The first step in an assessment is to determine if mold is present. This is done by visually examining the premises. If mold is growing and visible this helps determine the level of remediation that is necessary. If mold is actively growing and is visibly confirmed, sampling for specific species of mold is unnecessary.
These methods, considered non-intrusive, only detect visible and odor-causing molds. Sometimes more intrusive methods are needed to assess the level of mold contamination. This would include moving furniture, lifting and/or removing carpets, checking behind wallpaper or paneling, checking in ventilation duct work, opening and exposing wall cavities, etc.
Careful detailed visual inspection and recognition of moldy odors should be used to find problems needing correction. Efforts should focus on areas where there are signs of liquid moisture or water vapor (humidity) or where moisture problems are suspected. The investigation goals should be to locate indoor mold growth to determine how to correct the moisture problem and remove mold contamination safely and effectively.
The basic goals of any molds investigation are always twofold: 10 find the locations of mold growth, and 2) determine the sources of the moisture. If these can be answered by simpler or more cost-effective methods, mold testing is probably not a wise source of resources.
3.^ U.S. EPA. 2002. A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home. EPA 402-K-02-003. Washington,
D.C.: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
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