Microplastics Lower Indoor Air Quality
The most recent addition to this long list of indoor air pollutants is microplastics.
Formed by the breakdown of plastic objects and also released by washing synthetic fabrics, microplastics possess the same toxicity as plastic, a solid fossil fuel.
Many could be ultrafine particles of less than 0.1 micron in diameter. They may even be much smaller, of nanometer dimensions.
Recent studies report that microplastics can be airborne. They are both inhaled and ingested.
Functioning much like dust particles, microplastics serve as airborne carriers for other toxic chemicals, too.
What Testing Cannot Do
As described earlier, the commonly used testing methods are limited in what they can detect and measure. Skilled investigators are aware of these limitations and dont rely on testing when it is not appropriate. However, many people have unrealistic expectations of what mold testing can do and they can be taken advantage of by those who perform testing poorly or for inappropriate reasons. Below are some impractical reasons commonly given for requesting mold testing.
I Had My House Tested And I’m Being Told I Need A Expensive Cleaning Attached Are The Test Results I Don’t See A Problem But I’m No Expert
Your numbers do NOT indicate elevated mold spores. In fact, the spore counts inside your basement are actually lower than the outside control. Typically, we dont consider an interior spore count elevated until its multiple times higher than the outside control. For example, Cladosporium often registers 500-1,000 in the outside air. 100 is considered very low in most regions. These low numbers are so low theyre difficult to achieve following a remediation project.
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How To Test Air Quality In The Home
The quality of the air you breathe can contribute to health problems like asthma and allergies. And its not just outdoor air quality that exposes us to pollutants. The World Health Organization says 9 out of 10 people worldwide regularly breathe polluted air. And as many as 93% of children under 18 are living in environments with pollution concentrations that exceed WHO safe air quality guidelines.¹
You can’t always control outdoor air quality, but you can ensure better health for your family by improving indoor air quality. That starts by identifying levels of indoor contaminants and finding ways to restore good air.
What Is Air Testing
When someone mentions the term air testing, what they are referring to is technically called spore trap analysis. Almost any mold inspection company uses spore trap analysis as their primary form of testing when testing indoor mold levels.
This testing is done using an air pump that pulls spores from the air and traps them onto a slide. The inspector then sends the slide to a laboratory, where a technician will examine the spores on the slide under a microscope. The lab technician will do their best to identify what species of mold are present on the slide. Typically, results are reported in spores per cubic meter of air along with the number and percentage of each spore type.
In most cases, the inspector will take what is called an outdoor baseline air sample. The lab will compare this sample to the sample taken indoors at one or more areas . This comparison aims to show which species of mold are native to the area where the home or dwelling is. For example, suppose the indoor air is comparable in levels and species to the outdoor sample without any glaring elevations. In that case, it is usually concluded that there is no severe mold problem that presents an issue in terms of air quality.
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Mold Testing When To Test Air Quality
Most experts, including the EPA andCalifornia Department of Public Health, suggest only testing under very specific conditions. In general, a moisture and mold inspection by a qualified professional is far more useful in determining if a mold problem exists. However, there are some circumstances that warrant additional air quality testing. The most commonly referred to guidance for how to perform mold inspections and when/how to test for mold is the AIHA Green Book, Recognition, Evaluation and Control of Indoor Mold.
Mold Testing AIHA Green Book
1) Determining the scope of contamination.
2) Determine the type of contamination.
3) Clearance testing.
Use Mold Swab Test Kits
Mold swab test kits allow you to test for the presence of molds in your environment. The tests work by taking a sample of the air or surface in order to check for mold spores. Mold swab test kits are available at most hardware stores and cost around $15.
To use a mold swab test kit, follow these steps:
- Collect a sample from an area that you suspect may have molds. This can be done by taking a swipe of the surface with the testing material or by collecting air in a sterile container.
- Read the instructions carefully, as some kits require that you activate the testing material before use.
- Place the sample in the provided container and close the lid.
- Shake the container for a few seconds.
- Observe the color change in the test strip and compare it to the provided chart.
If you suspect that you have molds in your apartment, it is important to take action and test for molds as soon as possible. Mold swab test kits are an easy and affordable way to check for molds, so use them if you think you may be at risk.
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How Can I Test For Toxic Mold
If you suspect or fear toxic mold is growing in your home, you wont need any special tests. A test such as the viable test kit we learned about above will detect all kinds of molds present. By sending your petri dish to a lab, you can get a better idea of which types of molds that are growing and then take the correct actions.
The next step should always be to consult a professional for further tests and investigations. Test kits are more of a guidance than something to fully rely on.
Its also important to understand that simply because its called toxic mold, it doesnt mean its toxic to you. As we mentioned above, molds that produce mycotoxins can affect some individuals, while others wont be affected.
However, if you suspect that you have been exposed to toxic molds, your doctor can run a few tests. A blood test can help to determine if youve been poisoned by checking biotoxins in your blood .
