Discussion in 'Flooring Potpourri' started by Daris Mulkin, Apr 10, 2009.

  1. Tandy Reeves

    Tandy Reeves Resting In Peace Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member


    An effective interpretation of biological air samples is formed primarily by two guiding principles:
    1. The comparison of indoor and outdoor samples.

      There are currently no guidelines or regulations (this may have changed check your local EPA office) to indicate "safe" or "normal" spore levels, however, it is typically expected indoor counts to be 30% to 80% of outdoor spore counts, with the same general distribution of spore types present.
    2. Variation is an inherent part of biological air sampling. The presence or absence of a few genera in small numbers should not be considered abnormal.

      Rain-washes the air clean of many spore types while it assists in the dispersion of others. Sampling on rainy, foggy, or very humid days may result in outdoor counts which are low or which have a significantly different distribution of spore types.

    Sampling on days when there are strong winds also creates problems. Outside counts may be significantly higher than on non-windy days.

    Obtaining a baseline sample is usually recommended, thus it is important to be sure to collect at least one exterior sample. If your subject location tests positive to any particulates of concern, it is important to know if the containment's are originating from inside the subject property or from the outside.

    Temperature and humidity have not proven to affect the performance of the sampling. With respect to mold growth, temperature and humidity have a significant impact on the rate and magnitude of cellular growth.


    I will start posting less information so you will have more time to digest the information, and perhaps come up with questions. Remember we are in this together.

    Time for recess and CP do not remove your mask to spit.:D
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 14, 2009
  2. Lo Down

    Lo Down Old as dirt member Charter Member Senior Member

    Tandy, this would be a great thing to keep as a sticky topic.
    T, I wonder if we could have a small reference sticky titled Library or Safety Library. It could contain information like this one on mold. Maybe just the pages Tandy has shared and without all the comments.
    This could also be done with other worthy topics too. Asbestos, electrical or tools, air filtration at the workplace .........heck, maybe on the job artery and vein repair too. :D
    Basically, any topic or even a good link that's voted worthy of having enough value to be considered "library" quality.
    A library induction might even be a link that someone finds from the EPA or from the Red Cross..........
    I'm thinking along the lines of useful information that would be locked, so the Library could not be used as a place to make comments............ just good links and information. Not a 'how to install' type of library........... more related to health and safety stuff. It could be in alphabetical order to keep it simple.
    Just a thought...................:hmmm:
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2009
  3. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    Stickied. Good suggestion. I hope to make an article out of the completed work, with Tandy's permission. That'll give it a page of its own.

  4. Lo Down

    Lo Down Old as dirt member Charter Member Senior Member

    Thanks, Jim. I just think it would make some of these more worthy issues easier to find, use, and digest without surfing through all of our comments or doing a forum search.
  5. Tandy Reeves

    Tandy Reeves Resting In Peace Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member


    The first part of air sampling is to look for signs of a problem, i.e., chemicals, moisture, foods, paints. Always look for dust buildup as you make your inspection of an area. If there is slight to zero build up, then run the test for 5 minutes. If the dust build up is light to moderate, then 4 minutes is a sufficient amount of running time for the test. However, if there is a heavy build up of dust, the test should be run from 2 to 3 minutes. You may have to run a second test for a shorter time if the slide looks overloaded. We will get into testing equipment, slides, regulators, and vacuum pumps later. All of the information here is based on using a impact sampler.


    Be alert to the total environment around you. Be sure to stay alert to first odors when you enter an area. Often times what one smells quickly adapts,and when this happens the clue from that odor is lost.

    Always check sink drains. If a pea trap is dry, a bad odor can emit and lead you all over the place hunting it. By the way dry pea traps are a plumbing problem. I had a consumer that could not find where paint odors were coming from. Pulled the pea trap and sure enough it was dry and smelled like paint. At some time the painters had used that sink to clean their equipment and the last thing through the pipe was paint thus the paint odor. Plumber fixed the trap and paint odor went away.


    Sampling locations should be determined by the individuals concerns. If your client were concerned because he/she has difficulty breathing or has allergy problems only when they sleep, then the obvious starting point would be in the bedroom. Always be sure to run several tests even though you have no idea where the contaminants are originating. Always do one test at the main source of concern. If there is a basement located under the home, be sure to do at least one test there. Many homes have forced air heating systems and central air that could be circulating aeroallergens throughout the house by way of the heating and air ducts.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2009
  6. Tandy Reeves

    Tandy Reeves Resting In Peace Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member


    The locations of the testing are a judgment call. One must use logic and observation to make this determination. Example: If you see mold growing in an area, the test should be conducted in that area. You would not want to test where there is continuous foot traffic because you will be gathering material carried on clothing from outside and other areas.

    The patting of the carpet or upholstery would generally be considered an aggressive form of sampling. If it is important to dislodge contaminates for identification purposes, great care should be taken not to cause any further air contamination. As a result of patting the carpet, there would be no way to quantify the amount of aero allergens on the sample because it was aggressive testing. Therefore, the test results would not be the most credible.

    Do not comment to on lookers about what you see or that the area looks like a problem. Remember people hear what they want to hear and you have no idea what is on the slide.

    The request for analysis is also known as the chain of custody. This portion may be one of the most important segments of testing. It is important to be able to show where the samples were taken, and that they be labeled accordingly. Also, the length of the test and the liters per minute must be shown on each test. Finally, the chain of custody needs to be signed by the person that is mailing the samples and also by the person that receives the samples at the laboratory.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 17, 2009
  7. Tandy Reeves

    Tandy Reeves Resting In Peace Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member


    As you can see this is a commercial investigation, but the same type investigation must be done on a residence.

