Air Sampling Methods for Airborne Mold

Chaetomium and other mold spores

Nonviable Air Sample

Exposure to indoor airborne mold spores and toxins commonly occurs, and can cause allergic, toxic, and irritant symptoms and diseases. It is known that mold spores and hyphal fragments are normal components of both indoor and outdoor air. The difference between healthy and unhealthy environment is determined by the amount of mold, the types of mold spores present, and a persons sensitivity or susceptibility to mold. To determine whether the air is contaminated with elevated levels of mold spores and their composition, air samples are collected and sent to an accredited laboratory for analysis.

Air Sampling Methods

Culturable Air Sample

Culturable Air Sample

There are two methods for sampling air for airborne mold. Each method has it’s advantages and disadvantages. The method selected depends on the objective of the investigation. At times both methods may have to be used. The most commonly used method is to impact air on an inert clear sticky substance. Airborne particulates including mold spores, pollen, insect parts, skin cells, and others are trapped onto the sticky surface and can be visualized under a microscope in the laboratory. Samples collected using this method are often referred to as nonviable or non-culturable samples. The terms “nonviable” or “non-culturable” are rather misleading but they are supposed to mean that the samples are not cultured in the lab. Nonviable samples are collected using cassettes such as Air-O-cell, Allergenco D, Micro 5, and many other similar cassettes. The second method for airborne mold sampling involves impacting air on some growth media. These samples are normally referred to as culturable or viable samples. Once sent to the lab, these samples are incubated for mold to grow for identification. It is important to know when to collect nonviable or viable air samples. Sometimes you may need to collect both types of samples depending on the data needed which in turn depends on the purpose of investigation.

Airborne Mold Samples Results Interpretation

Interpretation of airborne mold samples results is not easy. The large number of mold species and strains that can occur in indoor environment and the large inter-individual variability in human response to mold exposure make it difficult to set exposure limits. Therefore, the determination of whether or not a building is contaminated is often based on a comparison of the mold spore concentrations and composition in the indoor air with outdoor air. The types of mold present can tell us a lot about the building condition. For example, presence of Chaetomium or Stachybotrys is an indication of existing or previous moisture damage.

Mold Training Course in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan- April 23, 2016

A mold training course on how to recognize indoor mold, how to develop effective sampling strategies, how to interpret laboratory results and how to control mold growth is scheduled for April 23rd, 2016 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

saskatoon-training-april-23The public awareness of health effects associated with indoor mold exposure has been increasing since information is now readily available. Mold has been recognized as one of the major triggers of asthma and other respiratory diseases in recent years. As such there is increased demand for professionals who can identify the causes of mold growth and advise property managers, landlords and homeowners on how to remove and control mold growth.

The mold training course is designed to help mold inspection professionals to understand important aspects of mold growth in buildings. The course addresses where mold can grow in buildings, health effects, testing methods and interpretation of lab results, mold guidelines and steps to take to prevent future mold growth. It is the most in-depth, comprehensive mold training course on the market today.

To register for mold training course, call got mold? at 1-306-652-6653! This mold training course focuses on how to recognize indoor mold, develop effective sampling strategies, interpret laboratory results and how to control mold growth.

You will learn about:

  • The Various Types of Molds
    • What is mold and what makes it grow?
    • Which molds are more prevalent in outdoor environment?
    • Which molds are more prevalent in indoor environment?
    • What health effects are associated with indoor mold growth?
  • How to Recognize Indoor Mold Growth
    • Factors favouring mold growth
    • Signs of mold growth
    • Conducting a visual inspection and categorizing the extent of the mold contamination
  • How to Develop Effective Sampling Strategies
    • Sampling objectives
    • When to collect samples, which ones and where to collect them
    • Air samples: viable and non-viable
    • Bulk samples
    • Swab samples
    • Tape lift samples
    • Dust samples
  • How to Interpret Laboratory Results
    • Air samples: viable and non-viable
    • Bulk samples
    • Swab samples
    • Tape lift samples
    • Dust samples
  • How to Control Mold Growth and Perform Effective Mold Remediation
    Various mold remediation guidelines are discussed with emphasis to Mold Guidelines for the Canadian Construction Industry (2004).
  • Quiz and Discussion
    • Participants are given the opportunity to share and learn from each others’ experiences

Who Should Attend?

  • Industrial hygienists
  • Environmental consultants
  • Home Inspectors
  • General contractors
  • Cleaning and restoration contractors
  • Property managers
  • Insurance, financial, and legal professionals who deal with mold issues
  • Other professionals or anyone interested in increasing their knowledge or developing their decision-making skills related to indoor mold


Logistics & Lunch

The course breaks for lunch from 12:00pm to 12:45pm. Lunch and coffee/drinks are provided.