Air Sampling For Mold Inspections
Air samples can be used to gather data about mold spores present in the interior of a house. These samples are taken by using a pump that forces air through a collection device which catches mold spores. The sample is then sent off to a laboratory to be analyzed. InterNACHI inspectors who perform mold inspections often utilize air sampling to collect data, which has become commonplace.
There are several types of devices used to collect air samples that can be analyzed for mold. Some common examples include:
- impaction samplers that use a calibrated air pump to impact spores onto a prepared microscope slide
- cassette samplers, which may be of the disposable or one-time-use type, and also employ forced air to impact spores onto a collection media and
- airborne-particle collectors that trap spores directly on a culture dish. These may be utilized to identify the species of mold that has been found.
When and When Not to Sample
Samples are generally best taken if visual, non-invasive examination reveals apparent mold growth or conditions that could lead to growth, such as moisture intrusion or water damage. Musty odors can also be a sign of mold growth. If no sign of mold or potential for mold is apparent, one or two indoor air samples can still be taken, at the discretion of the inspector and client, in the most lived-in room of the house and at the HVAC unit.
Where to Sample and Ideal Conditions
Difficulties and Practicality of Air Sampling
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Reasons To Consider Indoor Air Quality Testing
Did you know that the air inside a house is more polluted than outside? Its true. Indoor pollutants flow freely in our homes and office spaces every single day. These pollutants come from several different sources, among them cleaning products, air fresheners, cooking, tobacco smoke, and furniture.
Indoor air pollution is much worse than outdoor air contamination because contained areas are more susceptible to pollutant build-up. This build-up can cause significant health problems and is a proven primary source of skin damage. The toxins in the air can cause the skin to age prematurely, especially on the hands, neck, and face.
Why should you consider indoor air quality testing in Montreal West? Here are six reasons air quality testing will help you breathe easier:
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How To Check And Prevent Mold Growth
If we are to look on the bright side, unlike PM2.5 which is invisible to the eye, we can sometimes see mold for ourselves. And there are plenty of things we can do on our own to prevent mold growth.
If you can see the mold, it has to go. If the patch is small enough , you should be okay cleaning it up yourself. If the mold growth is larger than this, you should hire a contractor with plenty of experience cleaning up mold.
To avoid the hassle of a professional cleaning, catching mold early is key. Mold can grow anywhere but tends to like warm, damp places like bathrooms or basements. Keeping your home dry and cool helps prevent mold from getting a foothold.
Similarly, you should check susceptible mold growth spots regularly. Promptly cleaning up spills and checking for leaks will keep your home drier and prevent mold growth. Some areas people dont think of are air conditioning system and air purifiers. Your AC and purifier will blow their mold spores all around your home, so be sure to check for mold often and replace your filters regularly.
Mold isnt the only thing floating around in your home. PM2.5, VOCs, and even CO2 may be hurting your air quality and wellbeing. So, while air quality monitors cant give you specific details about mold, they are still highly beneficial devices for informing you about the quality of your air and detecting other harmful pollutants.
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Air Quality Testing Mold Testing
Canada’s Restoration Services works with a third party company that specializes in air quality testing. Our mold professionals will happily connect our valued clients with an accredited and professional local mold testing company. At Canada’s Restoration Services, we advise homeowners and business owners to conduct air quality testing on non-visible mold.
Suspect you may have Mold?
Testing For Mold In Your Home
If you hire a professional mold inspector to come to your home, theyll take samples from three areasthe air, the surface, and surrounding dust. They send these samples to a third-party laboratory to find out the concentration and kinds of mold in those particular areas.
However, this procedure takes time and isnt cheap. Fortunately, testing for mold in your home is a relatively easy task that can give you faster results and save you money. If youve done everything you can to prevent mold but still have reason to think the air you breathe is compromised with mold spores, check strategic locations for visible signs of mold.
Common areas of mold growth include:
- Areas around plumbing lines, even behind the drywall
- Below sinks
- Coils of HVAC air handlers or ductwork
- Between the furniture and exterior walls, particularly in basements or concrete block houses
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Other Types Of Mold Testing
Other tests that we commonly perform on a home to get a complete picture of the severity of the mold issue are the EPA 36 swab test, ERMI and HERTSMI surface testing, mycotoxin testing, and endotoxin testing. In addition, we routinely research and get the latest information on new testing that is available. Being up to speed on the latest advances in mold testing helps us minimize the chances that we may overlook an issue that would threaten our clients health.
SURFACE TESTING – Surface samples are typically taken from areas of visible suspect growth. They can be collected via sterile swab, tape lift, or by taking a piece of suspect material. The objective is to validate the presence of mold, identify the genera of mold present, and determine the spore counts. Direct examination shows precisely what is on the surface sampled. These samples are essential because they may reveal reservoirs of mold that have not yet become airborne.
