledge can be dangerous."
The Home Inspector mold "problem" is expected to disappear when the Florida Mold law becomes
effective. Texas passed a similar law a few years ago and eliminated the home inspector from mold assessment.
"As an example,
a dead spore in the air may be toxic but may not grow at all in a culture medium."
"Use of cultures as building screens for the presence or absence problematic mold is unreliable - only 10% of
all molds of any genera will grow on any culture under any circumstances, so a mold culture screening test for mold is 90%
wrong at the outset. More so if one considers that certain molds that can be grown in culture only respond to specific culture
active / rain(free blog
– 481 in collier & 953 in Lee)
We have provided radon testing, mold inspections and indoor air quality services in Cape Coral, Ft Myers,
Estero, Bonita Springs, Naples and Marco Island since 1999. We have performed over 23,000 radon tests and thousands of mold
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