In summary, the prompt remediation of contaminated material and infrastructure repair must be the primary response to mold contamination in city facilities. The simplest and most expedient remediation that properly and safely removes fungal growth from buildings should be used. In all situations, the underlying cause of water accumulation must be rectified or the fungal growth will recur. Emphasis should be placed on preventing contamination through proper building maintenance and prompt repair of water damaged areas.

Widespread contamination poses much larger problems that must be addressed on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the Occupational Health and Safety Division representative or the departmental safety specialist. Effective communication with building occupants is an essential component of all remedial efforts.


Prior to starting any remediation project over 100 square feet background air samples should be taken for documentation and comparison purposes. Background samples should use the following guidelines.

  • Use Zefon total spore cassettes
  • Run sample for 10 minutes at a flow rate of 15 liters per minute
  • Minimum 2 maximum 5 samples per workspace based on the size of the remediation area.
  • Locate samples evenly throughout the workspace
  • Take one sample outdoors as near the HVAC intake as possible. Avoid foliage and standing water.
  • Include 1 field blank in the sample set. After completion of the remediation and upon passing a thorough visual inspection air sampling for documentation to support a conclusive removal has occurred should take place. Air sampling should be done prior to removal of the containment and the HEPA negative air machines (2200 CFM units) shall run (in negative pressure mode) for a minimum of 12 hours after completion of the removal prior to beginning sampling. The negative air machines shall be turned off for a minimum of 30 minutes prior to the start of sampling and shall remain off for the duration of the sampling. After the completion of the sampling the negative air machines can be turned back on until final results are in and clearance is given by the City Industrial Hygienist. The following is a list of guidelines to use in setting up the air-sampling plan:
  • Use total spore (i.e. Zefon) cassettes
  • Run sample for 10 minutes
  • Use a pump set with a flow rate of 15 liters per minute
  • Minimum number of inside samples is 2 and maximum number of inside samples is 5 based on size of the remediation area
  • Location of inside samples should be evenly distributed throughout the workspace
  • 1 sample should be taken outdoors as near the HVAC intake as possible. Avoid locating near foliage and or standing water. Take another sample outside the isolation near the decontamination chamber entrance.
  • Include 1 field blank in the sample set If the remediation has passed a visual inspection and the final inside air sampling indicates number and types of spores found equal to or less than the out door sample the area can re-opened. Please note that 1 or 2 spores found inside the area and not outside do not necessarily reflect mold proliferation but is reflective of the normal variation found in natural spore distribution. If the inside area has a higher number of spores and or greater that three spores of a type not found outdoors then the area needs to be reinspected, re-cleaned and re-sampled.

How to recognize, identify, & find toxic or allergenic indoor mold How to test for mold, clean up mold, or remove mold from buildings How to find, identify, and remove other indoor contaminants Indoor air quality cleanup, improvement, or corrective measures

Our Certified inspectors will answers most questions on what to do about mold, providing expert, un-biased information for owners, occupants, inspectors. How to recognize mold, how to test mold, how to clean up or remove mold, how to prevent mold in buildings, and what mold related illnesses and symptoms have been reported are all discussed in depth.

Our Company offers impartial, unbiased advice without conflicts of interest. We will block advertisements which we discover or readers inform us are associated with bad business practices, false- advertising, or junk science. Our contact info is at inspect-ny. com/appointment.htm. This website provides information and procedures for finding, testing, cleaning and preventing indoor mold, toxic black mold, green mold, testing building indoor air quality, and other sick house / sick building investigations.

MOLD RELATED ILLNESS – Asthma, Allergies, Lung, Neurological, Other Complaints? The following articles provide detailed information about mold-related illnesses.

