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Free Encyclopedia of Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, Repair
ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS - INSPECT, TEST, REMEDY
MOLD: A COMPLETE GUIDE to TEST CLEAN PREVENT
ART CONSERVATION - Cultural Heritage and Aerobiology
ARTWORK MOLD CONTAMINATION
BIODETERIORATION AGENT & STAIN CATALOG
BLOOD in ART WORKS, TESTING FOR
BOOK MOLD, Moldy Book Cleaning
Diagnostic Building & Environmental Inspection & Testing
Diagnostic & Forensic Inspections, Tests, Fees
Environmental Inspections, Tests, Fees
FORENSIC BUILDING INVESTIGATION SERVICES
FORENSIC PARTICLE LABORATORY SERVICES
GAS EXPOSURE EFFECTS, TOXIC
GAS DETECTION INSTRUMENTS
HUMIDITY LEVEL TARGET
KAHLO NOYOLA COLLECTION REFERENCES
LEAD POISONING HAZARDS GUIDE
LEAD TEST KIT for HOME USE
ODORS GASES SMELLS, DIAGNOSIS & CURES
OZONE for MOLD OR ODORS
MOLD on ART WORKS, TESTING FOR
MOLD ATLAS & PARTICLES INDEX
MOLD EXPERT, WHEN TO HIRE
MOLD GROWTH on SURFACES, TABLE OF
PAINT FALURE, DIAGNOSIS, CURE, PREVENTION
PAINT FAILURE Inspections, Tests, Fees
SICK HOUSE IAQ QUESTIONNAIRE
SMELL PATCH TEST to Track Down Odors
STAIN & BIODETERIORATION AGENT CATALOG
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING EXTERIORS
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING INTERIORS
STAINS on INDOOR SURFACES: PHOTO GUIDE
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on STONE
STAINS & Thermal Tracking
TECHNICAL & LAB PROCEDURES
THERMAL TRACKING & HEAT LOSS
TRAPPED MOLD BETWEEN WOOD SURFACES
WTC Dust Photos
This article describes forensic microscopy and aerobiology test laboratory methods & services used to accept and test both mold-expert-collected mold samples and client-submitted test samples for toxic mold, allergens, gases, odors, sewage backups, other indoor particles or other indoor contaminants that may be present in buildings.
This website provides free, in-depth information and procedures for finding, testing, cleaning and preventing indoor mold, toxic black mold, green mold, testing building indoor air quality, and other sick house / sick building investigations. We give in-depth information about mold and other indoor air quality problems: causes of respiratory illness, asthma, or other symptoms such as neurological or psychological problems, air quality investigation methods, and remediation procedures such as mold cleanup, handling toxic mold contamination, and building or mechanical system repairs.
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On-site field investigation services are described at FIELD INVESTIGATION SERVICE. Before hiring any onsite test or investigation expert for a field investigation, inspection, or testing, be sure to review MOLD EXPERT, WHEN TO HIRE.
If you want to collect and send your own mold or other particle test samples to a lab, see TEST KITS for DUST, MOLD, PARTICLE TESTS. Readers interested in laboratory procedures should also see TECHNICAL & LAB PROCEDURES as well as DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY & the MICROSCOPE.
Mold test laboratory service includes analysis of expert-prepared field samples as well as processing of consumer-prepared adhesive-tape mail-in samples of mold or other particles.
For example, our mold testing lab provides identification services for bioaerosols such as mold, mildew, dust mites, pollen, and other allergens. We have considerable experience examining samples collected on tape, Zefon™ cassettes, MCE filter cassettes, slides, impaction air samplers, carpet, furniture, and other soft-goods vacuum samples, and in bulk material. Mold culture and bacterial surface contamination evaluation is available, and we also offer testing for carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide, formaldehyde, and other gases.
Mold test laboratory education and experience include advanced indoor air quality, culture plate identification of fungal genera/species, house dust analysis, mold fungal spore quantitative analysis (spore counts in air), and qualitative analysis (particle types and what they mean), organic, and inorganic particle and fiber identification, mold culture methods and culture speciation. We have experience and special interest in identification of particles in building dust, paint failure field and lab analysis, paint sample analysis, and general forensic microscopy.
Mold test equipment education and experience include biological microscopy, forensic microscopy, particle identification using microscopic particle manipulation, microchemistry, transmitted light microscopy, polarized light microscopy, dispersion staining, determination of refractive index, interference patterns, phase-contrast, darkfield, focal screening, and other advanced techniques.
In the lab we make use of a variety of microscopes: low-power stereoscopic examination (photo at left) of samples for characterization and high-power microscopic examination (Page top photo, up to 1920x) for broad scope particle identification (not just mold) using transmitted and polarized light as well as darkfield and phase contrast microscopy.
Forensic particle identification can extend well beyond biological matter (mold spores, cat or dog dander, insect fragments, dust mites, mite fecals) to include both organic and inorganic particles and fibers.
Particle identification is supplemented by use of Cargille™ refractive index liquid particle differentiation for identification of biological particles such as mold spores, pollen grains, animal allergens, dog, cat, mouse dander, mite fecals, cockroach and other insect particles, and non-biological particles in house dust and debris such as road dust, tire particles, diesel soot, oil burner soot, copier toner, wood and paper fragments, skin cells, possible bacteria.
These methods help assure that the lab report accurately represents the character of the samples which were submitted.
Mobile Microscopy Lab: For immediate on-site particle determination where emergency response or remediation/salvage operation evaluation is necessary we offer mobile field microscopy lab service including field preparation of test samples and light microscopic examination for particle identification.
Field samples are used to prepare slides for examination by light microscope. Our own field work collects mold or biological particle samples using a variety of methods. From the public our lab also accepts mold surface samples using clear tape. Chemical treatment and mounting media are selected based on the sample type, often including potassium hydroxide, acid or basic fuchsin, Calberla's solution, lacto phenol cotton blue, or other preparations. When lab work is in support of legal proceedings or if otherwise appropriate we prepare permanent-mount slides using glycerine jelly or other media. Slides are examined at magnifications of 10x, 100x, 400x, and 1000x using tungsten and polarized light, darkfield, etc. as appropriate.
Identification of toxic, allergenic, or cosmetic mold genera/species in the Mold Test Lab
There are more than 70,000 mold species which have been identified and an estimated 1 million remaining to be identified, so it is common to encounter unidentified spores. (Our lab photo, left, shows an Pleospora sp., an Ascomycete, being released from its perithecium.)
However fortunately, in most areas there common protagonists which have been studied and which can be identified to genera and often to species.
Because mold toxicity varies widely within a particular genera, speciation is an important step, omitted by some high-volume labs and investigators who may fail to distinguish between harmless amerospores such as basidiomycetes and potentially harmful Penicillium/Aspergillus spores in samples.
Independent inspectors as well as many Building owners or occupants may also use our mold testing laboratory service.
If you do not want to bring a professional investigator to your property, here are instructions explaining how to collect and mail mold samples to our lab for identification, analysis, and advice.
If you wish to send samples collected by other means than described in our guidelines, such as bulk mold samples or mold culture plates, please call first for special instructions and fees.
If you have questions about our instructions for mailing a mold sample to the lab or if you need to request special field or lab services.
This Low-Cost Do-it-Yourself Inexpensive Mold Test Kit Can Provide Most Accurate Results
At MOLD TEST PROCEDURES we review all of the popular mold test methods, explaining the pros and cons of each method.
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