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of Epoch Analytical Inc.

EPOCH is accredited with the US National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP) for bulk asbestos sample analysis under NVLAP Code 200746-0.

NVLAP Lab Code: 200746-0

EPOCH is accredited with the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation Inc. (CALA) for airborne fiber analysis (Membership No. 3533).

Testing Accreditation No. A 3533

We value your feedback.

  1. What is mould?
  2. What are the health effects of mould?
  3. How can I prevent mould from growing in my home?
  4. What should I do if I have mould?
  5. How do I submit a sample for mould testing?
  6. What are the common mould types found in buildings and homes?

1. What is mould?

Moulds are fungi, a group of very common organisms that also includes mushrooms and yeasts. Moulds are generally found in nature and are carried indoors from the outside. More than 270 species of mould have been identified in Canadian homes.

Moulds can grow indoors in wet or damp areas, including wallpaper, ceiling tiles, carpets (especially those with jute backing), insulation material, wood and drywall.

2. What are the health effects of mould?

Most common types of moulds are generally not harmful to healthy individuals. However, exposure to mould can cause reactions depending on overall health, age and the amount of time an exposed person spends in the home.

The elderly, pregnant women, infants and young children, people with allergies, chronic respiratory illness and/or chemical sensitivities and those with weakened immune systems are most likely to experience health effects from mould.

The most common health problems associated with exposure to mould are:

  1. Eye, nose and throat irritation
  2. Runny nose, sinus congestion, frequent cold symptoms
  3. Increased asthma attacks
  4. Allergic reactions

Anyone experiencing any of these symptoms should consult a physician.

3. How can I prevent mould from growing in my home?

Control humidity

  1. Avoid excessively high and prolonged humidity/dampness in the home.
  2. Limit the use of humidifiers. When using a humidifier, follow the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions.
  3. Limit the number of fish tanks and indoor plants as these can raise the humidity level in your home.

Proper ventilation

  1. Turn on exhaust fans, particularly when bathing, showering, cooking and doing laundry.
  2. Open windows when weather permits.

Control moisture

  1. Repair all leaks and plumbing problems.
  2. Thoroughly clean and dry water-damaged carpets and building materials. Discard material that cannot be cleaned and properly dried.

4. What should I do if I have mould?

Please contact trusted and qualified professionals, Epoch Environmental Consulting, if you would like more information on mold assessments and site inspections.

Please refer to Health Canada’s recommendation below:

Addressing moisture and mould in your home

5. How do I submit a sample for mould testing?

How to Collect Samples and Test for Mold or Bacteria

Laboratory results are as good as the sample. The sample type taken generally depends on the purpose of the investigation. The importance of accurate results cannot be overstated. Test results change people’s lives.

Tip. Collecting a good sample for lab testing. There’s not much point using a lab analysis report to guide your microbial remediation decisions or recommendations unless the sample collected for analysis was truly representative of the total building contamination. The aim should always be to collect the most representative sample possible. See our course How To Take Mold Samples.

In this first section, you will learn how to safely collect and send samples for mold testing services:

  1. Cut 2-3 inches of clear scotch tape; avoid touching the sticky side by holding the piece of tape by the edges.
  2. Press the tape gently onto the surface you wish to test for mold growth.
  3. Peel the tape off surface holding the tape by the edges only.
  4. Apply sticky side of tape to the inside of the ziplock bag; do not fold the tape.
  5. Close bag and label the sample appropriately (put only one sample per bag).
  6. Fill the chain of custody form and send it together with the samples to us.

How To Collect Bulk Samples for Mold Testing:

  1. Wear suitable gloves.
  2. Cut a small piece (about 4 square inches) of the suspect material (e.g., carpet, drywall, wallpaper, wood); taking care not to disturb the mold.
  3. Place the sample inside a clean plastic bag (for example ziplock).
  4. Close the bag and label the sample appropriately.
  5. Fill the chain of custody form and send it together with the samples to us.

How To Collect Swab Samples for Mold or Bacteria Testing:

Dry swabs are recommended for wet surfaces and wet swabs for dry surfaces.

