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This article describes how make effective use of light such as from a good flashlight to find hard to see mold in buildings. How we aim the light and how we actually look makes the difference between finding or completely missing light and hard-to spot indoor mold contamination on building surfaces and materials.
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Proper use of and aiming of light or a flashlight when looking for mold in buildings can make the difference between seeing and missing what might be the most important mold reservoirs in a given structure.
Like the Purloined letter problem mold may be in plain sight but may be hard to see, until you know how to look.
One result is that people who are testing mold often collect the "easy to see" mold but perhaps not the most important mold in a building. Here's how to do it right - in this brief article.
For a more extnsive article with more photos and advice on how to use lighting and how to aim a flashlight to spot hard to see mold, read USE A FLASHLIGHT. In most cases, proper use of a flashlight can help spot mold on paneling and other building surfaces.
How and where you shine light is of crucial importance when looking for mold in buildings.
Light-colored mold such as some members of the Aspergillus sp. and Penicillium sp. groups are often the dominant problem-mold in buildings but these offenders are often missed by a casual inspection because they can be hard to see on surfaces.
You need a bright flashlight and you need to know how to use it. Shine the light along the surface being examined, not straight at it.
As you'll see in the mold photographs shown here, using your light carefully can make a big difference in what mold you find and where you find it. Just looking for "black mold" risks missing the important mold in a building.
I'd suspect that it has been exposed to high moisture if not water, and that there is risk of hidden mold on the cavity side of this material. Further inspection was needed.
For our longer article with more photos and advice on how to use lighting and how to aim a flashlight to spot hard to see mold, read Mold Detection - using a flashlight to find mold - proper use of a flashlight can help spot mold on paneling and other building surfaces.
Another example of use of oblique lighting to find building defects is illustrated at PLASTER BULGES & PILLOWS.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about how to make best use of light to find hard-to-see mold contamination in buildings
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Technical Reviewers & References
Allergies, Allergens, Allergy Testing in Buildings - References & Products
Mold Contamination Testing, Cleanup, Prevention: references & products
OTHER IAQ ISSUES: How To Find and Address Other Indoor Air or Indoor Environment Contaminants Besides Mold
Mold or allergens may not be the only or even the main indoor environmental contaminant. Don't let media attention to mold cause so much enviro-scare fear that other, possibly more urgent hazards go un-addressed.