Air Swab and Bulk Testing

At the Mazzei Group we understand our client’s concerns surrounding Mold, Lead, Asbestos and Indoor Air Quality.  Below are some key points on what to expect if you find yourself in need of remediation or testing.

Mold remediation & testing

The Mazzei Group Construction Environmental Projects Division remediate’s mold (also know as fungi) in accordance with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene guidelines. NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene guidelines are available to the public at http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/epi/epi-mold-guidelines.pdf

Other guidelines referenced include Center for Disease Control and Prevention: a federal agency in the Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: an agency of the federal government of the United States charged to protect human health and the environment.

Three techniques are used to assess the amount of mold spores indoors. Visual inspection, smell and air sampling.

The best technique is the visual inspection, which is performed thoroughly in the areas of concern.

NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene states:

Environmental sampling is not usually necessary to proceed with remediation of visually identified mold growth or water-damaged materials.

Below is the paragraph taken from their guidelines.

We recommend sampling for the following reasons: 1) Tenants rights: If you suspect mold and your landlord is not doing anything about, testing can help your case 2) Workplace Health and safety 3) Illnesses that include persistent allergies and asthma.

Mold is measured in CFU’s (Colony Forming Units) per meter cubed (m3) Some test refer to CFU’s as spores. Below are quantitative recommendations for mold.

Quantitative Recommendations for Mold Concentrations Outdoors or Indoors

10,000 CFU/m3—very high

10,000 CFU/m3—high

1000 CFU/m3—intermediate

500 CFU/m3—low

250 CFU/m3—very low

Despite a lack of uniformity in reporting total CFU’s many health professionals suggest that if the indoor ambient concentration is less than concentrations observed in outdoor air and if the fungi detected in both are similar, then no health risk should be expected.

There is no regulatory criterion for acceptable versus unacceptable indoor air quality with respect to airborne mold spore concentration.

The primary concern with respect to airborne mold concentrations is its ability to cause an allergic reaction in susceptible individuals. It follows that one person may experience an allergic reaction to the presence of airborne mold while another may not. Additionally, varying degrees of reaction and sensitivity may also occur between sensitive individuals. It is recommended that any person with an allergic reaction or sickness seek medical treatment. They should make building management aware of their illness and discuss it with them. Building management should take precautions to ensure mold preventive measures are taken.

Airborne mold spores are everywhere in our environment. They are naturally occurring wherever a sufficient food source, moisture, and air exist. Activities as simple as disturbing soil can cause significant airborne levels. In addition, mold levels can elevate on warm damp days, and can be affected by other elements of the weather. Since most buildings are designed to introduce a certain amount of outdoor “fresh” air for a variety of reasons, we do not expect the indoor air environments to contain significantly lower concentrations of airborne mold spores than that found outside. We test outdoor air almost anytime testing is performed. The reason is to determine the source of the indoor spore concentration. The building in question is only considered to be problematic if the indoor concentrations are significantly amplified above the outdoor concentration.

Differences in the outdoor concentrations at different times can be attributed to outdoor site specific conditions present at the time of testing. Activities as simple as excavation can contribute to airborne concentrations. Ponds or other standing water can also significantly contribute to the levels found.

Mold in most cases can be identified on site, even by the homeowner.  Chances are, if you can see mold manifesting on your walls, floors or fabrics you have a mold problem.  A few common strains of mold are as follows Cladosporium, Aspergillus, Ulocladmium and Penecillium .   Although each of these individual strains comes with a different  set of breathing or fatigue issues, common sense tells us that no matter the strain of mold in our living areas, We need to address the issue in the same manner.  The fact is all of these types of mold can and do cause, Asthma, Edema, Bronchiospasam and Pulmonary Enphysema.  We’ll call that the short list of what mold in all forms can bring to your family.

NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene guidelines on sampling.

Environmental sampling is not usually necessary to proceed with remediation of visually Identified mold growth or water-damaged materials. Decisions about appropriate remediation strategies can generally be made on the basis of a thorough visual inspection. Environmental sampling may be helpful in some cases, such as, to confirm the presence of visually identified

mold or if the source of perceived indoor mold growth cannot be visually identified. If environmental samples will be collected, a sampling plan should be developed that includes a clear purpose, sampling strategy, and addresses the interpretation of results. Many types of sampling can be performed (e.g. air, surface, dust, and bulk materials) on a variety of fungal

components and metabolites, using diverse sampling methodologies. Sampling methods for fungi are not well standardized, however, and may yield highly variable results that can be difficult to interpret.Currently, there are no standards, or clear and widely accepted guidelines with which to compare results for health or environmental assessments. Environmental sampling should be conducted by an individual who is trained in the appropriate sampling methods and is aware of the limitations of the methods used. Using a laboratory that specializes in environmental mycology is also recommended. The laboratory should be accredited in microbiology by an independent and reputable certifying organization. For additional information on sampling, refer to the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists’ publication, “Bioaerosols: Assessment and Control” and the American Industrial Hygiene Association’s “ Field Guide for the Determination of Biological Contaminants in Environmental Samples.