Microbiology

AIR TESTING

Direct Spore Trap Analysis

  • Used for the identification and enumeration of viable and non-viable airborne mold spores within a defined space.  Samples are collected using a direct spore trap cassette (i.e. the Zefon Air-O-Cell™) that is specifically designed for rapid collection and analysis.

  •  Turnaround Times Available: 24-Hour and 3 Day

Viable Air Mold or Bacteria Sample Testing

  • Used for identification and enumeration of airborne viable mold spores or bacteria within a defined space.  Samples can be taken using an Anderson Viable Impact Sampler or a SAS Super90 Sampler.  Results are reported in CFU/m³.

  •  Turnaround Times Available: 5-10 Days

 Viable Air Speciation of Mold or Bacteria

  • Micro Air, Inc. is able to speciate mold or bacteria using traditional methods and the BIOLOG System.

  • Turnaround Times Available: 10-30 Days

 

SURFACE AND BULK TESTING

 Tape for Surface Mold

  • Used for identification and enumeration of genus mold present on a surface.  Samples can be taken using a Bio-Tape™ for standardized surface sampling.  Traditional non-frosted tape can also be used.

  •  Turnaround Times Available: Same Day, Next Day and 3 Day

  • Order a Tape Lift Test Kit for Mold here

Viable RODAC Testing for Mold or Bacteria

  • Used for identification and enumeration of airborne viable mold spores or bacteria within a defined space.  A RODAC, or Replicate Organism Detection and Counting, plate is used to collect viable mold or bacteria from a surface onto a media that can be used to identify and enumerate the mold or bacteria present.  Results are reported in CFU/in². 

  •  Turnaround Times Available: 5-10 Days

  • Bulk Materials Testing for Mold or Bacteria

  • Used for identification and enumeration of mold or bacteria present on or within a bulk material.  Samples can be transported in their original material to the laboratory for analysis.

  • Turnaround Times Available: 5-10 Days

 Viable Surface Swab Testing for Mold or Bacteria

  • Used for identification and enumeration of viable mold or bacteria present within a defined space.  Samples are taken with a sterile swab in a non-destructive way.

  •  Turnaround Times Available: 5-10 Days

Non-Viable Surface Swab Testing for Mold or Bacteria

  • Used for identification and enumeration of non-viable mold or bacteria present within a defined space.  Samples are taken with a sterile swab in a non-destructive way.

  • Turnaround Times Available: Next Day and 3 Day

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Asbestos

Bulk Material Testing (PLM)

  •  Using Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM), Micro Air, Inc. can identify asbestos in a variety of bulk building materials, including loose-fill insulation, acoustic and thermal sprays, pipe and boiler wraps, plasters, flooring products, roofing materials, and cementitious products.  Quantification is done using visual area estimation.

  •  Method of Analysis: Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) with Dispersion Staining using the Test Method for the Determination of Asbestos in Bulk Building Samples, EPA Method/600/R-93/116 (1993). 

  •  Turnaround Times Available: 2-Hour, Same Day, Next Day, 2-Day, 3-5 Day

  • Bulk Sampling Instructions

  •  Order a Bulk Material For Asbestos Test Kit here

Bulk Material Testing (400 Point Count)

  • Using Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM), Micro Air, Inc. can identify asbestos in a variety of bulk building materials, including loose-fill insulation, acoustic and thermal sprays, pipe and boiler wraps, plasters, flooring products, roofing materials, and cementitious products.  Quantification is done by point counting.  This is typically used for samples with lower concentrations of asbestos. 

