Our Mold Inspection Service is a Combination of Initial Inspection and Testing
We Perform 7 Types of Mold Testing Options With Our Initial Inspection:
- Instant Results - Surface Sampling for Black Mold (Viable and Non-Viable)
- 24 hr Results Air/Surface Sampling for Living Mold (Viable)
- Air Sampling for Mold (Viable and/or Non-Viable) – Laboratory Analysis
- Surface Sampling for Mold (Species Identification) – Laboratory Analysis
- DNA sampling (ERMI Test) for Mold – Laboratory Analysis
- Instant Results - Surface Bacteria (Including Mold) Testing for ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate)
- Instant Results - Air Laser Particulate Counter Testing - Air Quality Assessment
Instant Results - Surface Sampling for Black Mold
The 5-minute mold test includes specific antibody-based tests against more than 34 different Aspergillus/Penicillium and Stachybotrys mold types that cause discomfort and illness.
We test the settled dust in the room of concern or suspect areas of possible contamination. This test uses the same proven lateral flow assay technology employed in medical labs and is validated in an U.S. EPA-licensed and AIHA-accredited environmental lab as the most sensitive and accurate rapid tests available.
You are provided with the results in a report. This testing option saves you the initial, additional expense of laboratory analysis. Confirming mold present or not, may be sufficient to satisfy your concerns and assist you on what action to take next.
However, you do have an additional option of further types of testing and laboratory analysis – additional costs apply.
24 hr Results - Air/Surface Sampling for Living Mold (Viable) – With Option for Further Comprehensive Laboratory Analysis if Desired
Surface and/or Air Sampling testing conducted for actively growing mold only.
Samples are locally incubated for 24 hours, then analyzed and interpreted
for the presence of living - viable mold.
You are provided with a report that will characterize the suspected mold samples as one of the following: (1) absent (2) light (3) moderate (4) heavy.
This test does not provide qualitative or quantitative results (types of
mold, spore count). This test provides you with just the confirmation that
living - viable mold is not present or not. If present, you are provided
with the general concentration level of mold.
This testing option saves you the initial, additional expense of laboratory analysis. Confirming living mold is present or not, may be sufficient to satisfy your concerns and assist you on what action to take next.
The combination of our on-site service and 24 hour testing is generally used to help determine the source (root cause) of the mold and determine if the mold is living (viable).
We inspect for to determine if the right combination of food, heat, and moisture are present for the mold spores to grow and multiply. If mold is viable, then it can multiply and increase in concentration and create a stronger effect on a person or affect more people. This includes the fact that it can produce an allergic response.
If your test results are positive for living – viable mold, we provide the further option of sending your sample(s) for a complete laboratory analysis for species and if the mold spores are pathogenic (causing disease to humans) - additional costs apply.
Air Sampling for Mold (Viable and/or Non-Viable) – Laboratory Analysis and Comprehensive Report
Mold spores are collected from the air – sampling and subsequent analysis for:
a) Viable mold (presence of living mold only and species type)
b) Non-viable mold (total spore count as compared to outdoor sample of combined living and dead mold spores with identification only to group level).
Non-viable air sampling and analysis is the most common and least
The process for air sampling begins by extracting at least two air samples, one from outside the property which acts as the control sample and at least one indoor air sample which the will be compared against the control sample.
Once the sampling is complete, these samples are sent to an accredited laboratory for analysis. You are provided with a Comprehensive Laboratory Report.
Non-viable Air Samples
“Non-viable air samples” refer to samples that are taken on some sticky media or on a filter membrane or tape and subsequently examined directly under a microscope for enumeration and identification of mold spores and hyphal fragments without culturing. In other words, the samples are taken for analyses by direct microscopic examination (DME).
Results are presented as a listing of various categories of molds and the corresponding number of spores or hyphal fragments per cubic meter of air (Spores/m3). This term is technically inaccurate since it seems imply that the spores collected using this method are dead. However, both viable and non-viable propagules are collected but are indistinguishable under the microscope and hence both are enumerated.
The major advantage of non-viable sampling is that the observation of spores under the microscope is not dependent on the viability of spores or not. The other advantage is that since the samples do not require culturing, results can be obtained within days after the samples were collected. One of the disadvantages of this method is that majority of spores can only be identified to group level (genus) and some are recorded as unidentified spores.
