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Thread: Anyone use Pro-Lab test kits from HD, Lowes, etc.?

  1. #1
    Alex Adelsberger's Avatar
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    Default Anyone use Pro-Lab test kits from HD, Lowes, etc.?

    Does anyone recommend Pro-Lab home testing kits (asbestos, lead paint, mold, water quality, radon, etc.) found in most home stores for a more complete inspection to their clients? These seem like a complete set of kits to offer as a package to potential clients. I know there are more expensive means of measuring some of the same items (like a continuous radon monitoring system, dedicated CO monitoring, etc.) but I found these and thought as a newbie, I could offer them to clients. Any thoughts would be great. Thanks.

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    Thumbs down Re: Anyone use Pro-Lab test kits from HD, Lowes, etc.?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Adelsberger View Post
    Does anyone recommend Pro-Lab home testing kits (asbestos, lead paint, mold, water quality, radon, etc.) found in most home stores for a more complete inspection to their clients? These seem like a complete set of kits to offer as a package to potential clients. I know there are more expensive means of measuring some of the same items (like a continuous radon monitoring system, dedicated CO monitoring, etc.) but I found these and thought as a newbie, I could offer them to clients. Any thoughts would be great. Thanks.
    Dear Alex,

    You must first determine if there are any laws that govern such activity in your state. Many states require a person have a license for testing lead paint and radon. Others may be risky if protocols are not followed including chain of custody.

    There is a difference between a homeowner doing tests on their own home and a professional hired gun coming in to do it for them. The tests sold at the hardware stores may not meet the requirements of a particular state or governing body for professional use but may be ok for a homeowner.

    I’m not sure if you are asking about using these for testing or selling them to the client. If you are selling them you are likely going to be responsible for sales tax issues. There may be other liabilities in selling these kits and you should discuss this with a competent attorney.

    If you are using them as a professional, they are likely inadequate. As a professional you are held to a higher standard of what you are allowed to do including your methods, test equipment, industry standards, standard of care and other issues. It is one thing to use these kits a homeowner (and understanding the limitations) but is a whole different story as a professional. As a professional, it’s not a good idea.

    Environmental testing has its legal pitfalls and anyone desiring to offer such services should investigate the issues in great detail. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but if you are contemplating using these hardware store kits you haven’t begun investigating the issues. Consider your post and this response (and I’m sure others to follow) as the beginning of investigating the issues. I think that once you really look into environmental testing you’ll find that these kits are not the way to go.

    I hope I have been able to be of assistance.

    Sincerely,

    Corey Friedman


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    Default Re: Anyone use Pro-Lab test kits from HD, Lowes, etc.?

    Don't just go to buy devices at a big box store and start using them for your customers. Make sure you have your ducks in a row before you offer any of these services.

    You should not offer any of these services until you have had proper training and understand the testing protocols. As Corey pointed out, some states require licensing (e.g., for radon testing) and some testing devices may not meet certain standards (e.g., EPA and NEHA approval for radon testing devices).

    Even if you use the same devices any homeowner can buy at a big box store you can justify your fee due to training, professional membership and third-party impartiality. You will know the testing protocols much better than a homeowner and how to interpret the results. To truly differentiate yourself from the pack offer testing with devices not available to homeowners and inspectors who use those big box devices.

    Janet Campbell likes this.
    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
    Bruce Breedlove
    www.avaloninspection.com

  4. #4
    Alex Adelsberger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone use Pro-Lab test kits from HD, Lowes, etc.?

    I should have explained myself better...The brand is the same as the ones in the big box stores. I wasn't actually going to go to the stores, by the "Harry Homeowner" kits and use them for actual inspections. Take a look at PRO-LAB Laboratories - Mold Lab & Radon Lead Water Testing by PROLAB. That is what I was referring to and of course, training is necessary. Thanks.


  5. #5
    John Michael's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone use Pro-Lab test kits from HD, Lowes, etc.?

    This is my first post on this forum.

    4 yrs. ago I would have told you that Prolab was NOT the lab to use. They were not qualified to analyze anything IMHO.

    Today I use them and recommend them. They have the finest laboratory in the United States, their turn around time is fast, prices very reasonable. I like their reports much better than other laboratories and can get them online the next day.

