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Hello Experts,

I am working on a proof of concept for a mold kit that detects the three common types of mold (Aspergillus, Penicillium and Stachybotrys). Using this device, an user can detect the mold type right there at the home instead of sending the sample to the lab. Device works on air sampling and/or swab sample within 48 hours, and price will be around $35-$40.

I would like to get feedback on different types of devices out there, and what types of devices are used professionals/inspectors like you. My questions are as follows.

1. When I checked Home Depot or Lowes, the only things out there are $7-10 test kits, and the samples needs to be sent to lab. Do you also use these kits available in retail stores, and send the samples to labs?

2. If you use different kits/devices than available in consumer retail, what are those? Where do you purchase them?

3. Do you see value in device concept I mentioned above?

I apologize if I am asking silly questions. But I really appreciate your time, and would be very grateful for any feedback you offer.

Thanks

Dave.

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Do you see value in device concept I mentioned above?

No. I just see someone else who thinks "mold is gold" from the ridiculous media hysteria that's gone on for far too long.

Find folks that are doing real, unbiased medical research about the true effects on people from mold in buildings. Ask them what type of device needs to be fabricated to eradicate this horrid microscopic creature that's been introduced to suddenly decimate the human race.

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Hey "Brain" (Not!!!)

Aspergillus, penicillium, stachybotrys and cladosporidium are all ubiquitous in the air we breath - everywhere all the time. So, you want to create a kit that will put money in your pocket to tell folks what they should be told for free - that they've been breathing these so-called "toxic" molds all their lives.

Unless one has a compromised immune system or pre-existing sensitivity to molds and pollens, the molds that you and the other hucksters are calling "toxic" are no more toxic to them than common road dust? Creating something to "test" for that is like creating something to prove there's hydrogen in water - it's a scam and we don't want any part of telling you how to fleece people.

Here's your feedback,

Take your friggin' snake oil idea and shove it where the sun won't shine and don't come back here.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Yeah, mold is a people problem, not a mold problem.

Fix the moisture condition, replace or clean effected materials and move on with life.

I do my best to talk people out of it. Some respond well and others I never hear from. That's just as well I suppose. Working for someone who is paranoid about mold is not a comfortable position for me.

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Hello Experts,

I am working on a proof of concept for a mold kit that detects the three common types of mold (Aspergillus, Penicillium and Stachybotrys). Using this device, an user can detect the mold type right there at the home instead of sending the sample to the lab. Device works on air sampling and/or swab sample within 48 hours, and price will be around $35-$40.

I would like to get feedback on different types of devices out there, and what types of devices are used professionals/inspectors like you. My questions are as follows.

1. When I checked Home Depot or Lowes, the only things out there are $7-10 test kits, and the samples needs to be sent to lab. Do you also use these kits available in retail stores, and send the samples to labs?

2. If you use different kits/devices than available in consumer retail, what are those? Where do you purchase them?

3. Do you see value in device concept I mentioned above?

I apologize if I am asking silly questions. But I really appreciate your time, and would be very grateful for any feedback you offer.

Thanks

Dave.

Dave,

Based on the tone of your inquiry I am writing this with the assumption that you are an honest guy asking an honest question.

You see that the many of us are skeptical about the whole mold issue. There are too many "Experts" out there selling a line of bull s*** about mold and associated testing with the sole goal of making money based on fear.

This is not the right place to get someone to endorse your concept because TIJ is working to raise the bar on the professionalism and education as it relates to home inspection.

The real information regarding mold and the alleged affects on our health has been compromised by the Mold is Gold industry.

Mold testing should be left to the environmental specialists and health professionals that have spent many years on reasearch and not home inspectors that go to a few day (or less) seminar and declare themselves to be "Mold Specialists."

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As far as I know there are two companies making mold test systems for immediate detection. Alexeter and AdVnt. They both look like pregnancy tests and tests the same analytes. They both use immunochromatography method. Alexeter's kits are easy to buy since they are sold on Amazon. I am not sure how you can buy the AdVnt's one but there must be a way. Probably you should ask the manufacturer. I am not a home inspector but a mycologist. I never checked them in action but from theoretical prospective it seems they should work. I am actually really interested to see how they work in real life. I could do some evaluation comparing their results with other methods (direct microscopy, culture, PCR...). It does not look like that it has been done so far.

