“Damp ceilings and walls are home to a mould that poses serious health risks … Toxic Mould is estimated to affect well over 3 million homes in the UK”
-Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
Rapid DNA Based Identification Service
Moulds are ubiquitous, naturally occurring fungi and their presence in buildings is encouraged by dampness and condensation which is frequently the consequence of inadequate heating, insulation and ventilation. Mould growth has long been associated with ill health, particularly among the young, the elderly and those with respiratory conditions such as asthma.
Two species however – Stachybotrys chartarum and Aspergillus fumigatus – pose a potentially greater threat to health and Peter Cox can secure a fast, accurate identification of the particular species present in a property and show whether it is toxic or not.
Surveying for Mould
Mould growth usually occurs at about 18-20°C and where relative humidity is in excess of 65%, so obvious possible trouble spots include poorly ventilated washrooms, bathrooms and kitchens.
All buildings, new and old, are potentially at risk as a result of modern occupancy lifestyles which generate large quantities of water vapour. It is also likely to flourish after water damage incidents.
However not all fungi are visible as they prefer dark, moist areas and so can colonise inaccessible parts of the home such as in wall cavities, insulation or under floorboards. Active growth is damp and slimy, but even when inactive, dry and powdery mould can be dangerous.
Where visible signs of moulds are present, it is not easy to characterise them into toxic or non-toxic groups using conventional microscopic analysis. However a breakthrough in bio-molecular technology now allows the precise characterisation of the mould type.
So Peter Cox has joined forces with a specialist laboratory to provide a rapid identification service. Swab samples taken on site by Peter Cox surveyors are analysed by a new DNA technique called Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (QPCR) which exploits the fact that each living species, including moulds/fungi, has a unique genetic fingerprint. Not only is an accurate identification achieved but it is much quicker than conventional methods allowing a laboratory result within 4 hours.
“We were grateful for the speed of Peter Cox's response to our initial call and impressed by the subsequent service.
S Clasen, Pershore
October 2nd, 2009