  • Method of AnalysisPolarized Light Microscopy (PLM) with Dispersion Staining using the Test Method for the Determination of Asbestos in Bulk Building Samples, EPA Method/600/R-93/116 (1993)

  • Turnaround Times Available: Next Day and 3 Day

 

Dust Characterization (PLM)

  • Micro Air, Inc. uses Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) to identify common particles that are typically large enough to be seen by the naked eye.  Such particles include cellulose and synthetic fibers, asbestos, fibrous glass, dust mites, carbonaceous materials (including soot and char), mold spores, pollen, arthropod fragments, major minerals and skin fragments.  Using reference standards, Micro Air, Inc. is able to determine what the likely material may be but cannot pinpoint the actual source of the contamination.    Sampling of bulk materials is typically performed by the glove bag technique.  Dust is commonly collected by micro-vacuuming; or wipe sampling with a 4x4 inch piece of baby wipe, (no aloe or cleaners).  In addition, dust characterization can be analyzed under Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM) using a tape or direct spore trap sample in the same manner described above.         

  • Method of Analysis: Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM)

  • Turnaround Times Available: 3-5 Day

 

Asbestos and Other Fibers in Air Testing (PCM)

  • Using Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM), Micro Air, Inc. provides an index of airborne fibers using the NIOSH 7400 Method.  Typical analysis uses the 7400 Method’s “A” rules and is primarily used for estimating asbestos concentrations; though it does not differentiate between asbestos and other fibers.  In addition, Micro Air, Inc. can use an alternate set of counting rules from the NIOSH 7400 Method that is more appropriate for the measurement of specific non-asbestos fiber types such as fibrous glass.

  •  Method of AnalysisNIOSH 7400 Method, Issue 2: 15 August 1994

  •  Turnaround Times Available:  2-Hour, Same Day, Next Day, 2-Day, 3-5 Day

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Drinking Water


Total Coliforms/E. coli Testing 

Hosts of human disease, particularly those of the gastro-intestinal tract are spread through contaminated water.  Since the specific isolation and identification of many of the disease-producing bacteria, parasites, and viruses which may exist in water is time consuming and possibly hazardous, appropriate indicator organisms are used to detect the possible presence of coliforms, fecal streptococci, and enterococci.  They were chosen because they are generally present in water containing the pathogens; survive longer in the aquatic environment; are relatively harmless; and are easily grown, isolated, and identified.

E. coli is a type of fecal coliform bacteria that comes from human and animal wastes.  E. coli O157:H7 is one of hundreds of strains of the bacterium E. coli. Although most strains are harmless and live in the intestines of healthy humans and animals, this strain produces a powerful toxin and can cause severe illness. Infection often causes severe bloody diarrhea and abdominal cramps; sometimes the infection causes non-bloody diarrhea.  Frequently, no fever is present.  It should be noted that these symptoms are common to a variety of diseases, and may be caused by sources other than contaminated drinking water. 

Total coliforms are currently controlled in drinking water regulations because their presence above the standard indicates problems in treatment or in the distribution system.  The EPA requires all public water systems to monitor for total coliforms in distribution systems.  If total coliforms are found, then the public water system must further analyze that total coliform-positive sample to determine if E. coli is present.

If you get your water from a public water system, then your water system is required by law to notify you if your water is not safe.  If you draw water from a private well, Micro Air, Inc. can provide a Presence/Absence test to detect total coliforms and E. coli in your drinking water. 

Method of Analysis:  MMO-MUG P/A with Colilert for Total Coliforms/E. Coli

                          MMO-MUG P/A with Colilert for Total Coliforms/E. Coli MPN 

Turn Around Time:  24 hours

More information on how to collect a drinking water sample can be found here: Drinking Water Sampling Instructions

Lead Testing in Water

Lead, a metal found in natural deposits, is commonly used in household plumbing materials and water service lines.  The greatest exposure to lead is swallowing or breathing in lead paint chips and dust.  But lead in drinking water can also cause a variety of adverse health effects.  In babies and children, exposure to lead in drinking water above the action level can result in delays in physical and mental development, along with slight deficits in attention span and learning abilities. In adults, it can cause increases in blood pressure.  Adults who drink this water over many years could develop kidney problems or high blood pressure.

Lead is rarely found in source water, but enters tap water through corrosion of plumbing materials.  Homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, fixtures and solder. However, new homes are also at risk: even legally “lead-free” plumbing may contain up to 8 percent lead.  The most common problem is with brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and fixtures which can leach significant amounts of lead into the water, especially hot water.

