Mold testing is not usually required to proceed with remediation of visually identified mold growth or water-damaged materials. In most cases CT DPH does not recommend testing the air or contaminated surfaces to determine how much or what kind of mold is present. Visual inspection to identify visible mold growth or water intrusion should be the first course of action. The following should be asked:
- Do I see visible mold? Mold often grows in dark most areas such as on wet sheet rock behind a cabinet.
- Do I smell something musty or moldy? If you smell a musty odor but cannot see visible growth, mold may be hidden behind wallpaper, paint, inside of wall cavities, etc.
- Do I see moisture on walls or ceiling?
- Do I feel dampness?
If you can see or smell mold, the next step is to identify the source and then eliminate it. Decisions about appropriate remediation strategies can generally be made on the basis of a thorough visual inspection.
CT DPH states that there is usually little to be gained scientifically by testing the air in most homes and work place environments, especially if there is a visible source, because:
- Mold is present everywhere – if you test the air, you will find mold
- No standards exist for “acceptable levels” of mold in indoor environments, because different types of mold vary in ability to produce allergy or illness, and, people vary in individual susceptibility/resistance.
- There is poor correlation between airborne concentrations of mold and health outcomes.
- Knowing air test results will not change the abatement outcome – removal of the moldy source is still the recommended course of action.
Environmental sampling can be useful in some instances, such as, to confirm the presence of visually identified mold or if the source of perceived indoor mold growth cannot be visually identified. People may choose to perform testing as part of an investigation to look for hidden mold, or for documentation purposes (i.e., for insurance or litigation). However, testing rarely contributes to understanding what has occurred from a health perspective.
In the event mold samples will be collected, a sampling plan should be developed that includes a clear purpose, sampling strategy, and addresses the interpretation of results. Many sampling methodologies can be utilized (e.g. air, surface, dust, and bulk materials) on a variety of fungal components and metabolites, using diverse sampling methodologies. Sampling methods for fungi are not well standardized, however, and may yield highly variable results that can be difficult to interpret. Currently, no standards, or clear and widely accepted guidelines exist with which to compare results for health or environmental assessments.
Mold Clearance Sampling
Mold clearance sampling can be requested by the insurance company or by the owner. Typically sampling results will be compared to results from a reference (or an area unaffected by moisture and mold contamination). Contact us today to discuss a mold testing and/or a clearance sampling strategy.