Carson Jeffries: Good morning, I’m Carson Jeffries with the Mold Firm and I’m here today with long-time friend and owner of Air Allergen & Mold Testing.
Richard Johnson: My name is Richard Johnson and I’m the President/CEO of Air Allergen & Mold Testing.
We do have data because we’ve done thousands and thousands of these samples over the years. We have data that we can say, if the amount of mold spores in the carpet is normal, if they tend to be water damage spores or if they tend to be what we called phylloplane spores, which are much less likely to have some kind of a problem and we can give some guidances in carpet dust, for instance. There’s only three things you can do with a carpet – you can vacuum it with a HEPA filter vacuum. If you don’t use a HEPA filter vacuum, it’s just going to broadcast it out into the air. And even with HEPA filter vacuum, some of that stuff is going to get out into the air. That’s the real fine particulate in spores.
Or you can clean the carpet. Or you can replace the carpet. And we put instructions in there, if you’re going to replace it, how to treat the floor and beneath it ahead of time. If you’re going to clean it, what kind of stuff you should use to clean it and how you should handle that. And the fact that the HEPA filter vacuum and that kind of stuff if you’re going to vacuum it.
That’s one of the kinds of sampling that we do. We tell them how to handle the carpet, but more importantly we find out what else is going on in the environment from that, that we can tell them about.
Another kind of sampling that can be done in addition to air samples and the carpet dust samples, is a tape sample. We have a slide with has some, adhesive on it and we can take the cover off and place it on a surface. And then take that and examine it. Similar to the way examine a slide that’s in the air sample. We can identify to the genus level what’s on that surface.
If you’re trying to identify a particular kind of mold on the wall, just to the common names that you hear, like Aspergillus or Penicillium. You can take that sample and you can identify it. And what you learn from that is what’s on that square inch that you’ve sampled. It doesn’t tell you anything about a foot away or two feet away or something else that might be in the room. But if you’re trying to identify what’s particular thing and try to tie it together with what else you’re finding, that can be a useful sample. To be able to go in and use that sample, though they would say that their house is mold-free or something like that, is not accurate.
The other kind of samples we take – we can take a swab sample. The purpose of the swab sample is if you want to get to the species level of a particular mold type. Things like Aspergillus and Penicillium that we can see in the air, have perhaps 200 different species between the two of them. And different species have different health characteristics as I’ve mentioned from the headaches and the respiratory and the allergy things that we find in the carpet dust. That’s done at the species level. If you go and you take a tape sample, you can identify the species. You can say if it’s Aspergillus or Penicillium, but you can’t say what species it is.
Carson: There’s different types of Aspergillus and Penicillium?
Richard: Absolutely. There’s a couple of hundred different kinds. And so with a swab, if you take a swab on a surface, you could take the swab and put it into a dilution and you can culture that. And then you can identify it to the species level to find out some of the health care characteristics.