If we see low, normal levels of mold, there is likely to be no mold growth in the area. But in cases where tests are inconsistent or levels fall in a gray area, which, we are more likely to get a false negative than a false positive. The situation changes slightly when the mold removal has already been completed. Professional mold tests are more detailed and specialized than any DIY test.
The accuracy of home mold test results varies widely, and these tests may not provide information about the concentration of mold spores in the indoor air or what species of fungi are growing in a home. These tests may also not differentiate between active growth and dried airborne mold spores from past growth. The result of a test only provides an “instant estimate” for a single point in time and a single location; it is not known for certain how well it represents other locations and times, since the quantities and types of mold in the environment always change. Homes and commercial buildings can be tested to determine if there are high concentrations of fungal spores, microbial volatile organic compounds, or mycotoxins that can make exposure more significant.
Then, the lab reports that the levels of mold spores inside are much higher than those seen outside at the same time. Some customers assume that the results of a mold lab are the most important part of a mold investigation. Therefore, the more people present in a household and who come and go during tests, the more spores tend to appear on test results. Even professional mold testing cannot determine if people have been exposed to mold spores, MOVs, or mycotoxins.
The Atlantic Environmental team can help you with your mold tests: interpreting air sample results. None of these variables, from what I have seen in the mold inspection training manuals, seem to be quantified or taken into account during testing. For a few hundred dollars they will search around and, for a little more money, they will do some sophisticated air tests (also known as air samples). In some cases, testing can also provide clues that can help find hidden mold, but you still have to find the growth by searching for it in order to remove it.
Any visible mold growth must be captured and physically removed to the greatest extent possible. Similarly, not detecting molds that are currently recognized as producing mycotoxins does not mean that mycotoxins or other harmful substances are absent. While companies may promote them as the solution for measuring mold in your home, they often require you to send your petri dishes to your laboratory for analysis. In this case, the tests in the basement and kitchen would have given a very good picture of what was happening.