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More on the Interpretation of Mold Air Samples

Are you staring at the results of a mold test and struggling to figure out what it all means?  Let me try to help you.

 

The most common method used for mold air testing is uses a spore trap cassette. Because there is always a background amount of airborne mold spores, a key step in collecting air samples is to have a “reference” sample collected from the outdoor air at the time of the indoor testing. Since there are no guidelines on acceptable mold levels in the air, an outdoor sample is the best tool for interpreting the results of the indoor samples. Without the outdoor sample, you are limited in what you can gather from the results of the indoor samples.

 

There are various D.I.Y. air tests you can pick up at your local hardware store requiring you to place out a petri dish for several hours. Most of those tests are not very helpful in giving you any sort of usable data to evaluate the air in your home and as a general suggestion should be avoided.

 

Interpreting mold levels can be tricky. If you would like feedback on your mold air sampling results, please comment below and I will do my best to give any feedback I can in my free time. The views expressed in the blog post and comments are my own, and not necessarily those of Indoor Science. If you need a more immediate response regarding your results you can book a 30-minute phone consultation for $98 by clicking here.

41 thoughts on “More on the Interpretation of Mold Air Samples”

  1. Hello, I received the following mold reports and was hoping to get some insight into how to interpret the results. I suffer from seasonal allergies and am sensitive to mold and pollen. Should I be concerned about purchasing this house based on the attached results?

    SPORE TRAP REPORT: NON-VIABLE METHODOLOGY

    1st sets of numbers = Control exterior
    2nd sets of numbers = basement interior
    raw ct. ; % red; spores/m3
    Ascospores 14 25 750 ; 0 0 0
    Basidiospores 98 25 5,200 ; 3 25 160
    Chaetomium
    Cladosporium 8 25 430 ; 2 25 110
    Curvularia 0 0 0 ; 1 100 13
    Epicoccum 0 0 0 ;2 100 27
    Fusarium
    Ganoderma 2 25 110; 0 0 0
    Myrothecium
    Nigrospora 1 100 13; 0 0 0
    Other colorless
    Penicillium/Aspergillus types†
    Pithomyces
    Rusts 0 0 0 ; 4 100 53
    Smuts, Periconia, Myxomycetes
    Stachybotrys
    Stemphylium
    Torula
    Ulocladium
    Zygomycetes
    Background debris (1-4+)†† : 2+ (outdoor) 3+ (indoor)
    Hyphal fragments/m3 : <13(outdoor) 27 (indoor)
    Pollen/m3: 27(outdoor) 27(indoor)
    Skin cells (1-4+): < 1+(outdoor) 3+ (indoor)
    Sample volume (liters): 75(outdoor) 75 (indoor)
    § TOTAL SPORES/m3 6,500 (outdoor) 360 (indoor)

    MoldSCORE™: Spore Trap Report
    Outdoor Sample: Control exterior
    raw count : spores/m3 : mold score
    Generally able to grow indoors*
    Alternaria ND ;< 13
    Bipolaris/Drechslera group ND; < 13
    Chaetomium ND ;< 13
    Cladosporium 8 ; 430
    Curvularia ND ;< 13
    Ganoderma 2 ;110
    Nigrospora 1 ;13
    Penicillium/Aspergillus types† ND; < 13
    Stachybotrys ND ;< 13
    Torula ND ;< 13

    Seldom found growing indoors**
    Ascospores 14; 750
    Basidiospores 98 ;5,200
    Rusts ND ;< 13
    Smuts, Periconia, Myxomycetes ND ;< 13
    Total 6,520

    Location:Basement Interior
    raw count : spores/m3
    Generally able to grow indoors*
    Alternaria ND ;< 13 ; 100
    Bipolaris/Drechslera group ND ;< 13; 100
    Chaetomium ND; < 13; 100
    Cladosporium 2 ;110; 105
    Curvularia 1; 13; 105
    Epicoccum 2; 27; 111
    Nigrospora ND ;< 13; 100
    Penicillium/Aspergillus types† ND ;< 13; 100
    Stachybotrys ND ;< 13; 100
    Torula ND; < 13; 100

