Mould Sampling as Part of an Assessment
There are a number of situations where it is considered normal to collect mould samples as part of the initial assessment. These include wide spread mould growth; Mould odours; Wet or damp materials that have not dried within 48 hours; reports of ill health symptoms or complaints; for quality control; for health risk assessments; and for species identification.
Basic Sampling techniques and principles;
Sampling is not always required but where a situation is driven by medical or legal reasons then mould sampling can be used to establish either exposure or baseline contamination.
Only professionals or technicians trained in mycological sampling techniques should perform surface sampling. Surface samples are the next level of testing after moisture readings. They can aid in identifying fungal species especially in cases where spores might be surface bound (not detected by air samples). The basic types of surface samples include tape lift-off samples; surface press plate samples; and surface swab samples.
Bulk Dust and Material Sampling;
Only professionals or technicians trained in mycological sampling techniques perform bulk sampling. Bulk sampling can be used useful in detecting a wide range of fungal species. This Method is typically performed either using a vacuum cleaner on carpets and textile surfaces, or to simply scrape off surface material. Small pieces of material can babe also removed for analysis. However, local area containment procedures should be followed when removing material from known or suspected mouldly surface.
Only professionals or technicians properly trained in advanced mycological sampling techniques should perform airborne mould samples. Airborne sampling for mould is not part of a routine assessment. A Qualified mould inspector or IAQ Assessor should be consulted in situations where health symptoms are related to mould or to time spent in a building.
The reasons for conducting airborne samples include when the ill health symptoms are reported that could be related to either mould exposure or time to spent in a mould affect building; as part of a detailed risk assessment; where mouldly odours are present but there is no apparent visible growth; as a part of clearance testing after remediation works.
Indoor air samples for should be conducted together with an outdoor air sample, as a reference. The comparison of species between the indoors and the outdoors is used to determine the source of the fungal contamination. The type of fungal contamination whether hydrophilic or xerophilic can also be determined. There are no published Australian standards for sampling for airborne mould and normally the sampling method used will be based on NISOH method 0800.