Avoid Scare Tactics within the Mold Industry
Avoid Companies with a Conflict of Interest
Unfortunately, there are a lot of "Scare Tactics" used within the microbial investigation and mold remediation industry. As with any industry, there are always going to be people out there who try and scare people into using their services. They may do so by embellishing facts, giving misinformation or by simply telling you things that are completely untrue. I want to give you, the consumer, a couple tips for what to watch out for if you are ever in a situation of having to enlist services within the microbial and mold remediation industry.
1) Pay close attention to each company’s website. Most companies have a website nowadays, and that can give you a good insight as to what type of company you will end up dealing with. Some companies websites are littered with misinformation and pictures geared towards scaring you into using their services. I have seen websites with embellished pictures of microscopic mold spores, but in reality just about anything looks scary when you magnify it 500 times. Also, if anywhere on their website you see the terms "Black Mold" or "Toxic Mold", consider that a big red flag. Those terms were created by the media, and it wasn't for their feel-good story of the evening if you know what I mean. It was to create interest as a result of fear. After all, who isn't afraid of the term "toxic"? You don't hear many stories that start with toxic and end with a smile. You may also want to avoid companies that over emphasize the potential health effects of mold on people. Although it is good to be informed of potential signs of mold exposure and basic information regarding health, if a company’s main content of their website is to make you believe that you are definitely going to get sick after being around mold, it is probably another thing to be cautious of. And lastly, if somehow you have come across a company that does not even have a website, approach them with caution. If a company is not willing to provide basic information about them including their contact info, certification and affiliation information and a basic company profile it may be for good reason. They may be attempting to fly under the radar, or be quite new to the industry and have not yet put any effort into a website. I don't know about you, but I don't think I would trust a mold problem to the new guys on the block.
Our Mold and Environmental Investigative Services
2) Be wary of remediation companies that do their own testing. Within our industry it is a direct conflict of interest for a remediation company to perform their own testing. A large majority of the public has never dealt with a mold problem, or had to interpret a laboratory analysis of microbial samples. Therefore, it could be somewhat easy for a remediation company to embellish sample results. It is not uncommon to hear about a remediation company coming into a home and pulling some microbial samples, and upon receiving the results inform the client that the home is completely contaminated and they must vacate immediately or pay for expensive remediation. I had a client once tell me that a remediation company told her that she was being a bad mother because she was allowing her family to live in a mold infested home. And that was based on a visual inspection alone. Upon further investigation by an independent third party microbial investigator it was revealed that yes, they had a minimal mold problem but it was far less intense than the remediation company would have had her believe. You have to remember that a remediation company makes money off of cleaning up mold. Therefore, the more they have to clean or the larger the project, the more potential money they will make. So avoid being scared into expensive work that may not be needed and have an independent party look at the situation.
3) If you are ever in the middle of a microbial investigation and the inspector or contractor attempts to tell you what type of mold is present just by looking at it, be very cautious. I have heard multiple stories about contractors or inspectors coming in to look at a mold problem and attempting to identify what type of molds are present just by looking at it. Unfortunately, this is just not possible. There are literally tens of thousands of types of molds, many of them grow to be similar colors and textures and may display consistent growth patterns. The reality of it is, the only way to determine what type of mold is present is to analyze the growth under a high powered microscope, and this should only be done by a mycologist or technician within a laboratory setting. We hear about these tactics not only being used to scare people into remediation work that is not necessary, but also to deter people that really have a problem from realizing it. For example, it is not uncommon for people in rental situations to be informed by maintenance personal that whatever microbial growth they have in their apartment or home is not the "bad kind", or not toxic. I guess we would call this scenario an "Anti-Scare Tactic". But again, the only way to know is to have microbial samples collected and properly analyzed. So unless the person you are dealing with just so happens to have microscopes for eyes, which would actually be pretty cool, watch out for this one.
If you really believe that you may have a mold problem, it is important to know that whomever you turn to for advice has your best interest in mind. The safest way to ensure this is to make sure that you always deal with an independent third party that has nothing to gain from finding a problem. You should also do all you can to research any companies that you may be considering using. Make sure they are a legitimate company, they are properly certified and they should have a positive track record through organizations such as the Better Business Bureau. You may be surprised what you find after doing a little investigation, for better or for worse.
Mold Investigation Methods
Mold growth requires three things: mold spores, a food source (building materials), and moisture or water. So, where we find moisture, we find mold. By locating the source of moisture and identifying hidden water intrusions, we can focus our mold investigation in the right areas.
If there was water damage from a flood, a leak, or a natural event we can inspect and assess the water damage along with identifying the presence of mold and make recommendations on the best way to return the home or office to a healthy state.
We use FLIR infrared camera technology to enhance our inspection services. This advanced, non-invasive technology allows our inspectors to zero in and identify potential sources of moisture to more accurately determine testing and sampling areas. This will allow us to make even more precise conclusions and recommendations for action during the inspection.
Sampling and Testing
We often get questions about how we determine which sample types to recommend, why we recommended a specific number of samples, and other questions about our sampling approach - known as our Sampling Strategy. Through the course of the assessment, our inspector will put together a Sampling Strategy specific to your property that will allow us to pinpoint problem areas, determine overall contamination levels, guide remediation efforts when needed, or in other cases rule out mold as a source of concern. If you have questions about the type of samples used or are wonder how and why specific recommendations are made, you can find tons of information in our Sampling Guides. Feel free to reach out to us with specific questions.
Certified Mold Inspectors
Performing professional, high-quality inspections requires three things—certification, education, and experience—values we do not take for granted. Each of our inspectors, consultants, and project managers is a Certified Mold Inspector (MICRO and MIS CMI). To protect your liability, property, and health, it’s important to engage the services of a professional and certified mold inspector.
No Conflict of Interest
We don’t perform mold remediation, repair, or construction. We have no interest in the outcome of our inspections other than to ensure you have the information needed to return your home or office to a healthy state. Our expertise guides us, and we never have a conflict of interest regarding our findings and recommendations. We use a science-based approach and only do inspections and testing, never remediation.
Specialized Air Sampling Equipment
We use industry-standard sample collection equipment, meticulously maintained, and regularly calibrated to ensure the integrity of our samples and the accuracy of the results.