    Seldom found growing indoors**
    Ascospores ND; < 13 ; 100
    Basidiospores 3; 160; 100
    Rusts 4 ;53; 121
    Smuts, Periconia, Myxomycetes ND ;< 13; 100
    Total 360(spores/m3);116(mold score)

    1. Stephanie,

      These numbers to me do not indicate elevated mold levels in the air of the basement. There is a small detail which is a little strange, the hyphal fragments in the basement are a little higher than I usually see indoors.

  2. I am a teacher who has had many health issues that I believe are related to mold in my portable classroom. Here are the results of the air quality test:
    Sample type: Air-O-Cell

    Analysis: Direct Microscopy; FALI Method IAQ 101; Modified ASTM D7391

    Volume: 75.0 L
    Outside:
    Ascospores – ND S/m3
    Basidiospores – 170 S/m3
    Cladosporium – 420 S/m3
    HYPHAL FRAGMENTS * – 35 S/m3
    Penicillium / Aspergillus – 770 S/m3
    Rusts/smuts/myxomycetes – 13 S/m3

    Inside w/AC on
    Ascospores – ND S/m3
    Basidiospores – ND S/m3
    Cladosporium – 8200 S/m3
    HYPHAL FRAGMENTS * – 490 S/m3
    Penicillium / Aspergillus – 380 S/m3
    Rusts/smuts/myxomycetes – 40 S/m3

    Can you help me interpret this??? I am very concerned as I was very sick for 7 months!!!
    Thank you!!!!

    1. Lu,

      In my opinion, I see that there is an elevated level of Cladosporium inside. This is a common mold type which can grow indoors in spaces with evevated humidity. I have also seen this type growing on A/C coils and drain pans.

  3. Hello,

    In the mold lab report, I saw Pen/ASP Group present on 51-75% of sample area.
    Sample media Type: Tape lift.

    The dry wall of the shower may have a leakage behind. The ceiling of the shower is easily to get mold. The ceilings mold are removed so no sample. This sample is got by opening a small part of the dry wall and taped the area. Is the Pen/ASP mold behind the dry wall the cause of the mold often appearing in the ceiling?
    The Pen/asp are currently only found behind the drywall. Will it penetrate thru the drywall and present in the shower room?

    Thank you
    Lisa

    1. Lisa,

      Microscopically Pen/Asp appears like a field of dandelion seed heads. When they are disturbed the spores release into the air, and Pen/Asp have a lot of spores! If the materials are chronically damp then it is possible to have mold growth on both sides, the extent of the growth is dependent on the extent of the moisture in the material. The only way to see if the mold is affecting the air quality is to have air samples collected.

  4. Thank you Dylan,

    Does this report ” Pen/ASP Group present on 51-75% of sample area” means I have toxin mold which impacts health? Do you know where I can find link on what human impact will Pen/ASP have?
    Another question, not all ASP/Pen are toxic. Which lab can identify the species of the ASP/Pen on my dry wall, and what the cost is? I want to find out if they are toxic.
    Thank you
    Lisha

    Thanks

    1. Lisa,

      I am not a healthcare professional, so I can not comment on possible health effects. All we can take away from that result is that there is Asp/Pen growing on the surface. Most commercial environmental microbiology labs can speciate Asp/Pen, some national labs are EMSL, EMLab P&K.

      The purpose of this blog post is to provide interpretation of air sampling lab reports, so I just ask that comments please stick to this theme.

  5. Thank you Dylan. I don’t know why my inspector didn’t take a air sample of the bathroom, but just taped a sample directly on the mold from the opened bathroom dry wall. I really want to find out if the air is contaminated since the mold is behind the dry wall.
    I called the lab , IMS Laboratory, which tested the sample, to check if they can speciate ASP/PEN. But they just told me to talk with my inspector on it.
    I am calling EMSL and the other labs you recommended to find out who can do it and may do another test again.