Viable Air Samples
“Viable air samples” refer to samples that are taken on some growth media and subsequently incubated for mold propagules (spores and/or hyphal fragments) to germinate and form colonies. The resulting colonies are then enumerated and/or transferred to other media for identification to genus or species. Results are presented as a listing of the recovered molds and their corresponding number of colony forming units per cubic meter of air (CFU/m3).
That is, the analysis of viable air samples involves culturing. The term is also technically inaccurate because some (sometimes most) of the propagules impacted on the growth media may not germinate not because they are not viable but because of the selectivity of the growth media used, competition from fast growing molds or that some molds can only grow on living hosts.
The major advantage of viable sampling is that the molds can be identified to individual (species) level. The disadvantage of this method is that it cannot detect dead spores yet these spores can still cause allergic reactions.
Surface Sampling for Mold (Species Identification) – Laboratory Analysis and Comprehensive Report
Surface sampling (tape lift or swab) – sampling and subsequent laboratory
analysis for species level of the mold.
This test is used on visible mold or settled areas. Surface testing takes samples from surfaces to find the amount of mold growth and spores deposited around the property. Samples are collected by tape lifts or swabs.
Once the sampling is complete, these samples are sent to an accredited laboratory for qualitative analysis. You are provided with a Comprehensive Laboratory Report.
This surface sampling is tested for species identification.
DNA sampling (ERMI Test) for Mold - Environmental Relative Moldiness Index
The ERMI (Environmental Relative Moldiness Index) test is a dust sampling analysis offered to evaluate the health of a building. ERMI uses a DNA-based method for identifying 36 different species of mold.
DNA sampling is commonly referred to as the ERMI test. ERMI is the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index – the combination of EPA research, powerful PCR technology, and a new method to screen homes for mold. This test has been developed as a tool to evaluate the potential risk of indoor mold growth and associated health effects.
How Does ERMI Work?
The ERMI test involves the analysis of a single sample of dust from a property. We use a certified HEPA vacuum to secure the sample from two locations within your property. The sample is sent to an accredited laboratory and analyzed using mold-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction (MSQPCR), a highly specific DNA-based method for quantifying mold species. A simple algorithm is used to calculate a ratio of water damage-related species to common indoor molds and the resulting score is called the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index or ERMI. The ERMI value is typically between -10 and 20.
In order to most effectively use this new tool, the ERMI must be compared to a national database. Indices were determined using this method for 1,096 properties across the U.S. as part of the 2006 HUD American Healthy Home Survey. Individual indices, ranked from lowest to highest were used to create a national Relative Moldiness Index (RMI) Scale.
What Are The Advantages of ERMI Testing?
The ERMI test offers several advantages over traditional mold screening methods. Carpet/floor dust acts as a reservoir for mold spores and is more representative of mold levels over time versus short-term air samples. The use of MSQPCR for this test allows for increased precision as it is based on a biochemical assay using calibrated instrumentation.
You are provided with a Comprehensive Laboratory Report.
Instant Results - Surface Bacteria Testing ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) – Report Provided
We test and real-time measure residual organic matter that is on a surface,
device, or piece of equipment. ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) is an enzyme
that is present in all organic matter – living, or once living – including
mold, blood, saliva, and bacteria.
Our instant swab test for mold is a simple test that takes only seconds to perform and give results.
We swab for ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) to help assess the potential for biological contamination on surface areas. These tests also serve as indicators for further testing, laboratory analysis sampling and/or establishing disinfection recommendations.
Although instant swab tests provide very quick results, they cannot be used to identify the species of mold types , understand toxicity levels, or establish hazard levels on surface areas. Any type of positive reaction to instant swab tests are only indicators of potential issues.
That said, instant ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) swabs for mold are perfect for testing hard-to-reach areas or for wet surfaces that cannot be tested using a tape lift.
Instant Results - Air Laser Particulate Counter Testing
Mold spreads in the air in tiny particles. Using our Laser Particle Counter, we are able to monitor indoor air quality and test for a variety of airborne pollutants such as bacteria, mold, pollen, smoke and other allergy and illness causing particles.
We use a particle scanners to assess air quality by counting and sizing the number of particles in the air. A reading taken from a room with a mold problem typically reveals a high number of particles that are 0.3 to 20 microns in size. This handheld tool is very useful in determining the amount of pollutants inside a building and in understanding the cleanliness level in a controlled environment.
At Pacific Decontamination Services, we perform a particle scan for air quality assessments, and as a precursor to help identify areas where air sampling may be beneficial.