Important Mold Testing Background

Molds are ubiquitous in the environment.  As such, there are no regulatory standards regarding exposures to mold spores or even consistent guidelines for interpreting indoor mold concentrations.  Most industry sources agree that it is not possible to recommend limits for mold concentrations due to the lack of data from which the concentrations can be linked to the onset of disease.  Also, airborne mold concentrations may change according to spatial and temporal variations.  Numerical standards and guidelines for mold; therefore, are not likely to be available in the near future.

Without standards and guidelines, the current approach to interpretation of results of mold samples relies on comparison of indoor versus outdoor results and affected versus non-affected area results.  In general, indoor airborne mold counts should be significantly lower than those on a building exterior.  Airborne mold counts in non-affected areas should also be significantly lower than those in complaint areas.  In addition, the genus/species identified indoors should be similar to those identified in exterior samples.  However, this may not always be consistent.  Occupied buildings with many entrances and operable windows may have indoor mold airborne concentrations higher than, or as high as those from the exterior.  Also, the concentrations of exterior mold genus/species are likely to be lower on a cold or rainy day compared to the expected concentrations on a warm, sunny day when the spores may be abundant.  A situation may be considered unusual when the airborne mold concentrations in the indoor/affected area are significantly higher than those in the exterior/non-affected area.  Interpretation of these results requires considerable professional judgment.

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