  6. Hi Dylan I could really use your help. I live in a relatively new building…its about 7 yrs old. For about 1 year I’ve smelt mold/ must in my son’s bedroom. I initially attributed it to him being a teenager but the smell got stronger and stronger. I investigated and found mold growing on clothes in his closet, mold growing on the side of his bed, his desk, books on shelf, head phones and just randomly throughout his room. I brought it to management’s attention and they dismissed it bc they couldn’t find a source of mold or water. They tried to blame it on me for not opening windows or ventilating my unit (which I do every day). My family started getting sick so I decided to hire a professional to do a spore trap report and I got the following results.

    Control/ outside: Penicillium/ Aspergillus = 75 spores per cubic meter. Raw Count 3

    Bathroom: Pen/ Asp = 18,000 spores per cubic meter. Raw Count 450

    Master Bd Rm: Pen/ Asp = 12,600 spores per cubic meter. Raw Count 315

    Guest Bd Rm: pen/ asp = 73,000 spores per cubic meter. Raw Count 1818

    Living Room: pen/ asp = 9,000 spores per cubic meter. Raw Count 235.

    Living Room: Basidiospores = 2600 spore per cubic meter. Raw 65

    Management believes I am at fault for the elevated mold levels bc they cannot find water intrusion. Is it possible we are doing something to cause mold growth? We open windows every day and also have a double heppa air purifier. I would appreciate your expertise here.

    Also, we live in San Francisco, CA so we don’t have AC and the humidity level in our unit was 68 % and temp 78 degrees when the testing was done( we had a heatwave). On average the humidity is 62% and temp 74 degrees indoors.

    1. Jessa,

      The results in your comment show elevated levels of Asp/Pen. Finding out what is causing the mold to grow is much more difficult than just collecting the air samples. Since the mold was found growing on items in the room, and not just the building materials, that to me is a sign of some sort of humidity issue. Now, this could be hand in hand with water intrusion, I can not determine that. I would recommend hiring a mold inspector that will do more than just air samples to figure out the issue. It would be good to have an infrared and moisture meter scan done either during or directly after heavy rain. I would also suggest monitoring the humidity levels in the rooms, and if the humidity is consistently over 60% it may be worth running dehumidifiers.

  7. Hello,

    I’m selling my house in Northern IL and have been asked by the buyers for a mold remediation credit for high aspergillus in the basement bathroom. There is no visible mold and a different mold inspector I had come out couldn’t find any moisture at all with a handheld detector. The drywall in a storage area behind that bathroom did get wet once 6 years ago. The humidity inside was 48% according to the report.

    Could you give me your interpretation of these lab results? The only indoor sample was taken right by the toilet.

    Location Outside Basement
    Detection Limit (spores/m3) 40 40
    Hyphal Fragments 2 80 3 120
    Pollen 3 120
    Spore Trap Used M5 M5

    raw ct. spores/m3 % raw ct. spores/m3 %

    Alternaria 3 120 <1
    Ascospores 14 560 4 1 40 1
    Basidiospores 33 1320 9 9 360 13
    Bipolaris/Drechslera
    Chaetomium
    Cladosporium 273 10900 76 16 640 24
    Curvularia
    Epicoccum 2 80 <1
    Cercospora
    Fusarium
    Memnoniella
    Nigrospora
    Penicillium/Aspergillus 5 200 1 40 1600 59
    Polythrincium
    Rusts 27 1080 8
    Smuts/Periconia/Myxomy 1 40 <1 2 80 3
    Spegazzinia
    Stachybotrys
    Stemphylium
    Tetraploa
    Torula
    Ulocladium
    Colorless/Other Brown
    Oidium
    Zygomycetes
    Pithomyces
    Background debris (1-5) 3 3
    Sample Volume(liters) 25 25

