Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our FAQ page, dedicated to providing you with valuable information about mold inspections/topics and addressing the most common questions we receive. We understand that dealing with mold issues can be concerning, and we want to ensure that you have all the necessary knowledge to make informed decisions. Our team of experts has compiled this comprehensive resource to assist you in understanding the mold inspection process and the services we offer. Whether you’re a homeowner, property manager, or business owner, our aim is to provide you with clear and informative answers that will guide you through the mold inspection journey. Let’s explore the world of mold inspections and find the solutions you need to maintain a healthy environment.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are organic chemicals that readily evaporate at room temperature. They primarily consist of carbon and hydrogen atoms. Indoor air can contain thousands of different VOCs originating from various sources, making it challenging to identify the sources and develop effective remediation plans.

Typically, people only become aware of indoor air quality issues when they detect unpleasant odors or experience health symptoms. However, many VOCs lack noticeable characteristics, which means poor air quality can exist without any perceptible signs.

To address VOC problems effectively, it is not enough to simply identify the chemicals present. It is crucial to understand the sources of VOCs and how they may react to changing conditions. Considering the complexity of air quality, it is important to establish a clear objective when designing a sampling strategy to improve air quality.

An MVOC (Mold Volatile Organic Compound) refers to certain chemicals produced by molds as they consume their food source. Molds are types of fungi that develop as multicellular filaments called hyphae, which form a network known as mycelium. While there are numerous mold species, only a smaller subset is commonly found in indoor environments.

The growth of mold is typically triggered by the presence of water intrusion and moisture. These conditions often stem from sources such as leaky pipes concealed behind walls or under floors, roof leaks, improperly installed windows, or high humidity levels. Frequently, these conditions remain unnoticed, making it challenging to detect their existence.

Visible or not, molds generate specific chemicals known as MVOCs during the process of digesting their food sources. Extended exposure to these volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can have severe health consequences, particularly for infants, small children, the elderly, and individuals with chemical sensitivities or chronic respiratory conditions like asthma or allergies. Since mold VOCs are produced during mold growth, they serve as an indication of active mold presences.

Testing for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and mold volatile organic compounds (MVOCs) is essential in indoor air investigations. Indoor air quality encompasses various factors such as VOCs, inorganic compounds, particulates, allergens, and comfort factors. VOCs are organic chemicals that easily vaporize at room temperature and are found in indoor air from numerous sources. Identifying the sources and formulating effective remediation plans for VOC-related issues can be challenging due to the vast number of VOCs and their sources.

While some VOCs may emit unpleasant odors or cause noticeable health effects, many VOCs are odorless and may contribute to poor air quality without perceptible signs. Hence, it is crucial to test for VOCs to detect potential air quality issues that might otherwise go unnoticed. Merely knowing the presence of specific chemicals is insufficient; understanding the sources and how VOCs behave under varying conditions is vital for improving air quality.

Molds, which are fungi that grow through multicellular filaments called hyphae, pose another concern for indoor air quality. Certain mold species commonly inhabit indoor environments, and their growth is often triggered by water intrusion and excessive moisture. These conditions may arise from hidden sources such as leaky pipes, roof leaks, or improper window installations, making them difficult to observe.

Even when mold is not visible, it can release mold volatile organic compounds (MVOCs) as it feeds on its food source. Prolonged exposure to MVOCs can have serious health effects, particularly for vulnerable populations such as infants, small children, the elderly, or individuals with chemical sensitivities, asthma, or allergies. Monitoring MVOCs serves as an indicator of active mold growth and aids in assessing the potential health risks associated with indoor environments. Therefore, including MVOC testing in indoor air investigations is crucial to identifying and addressing mold-related issues effectively.

VOC & MVOC testing is a flat rate of $500. Both types of testing are provided, third- party tested, and a full write-up of findings and recommendations will be provided.

A report will be provided with every test once the Third-Party lab provides the results of the test.

Just like all of our testing, the VOC & MVOC testing is analyzed by a third-party laboratory.

A VOC (volatile organic compound) and MVOC (microbial volatile organic compound) test can provide valuable information about the presence and concentration of certain gases emitted from solids, liquids, and mold. VOCs encompass a range of chemicals, some of which can have negative health effects in the short and long term. Indoors, VOC concentrations are often higher, up to ten times, compared to outdoor levels. Various products, including household items, paints, cleaning supplies, fuels, and more, can release VOCs during use or storage.

