There are many self proclaimed mold experts providing mold testing and remediation services. The State of Virginia does not have any educational requirements for mold professionals. Just like any other profession, you must be diligent in choosing the right person. This will not be determined by the cost of their services. You must find someone who not only understands the health effects caused by the presence of mold spores, but also the health effects of the toxins left behind. Your best resource is a healthcare provider or someone who has suffered from biotoxin illness. Most mold inspectors that routinely work with real estate agents have a different mind set. Mold can be a deal breaker! Real estate agents are not really interested in hiring someone that will find the red flags. Their goal is to get the home to closing. A quick, visual inspection with an air sample is all they are looking for.
Air samples alone are the least accurate testing method. Here’s why:
- Air samples are a 5 minute snapshot in time. This is not a true reflection of the overall air quality.
- Some molds, like Stachybotrys, are heavier and do not remain airborne very long.
- Indoor air quality (IAQ) pumps are not able to capture 100% of particulates less than 3 microns in size. Many mold spores are smaller than this.
- During the analysis, only the visible spores are counted. Smaller mold spores and fragments are either not captures or ignored in the analysis. In reality, these are the particulates that invade your body causing illness.
Once the source of mold has been determined, remediation should be treated as seriously as asbestos or lead paint abatement. Mold spores can easily spread during the remediation process when proper containment procedures are not followed. The absence of visible mold or normal air quality sample may not be an indication of a proper mold remediation. Even if all of the visible mold is removed from the property, this does not take into account the dead spores, mold fragments and mycotoxins left behind. These are the true enemies that cause many debilitating health issues. Many people spend thousands of dollars on remediation efforts only find that their health will not improve. This is why choosing a mold inspector who understands environmental illness to oversee the remediation process is so important. Below is a list of common things you may hear people say. These should be red flags!
- Mold is sealed in the wall with drywall and paint.
- Testing visible mold is irrelevant to remediation.
- What are mycotoxins?
- You should have the mold cleaned.
- Just test one room.
- Your symptoms are not mold related.
- Just run an air purifier.
- Bleach will kill it.
- You should clean it with dawn soap, vinegar, bleach or hydrogen peroxide.
- I don’t see anything. Your house is fine.
- Air samples are normal. There is no problem.
- If you don’t smell anything, you’re fine.
- You shouldn’t get rid of anything.
- Don’t worry. When we leave all of the mold will be dead.
- You can’t worry about molds. They are everywhere.
- Mold isn’t an issue once it dries out.
- There is no visible mold in air ducts. No worries.
- Mold only causes allergy symptoms.
- We should fog your house. Our fine spray reaches everywhere.
- You should run an ozone machine.