    Raw ct Spores/m3 Raw ct Spores/m3
    TOTAL SPORES/M3 358 14300 68 2720

    1. Maria,

      Yes, I would say these results show a slightly elevated level of Aspergillus/Penicillium inside the basement. However I do also notice that these samples were collected for a shorter time than most, the industry standard for the sample volume is 75L and these samples only collected 25L. We can see elevated levels of Asp/Pen in basements with no visible mold or water damage sometimes due to chronic high humidity. It is important to remember that the inspector’s readings only show conditions at that exact moment, so just because they did not find moisture and the humidity was acceptable during the inspection that does not mean that if outside conditions are different that they would get the same results.

  8. Thank you! I understand that it’s only slightly elevated but we will probably let them have the credit.

    What you said about moisture presence being partially dependent upon outside conditions makes sense.

    It’s very generous of you to share your expertise on the internet. Thanks again!

  9. Hi Dylan!

    We’re recovering after Harvey flooding down here in Houston. Thankfully we only had 8″ or so of water in the home we were renovating and were able to get in pretty quickly and tear out all of the sheetrock. We just had our fist post-remediation mold test and we have elevated levels of Chaetomium. We had two indoor readings – this was the higher of the two.

    Particle Identification / Raw Count (Count/m³) / % of Total
    Alternaria – – –
    Ascospores 1 / 200 / 6.1
    Aspergillus/Penicillium 10 / 2200 / 66.7
    Basidiospores 3 / 700 / 21.2
    Bipolaris++ – – –
    Chaetomium 1 / 200 / 6.1

    Our inspector was citing the elevation likely originating from one area behind a built-in cabinet – which we plan to remediate further at his suggestion. We also had two large holes in the slab from where we were doing under slab plumbing and I suspect those were also contributing to the readings. Those are now being filled in with concrete. Otherwise, the home is bare bones so I’m at a loss where the readings are coming from.

    Can you help me understand what an acceptable level of Chaetomium is?

    Any tips to tackle Chaetomium remediation?

    Thanks!

    1. Eleanor,

      Chaetomium mold is a type that is considered a water damage indicator, and it is not found in the outdoor air, so therefore any amount of Chaetomium is likely to be considered “elevated” by an inspector. My opinion the numbers on your test is likely just residual spores in the air from the remediation, and if you have the remediation company run the air scrubbers for a few more days it should take care of it. Another possibility is that there might be some settled construction dust which could be holding residual spores. If the home has visible work dust I would have them vacuum them up. I doubt there is missed growth anywhere in the house, because as you say it is bare bones, this is likely just leftover spores in the air from the tear out.

  10. Hi: we are currently in the process of buying a new home. As part of our home inspection, we had an air quality test conducted. During the inspection, there was no visible mold or evidence of moisture/mold found anywhere in the home. However, the AQT came back with positive results for stachybotry. Raw Count: 4, read: 100%, spores m/3: 53. Since this test, the selller had a mold assessor come to the home for a visual mold inspection- he was able to find one small area of mold (which wasn’t swabbed), and a water stain under the kitchen sink. Still not reassured, we (us & seller mutually) brought in another 3rd party remediation company that looked behind walls using a camera. He only looked in areas common for moisture problems: finished basement, attic, near plumbing, etc. they found a couple sources of a potential problem, but when swabbed none were positive for staychbotry.
    His results were:
    Aspergillus: spore estimate = moderate; mycelial estimate: many
    Mycelium: spore estimate = ND; mycelial estimate = many
    Curlvularia: spore estimate = ND; mycelial estimate= rare
    Myxomycetes: spies estimate = ND; mycelial estimate = rare.
    I have a 1yr old baby, and I am pregnant with baby #2. I am very concerned that we are unable to locate the source of the stachybotry. The seller seems to believe that it may have been carried from the outdoors to the indoors on someone’s shoes (or similar). Is this possible? Should I be alarmed?

    Any advise or information you could provide would be greatly appreciated- thank you in advance!