The EPA’s Total Exposure Assessment Methodology (TEAM) Study conducted in 1985 found that common organic pollutants were 2 to 5 times higher indoors than outdoors, regardless of the location of the homes. This study revealed that people can expose themselves and others to high levels of pollutants while using products containing organic chemicals, and elevated concentrations can persist in the air even after product use.

On the other hand, MVOCs are gases produced by mold and contribute to the musty odor associated with mold growth. These odors result from the release of chemicals by molds during specific stages of their growth cycle. Laboratory experiments have identified over 200 compounds as MVOCs, including strong chemicals like aldehydes, benzenes, toluenes, and more. Different molds can produce varying MVOCs based on factors such as moisture levels, the material they grow on, humidity, temperature, air pressure, and light availability. Exposure to MVOCs can lead to symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat.

Therefore, a VOC and MVOC test can provide insights into the presence and levels of potentially harmful gases emitted from various sources, including household products and mold, allowing individuals to assess their indoor air quality and potential health risks.

The VOC & MVOC test typically requires a longer duration compared to other tests, lasting approximately two hours. The extended time is necessary due to the presence of fine materials in the sample and the need to collect various chemicals for a precise analysis conducted by a third-party laboratory.


  • Close all outside doors and windows at least one day before the sampling to allow for accurate testing.
  • Keep all interior doors, including closets, open to promote proper airflow during the test.
  • Avoid frying or cooking with oils on the day before and during the test to prevent artificially elevated VOC results. It’s best not to cook at all during the test.
  • Refrain from cleaning or dusting during the test or within 12 hours before starting the test.


  • Whenever possible, maintain the area in a normal operating condition and keep it closed during the test.
  • Avoid cleaning or dusting during the test or within 12 hours prior to the test.


  • Avoid cleaning or dusting during the test or within 12 hours prior to the test.
  • In certain industrial settings, such as production or manufacturing areas, there may be higher concentrations of VOCs. If you suspect high concentrations or encounter unusual sampling conditions, it is recommended to contact Prism to discuss potential modifications to the sampling process, such as reducing the sample collection time.

Elevated levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the home can pose risks to both short-term and long-term health. Everyday products that we use and are exposed to can contribute to indoor air pollution, releasing vapors and off-gassed chemicals. Inhaling these substances can lead to various health effects, including frequent headaches, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, confusion, coughing, wheezing, and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat. These symptoms may indicate poor indoor air quality, particularly if they improve once you leave the house. Furthermore, poor indoor air quality can result in more serious health problems such as aggravated asthma, digestive issues, and damage to vital organs like the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system. Certain air contaminants found in indoor environments can even increase the risk of developing cancer.

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, the recommended healthy level of VOCs in buildings is 500 nanograms per liter (ng/L). However, data from numerous homes tested indicate that most homes have VOC levels exceeding twice this recommended threshold.

Asthma affects over 20 million adults in the United States and remains the most prevalent chronic illness among children. High levels of VOCs can worsen asthma symptoms and trigger attacks. Identifying and addressing elevated VOC levels and their sources can help alleviate asthma symptoms and reduce the frequency of attacks.

Asthma prevalence and severity continue to rise and have reached all-time high levels, despite declining outdoor air pollution. Since the majority of people spend around 90% of their time indoors, our exposure to air pollutants within indoor environments is significant. Many experts believe there is a strong link between the increasing prevalence of asthma and poor indoor air quality.

Vulnerable populations, including babies, young children, pregnant women, older individuals, and those with respiratory or cardiovascular diseases, are particularly susceptible to the adverse effects of indoor air pollution. If your family includes any of these groups, it would be prudent to conduct an air quality assessment.

Certain building materials such as carpeting, vinyl and laminate flooring, cabinets, and countertops often utilize adhesives that continuously release harmful chemicals over time, sometimes for years. Many of these materials contain hazardous chemicals, some of which have been associated with cancer. Conducting tests to identify harmful toxins that may be present in your home is advisable. Undetected mold growth can also lead to health and structural problems. In addition to respiratory issues caused by inhaling mold spores, the presence of mold can result in significant damage to the structure of your home. Leaky pipes, poorly functioning or uncleaned air conditioning and heating systems, and water infiltration in basements and other damp areas are common sources of active mold growth. Often, this mold remains undetected as it develops behind drywall or beneath flooring.

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