BULK SAMPLING, Direct Identification Sampling
Mold growth in homes is becoming a pressing issue with indoor settings such as homes, offices, apartment buildings, etc. Visible mold growth is very common in interior environments that might have humidity issues present. Usually when a mold growth is observed, a homeowner or landlord will contact a professional mold inspection company to come and inspect the premises.
Inspectors use several sampling techniques when a customer contacts them concerning supposed mold growth in a home. In taking mold samples there are several sampling techniques that home inspectors uses. These techniques consists of: air sampling, swab sampling, tape sampling, and bulk sampling. Swab, tape, and bulk sampling are also known as direct sampling techniques. Bulk sampling is usually the best sampling technique when it comes to large or bulky surfaces that have growing mold on its surface.
Bulk sampling is the mold sampling technique of collecting a piece of physical material with suspected microbial growth. When bulk sampling is the inspectors technique of choice, mold growth is usually seen growing on a surface where it can be extracted easily. Surfaces where a bulk sample can potentially be taken from include: sheetrock, wallpaper, carpet, curtains, clothing, a ceiling, bathroom tile, furniture, etc. The surfaces previously listed are just a faction of the countless surfaces where mold can potentially grow. These are all surfaces where bulk sampling comes in handy because a portion of the surface can be extracted for analytical purposes.
Bulk sampling requires a few precautionary safety measures. When taking a bulk sample, the inspector or home owner should wear protective gloves. A mask should be worn as well to insure that mold spores won’t be breathed in by the person doing the bulk sampling. In addition to the gloves and mask, the sampler should be fully covered and no skin exposed. Safety is a major factor in bulk sampling.
There are a few easy steps to bulk sampling. When microbial growth is seen growing on any surface it is referred to as the affected area. Locating the affected area is the first step in successful bulk sampling. Once the affected is located, the second step is to circle the affected area with a dark marker. If the affected area is large then the circle should be large to insure that a nice sized bulk sample can be taken. The third step to bulk sampling is the extraction of the affected area by removing it with a knife or box cutter. Placing the bulk sample in a resealable bag and completely sealing the bag is the fourth step in bulk sampling. The finally step in bulk sampling is to label the resealable bag according to the location where the sample was taken. Also include the date on which the sample was collected.
Bulk sampling is a quick and easy sampling technique to have mold growth on a large surface identified.