    Thank you,
    Nervous mommy

    1. Whenever we see Stachybotrys in air samples that is a warning to us. Stachybotrys is not found in outdoor air samples very often and is an indicator of water damage inside the home. You could have another air sample collected to see if that Stachybotrys level was just an anomaly. If Stachy shows up on that air sample I would say that strongly supports some sort of indoor growth.

      1. Thank you very much! One other question, if you don’t mind. Based on the stachybotry results, are you able to determine if the stachybotry problem seems wide spread or more of an isolated problem? Is that a high reading? And do you believe stachybotry to be dangerous to human health?

        Thanks so much again!
        Jessica

  11. Hi there. We had a water leak in our guest bedroom (interior wall). The home builder removed/replaced wall and part of flooring but we didn’t use mold remediation company, so I am little concerned. Our recent mold test indicated penicillium/Aspergillus in a higher level than all the other types of mold but lower than outdoor levels. Would something like an air scrubber resolve this? Also, should I re-test after a certain period of time, to ensure levels are dropping? If so, what time frame do you recommend?

    Thank you – Alicia

    Sample Type/Volume: Z5 -25L (Spore Trap)

    Particle Identification / Raw Count (Count/m³) / % of Total

    Outside:
    Cladosporium: 4/ 160 / 9
    Other Ascospores: 1/ 40 / 2
    Other Basidiospores: 5/ 200 / 11
    Penicillium/Aspergillus: 24/ 960 / 53
    Smuts, myxomycetes: 11/ 440/ 24
    Total Spores: Count = 45/ 1800 / 100

    Guest Room:
    Cladosporium: 3 / 120 / 13
    Other Ascospores: – – –
    Other Basidiospores: 2/ 80/ 8
    Penicillium/Aspergillus: 18/ 720 / 75
    Smuts, myxomycetes: 1/ 40 / 4
    Total Spores: Count = 24/ 960/ 100

    1. Unless you still see visible mold growth around, I would say these air samples are acceptable. If you were still concerned with the numbers you could run an air scrubber to clear the airborne mold from the air. You could retest after running the air scrubber for a few days, just make sure the scrubber is turned off before testing. I would also suggest running the sample for at least 75L, as opposed to the 25L that was done for the above testing.

  12. I have recently been affected by Harvey but the rental I was living in with my kids showed signs of mold 2 weeks prior from substantial wind driven rain… I have a copy of the air quality report and would like your opinion…. I have been to the doctor recently and three is concern about the effects on my lungs and body in general… would you be able to help read these air report?

  13. I have recently put a contract on a lake house but these were the mold results and I don’t understand them. Do these levels seem like an issue to you? Please help.
    AB Identification Number: EH092717-14-1 EH092717-14-2
    Sample Identification Number: 2157808 2157843
    Date Collected: Sep/26/2017 Sep/26/2017
    Description: Basement Outside Air
    Sample Type: Spore Trap Spore Trap
    Sample Condition: Intact Intact
    Comments:
    Volume/Area Sampled: 25 L 25 L
    Reporting Limit: 40 40
    Spore Identifications Raw Count Spores/m3 Raw Count Spores/m3
    Acremonium-like ND BDL ND BDL
    Alternaria 1 40 ND BDL
    Arthrinium ND BDL ND BDL
    Aspergillus ND BDL ND BDL
    Aureobasidium ND BDL ND BDL
    Botrytis ND BDL ND BDL
    Cercospora-like ND BDL ND BDL
    Chaetomium ND BDL ND BDL
    Cladosporium 116 4640 1596 63840
    Coprinus ND BDL ND BDL
    Curvularia 1 40 2 80
    Drechslera/Bipolaris Helminthosporium/Exserohilum ND BDL ND BDL
    Epicoccum ND BDL ND BDL
    Fusarium ND BDL ND BDL
    Ganoderma ND BDL ND BDL
    Memnoniella ND BDL ND BDL
    Nigrospora ND BDL ND BDL
    Penicillium ND BDL ND BDL
    Penicillium / Aspergillus – like 3052 122080 43 1720
    Pithomyces 1 40 ND BDL
    Scopulariopsis-like ND BDL ND BDL
    Spegazzinia ND BDL ND BDL
    Stachybotrys ND BDL ND BDL
    Tetraploa ND BDL ND BDL
    Torula ND BDL ND BDL
    Trichoderma-like ND BDL ND BDL
    Ulocladium ND BDL ND BDL
    Ascomycetes-unspecified 22 880 19 760
    Basidiomycetes-unspecified 24 960 316 12640
    Hyphomycetes-unspecified ND BDL ND BDL
    Zygomycetes-unspecified ND BDL ND BDL
    Myxomycetes/Perconia/Smuts/Rusts ND BDL ND BDL
    Miscellaneous structures
            Hyphae Present Present
            Clamydospores ND BDL ND BDL
            Perithecia ND BDL ND BDL
            Sclerotia ND BDL ND BDL
    Background Particulate Density Medium Medium
    Total Spore Count 3217 128680 1976 79040

