Toxic Mold Testing, Test Kits
Don’t bother spending lots of money to see if you have a toxic black mold or just an ordinary sickening, irritating, sinus-infecting black mold, or any other mold – so says U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. EPA. Save your money and buy some bleach, gloves and goggles.
Toxic Mold Test Kits –There is no home mold test kit that can selectively tell you if the mold it collects and grows is toxic. Toxic mold can only be identified with certainty by a specially trained microscopist or DNA Technician.
All claims or implied advertising messages to the contrary are junk science, frauds or bait and switch scams. For example, "this kit grows toxic mold in 48 hours," hogwash.
Virtually all petri dish, agar type collection and growth devices will begin to show many different types of black or multicolored mold colonies between the third and fourth day. No kit can selectively grow only toxic molds! Such a claim is poppycock science.
One of the black molds and potentially toxic molds, Stachybotrys Chartarum, is almost never found in Air Sampling Tests. This is because this black mold is a wet, sticky, slimy mold and therefore its spores don’t easily get blown into the air. So forget air sampling for Stachybotrys Toxic Mold – it does not work as a reliable investigation tool.
So if curiosity is killing you and you really, really, really want to know the name of the black mold you find growing in your building to see if it’s the baddest in all the land – you must find its location and collect it directly from the growing surface – and then send a sample to a mold testing laboratory.
The Mold Testing Laboratory
Microscopy – Toxic mold identification can be difficult since there are so many species which look so similar. It takes an experienced scientist called a Mycologist to make positive identification using a microscope.
An expert mycologist may be able to identify the mold simply from a sample of the spores. If it is a difficult specimen, they may have to grow it for 5 or 10 days and further examine it.
A quicker but more expensive type of identification can be done with a DNA type of testing which is called Polymerase Chain Reaction Testing (PCR). There are only a few laboratories in the country which use this high-tech mold identification methodology. Samples can be identified in 24-48 hours.
Toxic Mold Testing Kit Costs
There is no self-test kit presently on the market, which can tell you if you have a toxic variety of mold. Any advertising claim or implied claim to the contrary is bogus, junk science. All toxic mold must be examined and identified by a skilled laboratory technician. You must find the mold first and then take a contact sample using a swab or other contact kit.
Each toxic mold surface sampling kit may cost $2.00 — $5.00 — $15.00 (plus shipping) depending on the type of sampling device (tape, swab, vacuum, filterer) – and then the laboratory cost can be anywhere from $50.00 to $150.00 depending on the level of identification, type report and consultation desired. (See http://www.moldtestinglabs.com/mold_in_homes.htm.)
Proper Mold Sampling for Identification Testing
Sampling for environmental molds from surfaces is full of potential errors. There is almost never a single type of mold growing on a wet building material. Therefore, if you want a representative identification of the various types growing on a surface, you must sample the mold in multiple places, i.e., from the wettest spot to the damp edges in order to capture most varieties growing there. This obviously adds to high laboratory costs, if you have to send in multiple tests.
Proper Swab Sampling
In order to obtain a good cross-section of the various molds growing on a surface, wipe the mold surface. From the bottom to the top or wettest to driest part of the material in a single long stroke. Press the swab on its side and roll the swab in your fingers as you sweep it across the surface. This will collect samples from the whole garden of molds which are growing there based on the type of material and its degree of wetness.
Toxic Mold Blood Tests
There are presently no approved, blood tests which can accurately or definitively detect the presence of mold toxins in the body.
Any offers to conduct such tests are completely experimental, at this time (April, 2003) and may be very costly and/or may be simply conducting research at your expense.
Other Toxic Mold Tests
To our knowledge at this time (April, 2003) there are no other tissue tests or neurological tests which can be conducted to prove a connection between exposure to a specific Toxic Mold and symptoms of a specific illness.