I was disappointed by the lack of acknowledgement of the value and benefits of air sampling for mold by the interviewees in Kim Dinan’s article, “Hidden Hazards: Is Your Home Making You Sick?” [Feb. 21, Xpress]. As a registered professional environmental engineer, licensed home inspector, certified mold inspector/remediator and recognized mold expert by the Buncombe County court system, I can offer a different perspective on this pervasive health issue in our region.
I often get calls from people who are getting sick after they or someone unqualified dealt with a mold situation without the requisite knowledge, equipment and procedures. Qualified environmental professionals rely on sampling and laboratory analysis as an essential tool for evaluating exposure to environmental contaminants, mold notwithstanding. The lack of established regulatory limits for mold exposure doesn’t diminish the value of data, collected and evaluated by a competent indoor environmental professional, for making major decisions and identifying unseen health hazards.
There are normal background concentration ranges for common mold spores in the air in our region. The degree to which indoor concentrations exceed these ranges is a measure of potential health risk. Regulatory limits for mold in air are not feasible due to the complexities involved; however, there is guidance from regulatory agencies and industry standards for mold inspection and remediation.
The U.S. EPA outlines mold conditions that should be managed by environmental professionals. Industry standards include mold inspection and testing to characterize the nature and extent of contamination and airborne concentrations.
It’s true that identification of mold species is not necessary before taking measures to address mold and eliminate the underlying causes; however, it is important and a standard practice to perform air sampling, before and after mold remediation, to ensure reduction of high concentrations and effective containment during remediation. It is a disservice to the community to suggest that mold testing is unnecessary.
— John Mueller, PE
Mueller Environmental & Home Inspection
Editor’s response: Thank you for adding emphasis and information to the hazards of indoor air pollution, including mold.