Mold Inspection with Particle Counters Jul. 9, 2019

Introduction

There’s no doubt that the quality of air in our homes, workplaces and other facilities affect our health. Mold signifies that there is a problem that has to be solved. Many professionals conducting IAQ investigations use a wide range of testing equipment including laser particle counters.

What is Mold?

Molds are primitive plant-like fungal organisms that make spores instead of seeds. Spores float in the air like pollen. The spores and chemicals that molds produce are a common trigger for allergies and sometimes more serious health consequences. Molds have been in our environment for millions of years, and as you have probably seen on TV ads, all homes have mold to some degree.

Do you have a Mold Problem?

Some of the signs that mold may be prevalent include: persistent musty or 'earthy' odors indoors, mold seen growing on walls, ceilings or other surfaces and/or experiencing cold, flu or allergy-like symptoms when in the home. In some cases, people may suffer sneezing, itching watery eyes, coughing, etc. Mold is a foreign protein. It releases spores, hyphae parts, and volatile organic chemicals. Exposure can aggravate respiratory illness, trigger asthma attacks, and cause other serious maladies. Not all molds cause the same reactions and people often react differently to different molds. In some cases, these reactions can require hospitalization.

Mold Inspection and Appropriate Instruments

A Mold Inspection is really two inspections: one is for mold, the second is for the source of moisture and dampness that allows mold to flourish. Mold spreads in the air in tiny particles. Laser Particle Counters use lasers to provide intense light and thereby count very small particles.

The Kanomax 3888 3-Channel Handheld Laser Particle Counter is useful for cleanroom certifications and spot checks, but it can also be a handy tool for mold remediation projects. This gets a little tricky, because if you're familiar with particle counters you are no doubt aware that they only count particles, they don't classify the type of particle (other than by size), so how can they be used to detect mold?

The answer: If you take the particle counter into a contaminated area, you can use it to 'screen' the area by taking a count for a set duration in suspect places. By comparing the counts in each area you can identify the area that has the highest concentration of particles. This then becomes the place for the start of an in-depth investigation. This technique can save time by pinpointing likely spots that are contaminated with mold.

The Kanomax 3888 is widely used in food and beverage, pharmaceutical, semiconductor, etc. industries.

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