    It is my opinion, that the air quality investigation should never be done by anyone that does remediation. To do so is like the fox guarding the hen house.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 17, 2009
  8. Lo Down

    Lo Down Old as dirt member Charter Member Senior Member

    I see a new TV show in the works.
    Tandy CSI
    Wow, I had no idea that the testing was so structured.
  9. mcbrides

    mcbrides Canadian Installers Senior Member

    Tandy CSI indeed. Really interesting and relevant reading. Thanks and keep it coming. And yes, T, please move this information into Lo's library format once Tandy is finished.

    Designated smoking rooms? You guys still have those? Nobody can smoke indoors here, it's against the law. The bars took a big hit on that one. They are also proposing legislation prohibiting smoking in cars while children are present. Excellent idea.

  10. Tandy Reeves

    Tandy Reeves Resting In Peace Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Some pictures of equipment, and slides. I use the Bio-Sis impact sampler and all the pictures and instructions will relate to it. There are other impact samplers and you should be able to find them on the internet. Be sure to click each picture to see it full-size.

    First two pictures are of the BIO SIS impact sampler. On the side shot the black rubber compression ring. This must be sealed properly with the top portion in order to have proper vacuum.
    P4170001.jpg P4170002.jpg

    This is the material used to make the slide capable of holding the air particulates that are pulled into the sampler.

    These are the slides for taking samples.

    The alcohol swabs that is used each time a new slide is made to prevent false readings and cross contamination.

    This is the rotometer that sets the amount of vacuum allowed to conduct the proper test.
    P4170006.jpg P4170007.jpg

    This is the vacuum pump.

    This slide number 1, was made at 15 liters per minute for 5 minutes. Notice the nice clear line made and remember it is made from material in the air and each particulant is a micron in size. Slide number 2 was made at 15 liters per minute, for 5 minutes where I was patting on chair upholstery two times while the test was running. Notice how over and splattered the line is.
    P4170010.jpg P4170011.jpg P4170012.jpg

    This is a diagram of the BIO SIS showing air flow direction and impact zone.

    This is the form used to record the test information and send in with sample slides. It is called the chain of custody.

    Be sure to click each picture to see it full-size.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 17, 2009
  11. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    I have edited the Air Quality Investigation form post here: Air Quality Investigation and included a downloadable file in PDF format for anyone to use. Please review the information in it once again.

    Thanks, Tandy!

  12. Demonseed

    Demonseed Pro Member

    I have a mold remediation manual that has a lot of this info already sorted, if Tandy is interested I could send it to him.
  13. Nick Arrera

    Nick Arrera Traitor

    This is all great info .
    Is there much call for it ?
    Where do i sign up to be Certified ?
  14. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    I have a feeling that the FITS Certified team will be doing a class on this. I certainly don't speak for them, but it does seem a natural calling for them. I hope it happens.

  15. Tandy Reeves

    Tandy Reeves Resting In Peace Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Thanks for the offer Demonseed. Since I am retired, I am not adding to my data base.

    When I advertised that I do mold testing, I did a lot of testing. However, this was when the mold scare was at its high point. I do a little now from people that know I have the equipment.

    I stopped teaching the class because so many shysters and crooks got into the testing and remediation of mold. As a result people were getting ripped off right and left. Demonseed I am sure can verify this. I just did not want FITS and my name involved. Don't get me wrong, there are some very good and honest testers and remediators out there as well as schools. Also, law suites are rampant in this field.
  16. Tandy Reeves

    Tandy Reeves Resting In Peace Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    I us EMLab for all my test samples. This is a great company and seem always ready to answer questions and help you any way they can. Environmental Microbiology Laboratory is their web address go to this site and click on the different categories for great information.

    A VERY SERIOUS WORD OF CAUTION: Never and I mean never look at mold and tell someone what species it is or if it is harmless or dangerous. Of the approximately 63,000 varieties found, only a fraction of them have ever been identified. Fortunately, even fewer are allergenic or cause disease in humans and animals. The goal of sampling is to determine what biological particulates are present in your environment and what effects they would have on individuals. Remember when you get the report back from the lab do not attempt to interpret the result for your client. You are not a microbiologist or a doctor.

    I will include a complete analysis of an actual test I conducted about one month ago. It will be coming up soon. Got to get some names and addresses off of it.
  17. Tandy Reeves

    Tandy Reeves Resting In Peace Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    I would like to ask a favor of all of you installers. Hopefully from reading about mold and other airborne particulates and how easy we breath in material we cannot see.

    Now think about that that dirty flooring material, old carpet cushion, and carpet you roll up and lift it to your shoulder to carry it off the job site. When you flop that on your shoulder, can you imagine the germs and filth you cannot see entered the air you are about to walk through breathing in this material.

    The favor is ask is when doing this please slip on a face mask to prevent this stuff from entering your lungs and then your system. Also, remember you are carrying these particulates on your clothes when you go home.

    Good luck and good health to all of you.

  18. Nick Arrera

    Nick Arrera Traitor

    That is the main reason i won't put used cpt in my van Tandy .
  19. mcbrides

    mcbrides Canadian Installers Senior Member

    We refer to some of that debris as dead people's skin cells. Some of our ripouts are that old. You are right, we should be wearing masks. When we ask customers to vacuum first, they look at us like we have two heads.
  20. Tandy Reeves

    Tandy Reeves Resting In Peace Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Vacuuming the carpet before take up is a good idea. However, that primarily takes care of only the debris that is large enough to fall out of the carpet and cannot get into your lungs. Unless they have a vacuum with a hepa filter, the micron debris (that can be breathed into your lungs) is going to be airborne the same as when you lift it to your shoulders to carry it out. Remember it is the stuff you cannot see that is entering your lungs. It will absolutely amaze you how rapid these micron particulates can become airborne. We will go into that more later.

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