Course Venue
Details of the course venue will be provided during registration.

Course Fee
Take advantage of our promotional course fee of $399.99 (plus GST/HST). Our regular fee is $455.00 plus GST/HST. To reserve a place, please call 1-306-652-6653 today. Payment can be made by credit card (Visa or MasterCard) or by cheque. Please make cheques payable to got Mold? Disaster Recovery Services Inc.

Course Directors

Dr. Jackson N. Kung’u (B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D)

Jackson is the Principal Microbiologist and founder of Mold & Bacteria Laboratories (MBL) Inc., based in Mississauga, Ontario. He has over 27 years of experience in mycology (the study of yeasts and molds). Dr. Kung’u graduated from the University of Kent at Canterbury, UK with a Masters degree in Fungal Technology and a Ph.D in Microbiology.

Over the last 15 years, Dr.Kung’u, has been directing an indoor mold training course that was recognized by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH), the Canadian Registration Board of Occupational Hygienists (CRBOH), the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration (IICRC), the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (NACHI) and the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario (RIBO).

Dr. has personally analyzed thousands of samples for mold such as air, fluids and bulk samples collected from homes, schools, offices, hospitals, industrial, agricultural, and other environments.

James C Watson, Founder, President & CEO of got mold?

James has been to 1000’s of homes and businesses that have been flooded and or infested with mold and asbestos. Mr. Watson offers his advise and expertise to anyone who needs assistance with disaster related issues.

Cancellation Policy:

Substitutions (in writing) are welcome anytime, but please notify us as soon as possible.

Early cancellations (more than two weeks prior to the course date):
Refund of the registration fee paid, less a 25% processing charge.

Late cancellations (less than two weeks prior to the course date):
Refunds cannot be issued for late cancellations.

Course Cancelled: If, for any reason, got Mold? cancels the course, your entire registration fee will be refunded.

Please Note: To avoid inconvenience, and to ensure you will receive a copy of the relevant training documents for this course, please pre-register by phone no later than 48 hours before the program is due to start.

To register for the mold training course complete the registration form below or Call 1-306-652-6653!

Is Mold in Your House or Office Making You Sick?

Indoor mold growth is a fact of life for almost all indoor environments. While it is almost impossible to eliminate mold completely from your home or office, you can control it by manipulating conditions that support mold growth.

How to control Indoor mold Growth

By providing adequate ventilation and maintaining indoor humidity levels at between 30-60%, mold growth can controlled. Usually, mold becomes a problem if materials that are subject to mold attack remain wet or damp for more than 48 hours.

Is Mold In Your House Making You Sick?

Is mold making you sick?Indoor mold growth poses health risks. As mold grows, it produces and releases spores and/or chemical compounds into the air. The health effects associated with inhalation of these spores and chemicals may include runny nose, eye irritation, cough, congestion, aggravation of asthma, headaches, flu-like symptoms, fatigue, and other allergic reactions. Individuals with severely weakened immune systems may also get infected by molds such as Aspergillus fumigatus as a result of exposure.

One of the difficulties of diagnosing a mold related sickness is that reactions are so variable from one person to another. Whether one reacts to mold exposure or not may also depend on their health status and the type and amount of mold present. Another problem is that symptoms usually attributed to mold exposure can also be caused by other indoor pollutants.

If you suffer from allergic reactions or respiratory problems that seem to disappear when you are out of your home or office for a prolonged length of time, the cause could be in the air that you breathe in these places. As mentioned earlier other indoor pollutants could cause symptoms similar to those caused by mold. The only way to determine if mold is a possible cause of your sickness is to perform a mold test.

While not all molds are harmful, to be safe it is better to treat all molds as potentially harmful and get rid of them from your home or office. The color of the mold does not determine whether it is harmful or not. Therefore black mold is not necessarily the cause of your illness. Monitor mold growth by looking for water stains or discoloration on the ceiling, walls, floors, and window sills.

Other Reasons To Be Concerned About Mold

  • Legal Issues. Those responsible for building maintenance or health and safety of the building occupants may be legally liable for mold related sickness of the building occupants.
  • Material damage and impairment of processes. Mold, if allowed to grow, can impair the functioning of many processes from air conditioning units to electrical circuits. Surfaces of materials on which mold is growing get stained or discolored and may disintegrate over time. Wood-rotting molds are capable of weakening wooden structures.
  • Indoor mold contamination can affect businesses. Mold growth in the work place can affect the productivity of employees either directly or indirectly. A business affected by microbial contamination problems can soon see its market share fall and incur huge costs in liabilities. For example in food processing plants such as bakeries, bread can develop mold even before it leaves for the market.

