Particulates are solids that range in size from the ash and dirt that falls out of the air to micron-sized (micrometer – millionth of a meter) objects that can be inhaled. Larger particles above about 10 microns may be removed from the air stream in the upper nose (naso-pharynx area). Smaller particle approaching 1-5 microns can be readily inhaled and deliver pollutants, irritants, allergens, etc. to the lungs where they may initiate immune/allergic responses, start infections, etc.
Mold spores are among the smaller particles in the 1-10 micron range, which is why they can readily expose humans to the chemicals/irritants they carry. Since there are no “real time” determinants of mold spores, particulates can become a surrogate in screening spaces for elevated spores (measured as particulates). In addition, non-biological irritants may occur in the same size range as mold spores; so particulate measurements can play a role as an IAQ screening tool, provided the separate size ranges are tracked. One area can be compared to another in terms of size-range counts and possibly pinpoint sources of irritants or spores.
NES provides particle screening services where size distributions are tracked in various locations, often compared to outdoor readings. These readings can be carried out in isolation or as a guide to areas where mold spore sampling may be warranted.
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