Anyways... each of them contain the same pair test systems - one for Stachybotrys and one for Aspergillus and Penicillium combined. Probably the latter test is specific to the family Trichocomaceae in a wider sense since it covers some Paecilonyces species too http://www.alexeter.com/iaq/information ... %20pen.pdf. Actually from a mycologist view their lists of species which are detected the strips and which are not does look very proffesional - they have a bunch of spelling errors in fungal names. Besides there might have been some misidentification or contamanation issues. In my opinion Paecilomyces marquandii for example should not be there since is totally unrelated to Aspergilli, Penicillia and Paecilomyces variotii if you look at the DNA based evolutionary tree (phylogentic tree).

It think this is a great start and this method has a big future but so far it is not quite complete.

The Home Depot test is a total bs btw. It is just a Petri plate with MEA agar which you are supposed to leave open for a while then send to the lab. Of course you would get colonies growing there since molds are ubiquitous. The question is the concentration but you would never know the concentration since spore get on the plate not by impaction when you know the air volume but by passive sedimentation - who knows how rapidly the spores (which could have been atteched to other dust particles) are settling on the plate.

The "pregnancy tests" primarily target mold testing in dust or bulk samples if I understand it right. However Alexeter also sells and even rents some equipment for collecting air samples too. Also Alexeter sells and rents machines which would automatically read the strips quantatively, some abstract units though of course, not the spore number/hyphae length/total weight. So, unlike the case of regular pregnancy, house could a little bit "pregant with mold" LOL.

Both company's primary business is biosafety kits. They both make most of their money out of tests for anthrax and other serious stuff. Mold tests are some hobby-like side business for them. Therefore they have not marketed mold tests agressively enough. I tried to talk to people from both of them. they both shopwed some interst in collaboration with an experienced mycologist but due to what I just said (or maybe other reasons) these coversations did not go too far. AdVnt showed more enthusiasm than Alexeter though considering that I found out about Alexter a couple of months ago and only last week did I about AdVnt.

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  • 4 weeks later...

There are several products out there that already test mold once its been found in the house. One such product a friend used was called mold armor - mold test kit. He got it at Home Depot or Lowe's I believe for ten bucks. That being said, I don't see an audience for your product. I don't get the audience for mold home test kits period. If you see mold, REMOVE it. No need for a test kit in my opinion because all mold, is bad mold. You should get it removed regardless of what type it is, and by someone with previous experience in mold removal. It could be worse, my aunt in California paid several thousands of dollars to get her whole place re-dry walled. Something about Chinese drywall haha? I found a piece on it here, pretty ridiculous to think you could get away with this. Homeowners Insurance Fiasco

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Home inspectors who test for mold are either ignorant, charlatans, or both.

What do mean by "test"? Who "takes samples" or do mold inspections in general? Do you refer it inspectors who are just regular home inspectors and deal with mold sometimes as well while "real" mold consultants are ok because they know what they are doing? or you mean that the whole concept mold inspection is wrong because presence of mold is usually obvious and mold should be removed no matter what kind of fungus is there?
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I am not trying to defend mold testing. I happened to work in mold testing (and not even in the field but in the lab) due to combination of circumstances. I needed a job and I got what I could. I did not have a plan to do it all my life before it. I see that what is going on is pretty ridiculous. When I tell my friends in my home country about what I do they often laugh at it.

I am trying to figure out what should I do with my current situation since I am philosophically opposed to what I live of. Should something like this be done but in some other, more efficient, way or is it wrong apriori? Yes I do believe that mold inspection/testing business is seriously overblown. Mold testing is often done in situations where it is not needed. It produces a lot of useless information and leads to the increase of beaurocracy. At the same time some important aspects are being ingored.

However I think there are cases when some mold investigation should be done but it should done in a different way.

Home inspectors' opinion is very important forme. That's why I am asking these questions here.

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  • 9 months later...

For almost 20 years I have used a microscope on-site and have detected many areas of invisible mold growth at clients' houses. I wouldn't know how to do a mold assessment without a microscope. Once we know where the sources of growth are, we can talk about remediation. I have a webcam attached to my microscope and provide documentation to the clients.

Just last week, I did an inspection while the inspector sent by the insurance company did his. He did the customary air samples and visual examination. I found 4 sources of substantial mold growth he missed -- thus expanding the claim. My client didn't want to paper his walls with satisfactory lab results. He was concerned about his health and wanted the mold growth gone.

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You found mold. Big surprise. Mold can be found on 100% of every property out there. What's the point?

He wants the mold to be gone. He shells out a lot of money to remediate it. A week later it's back again.

Smoke and mirrors.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Mike, yes, of course "mold is everywhere" - but not mold growth in high levels, some of the hidden growth even visible to the naked eye. Whether the moldy material can be removed or cleaned and encapsulated, there is no reason for mold growth to return - unless there is a new water incident. Over the years my best teachers have been my clients and their homes. I've had clients who can point out where they feel dizzy or react in other ways... and there's the hidden mold, and there's the lesson. It's not just particulates but also MVOCs.