Twelve Things You Must Know About Mold

Having an understanding of indoor mold is critical when one is faced with mold problems. Here we bring you 12 things you must know about mold.

12 Things You Must Know About Mold

flooded carpet

Flooded carpet: Mold develops within 48 hrs.

  1. All molds are potentially a health hazard. Mold exposure symptoms include allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory complaints. Some of the indoor molds that have the potential to cause health problems including Alternaria, Aspergillus, Chaetomium, Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Stachybotrys (black mold).
  2. Reaction to mold varies from individual to individual. However, those most susceptible to mold exposure include young children, the elderly, those with compromised immune systems, and persons with pre-existing respiratory problems.
  3. Mold spores are everywhere and it’s practically impossible to eliminate all of them from indoors. The only way to control mold growth in the indoor environment is to control moisture.
  4. Mold can cause health problems even if it is dead. That is why mold removal is recommended instead of just killing it using chemicals and leaving it indoors.
  5. If mold is a problem in your home or office, you must have it removed and the moisture problem fixed.
  6. Reducing indoor humidity controls mold growth. EPA recommends reducing humidity by:
    • Venting bathrooms, dryers and other moisture-generating sources to the outside
    • Using air conditioners and de-humidifiers
    • Increasing ventilation
    • Using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing and cleaning
  7. Drying water damaged building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours prevents mold growth.
  8. Porous moldy materials such as ceiling tiles, drywall, and carpets cannot be effectively cleaned and therefore should be replaced after fixing the moisture problem. If the moisture problem is not resolved, the mold growth will return.
  9. Condensation on cold surfaces is a major cause of mold growth. Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
  10. Molds can grow on virtually any organic substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, fabrics, leather and foods.
  11. Molds can grow undetected inside wall spaces, under carpet, and inside HVAC systems. Air sampling may help detect hidden mold.
  12. Cleanup of large areas of mold contamination can cause airborne spores to increase to levels resulting in acute mold exposure. Hiring a qualified mold removal company is recommended since they have the tools and experience required to prevent the spread of airborne mold spores throughout the house.

Are you having mold or mildew in your home?

mold and mildew

Is this Mold or Mildew?

Are you having mold or mildew in your home?

Many people will panic when the word “mold” is mentioned but are OK if “mildew” is present. Little do people know that there is no difference between mold and mildew. Online you may find statements like “Mildew is distinguished from its closely related counterpart, mold, largely by its color: molds appear in shades of black, blue, red, and green, whereas mildew is white.” This statement is misleading because some molds are also white.
The authoritative Ainsworth & Bisby’s Dictionary of the Fungi has the following definitions for mold and mildew.
Mold (also spelt as mould):
A microfungus having a well-marked mycelium or spore mass, especially an economically important saprobe.
  1. A plant disease in which the pathogen is seen as a growth on the surface of the host.
  2. the staining, and frequently the breaking up, of cloth and fibres, paint, etc., by fungi and bacteria.
  3. a fungus causing 1 or 2.
From these definitions it is clear that what we see in our homes is mold. Secondly both mold and mildew are fungi and the only difference between mildew and mold is that the former is found growing on plants as a pathogen while the latter is found growing on building materials and other dead organic materials as a saprobe. In fact some fungi are able to grow on both living hosts (plants) and also on dead organic material.

Why Do Mold (Mildew) Grow in Your Home?

Mold or mildew if you like develop from minute structures (“seeds”) called spores. These spores are everywhere including in our homes. You will find them in dust on carpet, window frames, furniture, walls, ceiling, etc. These spores may not be in large amounts to cause any health problem. The problem comes if your home has water damage due to:
  • flooding,
  • sewage back-up from flooding in the area,
  • plumbing or roof leaks,
  • damp basement or crawlspace,
  • overflows from sinks or bathtub,
  • high humidity from steam cooking, dryer vents, humidifiers, etc.
When the spores are dry in the dust they are dormant but once they get wet mold develop within 24-48 hours. The mold continue to grow unless steps are taken to eliminate the source of moisture, and effectively deal with the mold problem. It is when mold grows in your house due to moisture that you or your family are at risk of mold exposure.

What to Do if You have Mold (Mildew) in Your Home

If you suspect you have mold in your home, do not panic. Contact a qualified company that can assess the extent of mold contamination and recommend the most appropriate way to remove it and to fix the moisture problem. Do not attempt to remove the mold yourself if you don’t know what you are dealing with or if you don’t have the right tools to deal with the mold.
This article is written by Jackson Kung’U. For more of his articles, we recommend that you follow him on google+ and Facebook.