Mold issues in homes or structures can be damaging. There’s also the health risk angle to consider. When mold appears, it could be any of the several thousand species.
There are several hundred mold species commonly found across many homes and you may wish to know the particular type you have.
Mold Sample Testing Services & Laboratories
Mold remediation efforts often seek to get rid of the problem by having them removed. If there’s a need to know the particular species (s) being tackled, then a sample is taken for testing.
If you’re dealing with this type of problem, you may wish to find out the particular mold species you may have.
Taking such action is fine.
Why Mold Species Can be Difficult to Visually Assess
Facing a mold problem opens up a ton of possibilities regarding the particular variant or species involved. Not all treatments have the same effect on mold growth.
The growth of certain species may persist. When it comes to appearance, you may find different colorations such as yellow, black, green, white, gray, or brown.
Also, there may be several species sharing the same color. So, the different mold colors you see may further contain many other variants.
In a nutshell, it’s difficult to know what you’re dealing with when it comes to visually assessing mold growth. Your best bet is getting some samples and sending them to a lab for proper identification.
Common Mold Variants in Homes
Still, on the issue of mold identification, certain mold species tend to be the most commonly found growing in homes. Let’s briefly consider these and their classes before getting into details about where to send your mold samples.
Among these are micromycetes, Stachybotrys, Trichoderma, Fusarium, Penicillium, Alternaria, and aspergillus.
There are still others such as acremonium, aureobasidium pullulans, Cladosporium, chromium, and ulocladium. As a way of classification, these mold species are broadly classified under three categories; allergenic, pathogenic, and toxigenic.
These categories or classes of mold make identification easier. As the name suggests, those belonging to the allergenic class easily trigger allergic reactions as well as asthmatic bouts in people with allergies.
However, such effects go beyond people with allergies with some experiencing slight symptoms.
Mold species belonging to the pathogenic class tend to attack persons with vulnerability such as those with immune system disorders.
Also, their persons faced with serious ailments or just recovering from such ailments are most vulnerable to pathogenic molds and show such symptoms.
As the name suggests, toxigenic molds are the most dangerous. These will readily cause illness even in persons enjoying good health.
Where to Send Your Mold Samples for Testing
Upon discovering mold growth around your home, there’s no way to be certain about what type you’re dealing with. This is mostly the case for persons seeking to implement definite treatment protocols to get rid of the situation.
Determining the mold species through sample testing is a thorough approach to treatment.
When mold samples are obtained, they’re sent to testing labs where microbiologists perform or carry out scientific testing or probing. This yields definite answers whose outcomes determine the course of action.
Of course, you’ll need to get the samples necessary and have them shipped to a lab.
There are lots of labs that offer testing services for all kinds of stuff. You’ll need to make your research on where to send your samples. There’s always a lab closest to the location you can send to.
Now, sending of mold samples needs to be done right.
How to Obtain Your Mold Sample For Testing
To send your mold sample(s) for testing the right way, you’ll need to get these as properly. Mold samples aren’t obtained haphazardly. There are definite ways to obtain such based on surrounding conditions.
The four sampling protocols to consider or follow include bulk, tape, swab, and wipe samples.
Following this protocol to obtain your mold sample requires removing one or two square inch pieces of the mold material. This is then placed in a clean plastic reclosable bag for onward shipment to the lab.
This is one of the simplest procedures for obtaining your mold samples for testing.
The tape sampling protocol involves the use of clear tapes.
Only clear tapes must be used for obtaining mold protocols. Frosted tapes or any other won’t be good enough. Tear off a length of tape (about 2 inches long) and ensure only the ends are held.
Now, properly position such tape in a way that it rests on the mold sample you wish to obtain. Firmly press over the mold before removing it from the surface. A sufficient mold sample should adhere to the surface.
A reclosable or Ziploc bag should be used to place the sample.
How you place such a sample in the bag is important. Ensure you tape the sample tape directly onto the inside surface of the plastic bag. Ensure one of the tape ends is folded to help with easy removal of the sample from the Ziploc bag.
Avoid making the mistake of folding or wrapping together both sides of the tape. With your mold sample obtained, it’s time to send it to the lab for proper analysis.
There are times when accessibility in obtaining mold samples proves difficult.
You may be faced with partial contact with the area or may not be able to properly position yourself to obtain the mold sample. Using the tape technique to obtain your sample may also prove impossible due to the wet surface.
Here the swab method may prove helpful. Wipe the swab over the area of mold growth and have the swab shipped to the lab. It’s best to send such overnight to preserve the condition of the sample before it reaches the lab.
This is one of the most difficult conditions for obtaining mold samples and should only be adopted when none of the protocols mentioned above seems to work.
Labs are established to test all kinds of stuff including mold. This is where to send your mold samples using any of the sampling protocols listed above.
This way, you get to know exactly the type of mold problem you’re dealing with.