Is sampling for mold needed? According to the EPA, “In most cases, if visible mold growth is present, sampling is unnecessary. Since no EPA or other federal limits have been set for mold or mold spores, sampling cannot be used to check a building’s compliance with federal mold standards. Surface sampling may be useful to determine if an area has been adequately cleaned or remediated. Sampling for mold should be conducted by professionals who have specific experience in designing mold sampling protocols, sampling methods, and interpreting results. Sample analysis should follow analytical methods recommended by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), or other professional organizations.” (Source: EPA)
Although no federal guidelines exist on mold spore counts, we can compare the number of indoor mold spores to the number of outdoor mold spores, to get a relative idea of the levels of mold present in the tested environment. Thus, when a mold inspection and test is needed, knowing the indoor and outdoor spore counts is essential.
The circumstances in which mold testing can be useful includes the following:
- To determine if a Condition 2 (indoor environment contaminated with settled spores from a Condition 3 area) is present (See How Would You Know if you Have a Mold Problem? section for description of Condition 1, Condition 2, and Condition 3 environments).
- Reports of musty odors, water damage, roof leaks, or plumbing problems and there is suspicion that elevated mold may exist in the air and behind walls.
- Post Mold Removal Clearance Testing to ensure that previous mold issues have been resolved and mold counts have returned to levels found in normal environments.
- Occupant complaints of suspected illness from building
- In response to code enforcement actions by local agencies (See blog post discussion on SB 655 here: Senate Bill 655: Visible Mold Growth Added as a Condition That Can Render a Dwelling as Substandard
- Real Estate transactions for the protection of buyers and sellers
- Interest in a general air quality test of their environment
- Due Diligence for Clients
- Disclosure Requirements
- Lender Requirements to close escrow