FORENSIC LAB TECHNICAL PROCEDURES - CONTENTS: Technical Laboratory Procedures when Testing for Mold and other Indoor Environment or Air Quality IAQ Contaminants. Mold test lab procedures. Mold cleanup or remediation procedures - testing for post mold remediation clearance
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Technical Procedures for Building Investigation & Forensic Microscopy:
This article series answers most questions on what to do about mold, providing expert, un-biased information for owners, occupants, inspectors. How to recognize mold, how to test mold, how to clean up or remove mold, how to prevent mold in buildings, and what mold related illnesses and symptoms have been reported are all discussed in depth.
Good Laboratory and Microscope Procedures are critical in making sense of environmental test field samples just as good and thorough field investigations produce more useful results than a quick "air test for mold" or "culture test for mold" performed with no building inspection and no client history collection.
Competent, trained, experienced aerobiologists, mycologists, and microbiologists can identify mold or other particle sample contents with good accuracy.
Depending on the experience of the laboratory, it is also possible to interpret the meaning of the sample for the building and its occupants. Laboratory professionals who have also performed the field inspection can make useful extrapolations from lab results. Hasty work by disinterested parties may be less than accurate or useful for building occupants and owners.
BIBLIOGRAPHY of MOLD Identification, Aerobiology, Forensic Microscopy - References used in our Laboratory for Aerobiology, Mycology, Indoor Air Quality Investigations, Particle ID, Forensic Microscopy, etc.
MUSEUMS & RESTORATIONS:Cultural Heritage and Aerobiology Mandrioli, Caneva, and Sabbioni (English version), museum artifact preservation from mold, acid gases etc. - book review in Pan American Aerobiology Association Newsletter
MOLD LEVEL REPORTS Reporting the Results of Mold and IAQ Investigations & Clearance Inspections: what should be included
Our Field Investigation Service our senior expert goes where no one else wanted to look, uses non-invasive tools and sophisticated testing equipment for mold, gases, moisture, air quality, contaminants, Building problem diagnosis.
MOLD TEST PROCEDURES - Valid and in-valid mold testing methods & protocols. Are some mold test kits junk science?
AIR TESTS for MOLDSamples & their interpretation - a brief tutorial on indoor air sampling for mold - are spore counts per cubic meter of air accurate and valid? Using air sampling to determine if a mold problem is "present" or "absent" and the role of cultures for "viable spore sampling" are criticized. Air sampling used alone is an unreliable way to look for mold and is highly questionable as a means of characterizing a precise mold exposure level indoors.
TOXIC MOLD TEST METHODS COMPARED, also Toxic Gas Testing Methods and MVOC's - valid vs. invalid methods, recommendations compares air sampling for mold, surface or tape sampling for mold, culture or swab sampling for mold, and gas MVOC sampling methods for mold or other toxins, and organizes links to papers on each of these topics.
A Comparison of Some Indoor Air Sampling Devices - simultaneous application of popular sampling cassettes and slide samplers allows comparison of typical particle collection variation by device in actual field use. A field study in process by DJF, 2008 - 2005 (Technical Paper)
Burkard personal air sampler used by many residential investigators (we use multiple units simultaneously in some investigations). We also employ other residential building sampling equipment for surface, air, vacuum, and bulk sample collection methods as well as for gases.
Alternative, low-cost air sampling equipment and methods such as the mini-vacuum pump and Zefon Air-o-Cell or Allergenco-d cassettes or MCE filter cassettes for viable, non-viable or other forensic particle identification in buildings. A field study in process by DJF, 2005 - 2006 (Technical Paper)
Allergenco Mk-III time-lapse impaction air sampling equipment - study changes in particle dispersion under varying conditions (furnace on/off) A field study in process by DJF, 2004 - 2006 (Technical Paper)
Mold Testing: Bulk or Tape Surface Samples and their interpretation - a quick tutorial A brief introduction to using adhesive tape to collect particle samples such as from mold-covered surfaces; scrapes onto microscope slide and other methods also used by do-it-yourselfers and by experts
Vacuum Samples of Building Cavities: Wall Check™ type vacuum pump and canister permits "sampling" of mold and allergens in wall, ceiling, and floor cavities but our direct field testing
indicates that this method is highly unreliable.
Working with Louis Relle, a Louisiana mold remediation expert on a New Orleans Building which was to be demolished we collected wall-check samples from every suspect Building cavity.
When the building interior surfaces were demolished we then performed a visual inspection and collected bulk surface samples using tape.The wall check samples were completely unable to detect large and significant mold contamination in the cavities of this building.
