Now you have results from the air sampling that was taken to determine if you have a mold problem. But what do all those names and numbers really mean?
As outlined in Part 1 of this series there are several types of mold that are common to our region of the United States and show up regularly on air samples. Their presence alone does not mean that you have a mold problem. Common types of mold include Cladosporium, Aspergillus/Penicillium, Basidospores and Epicoccum. These molds tend to grow on sheetrock, wood, cloth, plants, and unfinished floors.
One type of mold in particular received a great deal of bad press in 2005 due to Hurricane Katrina. After the flood waters receded in Louisiana and Mississippi, news reports of “Black Mold” filled the airways. This type of mold is called Stachybotris and is also found in our part of the country and tends to take root after building materials have remained wet for a long period of time. If your report identifies this type of mold it is generally indicative of a long term water problem and not just a single incident that was taken care of quickly. This mold can make people sick because of the mycotoxins they emit so remediation should be performed by professionals.
To determine if an actual mold “problem” exists, the interior air samples need to be compared with air samples that were taken outside of the potentially contaminated area. These samples will tell you how much of the mold inside your residence/building came from the outside environment. As a rule of thumb, an area is considered contaminated if the inside mold concentrations exceed ten times the outside levels.
Remediation of a mold contaminated area must be done carefully to prevent spreading the mold to other areas. Specific protocols need to be developed to determine removal locations, building materials to be removed, isolation procedures and how to determine if the remediation was a success. Always use fully insured remediation companies to cover any unforeseen damages created during the process.
Air samples should be taken by an independent party after the remediation is completed to compare with previous samples and the outside air. The remediation is not complete until the mold levels in the area are statistically similar to outside air sources.