Q1. How long does it take you once I order to get my results?
A1. We send all orders out the day we receive your order or the next business day if your order arrives late in the day*. Once you receive it, we'd suggest doing the sampling as quickly as possible and then sending back the kit. If you can't do the tests immediately, then please place the entire package into your fridge and use within 7-days of arrival. Once you send it back and we receive it, we generally incubate it for 1-5 days and prepare your report. Please note that fungal colonies generally appear within the first 3-5 days, so the transit time actually helps speed up the process, and we can incubate your samples for less time, so you get your results faster. We are however guided by the intrinsic variabilities of 'biology' and sometimes cultures grow more or less quickly. In some cases, colonies appear very quickly (dominance of fast growers), while at other times, we wait for the slow growers to appear before preparing your report. Please note that we are interested in the 'environmental fungi' so incubation above ambient temperature is not mandatory. In all cases we will analyse your cultures before the plate(s) show confluence (e.g. plate filling).
Q2. Can I call you to discuss my results?
A2. YES - call in Australia on: 1300 13 23 50
Q3. Will the travel time affect my results?
A3. NO - The travel time is actually of benefit to you, since fungi grow well at ambient temperatures. However, please send the Petri plates back as soon as possible after sampling. Please do not wait for signs of growth before sending your plates back, we need to analyse them within the week of sampling. Undue delays may influence the results.
Q4. What will the kit offer me?
A4. If you want to know BOTH the type of fungi present (identified to Genus and Species) as well as the concentration relative to the control, then this is the kit for you. Knowing the ID to the different fungi allows you or your healthcare provider to potentially link exposure to specific environmental fungal strains with known medical effects and illness associated with those moulds. In summary, the report provides numerical exposure values for each sample you send in. This means, you get: (1) Identifications to what Genus/Species ID grew, (2) Total number of fungi and (3) a visual photograph of each Petri plate showing you exactly what grew where. These photographs are often an excellent way to 'tell at a glance' about the contamination level of one location versus another and makes it easy to understand the report.
Q5. I've been told that ERMI testing is better?
A5. Our kits use standard microbiology and mycology methods. ERMI only targets 36 fungi. Our lab can speciate/identify literally hundreds of different unknown fungi based on phenotype - including ALL of the fungi specified in the ERMI or the HERTSMI-2. Taxonomic keys have been around for decades, so we aren't limited to only identifying pre-selected fungi. Therefore, you get a more accurate appraisal of exactly what viable fungi are in your air or swab sample. We should also point out that ERMI is NOT approved except for "Research Use Only". Quoting directly from the USA EPA website it states that: "At this point in its development, the ERMI should be used only for research. The ERMI has not been validated for routine public use in homes, schools, or other buildings.” Link to reference here.
Q6. I've been told that Petri plates don't give accurate results?
A6. Petri plates measure what grows on the plate. In the same way that a medical Doctor can swab your throat and send this into the lab to test for say: Step throat - Petri plates are the best way to determine exactly what is growing where. Whilst it's true that not all fungi can grow on all types of media and some species might dominate in any one sample, microbiology is fundamentally based on identification from live cell cultures. Our testing kids simply extend on this true tenent of biology, allowing you to get results that make sense. For further confirmation, take a look at some of the diverse Academic literature that uses the settling plate method just like what we use in our kits. As you can see, the method is robust and in use worldwide.
Q7. Why is the outdoor control important?
A7. If you want to try and compare the indoor air quality with the outdoor air quality (assumed to be normal) you need to take the outdoor air as a reference control. The indoor air samples should be lower than the outdoor levels of viable moulds for a 'normal' or 'non-water damaged' home. Having a control is also a fundamental prerequisite for proper scientific method. Therefore, please order sufficient Petri plates to allow you to sample all the areas that are of interest to you.
Q8. How many tests can I do per kit?
A8. Each kit comes with a set number of Petri plates. For example, if you order a 5-sample kit, you can test 5 areas using one of the two methods (air or surface). Typical scenario: You buy the 5-sample kit. It arrives and you decide to test 3 rooms inside your home (say 2 bedrooms and your open plan main living room) plus the outdoor control. This uses up 4 Petri plates. But you know you can see visible mould on the ceiling in the bathroom, and want to know what it is? Then use the 5th Petri plate and the sterile swabs that come with the kit to surface sample the ceiling. Then you post all the Petri plates back to us for incubation and analysis. Please note that only ONE lab report will be prepared, so if more than one location (different house/office) is sampled, then all data will appear on the single report.
Q9. What is the point of the Chain of Custody?
