Who Is Most At Risk For Health Problems Associated With Exposure To Mold
People with allergies may be more sensitive to molds. People with immune suppression or underlying lung disease are more susceptible to fungal infections. Individuals with chronic respiratory disease may experience difficulty breathing. Individuals with immune suppression are at increased risk for infection from molds. If you or your family members have these conditions, a qualified medical clinician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment.
Mold Testing In Red Deer & Calgary
Mold sample testing is the comprehensive method of analyzing areas of your home or business that may have become contaminated with mold or mold spores. Mold can grow in a number of places and cause moderate to severe health problems for those who are exposed. If youre experiencing congestion, increased allergies, headaches, or other symptoms, mold testing can determine whether you need to take steps to remove the contamination from your building. At ASK Environmental, we complete mold testing by collecting swab samples and conducting air quality tests to identify mold growth. The results of these tests can help you plan for remediation to eliminate the further risk of exposure for your family, employees, and customers.
Colony Count And Health Effects
0 to 4 total fungal colonies per area
Is within a normal range for sinus health.
5 to 8 total fungal colonies per area
Is cause for concern-illness is probable in individuals who are susceptible.
9 or greater total fungal colonies per area
Is hazardous-illness likely in individuals who are susceptible.
Lab must receive sample within 10 days of sampling.
Ensure your shipping method will deliver your samples in time.
Place Samples in the Protective Bag and then in the box.
Only include the samples you would like analyzed.
Fill out the Lab Processing form and place in the box.
Follow the instructions on the Lab Processing Form.
Fill with packing material and send the kit to the lab.
ImmunoLytics 5930 Midway Park Blvd. NE Albuquerque, NM 87109
5. Next Steps
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Check Your Petri Dish
After 48 hours, check your petri dish for signs of mold growth. If you do not see mold, wait another 24 hours and check again. If you still dont see mold, wait again for 24 hours and check one last time. If you do not see mold growth after 96 hours, your test did not detect any mold. If you do see mold on your test plate, you should take additional steps to remove the mold.
Exposure Testing For Affected Individuals
Medical lab tests such as a mold profile may indicate whether individuals have been exposed to mold. This testing may involve taking a blood or urine sample for analysis. The leading test uses advanced mass spectrometry to screen for 11 mycotoxins generated by 40 species of mold, including the following common genera:
Species within these groups may be toxic or merely allergenic. Urine testing for mold is one of the most popular ways to test for mold exposure, as elevated levels of uric acid and other organic acids may indicate exposure to mycotoxins. These tests should be performed in a sterile lab testing facility and the results analyzed by a trusted medical lab.
Blood testing is the other most common type of exposure testing done for mold. The concentration of mold-specific immunoglobulin E antibodies in an individuals bloodstream may indicate whether the bodys system is responding to biotoxins. Blood-based exposure testing should also take place in the context of medical treatment, and DIY or home testing is not recommended.
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What Happens During A Mold Inspection
Mold inspection is, for the most part, a visual inspection of a house. Thereâs no special equipment involved aside from a good flashlight and tools that are sometimes needed to access restricted areas . Some mold inspectors may use cameras. A moisture meter might also be useful in determining if a particular area is wet, especially after remediation.
A typical mold inspection involves the inspector talking to the property owner about any areas where they have seen mold, or where there have been moisture problems or water damage in the past. The inspector will go over the house thoroughly, looking in places known to be prone to mold growth. If there is a chance mold is growing in an inaccessible space, the inspector may have to damage a section of drywall or remove paneling to get a better look. If mold is detected, the inspector will try to find the source of the moisture that is causing the mold and talk to the homeowner to develop a remediation plan.
In some municipalities, mold inspectors must have a license or certification. Always look for a contractor with experience in mold inspection and mold remediation.
Why You Shouldnt Buy An Over
With the growing perception of problems associated with mold, more and more people are looking into how to test for mold at home. Over-the-counter mold test kits are becoming increasingly popular, thanks to their convenience and apparent value-for-money. Unfortunately, many of these products are, for want of a better word, a rip-off.
Problems with interpreting results. Interpreting the results of mold test kits isnt as simple as you might think. Over-the-counter product manufacturers want you to believe that anybody can understand what their tests say, but its often not as simple as that. Ideally, you want a professional to interpret the results for you.
Professionals should conduct sampling. The fact that professionals should only do sampling isnt just the biased opinion of those in the mold testing profession its the conclusion of the US Government. The EPA says that only professionals should carry out mold testing. Only professionals have the requisite experience and knowledge to design and implement mold sampling professionally. Amateurs are much more likely to generate false positives and negatives.