  1. Wear suitable gloves.
  2. Remove swab from tube (If using swabs with a wetting agent, drain most of it on the sides of the tube before sampling).
  3. Swab the test surface by rolling the swab lightly back and forth. For quantification of the amount of mold or bacteria on the test surface, swab a known surface area (for example, 100 square centimeters).
  4. After swabbing, insert the swab in the tube – Firmly close cap and label the sample appropriately.
  5. Fill the chain of custody form and send it together with the samples to us.

Larger areas

Areas of mould larger than three patches (each patch more than 3 feet by 3 feet in size) should be cleaned by professionals.

In all cases, the underlying cause of water accumulation or prolonged high humidity must be corrected or mould will continue to grow or reoccur. Regularly inspect your home for signs of moisture problems or water damage (musty odours, condensation, and discoloration).

6. What are the common mould types found in buildings and homes?

Moulds (also spelled “moulds”) are simple, microscopic organisms that can grow virtually anywhere, both inside buildings and outdoors. Mould colonies can grow inside damp or wet building structures. And mould spores are a common component of household and workplace dust.

Here are common types of mould found in homes and businesses:

  1. Absidia
  2. Acremonium
  3. Alternaria
  4. Aspergillus
  5. Aureobasidium
  6. Chaetomium
  7. Chrysonilia
  8. Cladosporium
  9. Curvularia
  10. Emericella
  11. Epicoccum
  12. Eurotium
  13. Fusarium
  14. Geomyces
  15. Geotrichum
  16. Gliocladium
  17. Gliomastix
  18. Memnoniella
  19. Mucor
  20. Myrothecium
  21. Oidiodendron
  22. Paecilomyces
  23. Penicillium
  24. Phialophora
  25. Phoma
  26. Scopulariopsis
  27. Sistotrema
  28. Stachybotrys
  29. Trichoderma
  30. Ulocladium
  31. Wallemia

Who are mould classified by risk?

In some countries indoor fungi have been grouped into 3 hazard classes based on associated health risk. These classes are similar to risk groups assigned to microorganisms handled in laboratory environments.

•  Hazard Class A: includes fungi or their metabolic products that are highly hazardous to health. These fungi or metabolites should not be present in occupied dwellings. Presence of these fungi in occupied buildings requires immediate attention.

•  Hazard Class B: includes those fungi which may cause allergic reactions to occupants if present indoors over a long period.

•  Hazard Class C: includes fungi not known to be a hazard to health. Growth of these fungi indoors, however, may cause economic damage and therefore should not be allowed.

Molds commonly found in kitchens and bathrooms:
•  Cladosporium cladosporioides (hazard class B)
•  Cladosporium sphaerospermum (hazard class C)
•  Ulocladium botrytis (hazard class C)
•  Chaetomium globosum (hazard class C)
•  Aspergillus fumigatus (hazard class A)

Molds commonly found on wallpapers:
•  Cladosporium sphaerospermum
•  Chaetomium spp., particularly Chaetomium globosum
•  Doratomyces spp (no information on hazard classification)
•  Fusarium spp (hazard class A)
•  Stachybotrys chartarum, commonly called ‘black mold‘ (hazard class A)
•  Trichoderma spp (hazard class B)
•  Scopulariopsis spp (hazard class B)

Molds commonly found on mattresses and carpets:
•  Penicillium spp., especially Penicillium chrysogenum (hazard class B) and Penicillium aurantiogriseum (hazard class B)
•  Aspergillus versicolor (hazard class A)
•  Aureobasidium pullulans (hazard class B)
•  Aspergillus repens (no information on hazard classification)
•  Wallemia sebi (hazard class C)
•  Chaetomium spp., particularly Chaetomium globosum
•  Scopulariopsis spp.

Molds commonly found on window frames:
•  Aureobasidium pullulans
•  Cladosporium sphaerospermum
•  Ulocladium spp.

Molds commonly found in basement (cellars):
•  Aspergillus versicolor
•  Aspergillus fumigatus
•  Fusarium spp.

Molds commonly found in flower pot soil:
•  Aspergillus fumigatus
•  Aspergillus niger (hazard class A)
•  Aspergillus flavus (hazard class A)

Source: Mould and Bacteria Consulting Laboratories (2019)

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