Mold Testing – What You Need to Know

Mold testing is one of the best ways to determine if a home or business has a serious problem. Mold can lead to respiratory issues, skin problems, and even more severe health conditions. While every occupied indoor environment contains a complex mixture of mold particles, when the levels are high enough to cause discomfort for occupants it is a sign that something needs to be investigated further.

Mold spores can be tested using several methods, but the most common is air sampling (spore trap samples). Other techniques include swab or bulk sample collection and DNA-based testing. DNA tests are usually the most expensive form of testing but provide the most accurate results as they can identify specific species of molds in a sample.

A professional mold inspector will begin by performing a visual inspection of the space. They will note areas of concern including visible growth, odors, and moisture problems. They will also inspect for the presence of wood rot and other damage to the structure.

Depending on the results of the visual inspection and moisture assessment, the inspector may choose to focus on a specific area of the property or conduct testing throughout the entire space. A professional will always use appropriate safety equipment and follow strict EPA guidelines for sampling, analysis, and reporting.

When hiring a mold inspector it is important to find a company that has extensive experience and understands the intricacies of sampling for mold. A company that offers DIY test kits or does not provide a detailed interpretation of the lab results should be avoided. Using a cheap test that does not give accurate or complete results can cost a lot more in the long run, especially when if there is an issue it goes untreated and the health of the people living in the space is compromised.

Some molds are toxic and can produce mycotoxins, which are neurotoxins and poisons that can cause a variety of symptoms including rashes, fatigue, and heightened respiratory distress. These types of molds are very difficult to find and require a much more in-depth examination by a qualified professional.

Many molds are not harmful and do not cause any negative health effects in humans. These are commonly called “non-toxic” or “benign” molds. However, there are a few types of mold that can produce mycotoxins, which are very dangerous and must be addressed immediately.

The CDC recommends getting a professional to perform mold testing when experiencing a recurring cough, difficulty breathing, or eye and nose irritation. They can recommend the right course of action for remediation and provide clearance testing after the work is done to confirm that the problem has been eradicated.

It is a common mistake to assume that the absence of visible mold or a negative spore count means that the problem has been resolved. This is simply not the case and should never be used as a reason to dismiss a health concern. Similarly, it is equally dangerous to assume that a positive spore count means that the problem has not been resolved and should not be used as a reason for ignoring complaints from residents.

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