A9. The Chain of Custody that we send you needs to be filled in and returned with your Petri plates. This form contains important dates and information about the location of the samples, descriptions of the samples and who did what when. We need this information in order to complete your report properly.
Q10. Will this help me with my residential tenancy problem?
A10. Yes - a lab test from us provides quantitative evidence regarding the viable mould levels in the airspace and/or on target surfaces. Such information is of relevance in documenting the amenity and health and safety issues of your particular situation. You should consider our kits as providing you with preliminary evidence. If the tests come back positive you should consider using that information to present to your landlord//managing agent. In some cases, further work such as an on-site inspection may be recommended based on the results.
Q11. Can I buy your mould test kit at Bunnings?
A11. No - We pack each kit straight from 'new' Petri plate media taken from our lab fridges. As such, each kit is guaranteed sterile to the best of our ability once it ships to you. Petri plate media typically doesn't have a long shelf-life and therefore isn't available in retail stores like Bunnings. You MUST use the kit within one (1) week of arrival. Petri plate nutrient media is like a foodstuff and will go off over time. In the event you do not use the kit promptly, you may need to re-order a new kit. We do not supply new plates if you have not used the test supplies promptly after delivery.
Q12. What is your returns and refunds policy?
A12. If the mail order testing services (perishable items/test media) are cancelled after the testing kits have been shipped out or collected, a 50% refund will be applied to the unused kit, minus the shipping and handling fee. All requests for such refund must be applied for within 7 days of the initial order. After 7 days, the entire cost of the test is non-refundable. In the event that you open or use the testing plates, then no refund will be given for changes of mind.
Q13. Are your kits suitable for assessing mould removal?
A13. Yes - If you have had anyone perform mould removal, then you can use our kits to check their work and see if it has been successful. In the event that you require more detailed information, feel free to contact a mould removal specialist like Dr. Cameron Jones.
Q14. Is mould really dangerous?
A14. Yes - take a look at a recent 2016 PDF paper that details how even low exposure levels can cause "drastic pro inflammatory interactions". Reference: Synergistic proinﬂammatory interactions of microbial toxins and structural components characteristic to moisture-damagedbuildings. Indoor Air. 2016. or Aerosolization of mycotoxins after growth of toxinogenic fungi on wallpaper. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 2017.
Q15. Can I use your kit to check if my home has been remediated successfully?
A15. Yes and No. If you are concerned as to whether a particular contractor has performed a successful decontamination or remediation at your property then it is always best to ask the contractor to provide proof by way of a clearance certificate, which is called a Post Remediation Verification (PRV) report. This is a document that should provide "before" and "after" assessment of indoor mould levels - spores and viable growth as well as particulate matter levels. If that level of detail is not possible to obtain, or you simply want to do an independent test, then this is the kit for you. This way, you can confirm or refute findings based on what grows under viable testing. Our kits also allow you to check that you have not been sold unproven decontamination treatments that may not have worked.
Q16. What Results to expect?
A16. If you have taken an outdoor control, then you will be able to compare the indoor air quality in whatever rooms you have sampled from. Generally the indoor air samples should show the same or similar fungal composition to the control/outdoor readings. The indoor air samples should be lower than the outdoor levels of viable moulds for a 'normal' or 'non-water damaged' home. The Hygiene index will tell you what the contamination level is. The corresponding Risk classification will tell you what the potential impact of these fungi is on your indoor living environment (amenity and OHS). In some cases, the tests will be NORMAL and there will be no evidence of a viable mould problem. This is very good news in many cases. However, in somme cases, the rooms tested will show significant levels of contamination. Either way: isn't it better to know!
Q17. What payment methods do you accept?
A17. MasterCard, Visa, Paypal.
Q18. How secure is your website with my credit card details?
A18. We have installed Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to encrypt communication to and from your website to ours using SSL. This makes our website safer, faster and smarter. We have also installed McAfee Secure for an added layer of security for our customer data during transactions on our sales platform. Together these tools protect you and us from unwanted actions - all the while providing a fast, secure experience.
Q19. Still have a question that's not answered here?
A19. Customer satisfaction is fundamental to the success of our business. If you have a specific question that's not adequately answered here - pick up the phone and call in Australia on: 1300 13 23 50 or fill in an email from our Contact page.
Q20. Want to speak with me direct?
A20. Sometimes you may require specialist one-on-one advice. Therefore, I can be reached for an in-depth, personalised consultation by following the link below. The URL for this is: http://www.drcameronjones.com
* Please note that all petri plates are poured sterile and then packed into sealed bags. We always strive to send out fresh stock. There can be delays if stock levels are low. Petri plate pouring is on a week-about basis.