    1. These results show a major elevation of Aspergillus/Penicillium indoors. The indoor sample shows an elevation of almost 100x, strong evidence that there is some mold growth and moisture issues in the home.

  14. Hello Dylan-
    I’m another Harvey victim, down here in Houston. We had water intrusion through our weep holes and under the floor. All flooring has been removed and most built-ins, EXCEPT kitchen cabinets. We just got results from the air sampling. My concerns are the Cladosporium, Penicillium/Aspergillus, and Stachybotrys levels inside.

    Outdoor control: (raw ct./spores m3/%)
    Cladosporium 16 / 640 / 20
    Pen/Asp 15 / 600/ 19
    Stachybotrys 0

    Inside:
    Cladosporium 2 / 8 / 7
    Pen/Asp 26 / 1040 / 90
    Stachybotrys 1 / 40 / 3

    Prior to testing, I cleaned all surfaces with antimicrobial cleaner, sprayed visible mold with disinfectant, and ran an air scrubber w/HEPA filter for 72 hours. The walls behind the refrigerator and dishwasher (both are on either side of the kitchen cabinets) were dry by the moisture sensor readings, and no visible mold.

    Our questions now are
    1) are these dangerous levels of mold?
    2) without any visible signs of mold, should we deduce that the mold source is behind the cabinets?

    Many, many thanks for your input.

    1. The single spore of Stachybotrys is not a statistically relevant result, so I can not say one way or another in relation to that. THe Aspergillus/Penicillium levels insde are slightly high, but it is not as high as you would see in a home with major mold issues. It is likely the small amounts of mold you see growning in the home are what is contributing to the levels in the air. I have no concern over the Cladosporium levels indoors.

  15. We’re trying to interpret an ERMI analysis with results in spores eq/mg dust on a house we are considering purchasing. No outdoor samples were collected. A 5 mg sample was collected with a vacuum on carpet in two rooms from the second and third floors (not the basement). Here are the results for species that were not “ND” from EPA 36 Species Identification Group 1:

    Aspergillus penicillioides: 48
    Aspergillus restrictus: 12
    Aspergillus versicolor: 45
    Eurotium (A.) amstelodami: 55
    Aureobasidium pullulans: 102
    Cladosporium sphaerospermum: 19
    Paecilomyces variotii: 9
    Penicillium spinulosum: 16
    Penicillium variabile: 2
    Wallemia sebi: 23

    The ERMI Value = 2.6
    ERMI Interpretation = Level 3, which states Relative Moldiness. Further investigation needed to determine if sources of mold exists.

    Group 2 sum of the logs indicated low relative moldiness.

    Any advice on how to remediate, if needed? There are no visible signs of water/mold. The inspector, using a thermal camera found no signs of moisture but he recommended adding a dehumidifier to the basement, which is 90% finished. The house is two years old.

