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Areas of Service: Los Angeles County Mold Inspector, Mold Inspection Los Angeles County, Mold Testing and Mold Inspections in Los Angeles County California, Mold Abatement Los Angeles, Mold Certified Inspection, Mold clearance testing Santa Monica. A Mold Specialist is the most experienced mold inspection company in Los Angeles County specializing exclusively in mold inspections and mold testing in residential and commercial properties. Call a Mold Specialist today and speak with one of our certified inspectors. Mold is a natural living organism in our environment. It exists in the air in the form microscopic spores that move in and out of buildings through doors, windows, vents, HVAC systems and anywhere else that air enters. If you suspect you have a mold problem, it is always best to have a certified mold inspector assess the over-all condition and make the appropriate recommendations for correction. Los Angeles County Mold Inspector Mold Inspection Los Angeles County Mold Testing and Mold Inspections in Los Angeles County California Mold Abatement Los Angeles Mold Certified Inspection.
Introduction to mold testing and sampling An IAQ or "mold investigator" cannot reliably identify a mold genera or species growing on a Building surface by the naked eye. Despite the recent public fear created by media attention, including a now-refuted "Toxic black mold" Stachybotrys chartarum study involving infant illness and death, it is simply not the case that "black mold" in Buildings is necessarily a danger to occupants. In fact, having investigated many Buildings quite carefully, I assert that in most cases the "black mold" that you see in Buildings is most often an "indicator organism" telling you that conditions are right for mold formation. we have often found more problematic molds in such properties, such as species of Aspergillus sp. or Penicillium sp. which are airborne, travel in the Building, and are more likely to be bothering the occupants than a large, sticky, non-easily-airborne spore like S. chartarum. These harder to see, often light-colored molds, are quite often missed entirely by inexpert owners and amateur "mold inspectors" who go on to collect, over-report the occurrence of, and react to the "black stuff." One result has been unnecessary expense for "mold testing" and in some cases unnecessary mold remediation. Some of our articles, as well as writing by others who study this field, address these problems and offer help in deciding what level of trouble and expense are appropriate.
Trained in Building science, we perform on-site Building investigations to evaluate the need for and extent of mold remediation in Buildings in order to give mold remediation and prevention advice. Also trained in mold and other particle identification (forensic microscopy), we operate our own aerobiology laboratory where samples, collected during an investigation, are examined. In the course of our field surveys we often collect multiple samples even at the same surface or Building area, in order to study the relative effectiveness and consistency of the various methods, just as we test and compare other tools used to find hidden moisture and similar problems. (These extra samples, collected for purposes of scientific study, are not billed to our client.) our opinions about the usefulness of various methods derive from both study by other experts and by our own ongoing field and laboratory testing. Does everyone need to hire an "expert" like us to examine their home? Of course not. This article offers help in choosing mold sampling and testing methods and devices.
A Description & Critique of Contemporary Indoor Mold Sampling/Collection/Testing Methods Air samples to "test" for mold A collection device, slide, cassette, or tape are used with a calibrated air pump to collect airborne particles. we are not referring to culture plates which rely on passive collection or settlement of particles as these have even worse inaccuracies and errors than the reservations I describe about active air sampling described here. Some common examples of air samplers include:
Impaction samplers (Burkard™, Allergenco™) collect airborne particles through a venturi-slit onto a prepared microscope slide using a equipment incorporating a calibrated air pump and a static or moveable slide permitting single-use or time-lapse sampling. Cassette samplers (Air-o-Cell™) use a patented 37mm cassette connected to a calibrated pump (typically at 15 lpm). The cassette is used to collect airborne particles through a venturi-slit onto a proprietary media on a cover-slip which is in turn mounted onto a microscope slide in the laboratory. Cassette samplers using an MCE filter cassette connected to a calibrated pump. The filter can be cleared and examined microscopically (qualitatively, counting is tough except with the Bi-Air™), or used to prepare a culture, or both. Cassette-like samplers use a calibrated pump connected to a patented stainless steel venturi-device which accepts a microscope slide prepared with a collection media. Anderson-type samplers which collect particles directly onto a culture dish - for "viable sampling" to "test" for mold. Culture samples may be useful in some cases to better identify or to speciate mold which has already been found in a large reservoir. Otherwise it has limitations we discuss elsewhere in this document. Anderson-type impaction samplers which collect particles on tape wrapped around on a drum or Rotorod samplers which collect particles on glass rods are used for outdoor pollen and spore counting and reporting in the IAAA allergy network. They are not well-suited for indoor Building assessment though some folks use the high-error rotorod sampler indoors. Shortcomings of air sampling for mold - some specifics But as a "mold test" for the presence or absence of a mold problem in a Building, a negative air sample result is of little confidence. As a measure of "mold exposure" quantitative analysis (spores/cubic meter) is invalid unless long-term time-weighted average measurements are made under all varying Building conditions. While this is an important diagnostic tool, and one which we apply regularly, it cannot be relied alone on in the way some investigators would use it: dashing into a Building and grabbing an air sample.
Air sampling as a "pass/fail" or "present/absent" test for mold in Buildings is unreliable as a "mold test." Many variables cause a wide range of particle levels in air over short intervals. However this method has a place in a thoughtful Building investigation: air sampling can be useful as a background check for the possibility that there is a large reservoir source which has not yet been found in a Building. But a negative result is of absolutely no confidence, and quantitative work (spores/cubic meter) is invalid unless long-term time-weighted average measurements are made under all varying Building conditions. our own time-lapse sampling proves that particle levels vary by a factor of 10,000 due to common variations in Building conditions such as fan on off, human activity, mechanical disturbance of moldy stuff, etc. While this is an important tool it cannot be relied on in the way most "inspectors" would use it, dashing into a Building and grabbing an air sample. See "Quantitative Analysis" comments below for an elaboration or see Mold Testing: Air samples and their interpretation - a quick tutorial.inspect-ny.com/sickhouse/tutorial.htm
Spores are collected but not spore producing conidiophores, hyphae and other components are collected, making identification incomplete and more difficult than with tape or cultured samples. Spores are desiccated and may be damaged by the collection method, interfering with culture efforts if this follow-up step is needed. In sum, air sampling is useful as a background screen for the possibility that there is a large reservoir source which has not yet been found in a Building, and may be useful to compare relative particle levels between a problem area and a control area, or in an area before and after cleaning. Independent from spore counts, a qualitative analysis of an air sample by an expert technician can provide compelling evidence of a nearby problem mold reservoir in certain cases, for example if the indoor sample contains long chains of Penicillium or Aspergillus spores. These spore chains are so fragile that they break apart quickly while traveling through the air. So spore chains found in (a pre-remediation) indoor sample, even if the total count is low, deserve some further thinking and investigation.
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