Mold Sampling and Testing
What is Mold Sampling and Testing
Broadly speaking, most mold testing involves taking a sample of either the air or a surface. These are also known as "grab samples" in laboratory terms. Essentially, a mold inspector "tests" the air or surface to find out what kind of mold exists and/or if the mold found is able to grow in the area tested.
Minimum number of mold air samplings is three. We suggest doing at least one on each livable level. One must always be done outside. It's called a baseline/control sample. The laboratory requires it for proper sampling of mold protocols. For the most part, outside spore counts should be higher than the inside. It takes experienced professionals to determine the actual mold results, as there are many variables to be considered. We give you a written interpretation of the lab's results. We also provide annotated sampling location pictures of each area sampled and more.
Surface samples can be taken in a variety of ways. The three most common methods are:
Bulk samples. A piece of the sampled area is physically removed and sent to the mold testing laboratory,
Swab samples. Something akin to a cotton swab is rubbed across the area being sampled, often a measured area, and subsequently sent to the mold testing laboratory, and
Tape samples. A piece of clear tape is pressed against and removed from the area being sampled, presumably picking up and removing part of any mold that was present on the surface, and then sent to the mold testing laboratory for analysis. All the above are analyzed through "direct microscopy."
Air Spore Trap Impact Sampling tests the air in the environment you breathe for mold spore content. A mold spore is about 1/10 the size of a human hair and is quite ubiquitous.
Minimum number of air spore trap mold samplings is three. We suggest doing at least one on each livable level. One must always be done outside. It's called a baseline/control sample. The laboratory requires it for proper sampling of mold protocols. For the most part, outside spore counts should be higher than the inside. It takes experienced professionals to determine the actual mold results, as there are many variables to be considered. We explain all this to you through our Mold Findings Report.
Direct Tape Lift Sampling determines if mold is growing on a surface and to what degree. These samples are normally taken in attics and crawlspaces off various decking or structural members. Mold growth is determined by groups, clumps, and chains of spore types accompanied by intact mycelial or sporulating mold structures. If the surface is wet with mold, we do a swab sampling.
Bulk sampling of mold is used when a physical sample of the contaminated mold area can be acquired. Sample size need only be 2" x 2". Protocol of analysis is similar to Direct Tape Lift or Surface Mold Sampling.
All mold sampling requires execution of a legal document called the "Chain of Custody". At Environmental Inspection Dynamics we use MoldREPORT by EMLab P&K.
Particle Counting is a device that uses a laser to count various sized particles in 3 channels. These are the sizes that closely relate to mold spore sizes, called microns. We utilize this instrument in addition to and when executing air spore trap impact tests. We normally double the readings where the spore trap sampling locations are. We provide you with a spread sheet containing the data and an interpretation. At no additional cost.