Clinical Atlas of Mold Toxicity – An Online Description of Toxic, Pathogenic, Allergenic Fungi, Fungal Diseases Fiberglass Insulation Contains Mold© 2005 comments about a field study in process, & more about health hazards from fiberglass insulation – DJF Odors, Odor Detection, Smells, & Gases how to find and identify sources of noxious or toxic odors and gases Other environmental risks, Our much longer list: Asbestos, carbon monoxide, electromagnetic fields, etc. Pollen Allergens: identification, Products to Reduce Mold & Allergy Problems to reduce indoor mold or allergen levels: air cleaners, air purifiers, dust mite covers, vacuum cleaners, crawl space vents Recognizing Allergens: What various indoor allergens look like – identification photos to help identify pollen, dust mites, animal dander, toxic or allergenic mold – Common Mold and other Allergens, Irritants, Remedies & Advice Rodent control issues, including dander, fecal, and urine contamination of Buildings and Building insulation are discussed at our Mold Action Plan page. Sewage and Septic backup contamination in Buildings: inspection, testing, remediation, & references to expert sources PREVENT MOLD – How to Prevent Mold Growth and Avoid Mold Problems in Buildings The following articles provide detailed information about how to prevent mold growth in buildings and in their mechanical systems.

Building Floods: quick steps after a building flood or plumbing leak can prevent costly mold contamination Mold Action Guide after Flooding: How to Minimize Mold Damage After a Building Flood How to Prevent Mold: how to avoid mold growth in buildings: priorities, repairs, products Humidity Control to Avoid Mold: How Low Should You Keep Indoor Humidity to Avoid a Mold Problem Mold-Resistant Building Practices some detailed suggestions from an expert on preventing mold growth indoors Ozone Warnings – Use of Ozone as a “mold” remedy is ineffective and may be dangerous. Meruliporia incrassata – “Poria” the house eating fungus Meruliporia incrassata or perhaps a different mold, Serpula lacrymans – which one is the “house eating fungus” – what it house rotting mold like in a building and under the microscope MOLD DETECTION – Mold Identification Photos and Tips These articles explain how to find and recognize mold in a building. The articles include mold recognition photos, methods of visual inspection for mold, and explanation of how to cut your mold investigation cost and trouble by learning to recognize stuff that is not mold at all. We also explain that not all black mold is harmful. Some is cosmetic only. Visual inspection can answer some of these questions without mold testing.

How to Find and Test for Mold in Buildings – Looking for Mold – A “how to” photo and text primer on finding and testing for mold in Buildings Choosing a Sampling Point to conduct a mold test SAMPLING DRYWALL for mold Sampling Mistakes when conducting a mold test Attic Mold how to recognize mold in an attic, when is it a problem? Basement mold how to recognize mold in a basement, is it a problem? Basketball Mold Syndrome – BBMS- sudden attention to old clues in buildings makes them seem brand new to some observers Crawlspace mold how to recognize mold in a crawl space, where will it be, is it a problem? Do-It-Yourself-Warnings for people inspecting and testing for toxic mold Mold on Dirt Floors in basements and crawl spaces MOLD ON or IN CARPETS where to look for mold on and under carpeting Hidden Mold a list and photos of other places to look for hidden or hard to spot mold contamination in buildings Hidden Mold: photo guide shows how to find hidden toxic or even simply cosmetic mold in buildings

What Does Mold Look Like? Mold spores in the Home – a Photo ID Library for detection and identification of mold allergens Stuff That is Not Mold but is often mistaken for it – things you may not want to test. Not all “black mold” is toxic or harmful. TRAPPED MOLD BETWEEN WOOD SURFACES – do we need to look for, find, remove, or try to kill mold on mating wood surfaces such as between floor joist tops and subfloor underside, or between a wall sill plate and the subfloor surface? What about between layers of wood flooring and subflooring? Lighting: Proper use of lighting discloses hard to see but toxic light or white mold colonies on building surfaces – read this if you’re doing your own tape sampling for mold. Lighting, using to find mold – proper use of a flashlight can help spot mold on paneling and other building surfaces Mold Investigation Tips for Home Inspectors how to find mold, where to look, what is likely to be important. Advice to Building inspectors intending to inspect or test for toxic or problematic mold indoors, mold inspection methods, and mold test methods which are valid or invalid Most Common Indoor Molds Found in Buildings, A Table of Meruliporia incrassata the house eating fungus or “poria” may be mistaken for wood rot.