In 1974, Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act. This law requires EPA to determine the level of contaminants in drinking water at which no adverse health effects are likely to occur with an adequate margin of safety. These non-enforceable health goals, based solely on possible health risks are called maximum contaminant level goals (MCLG)   The MCLG for lead is zero. EPA has set this level based on the best available science which shows there is no safe level of exposure to lead.  However, because lead contamination of drinking water often results from corrosion of the plumbing materials belonging to water system customers, EPA established a treatment technique rather than an MCL for lead. A treatment technique is an enforceable procedure or level of technological performance which water systems must follow to ensure control of a contaminant.  The treatment technique regulation for lead (referred to as the Lead and Copper rule) requires water systems to control the corrosivity of the water.  The regulation also requires systems to collect tap samples from sites served by the system that are more likely to have plumbing materials containing lead.  If more than 10% of tap water samples exceed the lead action level of 15 parts per billion, then water systems are required to take additional actions.

Method of Analysis:  EPA Method 200.9     

Turn Around Time:  3-5 Days

More information on how to collect a lead in water sample can be found here: Lead in Water Sampling Instructions

Nitrate/Nitrite Testing in Water 

Nitrates and nitrites are nitrogen-oxygen chemical units which combine with various organic and inorganic compounds.  Once taken into the body, nitrates are converted into nitrites.  The greatest use of nitrates is as a fertilizer.

On the short term, excessive levels of nitrate in drinking water have caused serious illness and sometimes death.  The serious illness in infants is due to the conversion of nitrate to nitrite by the body, which can interfere with the oxygen-carrying capacity of the child’s blood. This can be an acute condition in which health deteriorates rapidly over a period of days.  Symptoms include shortness of breath and blueness of the skin. 

In 1974, Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act. This law requires EPA to determine safe levels of chemicals in drinking water which do or may cause health problems. These non-enforceable levels, based solely on possible health risks and exposure, are called Maximum Contaminant Level Goals.  The MCLG for nitrates has been set at 10 parts per million (ppm), for nitrites at 1 ppm, and for total nitrates and nitrites at 10 ppm.

Method of Analysis:  EPA Method SM 4500-NO3D for Nitrate

                          EPA Method SM 4500-NO2B for Nitrite       

Turn Around Time:  3-5 Days 

More information on how to collect a nitrate or nitrite in water sample can be found here: Nitrate/Nitrite in Water Sampling Instructions

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Pool & Spa Water

Pool/Spa Water Testing for Health Department Compliance

Micro Air, Inc. is a full service, state certified (M-49-5) water testing laboratory. Our primary goal is to keep public and semi-public pools in compliance with public water testing requirements in their county, which includes weekly bacteriological testing.  We offer analysis and reporting to you and your local health department on a weekly basis, along with a courier and collection service (an additional fee applies).  

*Samples must be received in the laboratory within 24 hours of sample collection.*

Method of Analysis:  EPA Approved MMO-MUG Presence/Absence Test Procedure using Colilert P/A for the detection of Total Coliform/E. coli, Method SM9223B and the SimPlate for Heterotrophic Plate Count Test Procedure, Method SM9215B.

Turn Around Time:  Total Coliform/E. coli – 24 hours, Heterotrophic Plate Count – 48 hours

Pool Water Sampling Instructions

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Lead

Lead Testing in Paint

 Lead occurs naturally in the environment and has many industrial uses. However, even small amounts of lead can be hazardous to human health. Everyone is exposed to trace amounts of lead through air, soil, household dust, food, drinking water, and various consumer products.

Although the levels of lead in the environment have decreased significantly since the late 1970’s, exposure to even small amounts of lead can be harmful, especially to infants, young children, and pregnant women. Symptoms of short term exposure to low levels of lead include anemia, appetite loss, abdominal pain, fatigue, sleeplessness, and irritability. Continued excessive exposure, as in an industrial setting, can lead to kidney damage.

