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Mold plate exposure test

Discussion in 'Addressing Biotoxin, Chemical & Food Sensitivities' started by hixxy, May 9, 2012.

  1. hixxy

    hixxy Woof woof

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    Has anyone done the mold plate exposure test to evaluate your home for mold? Is it useful? Can anyone explain it to me?

    I don't really want to have to buy Sherry Rogers book and I'll have enough trouble trying to read it with print sensitivity!
     
  2. sianrecovery

    sianrecovery Senior Member

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    I have, and found a high level of penicillum and mucor spores. this has led me to try and get an environmental survey done by someone who understands mould issues. He said to me on the phone that the petri dishes are a very unreliable guide, because some moulds dont release many spores, some are heavier than others etc etc - but the dish did give me a place to start. A cheap place, which is good for me...

    why the sherry rogers book? which one? I read some of hers, and also shoemakers...I also did the HLA DR genotype test. I am pretty sure I am a mould reactor, and if I am right, that definitely has implications for my life. My suspicion is based on the fact that when I go to a dry, warm, high climate (Arizona) from a damp, moldy, cold one, many, not all, but many, remit. Of course, there may be several reasons for that, but it is a reliable effect, so I would be missing a trick if I didnt investigate.
     
  3. equestrian111

    equestrian111

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    I used the ermi mold test that Dr shoemaker suggests. you can go online a buy it and they will mail you the kit. you then attach it to your vacumne and mail it back to them. they send you a very detailed analysis of each mold found and the count. mine was very high..after remediation. but my house is 300yrs old. shoemaker suggests at what level is acceptable, if you had mold sensitivity. no one else got ill in my house..so i must have that hla gene. when i get a mold hit..i can tell immediately. i feel it in my nose, eyes..its weird. and then i am down for 4 days. mold and cfs are definately linked in some of us. here is the ermi link http://www.emsl.com. here is a link when you get tests back to check how it rates if you have mold illness. http://www.survivingmold.com/diagnosis/hertsmi-2
     
  4. sianrecovery

    sianrecovery Senior Member

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    ERMI over mold plates, every time
     
  5. Andrew

    Andrew Senior Member

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    Consumer reports bought a bunch of mold analysis kits and didn't find any of the services reliable. Some kits they never even exposed to the air, and got reports of mold problems. Others they exposed to a specific mold, and the lab didn't report it. But I don't remember which brands they used, so maybe your kits are okay.

    I had a mold evaluation done on my apartment. They took air samples, which they looked at under a microscope. Then they gave me a count of everything they found. I got to discuss the results with them.

    I can't guarantee this method is better. It only made more sense to me at the time.

    BTW, they found no significant mold counts in my place.
     
  6. hixxy

    hixxy Woof woof

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    ERMI used with a vacuum cleaner? I don't have carpet?? Is this test still useful? I suspect water damage in this house and during rain the inside of this house feels like it's swimming in water.


    Where's the best place to purchase this test from?
     
  7. SickOfSickness

    SickOfSickness Senior Member

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    I don't know the real numbers but isn't almost every house contaminated in some way? :( If not mold then other bad chemicals, old unsafe materials, animal waste, etc. Certainly every basement has leaks, if you have one. Almost every house would develop some leaks by its 7th-12th year in existence? A lot of flooring has bad things going on underneath. Insulation that ever got wet. Air ducts unless very well maintained. Who keeps up routinely with those?
     
  8. hixxy

    hixxy Woof woof

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    Indeed, but I guess there's always going to be different degrees of severeity. I'd like to be in a less severe one please! :eek:
     
  9. equestrian111

    equestrian111

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    With the ermi test you vacuum the floor or rug in front of couch and in bedroom. Mold spores in the air in supposedly unreliable. Mold in the dust that has settled is a more thorough way to test. So they say. You can read up on it at Dr richie shoemaker web site or Google reno testing. The petri dishes are useless. There is Mold everywhere but there are safe limits. If you have Mold illness you have to have very low counts in your home. Also ermi will tell you what types of Mold are present and in what quantity.
     
  10. hixxy

    hixxy Woof woof

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    I have absolutley no rugs or mats. I'm guessing if I let enough dust settle on the floor boards that would be fine.
     
  11. equestrian111

    equestrian111

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    Wish my phone didn't suggest words. Meant Google ERMI
     
  12. equestrian111

    equestrian111

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    Don't clean floor before you do test. Let some dust remain. Not clumps, but just normal. Even if you can't see it..there is dust.
     
  13. slayadragon

    slayadragon Senior Member

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    I recently asked a couple of mold remediators who are respected in the online toxic mold community (e.g. on the Yahoo forum SickBuildings) about mold plate tests.

    From Connie Morbach:

    >All mold testing is prone to false negatives for varying reasons. I do have some information on my blog (cleanlinest.com) about narrowing down the choices with a checklist. If your friend can get some help with this, he should be able to weed out those that likely have had a water damage problem. If this is done and one of the aparments meets the criteria in my checklist, then performing an ERMI could provide additional comfort. If this is done, have him email me directly before he takes the sample and I can provide some guidance. connie@sanit-air.com Good Luck to your friend
    Here is Connie's blog. The first two entries (from 9/27/11 and 2/13/12) are particularly relevant.
    http://cleanlinest.wordpress.com/

    Carl Grimes' comments are below.