At this apartment, I found some of the hidden mold by wrapping clear tape around a microscope slide and sliding it under the base molding for examination under the microscope. If high levels of spores were found on the tape, the risk for hidden mold in the wall cavity was high. If there's nothing going on in a wall cavity, there will only be a few stray spores on the tape.

For another example, with one remediation job in a crawlspace, the company used a biocide (contrary to my guidelines) in some areas and a lime-based encapsulant in others (which I had recommended). Dehumidification was ongoing. Two years later Aspergillus had re-grown big-time in the biocide-treated area but not in the encapsulated area. When I told an instructor at one of my certification classes a good 10 years ago, I remember saying to him that if I were in charge of assigning funds to research projects, the first money I'd spend would be for least-toxic and effective encapsulants. His response was "The science isn't there" - and I guess it still isn't, except for this one lime-based encapsulant I've found. I don't know if it's "allowed" to tell you the product name but if you google my name you can find your way to it. I have no financial interest in the product but just am glad to have something least-toxic to offer that stands the test of time. Over ten years of recommending this product, I've only had feedback once of Cladosporium growing on it - and that was when there had been subsequent flooding in the basement.

Our ancestors got it right with whitewash - which is what I still recommend when someone is sensitive to paint or when the pocketbook is running on empty. Most of my clients care about health, and they don't want to get rid of mold only to bring in pesticides. - May

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May, you sound earnest and ethical. Folks here, certainly me, tend toward thinking about building science and not mold. If there's no water, mold is not an issue.

So, until you get a more holistic approach, and start looking for causation and ways to correct the real problems,, you'll probably not get much traction here.

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She gets plenty of points from me. Hers is a dated site but she's by no stretch of the imagination a 'mold for gold' case. A lot of good sense in her writings. Imagine Caoimhín without the ego.

She reminds me of my college years when all-guy classes were common in engineering. There were just a few gals in those curricula but on the first day of class we'd all be anxious. If a gal walked in, you could sense a general 'sigh' throughout the class. See, the gals there were usually the smartest and when they showed up, we knew the professor wouldn't apply as much of a curve to our exam results and our grades would be lower.

Marc

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Kurt, ah yes - but our topic was testing, not building science. What makes you think I'm not interested in building science? But even if building science issues were solved, if Aspergillus or Penicillium, etc., are present, they can thrive just in the unconditioned space of wall cavities.

Marc - some kind words for a moldy lady. Thank you - I have things to learn from the more technically oriented guys in the class - Kurt, too. Our goal after all is to make things better for the health of our clients.

In fact, I'm still hoping for some specific answers for my post on Paecilomyces in wall cavities. I suspect it may not be uncommon and wonder what the cause could be, though my suspicions are leaning more toward it being present at the time of construction, either in or on building materials or rain during construction - I suspect that maybe no one knows at this time. - May

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. . . It's not just particulates but also MVOCs.. . .

Please expand on this. Aside from testimonials, is there any solid evidence that MVOCs, in the levels possible in a residential setting, have any measurable toxic effect on humans? And if the answer is yes, please provide documentation. (Please omit testimonials.)

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She gets plenty of points from me. Hers is a dated site but she's by no stretch of the imagination a 'mold for gold' case. A lot of good sense in her writings. . . .

Some good sense. But also a lot of half truths and not-truths.

Some examples:

In her "about mold' page, she writes about Melinda Ballard and her $30 million dollar award based on alleged health effect suffered from Stachybotrys. May later writes that the award was greatly reduced on appeal. These facts are true, but incomplete. What she fails to note is that the award was reduced, in part, to eliminate all personal injury claims that were supposedly the result of mold. This omission leaves the reader thinking that the court verdict somehow validates the toxic properties of mold.

Later on the same page, she brings up what might be the seminal incident that spurred mold hysteria in this country: the infant deaths from idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage in Cleveland in the early '90s. She notes that the mold was "linked" with the hemorrhages and that other mold might "contribute" to crib deaths. Once again what she's written is true, but incomplete. She fails to mention that the "link" was just a question posed by a single investigator who was wondering if there might be a connection. From this query, the mold hysteria in the U.S. was born. She also fails to mention that, upon, further review, the CDC found no link. Some of the infants who died were not exposed to the mold and many (many, many) infants who were exposed to the mold did not get sick.

I find that most of her site contains such half truths, carefully calculated to support her business.

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