Surface sampling is the most common technique used to test surfaces for mold during a mold inspection. It provides valuable information. The species of mold, the relative degree of contamination, and the potential for airborne spore production may all be determined by tape sampling. This method can be performed using either standard, clear cellophane tape or a packaged kit specifically designed for mold sampling. Both types involve sampling by direct contact to visible mold. The tape or a slide prepared with adhesive is pressed against a moldy surface in order to collect the sample, which is then sent to a laboratory for analysis. This method is non-invasive and will not damage materials or surfaces, when performed properly. Depending on the material, tape samples can be obtained from the surfaces of valuable furnishings and materials of historical provenance that have visible fungal growth, usually without risk of damage.
- Surface sampling is inexpensive and (for a direct examination) may be analyzed immediately.
- A direct microscopic examination of a surface shows exactly what is there.
- Surface sampling may also reveal indoor reservoirs of spores that have not yet become airborne.
- The presence of biological materials on a particular surface is not a direct indication of what may be in the air.
- Health problems related to indoor microbial growth are generally caused by the inhalation of substantial numbers of airborne spores, sometimes over a substantial period of time (exceptions being, for example, situations involving small children or immuno-compromised individuals).
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