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Personal Air Sampling and Clearance Testing

personal air sampling and clearance testing

Through a process called “personal air sampling,” MD Mold Testing determines the asbestos exposure levels in a home by taking continuous air readings. In this process, employees wear micro-devices for 8-hour periods that pull air through a filter, bringing along with them any possible contaminants or harmful substances. The filters are sent to a lab, which then analyzes workers’ exposure rate.

This sampling can happen just before work on a site begins, or it can occur throughout the project’s duration. It is almost always performed before asbestos testing and is common to do before mold testing. There will be an outside control sample/baseline taken upon leaving to ensure testing accuracy.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has what it calls “permissible exposure limits,” or PELs, which are the acceptable levels of a substance exposure that employees can have in the workplace. This protection covers exposure to asbestos, which is a known carcinogen.

Asbestos Air Sampling and Testing: PCM vs TEM

There are two main types of asbestos air sampling/testing: phase contrast microscopy (PCM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM).

Both of these processes involve pulling air samples and analyzing the fibers that are collected. At MD Mold Testing, we highly recommend conducting a PCM test first for multiple reasons:

  • Analysis of the test relies on personal observation rather than computer analysis
  • Less expensive option to initially check air and determine if more in-depth tests are even necessary
  • Faster turnaround of readings and results
  • TEM relies on blank samples, which can affect testing accuracy

TEM tests are more expensive because they look at the air fibers on a higher resolution level, being able to distinguish microscopic fibers distinctly from one another. A PCM test is the better starting point because if the results do not identify any potential issues with the air quality, it saves our clients time and money on this step in the process.

Clearance Testing

clearance testing is as important as air sampling

After a home has been thoroughly cleaned, the impacted area needs to be tested for mold or asbestos, ensuring that the process was successful. During a clearance test, an inspector collects data about the home’s air quality. 

There are several different samples and readings needed in order to determine whether all the mold or asbestos has been treated correctly. The inspector collects air samples that are sent to a lab to reveal the number of mold spores per liter of air. These and more data points allow the inspector to determine whether the abatement process was successful.

Why is Clearance Testing Important?

Clearance testing eliminates the possibility of future issues by ensuring that all mold or asbestos problems have been completely eradicated. Without this “final check” on the mold/asbestos abatement process, you could potentially have small missed areas of the home that turn, once again, into larger problems down the line.

After the abatement process, you will want to know that there is nothing left to address. The clearance test will tell you if you have any residual mold or asbestos in the air after you’ve paid to have it cleaned up. 

Having a team clean your home and then not do a clearance test would be like hiring a team of painters to redo your entire home and then sending them away before you’ve done a full walk through of all the rooms. Imagine, how frustrating it would be to notice after all the equipment and teams have packed up that you have unpainted patches in the closet? While the closet might not seem like an immediate issue, you want to make sure you got what you paid for and that the job was done completely.

The MD Mold Testing Difference

What sets MD Mold Testing apart from our competitors is our willingness to put the needs of the customer first. We take a no-nonsense approach to all of the testing that we do so that your project can move forward as efficiently as possible.

We believe in consistency—our prices haven’t changed in ten years and we pride ourselves on offering fair rates and high-quality work. Not only that, but at MD Mold Testing we have been performing inspections for more than 20 years in Maryland, Washington D.C., Delaware and Northern Virginia.

If you’re looking to hire professionals who will provide quality inspections in the most efficient manner possible, please reach out to us here and let us know what we can help you with!