There are many issues homeowners face when mold becomes a reality of the home environment. As such, consumer industries often exploit intrinsic human fears for health and safety by offering products that are advertised as being accurate, effective and safe with the ultimate function of leading the buyer to believe that they will make a more informed choice moving forward. Mold testing kits are one of these product types in many ways. For the do it yourself types, these kits will establish values that will inform the individual generally that 1) there is mold present 2) that it needs to be cleaned up.
The problem with these kits are many. Mold is ubiquitous to the environment and as such, mold test kit results can often be misleading. Consumer Reports have repeatedly indicated that 'mold test kits are unreliable' and advised AGAINST using them. This reliability factor has been attributed to a number of different reasons including but not limited to: mold re-existing in the test itself, no expiration date on the kit thereby rendering some kits outdated and unable to perform testing properly, inability to track certain species of mold that are hazardous and misleading consumers to believe that a 'positive' spore count is cause of remediation.
If a mold test kit is expired and doesn't pick up on certain species that can lead to exposure to carcinogenic mycotoxins, the consumer lives unaware of their long term exposure. If the mold test kit indicates values that lead a consumer to believe that the mold must be removed, people will often move forward with attempts to do so and put themselves at risk for exposure without proper training or PPE. If mold test kits are expired and not functioning properly, the test becomes moot and moveing forward with any decision hence, would be an uninformed decision.
Mold test kits are similar to an antibiotic prescription when someone falls ill with a virus. There is a type of illusionary effect that consumers take on in which they are led to believe that they are taking action in light of a problem. Ultimately, if a space is truly effected by mold, the best and only decision to make is 1) where you will stay for a day or two while it's being remediated and 2) which Industrial Hygenist will preform the mold test for you 2) which mold remediation professional you will hire to service your structure. The Industrial Hygenist is an Environmental Scientist who will not only test for all relevant types of mold, but will then move forward with a remediation plan that the mold remediator will put in place and execute before the clearance test. This process is a type of insurance plan that insures that you will have undisputable verification of the types of mold in your home or structure, what LEVEL of mold presence is in the structure as compared with what is naturally occurring in the environment, that it will be cleaned effectively without spreading deadly spores and toxins throughout your home and that it will be tested to ensure that it has in fact been remediated. Generally speaking, this process can also ensure that the root cause of the problem is addressed as well so that the mold doesn't re-appear in time.