    Just the other day, I saw the following on Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker's website about the use of Swiffer cloths to collect dust for the ERMI test and the availability of a less expensive version of the ERMI. It would be interesting to learn more about those.

    http://hosted-p0.vresp.com/829065/b03c36ab41/ARCHIVE

    Best, Lisa

    *

    From Carl Grimes:

    Looking for a low cost but effective screening method is on the right track, followed up by a more precise or costly method. Unfortunately, the settling plate kits - regardless of who sells them and which lab they go to - do not give reliable or useable information. You can use them but how do you what the results mean?

    One exception is if the plate is totally loaded with lots of different types of molds. Then obviously something is not right. And usually there are many other indicators such as visible mold growth, water damage, odors, damaged wood or drywall for example. But other than that extreme example how does one interpret the results? If any mold grows at all does that mean the building is moldy? Actually, if no mold grows then that IS a problem - but with the sampling not with the building. Because mold spores are everywhere all the times sampling of any type SHOULD find mold.
    So at what point can we reasonably conclude that the building is or is not a problem based on these samples? Perhaps by finding molds which are toxic? Unfortunately, all molds can produce mycotoxins under the right conditions and even the more notorious molds (like Stachybotrys) do not always produce mycotoxins. Production of mycotoxins depends on the total set of environmental conditions, not just on the type of mold. The only way to know if they are producing mycotoxins is to analyze specifically for mycotoxins - even more expensive than ERMI.
    Another type of test kit is a strip or a swab and is supposed to identify specifically Stachybotrys. Which it can with reasonable accuracy. But it doesn't tell you how much, it doesn't tell you if it actually has mycotoxins, and you still have to make a subjective determination of whether that single spot of mold you tested is the only spot of mold or if there are dozens or hundreds of square feet of mold hidden inside the walls, floors, ceilings, etc.
    All of these tests - and the professional versions - require an interpretation. And that interpretation involves additional information which mold samples cannot answer. The interpretation includes, for example, history of moisture whether by flood, leak, or condensation along with types of materials and contents, types of systems in the house and how they interact with each other, and most importantly the susceptibility of the person.
    This does not mean you always need a professional consultant. This does not mean each of us cannot make a reasonable interpretation about a particular building. What it does mean is that there is no single piece of information all by itself - ESPECIALLY lab samples - which can reasonably make that determination for you.
    *
    Lisa,
    I'd suggest your friend just skip the test kits. Others may disagree because they were helped, but I'm of the opinion they were lucky. And I wonder how many very acceptable apartments or houses were rejected because some mold grew on the plates. Which it should because it is in the air everywhere. If there is no mold on the plates then the test was not conducted properly.
    If an apartment is "really bad" then there will be many obvious indications. Such as visible mold, visible water staining, perhaps physical damage, odor, and even physical reactions such as coughing, irritated eyes and throat, headaches, etc. For that you don't need a test of any kind. Your (or their) experience is sufficient to decide against taking it.
    If your friend decides to use them anyway, then it makes no difference which one they use. They are all equally inaccurate, non-representative, and almost always misleading. Especially since ALL mold testing (even by professionals) grossly underestimates the actual mold by as much as 50%, depending on the size of the spore. And it cannot include the fragments of spores and hyphae which is higher than the intact spores by a factor of at least 10, and sometimes 100 or more.

    You and your friend are left with other means to evaluate apartments. I wish testing could help but it isn't designed to answer the questions you have.

    Carl Grimes
    Healthy Habitats LLC
     
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  14. hixxy

    hixxy Woof woof

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    Ok, so the gist of that post is that testing is unreliable and going by your instincts and sensible guided inspection of your home is the most reliable method?
     
  15. slayadragon

    slayadragon Senior Member

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    That actually may be true for people who really know what they're doing because they have a lot of experience with moldy buildings. For instance, when I was getting my moldy home tested, air testing showed that only a minor problem was present. Then I had three different remediators visit, and they visually inspected the home. They all came up with the same basic set of problem areas, all of which turned out to have major mold problems.

    Here is a list of some different ways to tell if toxic mold is a problem for someone with CFS/mold illness in a residence, in the order of what I think is level of likely helpfulness.

    1. Get unmasked, then visit the dwelling to see if it causes symptoms.
    2. Hire a mold dog to check things out.
    3. Hire an extremely knowledgeable and trustworthy remediator to check things out.
    4. Do an ERMI test.
    5. Do a visual check yourself for problems, e.g. using something like Connie's list.
    6. Hire a remediator who seems like s/he might be competent to check things out.
    7. Do air testing.
    8. Do a plate test.
    9. Hire a random remediator to check things out.

    I myself have focused just on #1 on this list though, and so am not the best person to evaluate the other methods. This list is just based on the reports that I've gotten from other people.
     
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  16. slayadragon

    slayadragon Senior Member

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    I know it probably doesn't make sense that it would be more accurate to do a visual check yourself than to hire an apparently competent professional to do a visual check. However, it would be hard to overstate the amount of incompetence in this industry, and some of these people are very good at making potential clients believe they know what they're doing by appearing "scientific."
     
  17. hixxy

    hixxy Woof woof

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    Thanks slaya.
     
  18. froufox

    froufox Senior Member

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    Hi folks, I just wondered if anyone here has had this testing done in the UK? I can see that EMSL is based in the US...do they send test kits abroad if not does anyone know if there is a similarly reputable lab in the UK? Many thanks :)
     
  19. slayadragon

    slayadragon Senior Member

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    The one mold professional in the UK that I have good comments about is Jeff Charlton. He was trained in the U.S., and I've interacted with him online too.

    This is the address that I have for him. If that doesn't work (it should), please let me know.

    999 Team <tech@999team.org

    Best, Lisa
     
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  20. froufox

    froufox Senior Member

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    Thanks Lisa, I'll drop him a line :)
     

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