Finding the source of mold exposure is very important! A person cannot properly detoxify if they are continually exposed to mold and mycotoxins. Current exposure is the number one culprit. However, we could also be dealing with lingering past exposure or colonization. When analyzing a home, The Mold pros focus on the three points that impact indoor environments.
One important number for mold inspectors to know is the water activity, or aw. aw x 100 = % relative humidity at equilibrium
The longer a material’s aw is over 0.75, the greater the risk for fungal growth. This explains why our clients in Florida, the Pacific Northwest, and Gulf of Mexico region are more likely to have mold problems - these are all high humidity areas. However, mold growth is not exclusive to humid areas. Construction and maintenance issues can also be a proponent of mold growth. These areas can be found within any part of the home/business/school. However, problems have been found in some areas more than others. In the figure to the left by Becher et al. you can see that a majority of problems can be localized to the basement, attic, and bathrooms. Our technicians spend as much time as necessary to do a thorough inspection in the structure. We utilize state of the art equipment to find hidden moisture behind walls and difficult to find areas. Examples of some equipment that we utilize are infrared thermal cameras, moisture meters, and hygrometers.
When testing for microbes, there are eight main options for sampling: spore traps, surface sampling, invasive sampling,ERMI, HERTSMI-2, endotoxin testing, bacterial testing, and EMMA-part 1. Each of these tests comes with a set of strengths that help us to fully identify the fungal ecology problems inside the structure.
In the case of mold, when it feels threatened, it will produce toxic metabolites. There are a few different types of mycotoxins, each dependent on the species of mold, the environment, and the food source. The second part of the EMMA test is an environmental mycotoxin assessment. This is the only lab to perform this function, which is necessary for a full inspection. Mycotoxins, which are molecules, are 1000 times smaller than spores, meaning they have the capacity to infiltrate areas of buildings that spores may be unable to reach. This is why the second portion of the EMMA test is so crucial to a thorough inspection. This allows us to look for any hidden mold inside the home without conducting unnecessary demolition.
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