How to Use Do-It-Yourself Toxic
Many homeowners, landlords, renters, property
managers, business owners, and employees want to know, and need to know, the
precise identities of the various toxic mold species inhabiting their home, rental
property, or place of work, according to Phillip Fry,
Inspector and author of the mold
Do-It-Best-Yourself Mold Prevention, Inspection, Testing, and Remediation.
To identify correctly toxic mold
Use low-cost mold
sample collection and mold laboratory identification of mold species in
your home, condominium, office, workplace, or other commercial building
Visit lift tape sampling.
Testing Visible Mold Growth
If a resident or occupant sees mold growing on a wall, ceiling, floor,
heating or cooling duct register, or any other surface, he can scrape mold
particles off the mold growth area onto the sticky surface of the opened
mold test kit.
During such scraping of the mold growth, the tester needs to wear rubber
gloves and a full-face respirator mask with organic vapor filters (such as
the 3M brand from a large hardware, home improvement, or safety store) to
protect against toxic mold exposure.
To do the scraping, use a new or
thoroughly disinfected (with ethyl or rubbing alcohol) paint scraper.
Disinfect the scraper after each individual sampling to remove any possible
mold contaminants, and thus avoid mold cross-contamination in the sampling
process from one sample location to another.
Print clearly and neatly on a large pressure sensitive label the property
owner’s name, the property address, the precise test location at that
address, the testing date, and the type of sampling method (“mold test kit
settling”), time duration of the test ([e.g., thirty to sixty minutes) along
with the tester’s name and contact information.
The label should also include each individual test number, as listed on the
mold chain of custody form, available free from the mold laboratory. Attach
the label to the bottom of the mold test kit that contains that respective,
numbered mold sample.
Mold Testing of the Indoor Air
Use a separate mold test kit to collect a mold sample from the air of each
of these areas---
1. Heating/cooling duct register. Expose the sticky side of an open
mold test kit (one for each duct register) to the outward airflow from each
separate heating/cooling duct register. Tape the open test kit to the duct
grill so that the airflow directly hits the sticky surface.
Run the heating/cooling system on fan ventilation for 10 minutes prior to
removing the mold test kit from each tested duct register. Then close, seal,
and label each mold test kit.
2. Room Air by the Settling Method. Mold test the air of each room,
attic, basement, crawl space, and the garage by first running a cleaned fan
to stir up each room or area’s air all around for about 15 minutes.
Thoroughly clean the fan blades and fan guard with rubbing alcohol or ethyl
alcohol after the fan’s use in each separate testing location.
Then shut off the fan, open up a mold test kit, place it open side upwards
in the middle of the room [on the floor, or upon a table or chair] for
one hour to allow airborne mold spores to settle down onto
the sticky surface of the mold test kit.
Be sure to use the same time for all air test locations for the
standardization of the mold test results. Then close, seal, and label the
mold test kits.
3. Outdoor Mold Control Test. The mold lab results of the indoor mold tests
have the most significance when the results of each indoor
location’s testing can be compared with the results of the outdoor mold
The control test should be a mold test kit left open on the ground outside
the building and at least five feet beyond the drip edge of the room. Use
the same time (thirty minutes to one hour) that was utilized in the indoor
air tests for the settling method tests.
There should be no rain or snow falling.
Self-Interpretation of Mold Test Kit Results
The tester can then either watch the test kits himself for mold growth, with
self-interpretation of the mold test kit results, over a seven day time
period, or send the
mold test kit to the
mold lab immediately, or after the
self-observation growth period.
Here is how to self-interpret the
visible mold growth in the mold test kits after seven days of mold growth---
1. If the tester observes and count a
greater number of mold colonies of any particular mold colony type
(possessing the same or similar color, shape and/or structural pattern)
growing in one indoor mold test kit than in the outdoor control mold test
kit, then the tester can reasonably decide that there is a possible
indoor-generated mold infestation in the area/location involved in that
particular mold test.
2. If the tester observes a
particular mold colony type growing in a particular indoor mold test sample
that is NOT present in the outdoor control mold test, then the tester can
reasonably conclude that there is a possible indoor-generated mold
infestation in the area/location in which he conducted that particular mold
3. If the tester observes three or more of the same mold colony type growing
in one mold test kit, then the tester can reasonably conclude that there is
a possible mold infestation in the area/location in which he conducted that
particular mold test, regardless of the number of similar mold colonies
present in the outdoor control test.
Why is that conclusion possible? Consider this rat analogy: if there are
only three rats living inside a particular area of one’s home or building,
is there no indoor rat problem just because there are more rats living
immediately outside of the home or building?
It is the time-cumulative
exposure and body intake of even modest numbers of indoor airborne mold
spores that makes
residents or occupants sick from mold exposure.
Because residents or occupants spend many hours per day indoors in a home or
workplace, they are continually inhaling or ingesting mold spores.
When the mold spores
enter into the residents’ eyes, nasal/sinus areas, lungs, stomach (eating
and drinking food and beverages upon which airborne mold spores have
landed), or open body sores, the mold-spores, once inside the body, can
begin dangerous mold growth inside the body because of the abundance of body
moisture and food to eat (people’s bodies)!
4. If the tester observes three or more of the same mold colony types in
several or many mold tests taken from different areas of the home or
building, the tester can reasonably conclude that the mold species is
possibly widespread in its contamination of the tested home or building.
The most dangerous mold species to residents and occupants are the molds
that are omni-present through out the home or building, thus causing
widespread, cumulative mold exposure and body intake.
For more information about the use of mold test kits, mold laboratory
analysis, and mold species identification, please visit---