We postulate that even with mechanical agitation (banging on the wall during wall check sampling) the flow rate of the sampling method does not move enough air to reliably pick up surface contamination unless the mold genera/species happens to be at a particularly high state of active sporulation. The tool remains in the professional's arsenal, to be used with discretion.
Vacuum samples of Soft Goods of carpeting, drapes, furniture, clothing permits testing for mold contamination. We use this method for screening of areas where mold is not visible, and in clearance testing.
SEND A MOLD TEST SAMPLE TO A LAB: 6 EASY STEPS for a Mold Test: How to Collect Mold Samples Using Adhesive Tape and Plastic Bags - a low-cost high-quality and very easy method to send a mold sample to a mold laboratory for analysis Use this simple, economical mold test kit by following our instructions on how to collect and mail mold samples to a lab
Formaldehyde: US EPA. UFFI (Urea Formaldehyde Foam Insulation) was previously considered a hazard (formaldehyde outgassing). Original source: epa.gov/iedweb00/formalde.html. Subsequent research virtually closed concern regarding this material; however formaldehyde appears to remain a health concern for sensitive individuals. Original source carsondunlop.com/OBS/pdf/uffi.pdf .
OZONE WARNINGS - Use of Ozone as a "mold" remedy is ineffective and may be dangerous.
Sampling for gases in air such as VOC's, MVOC's, toxic chemicals, and combustion products.
Unfortunately no single test or tool can detect all possible Building contaminants. We use methods and equipment which can test for common contaminants. If the identity of a specific contaminant is known in advance we can also test for a very large number of specific contaminant gases in buildings.
We use gas sampling equipment provided by the two most reliable companies
in the world, Draeger-Safety's [web page] detector-tubes and Drager accuro� bellows pump, the Gastec� cylinder pump
and detector-tube system produced by Gastec or Sensidyne, [web page] and
we also use Sensidyne's Gilian
air pump. [web page] For broad screening for combustibles and a number of other
toxic gases and for leak tracing we also use Amprobe's Tif8850. All of these instruments, their
applications, and sensitivities (minimum detectable limits) for specific
gases are described in our GAS SAMPLING PLAN online document.
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AIRBORNE PARTICLE ANALYSIS METHODS - Airborne Particle Calculations,
How to calculate airborne particle concentrations for mold, IAQ, allergens, or other forensic particle studies - Mold Test Laboratory SOPs
LAB & FIELD IAQ EQUIPMENT SOP - Forensic Microscopy, Particle Identification & IAQ Investigation Field Equipment Specifications, including physical properties (such as particle trace dimensions) and calibration data for air sampling and other test equipment
For most-recent microscope optical measurements: field width data and calibration see: Olympus-CH-2.xls & Polam Optics.xls Calibration is repeated no less than when an objective is removed/replaced or other microscope optical or
stage components are removed/replaced, or if a new technician is employed.
For most-recent calculations of % of trace represented by n cross-scans see: Particle Counts.xls
For automated calculations of particles or spores per cubic meter of air (spores/M3)
from raw airborne particle counts see: @SporeCountWork.xls
For spore count worksheets see: sheet 2 of @SporeCountWork.xls
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
Kansas State University, department of plant pathology, extension plant pathology web page on wheat rust fungus: see http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/path-ext/factSheets/Wheat/Wheat%20Leaf%20Rust.asp
"A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home",
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency US EPA - includes basic advice for building owners, occupants, and mold cleanup operations. See http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.htm
US EPA - Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Building [Copy on file at /sickhouse/EPA_Mold_Remediation_in_Schools.pdf ] - US EPA
US EPA - Una Breva Guia a Moho - Hongo [Copy on file as /sickhouse/EPA_Moho_Guia_sp.pdf - en Espanol
"A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home", U.S. Environmental Protection Agency US EPA - includes basic advice for building owners, occupants, and mold cleanup operations. See http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldguide.htm
"Disease Prevention in Home Vegetable Gardens,"
Department of Plant Microbiology and Pathology,
Department of Horticulture, University of Missouri Extension - extension.missouri.edu/publications/DisplayPub.aspx?P=G6202
Fifth Kingdom, Bryce Kendrick, ISBN13: 9781585100224, is available from the InspectAPedia online bookstore - we recommend the CD-ROM version of this book. This 3rd/edition is a compact but comprehensive encyclopedia of all things mycological. Every aspect of the fungi, from aflatoxin to zppspores, with an accessible blend of verve and wit. The 24 chapters are filled with up-to-date information of classification, yeast, lichens, spore dispersal, allergies, ecology, genetics, plant pathology, predatory fungi, biological control, mutualistic symbioses with animals and plants, fungi as food, food spoilage and mycotoxins.
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
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The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
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