Mould Inspection and Mould Testing
Black mould is probably the most common indoor air quality concern from the public at large.
Black mould is probably the most common indoor air quality concern from the public at large. Black mould is not necessarily one type of mould only (often referred to as Stachybotrys on many internet sites) and may contain species of Aspergillus among other genera of mould.
Mould is probably one of the most prolific indoor environmental problems that is often not linked to the adverse health effects being experienced by occupants. Ecolibria work closely with health practitioners to assist in determining potential problems with indoor mould concentration levels.
There are many genera and species of mould and a proportion of them have mycotoxins and of concern. These types of moulds are often those associated with water damaged buildings.
When you see mould you are often seeing a number of species of mould and not just one kind. It is possible to take air and surface samples of the mould and have them analysed by an independent laboratory in terms of mould genera identification and total concentration levels. The laboratory can ascertain the concentration level and type of mould and provide an independent report. It is also possible to take a dust sample and conduct a DNA analysis which is referred to as an ERMI (Environmental Relative Mouldiness) Index.
This analysis provides the identification of 36 species of mould and an overall index that relates to the potential mould load of the property. It is technically utilised for research purposes after being developed by the EPA but is a very useful tool that provides information that has been critical to assessing the mould in a property that does not present with obvious mould problems. The HERTSMI analysis (part of the same DNA dust analysis), can also provide important information for those diagnosed with CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome).
Mould testing and sampling requires specific meters, experience, specialised knowledge and other equipment to accurately obtain a valid sample. There are many ways to take samples and interpret the results and it is critical that a trained professional Building Biologist (specifically trained in mould testing and analysing mould sampling results) or an equivalent professional specifically trained in mould sampling and analysis, perform the entire mould assessment.
Independent Mould Analytical Laboratory Reports are produced and Ecolibria analyse the results together with the most important site visit and diagnosis of the property in question. Independent reports assist in identifying the genera or species that may be pathogenic and or immunocompromising and the concentrations in which they are present.
Cleaning up mould without addressing the source of the mould problem is not recommended as the mould will always return.
This is why it is paramount that the reasons why the mould is occurring, the extent of the current moisture and / or mould problem, history of water ingress and remediation and recommendations on how to address the cause should be completely understood and detailed before cleaning or remediation is conducted.
Seeing mould and simply “fogging” the property is not recommended for the above reasons as well as the fact that non-viable (dead) mould when inhaled still contain their mycotoxin and can potentially cause adverse health effects. Stopping the moisture, drying and remediating what cannot be removed and removing mould from the air, surfaces and affected materials is most important.
By taking samples in various rooms or offices it can easily be determined whether cross contamination has taken place and how serious the contamination may or may not be in different areas.
Just because you cannot see mould does not mean that it is not there in concentration levels of concern.
Airborne mould can spread to other areas of a building very easily. When you can see the mould and you are experiencing recurring colds, skin conditions, watery eyes, hormone disruption, fatigue, foggy brain and other respiratory symptoms it often indicates that mould may be a potential problem.
Moisture meters can determine whether a building material has enough moisture in it to support mould growth. Indoor air quality meters that measuring relative and absolute humidity, as well as dew point temperatures and surface temperatures (thermal cameras) are all important aspects of a mould and moisture assessment. By using these instruments it may be possible to trace the moisture path back to the source and determine the cause.
Once the cause is established it can be addressed and the clean-up can begin. Mould remediation can sometimes be a very complicated and costly exercise depending on the extent of the problem and professionals must be consulted. If you have any questions or require assistance of any kind please do not hesitate to contact us.