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By: Mold Hunter  09-12-2011
Keywords: air quality, mold

Not all residences require a full mold identification and remediation protocol. Assessment on probability may be accomplished, at low cost, to establish the percentage of moisture levels of the residence. When moisture levels are high, laboratory testing should be perform to establish a more accurate condition of the house.

When increased moisture levels and visible mold contamination is noticed at a Residence. Mld HuntersCertified Inspectors will perform the following procedures:

 When all stages of remediation are completed, three air samples will be collected and sent to the laboratory for analysis.

A healthy indoor environment is characterized by the absence of visible microbial growth on surface and air quality similar to the outdoors. The rules for mold growth are simple: water is the problem and mold is the symptom. The criteria for fungal colonization is a moisture source, lack of ventilation, absence of ultra violet light, and organic substrate for growth. The mechanisms for elevations in moisture are liquid flow, air movement, vapor diffusion, and capillary suction. Fungi within wall, ceiling, and floor cavities can create potential health concerns long after surfaces have dried. If water damaged building materials are not removed, dried fungi and spores can be easily aerosolized. Pressure differentials can drive aerosolized fungi throughout a living space. Dormant mold maintains the same disease causing properties as active growth mold. The shear size of the mold spores (2 – 20 microns) allows for ease of transport, and no geographical barriers. In addition, dormant spores can re-germinate during periods of elevated relative humidity.

For the homeowner, employee or property manager the presence of mold can be damaging both physically to humans and structurally to buildings.

The first step in the process is to interview the occupants. Information on previous water damage, renovations and health concerns should be addressed and noted.

As Certified Mold Investigator, we inspect the premises and assess the fungal ecology of the Residence. The visual inspection is an important step in identifying possible mold contamination problems.

The exterior of the Residence is then completely inspected. Drywall, cardboard, paper and other cellulose surfaces are given careful attention during the visual inspection. Then use of moisture detection equipments are used to locate hidden mold behind walls, ceilings and floors to determine the areas of potential mold growth and continuing moisture penetration.

A Certified Inspector, trained in appropriate sampling methodology, performs topical sampling. Topical sampling should be performed if:

  • The building inhabitants are suffering from health problems, which are or may not be associated with fungal exposure.
  • To identify the presence or absence of mold if a visual inspection is equivocal (e.g. discoloration, and staining)
  • To determine whether a specific fungal colonization is compromising air quality (by comparing the results with the air tests)
  • As a necessary precursor to a remediation of the area.
There are three main categories of topical sampling techniques:
  1. Bulk Sampling
  2. Swab Sampling
  3. Tape Lift Sampling
Air Monitoring should be performed if:
  • The presence of mold is suspected in a particular area of the structure (e.g. a microbial volatile odour is detected) but cannot be identified through a visual inspection (the purpose of such air monitoring is to determine the location and/or extent of mold contamination)
  • The building inhabitants are suffering from health problems which are or may not be associated with fungal exposure.
  • If there is evidence from a visual inspection that the ventilation systems may be contaminated to assess the extent of contamination throughout the building. Sampling should be conduced while ventilation systems are operating.
  • To establish fungal ecology prior to any remediation.

If air monitoring is performed, for comparative purposes, outdoor air samples should be collected concurrently at an air intake, if possible, and at location representative of outdoor air. The outdoor control air test is very helpful in evaluating whether there is an internally generated mold problem. Such problem may exist if indoor mold tests report mold levels that are either (a) higher than the outdoor control air test or (b) present indoors but absent from the outdoor control air test. A certified inspector, trained in appropriate sampling methodology, performs air monitoring.

Health Effects  

The inhalation of fungal spores, fragments (parts), or metabolites (e.g. mycotoxins and volatile organic compounds) from a wide variety of fungi may lead to or exacerbate immunologic (allergic) reactions, or cause infections.

Illnesses can result from both high levels, short-term exposures and lower level, long-term exposures. The most common symptoms reported from exposures in indoor environments are runny nose, irritation, cough, congestion, aggravation of asthma, headaches, and fatigue.

In order for humans to be exposed indoors, fungal spores, fragments, or metabolites must be released into the air and inhaled, physically contacted (dermal exposure), or ingested. Whether symptoms develop in people exposed to fungi depends on the nature of the fungal material (e.g. allergenic, toxic or infectious), the amount of exposure, and the susceptibility of exposed persons. Susceptibility varies with genetic predisposition (e.g. allergic reactions do not always occur in all individuals), age, state of health, and concurrent exposures - for these reasons, and because measurements of exposure are not possible to determine “safe” or “unsafe” levels of exposure for people in general. Occupants of the Residence should consult with their physicians regarding interpretation of the results as they relate to health.

A healthy indoor environment however, is characterized by the absence of visible microbial growth on surfaces and air

Keywords: air quality, mold

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