MOLD TEST PROCEDURES – Valid and in-valid mold testing methods & protocols. Are some mold test kits junk science? Please see Mold Sampling Methods in the Indoor Environment and in addition, the mold test critique articles listed just below. Validity of Common Indoor Mold Sampling Techniques Examining the Validity of Current Indoor Mold Sampling Techniques, Daniel Friedman, (Illustrated Power Point Presentation) 15th Annual North Carolina/South Carolina Environmental Association Technical Conference Tape: Mold Testing by Tape of a Moldy Surface “bulk” or “tape” samples and their interpretation – a brief tutorial Tape: How to Report Mold Levels in Tape Samples of Surfaces in Buildings Air: Mold Testing by Air Samples & their interpretation – a brief tutorial on indoor air sampling for mold – are spore counts per cubic meter of air accurate and valid? Using air sampling to determine if a mold problem is “present” or “absent” and the role of cultures for “viable spore sampling” are criticized. Air sampling used alone is an unreliable way to look for mold and is highly questionable as a means of characterizing a precise mold exposure level indoors. Basketball Mold Syndrome – BBMS- sudden attention to old clues in buildings makes them seem brand new to some observers Carpet Mold Inspection how to look for mold in carpets Carpet Mold Test Guide suggestions for alternative methods to test carpeting for mold Culture: Mold Testing by Cultures & “Home Test Kits for Mold” – Validity of Settlement Plates or Swabs to test for toxic mold in Buildings – a brief tutorial Mold Sampling Methods in the Indoor Environment a critique of popular mold testing methods – Is your “expert” using valid methods? Is your mold test kit worth the bother? (Technical Paper.) Toxic Mold Testing Methods Compared, also Toxic Gas Testing Methods and MVOC’s – valid vs. invalid methods, recommendations compares air sampling for mold, surface or tape sampling for mold, culture or swab sampling for mold, and gas MVOC sampling methods for mold or other toxins, and organizes links to papers on each of these topics. A Comparison of Some Indoor Air Sampling Devices – simultaneous application of popular sampling cassettes and slide samplers allows comparison of typical particle collection variation by device in actual field use. A field study in process by DJF, 2008 – 2005 (Technical Paper) Burkard personal air sampler used by many residential investigators (we use multiple units simultaneously in some investigations). We also employ other residential building sampling equipment for surface, air, vacuum, and bulk sample collection methods as well as for gases. Alternative, low-cost air sampling equipment and methods such as the mini-vacuum pump and Zefon Air-o-Cell or Allergenco-d cassettes or MCE filter cassettes for viable, non-viable or other forensic particle identification in Buildings. A field study in process by DJF, 2005 – 2006 (Technical Paper) Allergenco Mk-III time-lapse impaction air sampling equipment – study changes in particle dispersion under varying conditions (furnace on/off) A field study in process by DJF, 2004 – 2006 (Technical Paper) Mold Testing: Bulk or Tape Surface Samples and their interpretation – a quick tutorial A brief introduction to using adhesive tape to collect particle samples such as from mold-covered surfaces; scrapes onto microscope slide and Vacuum Samples of Building Cavities: Wall Check type vacuum pump and canister permits “sampling” of mold and allergens in wall, ceiling, and floor cavities but our direct field testing indicates that this method is highly unreliable.

When the building interior surfaces were demolished we then performed a visual inspection and collected bulk surface samples using tape. The wall check samples were completely unable to detect large and significant mold contamination in the cavities of this building.

We postulate that even with mechanical agitation (banging on the wall during wall check sampling) the flow rate of the sampling method does not move enough air to reliably pick up surface contamination unless the mold genera/species happens to be at a particularly high state of active sporulation. The tool remains in the professional’s arsenal, to be used with discretion. Vacuum samples of Soft Goods of carpeting, drapes, furniture, clothing permits testing for mold contamination. We use this method for screening of areas where mold is not visible, and in clearance testing. MOLD CULTURES – Validity and Usefulness of Mold Cultures & Culture-Based Home Test Kits for mold For a quick to understand overview of the validity and usefulness or perhaps not-usefulness of culture tests for mold, see Validity of Cultures (settlement plates or swabs) to find toxic mold in Buildings which is an overview and critique of using mold cultures, settlement plates, petri dishes, and cultured swab samples, and air sample testing limitations for determining what’s in a Building, and which tests are useful in different situations.