Mold test kits are useless when you cant see the mold. One of the biggest reasons for testing for mold is when you cant see it but think you can smell it. Over-the-counter mold test kits, however, require you to have visible mold in your environment they cant tell you whether that annoying moldy smell is, in fact, mold.
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When To Inspect For Mold
One good thing about mold- if you can see it, you have mold in your house. Seeing mold in the cracks and corners of your walls definitely means it is growing and spreading more spores. Keep in mind that mold may also grow in places you cannot see, such as in your ducts or between your walls. It may also form colonies so tiny they escape the eye. A few situations should make you look for any mold problems in your house.
- Water damage. If your basement flooded, roof leaked, or a broken pipe sprayed water all over the kitchen, you need to inspect for mold. Any place that got wet and was not quickly dried could become contaminated by mold.
- Purchasing a new home. There is no way to know what kind of water damage may have happened in the house you are planning to buy. The only way to find out if mold is present is to do a mold inspection.
- After a house has been unoccupied. If a house has been closed up and unoccupied for months or years, humidity could have built up inside and caused mold to grow. This is especially a problem in warmer areas with high humidity.
- After mold remediation. If you have gone through the often expensive and difficult steps to deal with a mold problem, regular mold inspections are a good idea to make sure you really got rid of it all.
- You see some mold. If you notice some green, blue, black or white stuff growing in your house, do a mold inspection to make sure you find it all. It might not be restricted to one location.
What Are The Safe Levels Of Mold In The Air
Unfortunately, there are no pre-defined safe levels for airborne mold in Canada.
Mold is ubiquitous and can be found in almost every environment. Each individual within these environments will have varying immune systems, pre-existing medical conditions, etc. As such, determining what is safe or unsafe will vary considerably and will determine on a wide array of variables that have not been established by exposure levels or values.
The industry standard is to determine if the environment contains a normal indoor fungal ecology. Typically, baseline or control samples are collected outside of the property, to establish the outdoor spore types and concentrations.
Indoor air samples are then compared to the outdoor baseline samples. Often, spores found indoors are identical to the outdoors, which is normal. However, if the concentration levels are higher indoors then outdoors, this can be indicative of an abnormal indoor fungal ecology and will need to be assessed further to determine causes and solutions. An air quality assessment should always be accompanied by a visual & diagnostic inspection.
If the spore types found indoors are unique to the indoor space , or if the indoor spore types are toxigenic species, this also indicates an abnormal indoor fungal ecology, and remediation may be required to restore the environment to a normal, indoor fungal ecology.
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Products And Tools Youll Need To Test For Mold In Your Home
The only thing you need to test for mold at home is a test kit. In addition to the ones previously mentioned, there are several options available:
- Pro-Lab Mold Test Kit: This kit includes three tests. Your sample can be tested for an additional $40 fee, with results delivered by e-mail or via the companys app.
- MoldCheck Multi-Test Kit: This kit includes supplies to perform ten tests, which is great for an entire home or monitoring an ongoing infestation. However, there is no lab testing option, so you will need to find your own if you need identification.
- ImmunoLytics Mold Screening Test Kit: Perform eight tests with this kit. Each plate can be tested for $33 each.
- My Mold Detective: If you are looking for a more advanced mold monitoring option, the My Mold Detective is a reusable air sampling pump that collects samples in just five minutes. The device comes with four sampling cassettes that can be tested in a lab for $35 each.
- My Mold Detective Additional Samples: The My Mold Detective can be used again and again, so order as many samples as you need to keep tabs on your mold problem.
I Had A Company Come In To Look At What I Think Is Black Mold The Rep Had Some Sort Of Hand Held Gadget That Sticks In The Wall He Said Any Reading Over 10 Is A Concern He Had Readings As High As 25 I Do Have Water Coming Into My Basement I Do Have Black Spots On My Wood Trim And Along The Baseboard What Is Your Opinion
Its difficult to say without seeing the actual piece of equipment. If it was a moisture meter, they work on either a relative or absolute scale. If its an absolute scale meter , the cutoff of concern is around 18-20%. Anything above this should be investigated further. Below this is normal.
Relative scale moisture meters work on either a 0-100 or 0-200 scale. Of the models Ive used, none would indicate a water problem until above 20.
Note, these only read moisture content. There are no devices on the market that can count the number of mold spores on a surface. All mold sampling requires lab analysis.
The fact you have water entering the basement and visible mold is cause for concern. Id hire a reputable basement waterproofing contractor to evaluate the source of the leak.
