“Toxic Black Mold” has had many appearances in the media in the last 10 years and there have been several instances in which people, including children, have died from exposure to certain types of mold. The phrase toxic mold actually refers to the ability of mold to produce metabolic by-products called “mycotoxins”. Mycotoxins are produced by specific types of fungus that commonly grow in homes that have elevated humidity levels and low air flow (attics, basements, wall and ceiling cavities).
Toxic mold Testing involves the identification of the mold species and the appropriate laboratory analysis. There are several different types of toxic mold testing that can be performed to assess whether there is a toxic mold contamination or not. The classic test is the “spore trap” test. The spore trap test will count the amount of mold spores in the air. This is done by mounting a specially designed disk with a piece of sticky film on the inside which catches the spores air is drawn past it with an specialized machine. This film is then sent to a 3rd party accredited lab for the appropriate analysis. Another test that can be administered is the “bulk material” test in which a portion of the material in which contaminated is suspected (sheetrock, framing, carpeting) is removed and placed in a sealed plastic container and sent to the lab for analysis.
Another toxic mold testing and toxic mold inspection method is the “swab” test which involves the use of what appears to be an oversized Q-tip. This cotton swab is especially suited to capture mold spores when it is drug across the surface of the suspected mold contamination. The material from the swab is then submitted to the lab and a culture is created which will grow the various types of mold and allow for proper identification. Of the 100,000 known fungus types in the United States, only a very small fraction of these are “toxigenic” species. Unfortunately this small group of fungus happens to grow particularly well inside of homes which have moisture issues.
Never attempt toxic mold testing or toxic mold inspection yourself – to disturb any mold-like substance would potentially release hundreds of thousands of mold spores into the air and increase the risk of adverse health related issues.
A Certified Eco Tech expert will perform a toxic mold testing and toxic mold inspection, then make recommendations to resolve these issues.