The data on mold in homes in the last few years created concern among home builders, fear among their customers and cash for many businesses - home inspectors - that didn't exist before the mold threat. Trouble is, all of the data on mold in houses and all of the related news stories stem from homes that experienced significant water damage. No scientific study exists to understand mold in homes that haven't experienced significant water damage.
Until now. Air Quality Sciences, an Atlanta-based indoor air quality company, recently released a landmark study that on mold in homes, "Air and Dustborne Mycoflora in Houses Free of Water Damage and Fungal Growth." Originally published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, the study assessed 50 detached, single family homes in metropolitan Atlanta to establish a baseline of "normal and typical" types and concentrations of airborne mold. Each home was visually examined and samples of indoor and outdoor air and of indoor settled dust were taken in winter and in summer.
"This study looks at buildings without a history of moisture problems, providing a basis for comparison that could help clearly determine cases that are not normal," explains Dr. Elliott Horner, director of the microbial laboratory at AQS and the lead on the project. "This study begins to consider mold conditions that may be harmful by defining conditions that are not harmful."
Something to consider: 16 of the 50 homes studied had some kind of water damage, ranging from small water spots to peeling paint. However, only one of the 50 homeowners was aware of the condition.
While written to the scientific community, making yourself aware of the contents of this report makes sense. (You can be certain lawyers on both sides of the issue will.) To obtain a copy go to http://aem.asm.org .