Toxic Mold Testing

If a homeowner is tackling the toxic mold himself, he should invest in a facemask, safety goggles, and household rubber gloves, as inhaling or touching toxic mold can be poisonous. A mask, particularly the kind used by carpenters to keep from inhaling sawdust, would work well for this task.

Lift-tape testing is an easy and effective way to test toxic mold. Using 1-inch wide and 3-inch long, clear adhesive tape, fold the tape under itself, sticky-side to sticky-side, and form a tab. Holding the tab, press the tape onto the mold-infected surface hard enough to get a sample on to the tape. However, do not press so hard that the sample gets squashed, as that will obscure important characteristics of the mold structure. It is advisable to prepare two or more samples of mold.

Press the tape, sticky-moldy-side down, to the inside wall of a new, unopened zipper bag. Freezer bags work best, as they are broad and will keep the tape flat. As you press the adhesive tape onto the bag, stick down first the free end that you did not touch, and then press down the rest of the tape onto the bag by pressing on the non-sticky side of the tape. You can then send it to the Mold Inspector Laboratory for laboratory analysis and identification.

This technique is called Direct Sampling and is considered the best means to identify visible toxic mold in a home, office, or other building. As toxic mold spores are rarely airborne (unless disturbed physically), direct sampling may be the only way to know if you have toxic mold spores in the building.

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