It’s Buyer Beware for Homeowners Seeking Mold Inspection or Mold Testing by Certified Mold Inspectors

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Many with water damage in their homes desperately need to find qualified, reliable people quickly. But how? It’s not an easily answered question, but what follows is the best advice of Jason Earle, founder of Lab Results LLC, a New Jersey-based indoor air quality firm that specializes in mold.

In the midst of this year’s bumper crop of hurricanes and floods, thousands of Americans are seeking information about mold testing, mold detection, mold inspections and mold remediation.

Many with water damage in their homes desperately need to find qualified, reliable people quickly. But how? It’s not an easily answered question, but what follows is the best advice of Jason Earle, founder of Lab Results LLC, a New Jersey-based indoor air quality firm that specializes in mold.

When the subject of mold mushroomed in the late 1990’s into the heated issue that it has become, opportunity seekers from near and far began chanting the mantra “Mold is Gold.”

Nearly as fast as mold grows on wet drywall, an entire industry sprang forth from practically nothing. Suddenly there were plenty of “certified mold inspectors,” “certified mold remediators,” “certified mold workers,” “certified indoor air quality professionals,” “certified” this, “certified” that.

From the outside, it looks great. Lots of experienced, fully qualified, “certified” mold inspectors prepared to test your home or workplace for the dreaded “toxic mold.” And just as many experienced, fully qualified certified mold remediators prepared to help you get rid of the stuff.

Who Regulates the Mold Detection/Remediation Industry?

The big question is this: Where did all these certified mold inspectors get their valuable experience and education? What government agency established the curriculum for the courses and requisite examinations that enable one to become a certified mold inspector or certified mold remediator?

When you investigate the qualifications that your local certified mold inspector holds, you will quickly find out that, except in Texas and Louisiana, there are no government regulations, and no certification or licensing requirements to be a mold inspector or mold remediator. This industry is in its infancy.

Furthermore, there are no US government standards that provide Personal Exposure Limits (PELs) or Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) for mold like we see with other environmental hazards such as lead or asbestos.

Not only is there no regulation, anyone that wants to become a certified mold inspector can. Pay $95, take a 30-question online exam and voila! you are instantly a Certified Mold Inspector.

This does not mean that all certifications are worthless. There are a few quality non-profit training organizations such as the Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA), the Indoor Environmental Standards Organization (IESO) and the American Indoor Air Quality Council (AmIAQ) that provide meaningful and relevant coursework.

But nothing takes the place of hard-earned experience, state-of-the-art equipment and an honest desire to help people. So far, I have not seen a single course, or even a series of courses, that provides the knowledge one needs to have earned the title Certified Mold Inspector. The best education comes from field experience, not from the classroom.

Until the pending legislation mandates certain educational and experiential prerequisites necessary to become a Certified Mold Inspector or Certified Mold Remediator, it will be like the wild, wild west: BUYER BEWARE. And when the government gets involved – and they most certainly will – it will more likely take the form of some sort of licensing. The term Licensed Mold Inspector or Licensed Mold Remediator will hold some real value. Until then, you will have to sift through the moldy muck like the informed consumer that you are.

Certified Mold Dogs are Another Story

If it’s obvious where your mold problem is, you don’t need much in the way of detection. But mold has a way of hiding in dark places and wreaking its havoc on your air invisibly. In this kind of situation, you need mold detection, and there is no better mold detector than a certified Mold Dog™.

Properly handled, a Mold Dog can pin down the location and size of hidden mold infestations within minutes of walking in the door, without cutting holes in walls or the guesswork involved in random and expensive mold testing.

Despite the absence of professional standards and low certification requirements in the mold industry, the term “Certified Mold Dog” is a different animal altogether.

Mold Dog™ (http://www.mold-dog.com) is a trademarked term. Mold Dogs are trained at the world renowned Florida Canine Academy in Safety Harbor, Florida by Master Trainer Bill Whitstine. These mold detection dogs are put through a rigorous training program before they can be offered for sale.

Many pups don’t make the cut, but once a dog successfully completes the Mold Dog program, the soon-to-be handler receives an intensive one-week course, with the dog, at the FCA training facility. Only then is the Mold Dog finally handed over to its new owner, and the team is certified by FCA.

And here’s the biggest difference between a Certified Mold Inspector or Certified Mold Remediator and a certified Mold Dog: The Mold Dog and handler teams are required to be re-tested quarterly, maintain training logs, and be re-certified annually. Additional certification and training requirements are being developed and will soon be implemented by the International Mold Detection Dog Association (IMDDA).

So, unless a mold detection dog is trained by Mr. Whitstine at FCA, and the team maintains the certification requirements put forth by the Academy and IMDDA, it is not a certified Mold Dog™ and cannot be called a Mold Dog. It may have been trained for mold detection at some point, but unless FCA certification is acquired and maintained, the dog’s accuracy and reliability is seriously in question; needless to say, so is the owner’s.

You get what you pay for, but in this business sometimes you get a lot less. So do your research and learn the difference between a “Certified Mold Inspector” and a qualified indoor air quality professional that specializes in mold and moisture problems. You can get a lot more information from our web sites, http://www.StopMold.com and http://www.LabResultsLLC.com and you can even get your specific questions answered there.

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