MOLD - FUNGUS - MILDEW
SAMPLING AND ASSESSMENT
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO SAMPLE AND TEST ?
"RED FLAGS" WHICH SUGGEST A NEED FOR SAMPLING AND TESTING
MOLD: Refers to micro fungi having
a downy, well-marked mycellium or spore mass.
FUNGI: absorptive, filamentous
or single-celled, non-photosynthetic, eukaryotic organisms
MILDEW: staining of materials
caused by fungi/bacteria
Fungal growth (commonly referred to as "MOLD") is found everywhere in our environment, and we are
constantly exposed to it. High concentrations of any mold in living or work
environments must be considered unacceptable because of possible health problems
and structural damage. If mold is present, it is important to find out what kind
and how much.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO SAMPLE
AND TEST FOR MOLD?
When a building is tested for mold, the purpose is
to find out what type of mold is in the building. Environmental testing for mold is a two part process: the
inspector collects samples (sampling) and the laboratory analyzes the samples
PHYSICAL FACTORS: Modern construction methods that tightly seal buildings and hold
in moisture can encourage mold growth. Many commonly used construction materials
are good media for mold to grow on (wood, drywall, insulation, etc.). Growing
mold can threaten the structural integrity and finished surfaces of a building. Mold
can literally "eat" the building. About 35% of all properties suffer
water infiltration each year.
HEALTH FACTORS: Many of the thousands of common molds cause people to experience
allergy symptoms such as runny nose or wheezing. Some molds may cause more
severe problems such as irritation of the lungs and fungal infections in persons
with compromised immune systems. A few highly toxic species can affect anyone, causing
severe nerve and skin reactions, and even death.
ECONOMIC FACTORS: The value of a building can be decreased enormously by the threat
of disease and structural damage from mold. Clean up in severe cases can be very
expensive, up to and including the value of the home.
"RED FLAGS" WHICH
SUGGEST MOLD SAMPLING AND TESTING IS NEEDED
About 70% of all buildings will exhibit "red flags". "Red
flags" are conditions that lend suspect to the presence of mold. these
"red flag" conditions are generally:
1. VISIBLE MOLD: Visible mold comes in many colors (red, orange, black, white,
etc.). Mold of any kind should not be growing in any home or work area.
a. Discolored spots in areas
b. "Hairy" covering on
surfaces similar to white or green on fruit or bread
c. Slimy surfaces
2. MOISTURE: Mold grows where there is a moist environment. Mold may be growing
within or behind wet materials in the building. The first indication that you
need to sample and test for mold is the discovery of any water related
structural or design problem such as:
a. Evidence of water penetrating the
building (stains, moist areas, etc.)
b. Evidence of any area that might
allow water penetration
c. Actual construction defect or
deterioration allowing water penetration
d. Plumbing defects (leaky drains,
pipes or toilet seats, bad caulking, etc.)
e. HVAC problems (dirty, moist
filters, poor condensation drainage)
f. Dryer vented indoors or into
g. Inadequate ventilation for
bathrooms, laundry, spas, hot tubs, etc.
3. SENSITIVITY: Human senses are a valuable tool in discovering mold.
a. If you think there is a musty
odor, there may be mold present.
b. If you think a room has a damp
atmosphere, there may be mold growth
c. If occupants complain of
allergy-type symptoms which seem to increase
while in the
building, mold may be the cause.
In general a certified mold inspector or assessor should be called if a surface has visible mold, if people on the site are experiencing health problems
related to the site or if there has been or exists an odor that may have been
contributed to past or present moisture intrusion.
1. GET RID OF THE MOISTURE! Mold cannot thrive without water. If there is
moisture, the mold will continue to grow even after cleaning.
a. Fix plumbing problems
b. Check exhaust fans in the kitchen
and bath and use them during
c. Vent clothes dryer outside
d. Check drip pans and drains
(refrigerator, air conditioner, dehumidifier)
e. Check for water in duct work
f. Look for condensation on inside of
surfaces of cold outside walls,
appliances and furniture
g. Repair any defects that may allow
water into the building
2. Small areas of non-toxic, non-pathogenic mold, on non-porous surfaces may be cleaned by damp
wiping. This may be done with a
bleach solution (one part bleach to ten
parts water) or many common household cleaners. Dry the area immediately. Porous ceiling
drywall, etc. will have to be replaced if they have become moldy. It is
recommended that protective gloves and dust
masks be worn when sampling or
cleaning up any mold.
3. CLEANUP OF TOXIC OR PATHOGENIC MOLDS BY UNTRAINED PERSONS IS NOT RECOMMENDED. IT IS TO
BE NOTED THAT UNTRAINED
PERSONS ATTEMPTING A CLEANUP OR
REPAIR MAY PUT THEMSELVES IN DANGER AND MAKE THE PROBLEM
4. HOMEOWNER CLEANUP OF ANY MOLD GROWTH MORE THAN TEN SQUARE FEET IS NOT
CLEARANCE TESTING IS RECOMMENDED AFTER ANY REMEDIATION OF MOLD