For more thorough detail see Shortcomings of cultured mold samples which lists a number of detailed concerns about viable spore traps and culture media for Building problem detection

MOLD CLASSES, LEVELS – Mold Hazard levels, Mold Spore Count Validity, Interpreting Mold Counts, and Classes of Mold Please see MOLD CLASSES, LEVELS for the full text article on this topic.

Airborne Mold Spore Counts: Airborne Mold Spore Counts – are indoor fungal spore counts valid? Mold Exposure Standards: Exposure Standards for Mold, Levels of Severity of Indoor Mold Contamination – Various Published Standards of Permissible Mold Exposure Limits: at what level is toxic or allergenic mold a problem? – What does your “spores per cubic meter of air” or “spore count” really mean – if anything? MOLD EXPOSURE RISK LEVELS: How to Determine Mold Contamination Probability or Mold Exposure Risk Levels in Buildings Based on Visual Inspection MOLD LEVEL IN AIR, VALIDITY: Mold Spore Counts – are indoor fungal spore counts valid? Mold Hazard Levels: Mold Classes, Levels of what types of cosmetic, allergenic, or toxic mold are a problem? Can mold be cleaned-up successfully? Mold Reporting: How to Report Mold Levels in Mold Test Samples of Surfaces in Buildings Mold Spore Count Per Cubic Meter: airborne density counts of mold spores per cubic meter of air – how to interpret low mold spore trap count results MOLD REPORTS – Mold and IAQ Investigation Reports Indoor Air / Toxic Mold Field Investigation & Lab Reports – what to look for in a toxic mold field investigation report and mold test laboratory report © Indoor Air / Toxic Mold Test Lab Reports – what to look for in a toxic mold test laboratory report © How to Report Mold Levels in Mold Test Samples of Surfaces in Buildings – suggested non-quantitative definitions Sick House Investigation Questionnaire used to collect occupant and Building information that may aid the investigator ©

Rusts, or Uredinales, include Puccinia rusts that invade corn, cotton, mint, sugar cane, and wheat, also Melampsora – flax, Hemileia – coffee, Cronartium – pine, Uromyces – chickpea, bean, and many others. There are about 5000 species in this group.

Our lab photo (left) shows typical Urediniospores from an air sample where rust spores were frequent. (These are not wheat rust spores).

Wheat leaf rust causes small (1/32″) reddish-brown pustules or blisters to appear on the surface of plant leaves.

The wheat leaf rust Puccinia recondita spores may also produce a reddish brown dust (mold spore powder).

Mature wheat leaf rust fungus pustules and their fungal spores may be dark brown or even black. Wheat leaf rust spores live only on live leaves but survive the winter on leaf fragments, periodically reaching epidemic proportions in the wheat crop. Interestingly, the location of wheat rust on the plant can indicate its source: rust on upper plant leaves suggests that spores blew into the wheat field from a more distant location, while wheat rust pustules found on lower plant leaves indicate that the rust fungus over-wintered on leaves in the local field.

In addition to application of systemic wheat foliar fungicides such as Tilt, Quadris, and Mancozeb, some varieties of wheat are bred to resist this fungus, and experts note that resistant species are the best way to control wheat rust epidemics. More information about wheat leaf rust is at the Kansas State University Website.

Rust spores can be quite beautiful, belying the crop damage they may cause, as our lab photo of Pileolaria brevipes (a rust spore found in an air sample we collected in San Diego, CA) shows at left.

While focuses attention on building and indoor environmental concerns, the history and forensic work on Puccinia recondita is so important to the world’s wheat crop and serves so well as an example of good investigative work that we have included this expanding topical section.

Contact Us to contribute to this section or for other website critique or content suggestions.

TECHNICAL PROCEDURES – Technical & Laboratory Procedures Good Laboratory and Microscope Procedures are critical in making sense of field samples. Competent, trained, experienced aerobiologists, mycologists, and microbiologists can identify sample contents with good accuracy. Depending on the experience of the laboratory, it is also possible to interpret the meaning of the sample for the Building and its occupants. Laboratory professionals who have also performed the field inspection can make useful extrapolations from lab results. Hasty work by disinterested parties may be less useful for Building occupants and owners.

Please see TECHNICAL & LAB PROCEDURES for the full text article on this topic.

Air Sampler Specifications Required for Airborne Particle Calculations