Lead dust is especially dangerous to infants and young children, because they tend to put things in their mouths and their breathing zone is closer to the floor level. Lead dust can be generated within homes, especially older homes that use lead-based paint. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated that heavily leaded paint was used in approximately two-thirds of the homes constructed in the United States prior to 1940 and one-half of the homes built from 1940 to 1960. In 1978, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission lowered the use of lead in paint manufactured in this country to 0.06% by weight (a trace amount). In spite of the ban on the use of lead in paint manufactured in this country, the use of lead in products manufactured outside of this country (e.g. furniture, ceramics, and toys) has still not been prohibited by the USEPA.

Toys that have been made in other countries and then imported into the U.S. or antique toys and collectibles passed down through generations put children at risk for lead exposure.  To reduce these risks, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issues recalls of toys that could potentially expose children to lead.

Lead may be used in two aspects of toy manufacturing:

 Paint: Lead may be found in the paint on toys.  It is still widely used in other countries and therefore can still be found on imported toys. It may also be found on older toys made in the United States before the ban.

 Plastic: The use of lead in plastics has not been banned. It softens the plastic and makes it more flexible so that it can go back to its original shape. It may also be used in plastic toys to stabilize molecules from heat. When the plastic is exposed to substances such as sunlight, air, and detergents the chemical bond between the lead and plastics breaks down and forms a dust.

 Lead is invisible to the naked eye and has no smell. Children may be exposed to it from consumer products through normal hand-to-mouth activity, which is part of their normal development. They often place toys, fingers, and other objects in their mouth, exposing themselves to lead paint or dust.

Only a certified laboratory, like Micro Air, Inc., can accurately test a toy for lead.  Although do-it-yourself kits are available, they do not indicate how much lead is present and their reliability at detecting low levels of lead has not been determined.

 It is very important to remember that only professionals trained in the hazardous materials removal should remove lead-based paint. Consumers should not attempt to remove lead-based paint. The first step in the elimination of lead-based paint hazards in homes is proper identification of where lead contaminated paint or dust exists. 

Method of Analysis: Innov-X Systems, Alpha Series Model # 4000 Spectrum Analyzer

Turnaround Times Available: Same Day (please call for availability), Next Day, 3 Day

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Radon

Radon Testing

 Radon is a cancer-causing radioactive gas. You can’t see it, smell it or taste it. Radon comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil, rock, and water and gets into the air you breathe. Radon can be found all over the U.S. and can get into any type of building – homes, offices, and schools – and build up to high levels. You and your family are most likely to get your greatest exposure at home where you spend most of your time.

Radon is estimated to cause many thousands of deaths each year. In fact, the Surgeon General has warned that exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths. If you smoke and your home has high radon levels, your risk of lung cancer is especially high.

Having your home tested is the only way to know if you or your family are at risk from radon. The concentration of radon in the home is measured in picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L). The EPA and the Surgeon General strongly recommend taking further action when the home’s radon test results are 4.0 pCi/L or greater. Radon levels less than 4.0 pCi/L may still pose some health risk, and the EPA recommends that you consider fixing your home if the radon level is between 2.0 and 4.0 pCi/L. The higher a home’s radon level, the greater the health risk to you and your family.

Testing is inexpensive and easy. Micro Air, Inc. has two Indiana State-Certified Residential Measurement Providers and our laboratory is an AARST National Radon Proficiency Program Certified Analytical Laboratory.  

Order a Radon Screening Test Home Radon Detector here

Want more information?

If you are buying or selling a home, the following guide provides practical consumer information...

Home Buyers and Sellers Guide to Radon

If you are a concerned homeowner, the following is a guide to help protect you and your family from radon...

A Citizen’s Guide to Radon

If you are a homeowner that has already tested your home and received a high radon result, the following guide provides practical information about reducing the level in your home...

Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction

 More Radon Information Can be Found at:

http://www.epa.gov/radon/

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