Mold Testing Services
There is some form of mold in literally in every home and business in the United States, so when actual mold inspection testing is done it is expected that the presence of molds will be found. There is however, an important distinction between the normal presence of mold particles, versus abnormal accumulations and growths indoors. Normal mold levels found indoors are part of what is called the “indoor fungal ecology”. However, when mold concentrations build to unacceptable levels it is known as contamination. When mold is allowed to grow and multiply unchecked, it poses a potential serious health risk and also damages whatever it grows on. When mold growth is visible or mold odors can be smelled, it would indicate that there is a potential problem that should not be tolerated and should be checked out immediately. An elevated condition of mold in your home can be very dangerous to your family’s health. Certain mold spores are known carcinogens and others can lead to respiratory disease, allergic reactions, and other health issues, in addition to compromising the integrity your home’s building construction and structure.
Mold inspection and testing services are recommended when individuals suspect possible health risk, or hazard to occupants in an indoor environment. We will perform a visual inspection for apparent mold symptoms and confirm by taking indoor air quality & surface contact swabs/tape lift samples to be sent to an independent laboratory for analysis. Results are usually available within 24-48 hours at which time we will provide a mold inspection report with photos, lab results, recommendations for remediation, clean-up or removal if required. For projects over 25 contiguous square feet of visible mold, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation and the Mold Assessors and Remediators Occupational Code also require that a Mold Protocol be written to aid the remediation contractor completing the work.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO HAVE A LICENSED PROFESSIONAL PERFORMING MOLD INSPECTION OR TESTING IN YOUR HOME?
There are specific limitations for each of the available mold testing procedures. A licensed Mold Assessment Consultant (MAC) is aware of these limitations and will not rely on certain aspects of testing when some of the results can be interpreted in more than one fashion. Unfortunately there are many mold inspection companies out there that will claim to be mold professionals, but lack the proper certifications and training to be able to properly implement and analyze indoor air analysis. Always be sure that the person performing the testing is a state licensed Mold Assessment Consultant (MAC).
Microbial samples collected by NTX are submitted under chain of custody for direct analysis or to an independent, third-party accredited American Industrial Hygiene Association and Texas Department of State Health Services licensed laboratory for microscopic analysis.
There are various sampling methods used by NTX depending on the requirements:
Air sampling is designed to count and identify the presence of total fungal material in a measured volume of air. These samples are taken by using a pump that forces air through a spore-trap cassette to collect mold spores for analysis via a microscopic screen. Culture plates are used for analysis of culturable fungi or bacteria and are collected with an N-6 impactor.
Wall/Ceiling Cavity Sample
Samples are collected by drilling a small access hole into the surface of the area to be sampled and inserting a plastic tube into the hole through which an air sample is pulled. These samples are collected on a spore-trap cassette and analyzed microscopically. This type of sample cannot be cultured for viable fungi or viable bacteria. Wall/Ceiling Cavity samples are typically collected at locations associated with known plumbing leaks, roof leaks or any other source of water intrusion.
Dust samples are samples of the dust material located within the carpets or other porous materials. These samples are analyzed via a microscopic screen, viable fungi culture, or viable bacteria culture. The viable culture data is reported in colony-forming units per gram (CFU/g) of dust. Bulk dust samples are collected to determine the average microbial loading within a fabric material.
Surface samples are collected on sterile cotton swabs and immediately sealed and labeled. These samples can be collected over a predetermined surface area or as a composite sample from various points on a contaminated surface. Surface samples are collected at locations exhibiting visible water staining or microbial growth. They are taken for the purposes of identification utilizing a microscopic screen, viable fungi culture or viable bacteria culture. Tape samples are another form of surface sample collected from a specific location exhibiting microbial contamination. They are utilized to microscopically identify fungi and cannot be cultured for fungi or bacteria.
Bulk samples are typically a 2” x 2” piece of material that is cut from its surroundings and having visible microbial growth or a suspect area on it. The bulk sample is then placed in a sealed container and submitted to the laboratory via a chain of custody for analysis.