With the increased concern about mold and it’s affect on a health, many homeowners are asking the question, “Should I have my home tested or sampled for mold?” In most circumstances, the answer to that question is no.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises that mold sampling usually isn’t warranted if you can see visible mold growth. There are currently no threshold limits for mold or mold spores, so sampling a home for mold will not tell the homeowner whether or not their home’s mold sample falls within an acceptable standard for mold exposure. Also, mold identification usually is not necessary because all molds have the potential to cause unfavorable health reactions, especially in people that have pre-existing sensitivities. Regardless of the type of mold or the amount of mold, it should not be allowed to grow in your home. Once you find it, you should take steps to remove.
For specific information about mold removal and remediation guidelines, follow the EPA's key steps for remediation.
For information about hiring a mold contractor, visit Hiring a Mold Consultant or Contractor.
What should you do if you see mold in your home? The first thing is to do some investigation. Mold is a sign of excess moisture. You need to determine the source of moisture and control or eliminate it. Moisture can come from many sources, including leaks, condensation, and ground water. Once you determine the source, take measures to correct the problem.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) created a fact sheet explaining why it does not support mold testing as a first response to indoor air quality problems. For more information about MDH's stance on testing, visit Testing for Mold.
For individuals who, for their own peace of mind, want to have a sample tested for mold, a sample can be sent to the North Carolina State University Plant Disease and Insect Clinic. There are specific instructions and costs associated with the sampling that can be found on their website. Keep in mind that this test will only give you a classification of the type of mold present. It will not provide you with information regarding clean up or suggestions for correcting the associated moisture issue.
Publication date: Sept. 16, 2014
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