Trends in Environmental Testing: Mold, Asbestos, Lead & More

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| 2015 Mar 12 |
Trends in Environmental Testing: Mold, Asbestos, Lead & More

If you’ve ever visited our website or read our blog, you likely already know how important good indoor air quality (IAQ) is to good health.

Take mold, for example. It used to be thought of as a common nuisance in the home; now, it’s a well-known threat to human health, with certain species like Stachybotrys chartarum (or black mold) presenting as serious a risk as pollutants like asbestos, carbon monoxide and radon.

Although the health effects of poor IAQ may not be immediate or obvious, they can be persistent, disruptive, debilitating and even fatal, which is why it is critical to get professional environmental testing if you suspect that the quality of your indoor air is compromised.

Interview with a microbiology expert

To investigate some of today’s most common and most dangerous household contaminants, we talked to someone who deals with pollutants on a daily basis.

Here’s what Jason Dobranic, PhD, Vice President of Microbiology and Life Sciences at EMSL Analytical Inc.—the leading environmental testing laboratory in the U.S. (and now with offices across Canada, including Ottawa)—had to say on the subject of indoor air quality, mold and recent trends in testing.

Q: What kinds of environmental testing services does EMSL offer? Which would you say are the most popular?

A: With respect to the home inspection industry, we offer tests for asbestos, mold, lead, odours, radon, allergens, formaldehyde, sewage screens, and water quality. Mold and asbestos are the most popular followed by lead and allergens.

Q: Are your clients typically inspectors, home owners, real estate agents, or a combination of all categories?

A: Our clients are, by far, home inspectors. We do have a few homeowners that send in their own samples, but we always recommend they go through a professional. And although it’s not completely unheard of to receive samples from a real estate agent, it is rare.

Q: Have you noticed any changes in demand for air quality or mold testing services?

A: In the last five years, the demand for mold testing has continued to increase, albeit at a slower pace than 10 years ago. At the same time, there has been an increase in other IAQ-related tests coming from home inspectors who are continually expanding their service offerings.

As asthma rates continue to rise, there has also been a significant increase in testing for allergens and asthma triggers, including dust mites, cockroaches, dogs, and cats. Odour and chemical exposure testing in residential properties has also risen drastically.

Q: Do you believe that awareness about mold and its effects on human health is increasing?

A: Awareness is still very high and new homeowners are opting for mold testing as as an additional safety measure or if conditions seem favourable for mold growth.

Researchers are continuing to study mold exposure and its impacts on human health. As more studies come out, we believe that this will continue to put mold testing on the minds of buyers, homeowners, and the population in general.

Q: Would you recommend that buyers get a mold test before purchasing a home?

A: Mold can have a health impact on the occupants of a home, so if there are any concerns regarding the indoor air quality of the home, it is prudent to get it checked out.

Mold should not be growing inside our buildings. We recommend that buyers opt for a mold test if they have any concerns. The additional cost is not prohibitive and the testing may reveal areas that need to be cleaned professionally. This information can be used for negotiating the final sales price.


With an increasing number of environmental testing options and reasonable prices for professional services, there’s no reason why we should allow ourselves to be exposed to potentially harmful substances in our homes, whether they be mold, asbestos, allergens or any other contaminant.

Luckily, the fact that you are reading this blog shows that you recognize the importance of maintaining a safe, pollutant-free environment and are taking proactive steps to achieve it. To get your indoor air quality tested just in time for allergy season in Ottawa, contact Mold Busters today!

About EMSL Analytical Inc.
EMSL is a leader in today’s environmental testing industry. Founded in 1981, EMSL now has 33 locations in the U.S. and 5 in Canada, processing thousands of mold samples every week for residential, commercial and industrial clients. In addition to mold tests, the company also offers other IAQ-related services including asbestos, lead, radon, VOC, food and odour analyses.

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