    1. Unfortunately, an ERMI test is not suited to answer the questions you have. All we can do to interpret the results is what it says in the report, that there may be indoor mold/moisture issues but further investigation is needed. An ERMI test looks at the likelihood a property has had water damage and mold growth at some point in the past, it does not evaluate the current conditions of the space. ERMI testing cannot be used to determine if remediation is needed, you need a good visual assessment and moisture testing.

  16. HI Dylan,
    Thanks so much for helping out and offering insight into these tests. I own a rental unit (I used to live in it). Some of the ladies who now live in the unit asked a company to do an Air-O-Cell / 75.0L spore collection test. They presented this document to us as evidence that our house has mold issues and are demanding a reduction in rent as well as an early termination of the lease. We are obviously seeking legal assistance for that. However, we have NO IDEA what these levels even mean. We have a certified Class A builder who specializes in water remediation doing all work. He found (2) spaces in what is called the front room – which has a sump pump due to previous water penetration – that has water infiltration from the foundation. He found NO foundation issues in the bedroom but did find that the tenants were not using the dehumidifier or using the bathroom exhaust fan during and after showers. It was his opinion that the front room elevated results were because of foundation issues and he has repaired the foundation by excavating around the area. He found nothing to repair in the basement master bedroom. These are the results of the test:

    Master BEDROOM:
    fungal types identified / raw count / spores/ m3 / % of total:

    Peniscillium/Aspergillus 152 / 2,022 / 94%
    Ascospores 2 / 27 / 1%
    Basidiospores 6 / 80 / 3%
    Total Spore Count 160 /2,129 / 100%

    Front room:
    *INDOOR PROBLEM FUNGI
    Penicillium/Aspergillus 536 / 7,219 / 95%
    **NON-PROBLEM FUNGI
    Acospores 1 / 13 / <1%
    Basidiospores 11/ 146 / 1%
    Cladosporium 11/ 146 / 1%
    Epicoccum 1/ 13 / <1%
    Penicillium/Aspergillus —/ —–/ —–
    Polythrincium —/ —–/ —–

    CONTROL: OUTSIDE
    *INDOOR PROBLEM FUNGI
    Penicillium/Aspergillus —/ —–/ —–
    **NON-PROBLEM FUNGI
    Acospores 16 / 213 / 10%
    Basidiospores 78/ 1,037/ 52%
    Cladosporium 47/ 625 / 31%
    Epicoccum —/ —–/ —–
    Penicillium/Aspergillus 6 / 80/ 4%
    Polythrincium 2 / 27 / 1%
    TOTAL 149/ 1,982 / 100%

    NORMAL UPSTAIRS HALLWAY
    *INDOOR PROBLEM FUNGI
    Penicillium/Aspergillus —/ —–/ —–
    **NON-PROBLEM FUNGI
    Acospores 7 / 93 / 17%
    Basidiospores 16/ 213/ 39%
    Cladosporium 8 / 106 / 19%
    Epicoccum —/ —–/ —–
    Penicillium/Aspergillus 10 / 133/ 24%
    Polythrincium —/ —–/ —–
    TOTAL 41/ 545 / 100%

    Specifically, I'm trying to understand what do these numbers MEAN? Does this mean that there is a huge problem of mold that cannot ever be removed despite my contractor removing drywall (with no visible evidence of any mold damage – simply some dampness associated with a water leak) and no seen or visible mold issues anywhere?

    If it helps, on the first day of the repair work, he measured humidity in both rooms that have issues. Room #1 – the master bedroom, which is mostly below grade level, measured at 52% humidity with no dehumidifiers being run at all. After dehumidifiers being run for only 8 hours, the humidity level measured at 38%.

    In the front room, where there was a sump pump and known water infiltration (hence the sump pump), the humdity measured at 56% before work began (with no dehumidifiers) and measures at 42% now that work has been completed (with no dehumidifiers).

