Worried About Mold? The Importance of Air Sampling

Air sampling for mold provides important information for mold remediation. It’s critical for a qualified mold specialist to know which specific genus of mold he’s dealing with so the appropriate fungicide or disinfectant can be applied. One way to determine this is by capturing the airborne reproductive spores released by active growing mold. After this air sampling process, mold can be grown from the samples and lab-tested to identify the type. Since all mold types aren’t created equal, this is vital information to develop an effective treatment plan.

Air sampling for mold also helps mold remediation specialists estimate the extent of contamination within the house. Whether contamination is mild or extreme, the spore count revealed in air sampling will reflect that fact. By collecting samples in different areas of the home and noting trends in the results, the process may also help pinpoint likely locations of active mold.

Three methods are commonly utilized for air sampling:

  • Impaction methods capture spores in a calibrated air sample, then use air pressure to apply the spores to a slide for microscopic examination.
  • Single-use cassettes connect to a suction air pump and gather spores from the air for a predetermined time frame, usually about 5 minutes. Captured spores are then injected onto a slide to be examined.
  • Airborne particle collectors capture spores directly onto a glass culture dish to grow the mold for examination and typing.

Air sampling methods for mold also have some limitations and are rarely utilized alone in a mold evaluation procedure. Because mold spores are all around, the true extent of mold growth inside of house can only be determined by comparing levels to a baseline figure of outdoor spore counts. If the indoor level exceeds the outdoor baseline by at least 75 percent, mold contamination inside the house is likely. To verify air sampling readings, other methods such as tape-lifting and swab samples of active mold growth are usually utilized.

For more information about air sampling for mold and other methods to identify and eliminate mold contamination, contact Rytech, Inc.

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