Mold Testing – Good Idea?

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Mold Testing – Good Idea?

Should Mold Testing be included with a Home Inspection?

Should mold testing be included with a home inspection?
Before you spend your money on mold testing, you may find the following information helpful.

MOLD is a concern for many homebuyers and they bring that concern to their home inspection. There are four issues for most homebuyers regarding mold:

What are the health risks to the family?
Should the home be tested for mold?
What about toxic “black mold?”
What should I do if mold is found in the home?

Heath risk:

Mold should be a concern but not over emphasized. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) made the following statement regarding who is most at risk for health problems associated with exposure to mold: “People with allergies may be more sensitive to molds. People with immune suppression or underlying lung disease are more susceptible to fungal infections.” The CDC also states, “Mold exposure does not always present a health problem indoors. However some people are sensitive to molds. These people may experience symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation when exposed to molds. Some people may have more severe reactions to molds.”

Should the home be tested for mold?

According to the Connecticut Department of Health (DPH), “There are no heath based standards for mold levels for indoor air.”   The DPH also says “…there is no scientific support for designating a particular mold measurement as safe or unhealthy.”   Even if mold is suspected, the DPH says “Air sampling is not generally needed to document the presence of mold.” The national Center for Disease Control (CDC) was asked “I found mold growing in my home; how should I test the mold?” There answer was; “Generally, it is not necessary to identify the species of mold growing in a residence, and CDC does not recommend routine sampling for molds.

Toxic Mold:

The CDC says: “The term “toxic mold” is not accurate. While certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce toxins (specifically mycotoxins), the molds themselves are not toxic, or poisonous. Hazards presented by molds that may produce mycotoxins should be considered the same as other common molds which can grow in your house…There are very few reports that toxigenic molds found inside homes can cause unique or rare health conditions such as pulmonary hemorrhage or memory loss. These case reports are rare, and a causal link between the presence of the toxigenic mold and these conditions has not been proven.”

What can be done if there is mold in the home?

The simple answer is that it should be removed. The CDC gives the following recommendation: 
“In most cases mold can be removed from hard surfaces by a thorough cleaning with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water. Absorbent or porous materials like ceiling tiles, drywall, and carpet may have to be thrown away if they become moldy.” If you have an extensive amount of mold and you do not think you can manage the cleanup on your own, you may want to contact a professional who has experience cleaning mold in buildings and homes. It is important to properly clean and dry the area as you can still have an allergic reaction to parts of the dead mold and mold contamination may recur if there is still a source of moisture.

Information for this blog was obtained from the PDF documents listed below from the CT Department of Public heath and the Center for Disease Control.  Please feel free to down load them.

CT DPH on mold testing

CT DPH and the Institute of Medicine on mold

CDC on Toxic Mold

Mold Guidance For Realtors