    I thank you in advance for your kind assistance.

    1. All mold issues can be remediated to a pre-loss state, so if the work is done correctly and moisture issues are identified and solved the mold from this issue will not persist. There is an elevation in the bedroom and front room of Aspergillus/Penicillium. The bedroom levels are slightly higher than what we can see in the outdoor air from time to time, the front room is higher but not off the charts relative to how high these numbers can be in homes with major issues.

  17. Hi Dylan,

    Thank you for helping people interpret the data. We recently had a test done and here are the findings. Any input from you would be really well received. Thanks!

    Sample Type/Volume: Allergenco D 75L

    Particle Identification / Raw Count (Count/m³) / % of Total

    Outside
    Alternaria 16/213/3%
    Ascospores 32/427/6%
    Aspergillus/Pen 104/1387/19%
    Basidiospores 3/40/ <1%
    Cladosporium 355/4733/64%
    Curvularia 1/13/<1%
    Epicoccum 6/80/1%
    Ganoderma 4/53/<1
    Nigrospora 2/27<1
    Pithomyces 5/67/<1
    Rust 9/120/2%
    Smut/Myxo/Per 15/200/3%
    Total Spores 552/7360

    Basement
    Ascospores 3/40/<1
    Aspergillus/Pen 317/4227/81%
    Basidiospores 3/40/ <1%
    Cladosporium 62/827/16%
    Ganoderma 3/40/<1
    Pithomyces 1/13/<1

    Total Spores 389/5187

    Bedroom
    Ascospores 22/293/6%
    Aspergillus/Pen 95/1267/26%
    Basidiospores 3/40/ <1%
    Cladosporium 234/3120/65%
    Ganoderma 3/40/<1%
    Smut/Myxo/Per 4/53/1%

    Total Spores 361/4813

    1. Sarah,

      I am seeing an elevation of Aspergillus/Penicillium in the basement sample. We can see this type elevated in basements frequently and would suggest monitoring humidity levels in the basement if you do not have signs of visible mold or a history of water issues.

  18. Hi,
    Hoping you can help interpret these findings. We had a leak from our bedroom window, cleaned up the same day, removed and replaced carpet. No signs of visible mold. These samples were taken the week after.
    Thanks in advance!
    Bedroom sample:
    Aspergillus/Penicillium 71 sp/m3
    Cladpsoriurm 329 sp/m3
    Smuts/Myoxomycete/Periconie/Rust 3082 sp/m3
    Strachybotrys 71 sp/m3

    Outdoor sample:
    Aspergillus/Penicillium 165 sp/m3
    Cladpsoriurm 1035 sp/m3
    Smuts/Myoxomycete/Periconie/Rust 6235 sp/m3
    Strachybotrys 24 sp/m3

    1. Corinne,

      Typically if you take care of wet materials in 24-48 hours you minimize the risk of mold growth. These results look good to me for the indoor space.

  19. Ian, please help… I am a young mother who developed sudden health problems (severe joint aches that migrate) that correlate with purchasing anolder home that was uninhabited for several years in the north east part of the country. The unfinished basement show signs of moisture and has a strong musk and we have been trying to clean it for the past 1.5 years. We got rid of anything that had the appearance of mold. My symptoms have never gotten better despite a clean bill of health with a doctor and specialist. My instinct tells me that it’s the house and I am making myself sick thinking that I’m leaving and I’m varmint that’s poisoning me or my children. I am young and prior to this was an athlete and healthy. I am at my wits end with feeling discomfort all the time. I recently had a mold expert who seemed very knowledgeable and he sent me our lab results tonight which did not come with the explanation. Please note that the children and the master bedroom is on the second floor. Aspergillosis/pen 2000 count/m3 in kids room and 27,800count/m3 in basement

    1. Ashley,

      I can’t make too many conclusions with what you provided. I will say that the 27,800 in the basement seems elevated, but without an outdoor sample I do not have any context on how high it might be.

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