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"What Do My Mold Test Results Mean?" Also please visit: Mold Test Kit Interpretation

Q. What is the acceptable level of Aspergillus and Cladosporium in a house?
          A. There no arbitrary acceptable levels for mold spore or mold colony concentrations in the mold lab results for a mold sample. The reason is that one level of mold infestation might cause no health problems for one occupant, but be devastating health-wise to another occupant in the same home or workplace. Generally, one compares indoor mold test results with an outdoor mold control test. If an indoor mold test lab results show higher levels of mold spores or grown mold colonies for a particular mold species than does the outdoor mold control test, it is presumed that there is an indoor mold problem and source for the elevated level indoors. Similarly, if an indoor mold test shows the presence of a mold species not present in the outdoor control sample, it is presumed that there is an indoor mold problem and source for that particular mold species. For tips for mold inspection, mold testing, and mold remediation.

Q.  We live in an apartment complex that has had an ongoing dispute with the owners about mold issues. They tested our apartment by an industrial hygienist and nothing was found to be of any great concern. For our own peace of mind we had our daughter tested to see if there was any contamination. She is currently undergoing chemo therapy so she has a suppressed immune system, and we were advised that if there is any kind of contamination she would be affected very easily. Her tests also came back negative for any foreign bodies in her system. Still there are some people who live in this building that feel that we as a whole are having the wool pulled over our eyes by the landlords. They have contacted a lawyer to file a suite against the owners. We did allow this lawyer to have our apartment tested once again, and we just received the results. However we do not have any kind of reference point to judge these results by. So I ask you if you know what the acceptable levels of mold species are and at what levels they become to pose a health risk Just for a reference what they claim to have found in my apartment is as follows: Cladosporium species 21 CFU/in2    Oidiodendron species 14 CFU/in2  Acremonium species 14 CFU/in2  
Yeast 7.0 CFU/in2  Fusarium species 7.0 CFU/in2  Penicillium species 2.0 CFU/in2  Alternaria species 2.0 CFU in2 Rhodotorula species 1.4 CFU/in2   Any help you could give me in this matter will be greatly appreciated.
         A. There are no magic mold levels that are acceptable or unacceptable because the huge difference in different persons' sensitivity to mold exposure. A small number of mold spores, or even the smell of mold, can make some people very sick without affecting other persons living in the same quarters. A person with a depressed immune system [such as your child], senior citizens, young children, and pregnant women [and their fetuses] are particularly vulnerable health-wise to even modest amounts of mold exposure. A very good discussion on how to analyze the significance of mold levels from viable mold testing is contained at: Mold Test Kit Results Interpretation. Your test results were probably done by the inferior nonviable testing method. You need to pay for your own mold testing of your own apartment using only viable mold testing so that you have more accurate mold readings and much more accurate mold identification rather than the guesses that are involved in nonviable testing. Use one of our Certified Mold Inspectors or use our do it yourself mold test kits. The mold levels reported can cause serious health problems to tenants because they are inhaling airborne mold spores hour after hour, day after day. The cumulative exposure to mold by apartment dwellers is very devastating to their health. Once the mold spores are in their bodies, the molds can grow and multiply inside sinus cavities and the lungs and elsewhere in the body. Remember that the lab is reporting number of spores [colony forming units---cfu] per square inch. Calculate the number of square inches in each apartment in width by length of apartment, multiplied by room height, and you will find that the apartment are theoretically inhabited by huge numbers of unhealthy mold spores. The mold spores discovered in the mold analysis are very unhealthy [except for non-mold yeast]. Why doesn't your attorney get a projection of total mold in each apartment from the mold laboratory and the mold inspectors who did the testing? They are the ones who can help you the most. If you need a second testing to corroborate the existence of a serious mold problem, you should hire a Certified Mold Inspector

          Q. I recently had my home inspected for mold prior to completion of selling it. The inspection report listed the results of an air sample from the crawlspace and an air sample from outside the house (as a blank). The total mold count on the blank was higher than the crawlspace sample. The determination of the tester was that the house needed immediate treatment to disinfect the entire house with Clorox and a couple of fungicides and and they would be pleased to do it for $ 3,000. The question of the blank being essentially the same as the in-house sample was never addressed. To me either the house has no problem (same as outside air) or the tests were invalid and needs to be retested. This whole event strakes me as fraudulent - I have little time before wanting to complete the sale of my home and the mold inspection issue must be answered. I have listed the test results below - I would like your second opinion as to what action is required.

Mold Test Data (92.9 L air) Colony Counts:
         In - house / crawlspace air sample
altemaris alternata 1
aspergillius ochraceus 24
basidiomycetes 12
cladosporium 12
penicilium 41
Total 90

       Outside sample - "blank"
altemaris alternata 1
aspergillius niger 1
aureobasidium pullulans 64
basidiomycetes 26
cladosporium 17
penicillium 5
Total 114

        A. Your mold test results show the significant presence of aspergillius ochraceus species [24] INSIDE the crawl space but NO presence whatsoever of that species in the outdoor test. When a mold species is present in meaningful numbers INSIDE and it is NOT present at all in the outdoor control sample, the conventional wisdom in the mold industry is that there is an internal water problem and a resulting. internal mold problem that caused the inside mold to grow. In addition, the crawl space test discovered Penicillium [41] in a much bigger number than the outdoor control test finding for Penicillium [5]. When a mold species is present in meaningful numbers in greater numbers than found in the outdoor control test, the conventional wisdom is that there is an internal source for the mold species [a water problem and mold infestation problem indoors].  The fact that the contractor has proposed to use ineffective chlorine bleach to try to kill mold is a big reason not to hire that particular contractor. Learn why chlorine bleach is not effective in mold killing by visiting: Mold and Bleach. You do not want to pay for any mold remediation by any company until you have found the water problem that made the mold grow in the first place, and until you have have had professional mold inspection and mold testing everywhere in your home including testing the air of all rooms, the attic, and the air flow out of heating/air conditioning duct registers for elevated levels of unhealthy mold spores. You also need to get at least 3 competitive bids by a Certified Mold Remediator.
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