The presence of mold growth indoors is not normal and may pose health and/or comfort risks to some exposed occupants. Mold growth requires spores (“seeds”), favorable temperatures, a food supply, and moisture. Like plants, mold grows by spreading, and the release of spores. Mold easily spreads outward under favorable conditions. However, if conditions are unfavorable for growth, mold will go dormant and release spores into the air so they can find a suitable environment for survival.
Moisture, nutrients, and favorable temperatures can lead to mold growth in water-damaged materials in 24 to 48 hours. Affected materials should be dried promptly to prevent germination and subsequent mold growth. Relative humidity levels less than 30% yield little growth. Humidity levels greater than 70% yield optimal growth. Nutrients include dust, dirt, soiled surfaces, and organic building materials (e.g., wood, latex paint, drywall, and carpet). Ideal temperatures for mold growth range from 40° F to 100° F. Since this range encompasses comfort temperatures for occupied spaces with ordinary nutrients already available, it is no wonder that mold has many opportunities to propagate
Health effects of fungal exposure are reported to include sensitization, infection, irritating effects (rashes, etc.), Organic Dust Toxic Syndrome (ODTS). Other reported toxic health effects include headaches, respiratory ailments, inhibition of the immune system, lung disease, cognitive memory loss, and brain damage. The Mayo Clinic and others have published studies associating dampness with cough, wheeze, asthma, and respiratory infection. Exposure may be due to spores, or the mycotoxins that fungi emit. Mold’s characteristic “musty odor” is due to these microbial volatile organic compounds (mVOCs) released by fungi.
The purpose of a mold testing/inspection is to determine the presence of mold spores in an indoor environment. Our mold IAQ test will determine what kind of mold genus is present, the (raw count) amounts found in the air and if the number of spores found are normal for that environment or elevated. The number of IAQ samples are dependent on the size and configuration of the building and other living area under the HVAC system. The IAQ test will be performed in accordance to the strict guidelines and protocol established by IAC2, IAQA, EMSL, PRO-LAB and ESA organizations.