It is estimated that over twenty-five percent of all homes in the United States contain some degree of toxic mold. Exposure to toxic mold, especially black mold remains a serious problem in the building and construction industry as well as for those who have fallen ill from such exposure.
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For property owners and management companies, a valid legal claim based on toxic mold infestation can mean facing significant liability for which insurance coverage is not always available.
One way to reduce the potential for danger is through the process of mold testing during the initial construction phase and after the building has been completed.
Types Of Mold Testing – Infrared Technology
It is highly recommended that you use a certified mold inspector to do your testing. Certified mold inspectors are trained, experienced and familiar with a wide variety of testing modalities used to detect the presence of toxic mold and the best and most effective ways of eradicating the problem.
One of the most popular types of screening is through the use of infrared thermal moisture detection. The main advantage in using infrared testing is that it determines both the presence and quantity of moisture within certain areas of a structure such as between walls, ceilings, basement, pipe and roof leaks.
Air Mold Monitoring
Air monitoring is mostly used to locate the presence of black mold. It is designed to determine both the location and extent of toxic mold contamination.
Mold Testing By Swab And Tape Lifting
A fast and easy method to test for the presence of mold is to swab the surface area that is suspected of mold growth. The swab is then placed in a seal tight tube and transported to the lab for testing.
Another popular and inexpensive form of mold sampling and testing is through the tape lifting method. Once a suspected area is located, the next step is to transfer the mold samples from the tape on to a microscope slide, which is then analyzed by an independent lab. Results for both methods of testing are usually available in just a few days.
Common Types Of Interior Molds
Based on internal residential air quality studies, there are literally hundreds of different types of indoor mold strains. Mold strains can be found in both older structures as well as in new construction.
The most common types of indoor mold infestation include, aspergillus mold, cladosporium mold and stachybotrys mold, AKA black mold. However as we shall, see not all molds are dangerous to our health. The following types of mold categories range from benign to highly toxic strains.
Allergenic mold is the most common type of indoor mold growth and is not considered dangerous to our health. It can however be an obnoxious irritant if one is predisposed to eye, nose and throat allergies or have asthma and certain forms of bronchitis. This can be especially problematic for young children.
Pathogenic molds are most commonly associated with the risk of infection – especially if the person has low immunity level to airborne toxins. In cases of high exposure, pathogenic molds have been tied to an increased risk of pneumonia.
Certain types of mold can be extremely dangerous to ones health and is sometimes responsible for life-long respiratory illness and other types of serious health complications ranging from short-term respiratory irritation to the possibility of getting cancer. The most notorious of these forms of mold is the infamous black mold.
Black mold is among the most feared and dangerous forms of mold. Currently, there are over one hundred strains of toxic mold, all of which can cause moderate-to-severe health problems for both children and adults.
Most types of toxic mold are drawn to moisture and can grow on tiles, wood, carpeting, and even forms of insulation. Many different types of toxic mold can find their way into the interior of a building through cracks in doors, windows, and unprotected ventilation systems.
Eradication Of Toxic Mold – Starts With Mold Strain Testing
Cleaning up and preventing further recurrence of toxic mold can be both problematic and costly. Even if the inspection and cleanup crew is unable to visibly see the mold, locating the mold-producing conditions, such as puddles of water and leaks behind walls or between ceilings can inform the mold tester where the mold is located and how to eradicate it.
In conclusion, if you suspect mold infestation, the first thing you should do is have your home tested for mold. The test results will also indicate whether the removal and clean-up project will require professional extraction and how much that will likely cost.
We recommend obtaining a certified and independent mold inspection service rather then having the subject builder or responsible contractor provide you with report results.