Mold and Indoor Air Testing
Potential Health Effects of Mold
Inhalation exposure to mold indoors can cause negative health effects in some people. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants and, in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Mold does not have to be alive to cause an allergic reaction in some people.
There are some specific groups of people who are potentially more easily or severely affected by mold than the average individual with no sensitivities to mold. They include infants, children, elderly people, individuals with respiratory conditions (such as allergies and asthma), and people with weakened immune systems (people with HIV/AIDS, chemotherapy patients, and organ transplant recipients).
We follow one of two initial approaches in deciding if recommending indoor air testing for mold to our clients is warranted. They are:
The Null Approach. The initial expectation is that there is no active mold growth or elevated levels of airborne spores in the home. Once on-site, a visual and sensory (smell and touch) examination of surfaces and readily accessible areas is done. This is process is used as part of every home inspection, at no additional charge to the client. If there are visual signs of active mold growth remediation is recommended. If there are signs of water intrusion, areas of high humidity, or damp spaces then an air quality test will be suggested and recommended to the client.
Testing because of circumstance. There are circumstances that would move the buyer of a new home to automatically request air and/or surface testing for mold. As previously stated, the age(s) and health history of the potential residence would be key reasons for requesting this analysis. Additionally, at the time of the initial walkthrough of the home, the potential buyers may see or smell indications that there are conditions conducive to mold growth. At the time of the purchase, having the home professionally tested and those results documented would be a great benefit. Finally, another instance that could cause concern is if there has been recent water damage due to plumbing, roof, or mechanical failure.