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Difficulties And Practical Aspects Of The Air Test
It is important to note that air sampling is just one tool among many when inspecting a home for mold problems. Indeed, an air sample is not enough to confirm or refute the existence of a problem. Such tests should be accompanied by visual inspection and other data collection methods, such as a surface sample. Levels of spores suspended in indoor air can vary depending on several factors, which can skew the results if care is not taken to properly configure sampling. It is highly recommended to use an indoor air sampling professional to detect mold.
Air samples can be used to ensure that there is not a significant source of mold not yet found somewhere in the home. Indeed, they can detect long chains of spores still intact. Normally, these chains separate quickly as they move through the air. Thus, a sample revealing intact chains may indicate the presence of mold nearby, possibly not discovered during further tests and visual examinations.
In summary, when taken under controlled conditions and properly analyzed, air samples used to detect mold are useful for comparing relative particle levels between a problem and a control area. They can also be crucial for comparing particle levels and air quality in an area before and after mold removal.
Mold Testing To Find Mold
Mold testing can tell you if you have a mold problem somewhere in your home, but it can also help you to find it.
Mold often grows hidden away behind walls and other places where moisture exists and cannot be seen.
Mold tests help to narrow down the location of hidden mold growth by indicating the places in a home with the highest amount of mold spores.
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How Do Molds Affect People
Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin. Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath.
In 2004 the Institute of Medicine found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people with asthma symptoms in people with asthma and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition.
In 2009, the World Health Organization issued additional guidance, the WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould pdf iconexternal icon pdf icon. Other recent studies have suggested a potential link of early mold exposure to development of asthma in some children, particularly among children who may be genetically susceptible to asthma development, and that selected interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies.
Had Mold In Crawlspace Remediated 25 Years Ago Inspector Said Tiny Bit Of Mold There Now But Not Enough To Cause Our Ermi Result Over 15 No Visible Mold In House Proper We Didn’t Clean All Surfaces After Initial Remediation Could Enough Mycotoxins Remain From Then To Cause Current Ermi Score If So Do House Fogs Work Or Must We Clean Every Individual Item In The House To Get Rid Of The Mycotoxins
ERMI testing is not accurate and should not be used for residential mold investigations. Please read our article on ERMI Testing. ERMI testing cannot differentiate between spores from last week vs. 10 years ago. It also cannot differentiate between a systemic, long term issue vs. a single, one-time event. I recommend hiring a company that uses non-viable air sampling. This is the industry gold standard technique and can determine the current state of your indoor air quality.
In general, I do not recommend house fogging. It is far better to remove the contaminants than to attempt to neutralize them. Fogging can be useful when dealing with viruses or bacteria. In those situations, your goal is to kill the organism. With mold growth, we need to physically remove the spores from the home. Therefore, HEPA vacuuming and damp wiping are much more effective.
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Mold Testing And Analytics
With over 1,000s of types of mold, many of which are carcinogenic, it is vital to identify, repair the source and remediate mold. Testing to determine the types of mold growing in your environment will help determine the type of remediation required and in many cases, assist in locating additional problems or sources of moisture requiring repairs. Certain species of mold culture of specific substrates under specific conditions.
Mold thrives in environments with moisture. Water damage and dampness that has been left for an extended periods of time may contribute to the growth of molds that potentially could cause a range of health concerns or structural damage to your home or office.
I Found Mold Growing In My Home How Do I Test The Mold
If you can see or smell mold, a health risk may be present. You do not need to know the type of mold growing in your home, and CDC does not recommend or perform routine sampling for molds. No matter what type of mold is present, you should remove it. Since the effect of mold on people can vary greatly, either because of the amount or type of mold, you cannot rely on sampling and culturing to know your health risk.
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How To Test For Mold: Different Types Of Samples
Its no secret that mold can be an extremely frustrating issue to deal with. In small amounts, mold can be unsightly and unpleasant. But large patches or toxic species can have devastating repercussions. Not only can be it destroy your property, but long-term exposure to toxic mold is also extremely damaging to your health.
Now, mold is incredibly common in homes and all types of buildings. Its estimated that around 70% of homes in the US have at least some mold growth. But often, this mold can be hidden in spots where you cant see or smell it. Further, some molds are incredibly toxic and shouldnt be cleaned without protection.
But how can you know which kind is growing in your home? The answer is that you need to know how to test for mold.
During a mold test, experts will gather samples and send them to a lab to determine the type of species. Mold testing and mold inspections are two totally different services that give you very different results. Investigators are looking for physical signs of mold growth during an inspection, whereas a mold test confirms the exact kind of mold growing or whether it has been removed completely.
There are many DIY options for mold testing that youll see on the shelves of your local hardware store. But an inexpensive mold test that doesnt give you the answers you are looking for is a waste of ones time and budget.
Heres everything you need to know about how to test for mold the right way.