Is Mold Dangerous?
In a word, Yes. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) persistent dampness and microbial growth on interior surfaces and in building structures should be avoided, as they may lead to adverse health effects. Not only is excessive dampness a health problem by itself, it also contributes to several other potentially problematic types of situations. Molds and other microbial agents favor damp indoor environments, and excess moisture may initiate the release of chemical emissions from damaged building materials and furnishings. What this means is that moisture/mold can be hazardous to your health and the health of your family. WHO says that it cannot recommend an acceptable level of contamination with microorganisms. Instead, WHO recommends that dampness and mold-related problems be prevented; and when they occur, they should be remediated because they increase the risk of hazardous exposure to microbes and chemicals.
How Does Indoor Air Quality/Mold Testing Work?
Since WHO recommends moisture/mold be prevented and cannot recommend an acceptable level of contamination, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made no guidelines or threshold as to what is an acceptable level of contamination. Without any standards or government regulations there can't be pass/fail evaluation results. Instead GPA’s Indoor Air Quality/Mold test compares the quantity and identity of mold spores found outside the home to that which is found inside the home. We do this by taking an outside air sample to use as the control sample. Then a number of indoor air samples are taken. The number of samples taken indoors depends on the square footage of the home and your comfort level. If there is an elevated level of mold spores within the home or there is an unusual species of mold within the home as compared to the outside control sample, this would likely indicate a moisture/mold issue within the home. Indoor Air Quality/Mold Testing is non-invasive. Your report will give you valuable information to help you discern if you would like to contact a waterproofing/mold remediation company for more invasive action.
Why Have an Indoor Air Quality/Mold Test?
Testing is advantageous because mold isn't always readily seen, sometimes it hides within a wall, or on the underside of wall paper, ceiling tiles, carpet or carpet padding, behind furniture and so on; therefore impossible to identify with a normal visual inspection. Mold releases spores into the air which can travel from these hidden places and be trapped within the sample collection. Our laboratory will identify the different types of mold found in the samples and their quantities. Our report also includes fact sheets to help identify some of the health concerns associated with different types of mold.
Who Should Get an Indoor Air Quality/Mold Test?
If you are buying a home an Indoor Air Quality/Mold test can indicate whether there is a moisture/mold problem within the home.
If you have moisture areas but no visible mold, you should have an Indoor Air Quality/Mold test in the rooms where the moisture is since mold can grow in areas that are not visible.
If you are having breathing issues and/or health concerns you may want to have an Indoor Air Quality/Mold test.
After mold remediation you should have an Indoor Air Quality/Mold test as a follow-up.
If you have had moisture intrusion into your home you should have an Indoor Air Quality/Mold test.
Other Things To Consider
Since a comparison between inside and outside mold spore counts are used to identify moisture/mold issues within the home it would be beneficial to consider weather conditions prior to testing. Testing when temperatures are below freezing or when there is snow covering the ground may cause the interior samples to seem elevated because cold weather can kill mold spores making the outside samples unusually low. Also testing during heavy rain may wash the mold spores from the outside air making the inside seem elevated. In either case a false elevated test result may occur.
Other Ways To Test
If you see what appears to be mold and want to know for sure, a swab or tape test can be used to confirm if it is mold, and if it is our laboratory will identify the mold species and qualities found on the swab/tape. Our report will also tell you if it is unusual to find this type of mold indoors. Our report also includes fact sheets to help identify some of the health concerns associated with different types of mold.