Direct ID Sampling

On occasion, direct ID sampling may be necessary or requested. This can be helpful to determine what type of mold is growing in a specific location. It is recommended for fungal identification on visible areas of growth. In addition, it can be used to confirm that a specific area has been adequately cleaned or remediated. It is not always needed to perform direct ID testing since any elevated or visible mold growth found indoors is considered dangerous and remediation is recommended.

Direct ID can be done in three ways:

Tape Lifting

Tape Lifting consists of applying a sticky tape-like material to a surface thereby collecting a sample of suspected mold growth at the direct point of contamination. The resulting sample is sent to a third-party laboratory for analysis. This test is particularly useful to determine if an area has growth or whether an area has been adequately cleaned. Areas where air sampling is impractical, like crawlspaces and exposed wooden structures with water stains, are ideal places for tape lift sampling. Tape lifting can also be used alongside air sampling to determine if the visual growth found in an area coincides with the spores found in the air.

Swab Testing

Swab testing is performed by moving a damp and sterile swab across a surface to be sampled. It is usually used on non-porous surfaces that show signs of visible mold or active moisture stains. Swab testing is ideal when surfaces are too wet for tape lifting or when bulk sampling is not practical. The obtained sample is inserted into a sterile container, labeled, and sent to a third-party laboratory for analysis.

Bulk Sampling

Bulk Sampling can be collected when material is porous and swabbing or tape lifting is not practical. A one- or two-inch square of material is removed and sealed in a bag to prevent any cross contamination. Examples of bulk sampling may include drywall paper, insulation, or carpet among other materials. The bag is meticulously labeled and sent to the laboratory for analysis. In some cases, more than one sample will be taken throughout the area for better determination of mold growth.
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