HERTSMI-2 Thats a mouthful! The HERTSMI-2 is a more specific scoring system created by Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker of what he considers the most toxic molds. This scoring system is extrapolated from the ERMI test. In this scoring system, molds included are known to produce mycotoxins, which are among the primary triggers for cases of CIRS in water-damaged buildings.
How Can I Know What Indoor Air Pollutant To Test For
Although people spend approximately 90% of their time indoors where air pollution may be 2-5 times worse than outdoor air pollution for some contaminants, there is not a large body of research on indoor air quality.
Using the WHO air quality guidelines discussed above, particulate matter , ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide are a good place to start.
But these are not the only indoor air contaminants you may have.
There may be ultrafine particles and volatile organic compounds , including formaldehyde, lead, mercury, and microplastics.
To get a better idea of which indoor air pollutants youre dealing with in your home, conduct a home pollutant source inventory.
Since indoor air quality testing is contaminant-specific as well as expensive, you need to have a good idea of what youre dealing with.
If not, you may literally be throwing money away because of a problem you dont have.
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Some Appliances And Furniture Lower Indoor Air Quality
Dust on appliances and furniture is always a major source of indoor air pollution.
What you may not know is there are fire retardant chemicals that may have been applied to the surface or make up the interior of these items.
Known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers , this is a large family of chemicals. Many have been banned in some countries because they are so toxic.
PBDEs latch easily onto dust that you may inhale.
How Air Quality Monitors See Mold
The type of sensor thats going to pick up mold is a particle detector .
These sensors work by shining a laser through the air drawn into the monitor. Any particles floating in the air will scatter the light beam, and the sensor then measures both the strength and angle of the beam. An algorithm will then tell you how many particles are in the air sample and their size.
So, why is this important? Mold spores clog up your air, and some spores are similar in size to particulate matter. When the particle detector exposes an air sample to the laser, the mold spores will also diffract the light, and the sensor will count it as particulate matter. In this way, your monitor does pick up mold in the air, as the particle count will be higher.
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How To Test The Air In Your House For Mold: Step
With new technology, mold testing has become simplified for homes. The best places to test are the following spaces:
- In ventilation ducts
- Where leaks previously occurred
Go for a viable test kit to detect spores in the air. You can buy an easy test kit to use at home by searching the web. Be sure that it is for indoor use and conditions like yours.
Heres how to use your kit once your purchase it.
Can You Use A Chemical Mold Test In Nevada
You can get fast answers about whether or not a material is mold with a chemical mold test in Nevada. Chemical mold tests require a sample of the material you suspect to be fungal. You place this material in a test liquid, which will then change color to indicate the presence or absence of mold.
Chemical mold tests are faster and cheaper than air quality tests. However, they will not tell you what kind of mold you have in your house. However, if you just want to confirm your suspicion that you are dealing with mold, they might be the right option for you.
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Who Needs Our Services
If you see visible mold, have a musty smell within your home or place of business, suspect water damage or have had a flood, are looking to conduct renovations on an older building, or are looking to purchase a new home or commercial facility, we can help! The team of professionals at Informed Decisions strives to keep our customers safe, and helps them breathe easier by providing mold assessments, mold inspection, air testing and environmental testing services that are unbiased, scientifically backed, and free from any conflict of interest. As industry leaders, we work to ensure your health and safety through an honest and professional service. We provide the information needed to restore your home or workplace to a safe and healthy environment. If your are experiencing symptoms with no apparent physical source, your environment may be the culprit. Call us today!
We Are Renting A House In Iowa Where It Gets Very Hot And Humid A Few Weeks Ago Our Air Conditioner Went Out And It Took The Landlord 2 Weeks To Get It Fixed And A New Furnace Installed Since The Summer We Have Noticed A White Somewhat Powdery Substance Coming Through The Paint On The Walls In Our Bedroom And Hallway I Have Been Ill For The Last 5 Months With Unexplained Symptoms That Can Be Explained By Mold Exposure But We Have Not Yet Told The Doctors Because We Are Not Sure It Is Mold We Are Dealing With We Had An Inspector Come Out 3 Days Ago And Do An Air Quality Sample He Did The Outside In The Front Of Our House And The Outside In The Back Of Our House Then Took A Sample From The Hallway When He Saw The Substance On The Walls He Felt Sure The Inspection Results Would Show That There Were High Levels Of Mold In The Air However When The Sample Came Back It Came Back With A Non
I recommend collecting a tape lift sample of the suspicious substance. This will definitively tell you whether the substance is mold. The lack of mold in the air test is unusual, but not unheard of. Occasionally, mold growth occurs without releasing substantial quantities of mold spores into the air. In these cases, a tape lift sample is needed to determine the nature of the substance.
If the results indicate it is not mold, it is likely related to the paint itself. A dramatic change in humidity could cause surface deposits as the vapor pulls minerals to the surface. This problem should resolve itself after the humidity drops. Has the powder returned after the A/C was fixed?
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