    I sometimes buy them off the shelf at Walmart or Home Depot but they are expensive there and you have to pay extra for analysis. I only do this if I accidentally run out of them on the truck. It is best to buy them direct at www.reliablelab.com

    The organization I work for gives out the retail kits to homeowners who can't afford them, but they still have to pay extra for analysis.

    Their retail kits are everywhere but Prolab's niche is home inspectors. I'm not one normally but I know this much.

    Hope it helped.


  6. #6
    Greg D. Dames's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Anyone use Pro-Lab test kits from HD, Lowes, etc.?

    I have a hard time understanding the thought process of jumping into the middle of something that one has very little understanding and less training. I do Mold Assessment work as my profession. I just do not understand what the thinking is except that it is a revenue souce for ProLab to market a petri dish that one sets out on the counter and then sends into the lab for reading. What you get back from them is useless information - there are mold spores floating all around you all the time indoors and out. What settles into the petri dish just happens to be what is floating around and some or perhaps most of what settles came in the front door with you. Testing without a reason is a useless effort and the results will have no meaning especially if you do not understand what your reading.

    I would suggest that you if you need to direct your client to the store let them purchase what ever kit/kits they want and conduct whatever the tests require and let them struggle with the results - The further you stay away from all of that the better you will be. When the results come in and they call you direct them to to the American IAQ Council website and find someone qualified in their area to help them. 1-800-942-0832 The American Indoor Air Quality Council

    I have not directed any of this toward you personally just think that the best help for someone is to be talking to someone that can really help them.

    Regards
    Greg D. Dames
    National ThermoGraphic Inspections
    Pacific Mold Assessment


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    Default Re: Anyone use Pro-Lab test kits from HD, Lowes, etc.?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Schulz View Post
    The Pro-lab kits for radon are the same as any other cannister testing. It's approved for real estate transactions.

    As far as training goes to set canisters...........if you can read you can do it!

    The continuous monitoring devices are no different then above but give you a read out of any particular time.

    Also radon standards by some hygienist is a joke Radon: Risk and Reality
    If you do radon testing you need to first find out if your state has any license requirements. Then if you do test you need to follow the EPA or your states requirements.

    As for Caoimhín, he is very well known and respected. He just subscribes to a different scientific ideology when it comes to radon. Is he right, I don't know but I still subscribe to the EPA guidelines and standards as this is all that we really have to go with in the USA.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

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    Default Re: Anyone use Pro-Lab test kits from HD, Lowes, etc.?

    Hello Mr. Dames:

    At the risk of appearing like a stick in search of a wasp’s nest, I need to address your comments on the American Indoor Air Quality Council. Most of my editorial below has been posted elsewhere, but it still presents a good synopsis.

    With the hype and fear over indoor moulds, folks are often faced with hiring someone to evaluate properties for mould and indoor air quality issues. Indeed, some members of this forum may be members of the AIAQC as either CIEs or CMRs or other designations the AIAQC issues. And it is not likely that those so certified will like what I have to say. However, I don’t usually say things that I cannot objectively support (which is one of the reasons I am still around saying them after twenty years).

    Neither I nor my firm has an association with the AIAQC except that I have frequently been asked to review work by their members. It has been my experience that being a member of the AIAQC (or any other of the other popular guilds) does not indicate proficiency in the area of indoor moulds and/or indoor air quality. Indeed, it has been my experience when I have reviewed the work from consultants claiming to be members of the AIAQC (and other similar groups) their work product tends to be junk science and uses practices that are outside of acceptable, normal standard industry practices. Usually, the entire project and conclusions revolve around useless "samples" and "tests."

    It has been my experience that when I have reviewed the work of consultants claiming membership with the AIAQC, the work by the consultant has been grossly substandard, sloppy, and based primarily on popular myths and misconception. This is not to impugn all members of the AIAQC and neither is it to impugn the otherwise good character of the consultant – at no time have I observed overt fraud or deceptive practices, merely gross technical incompetence and reliance on myth to the exclusion of good science. I have no doubt that the consultants with the AIAQC are decent, honest and honorable people – my argument is that the ones I have encountered don’t seem to know much about sampling theory, indoor air quality or indoor moulds, but don’t let a lack of knowledge in the area prevent them from presenting themselves legitimate consultants. I am sure there are members of the AIAQC that are proficient, or technically competent – however, all the ones I have encountered and whose work I have reviewed are not competent in indoor air quality or mould issues.

    Even the AIAQC’s web site contains the following statement:

    “On January 1, 2006, a major event changed the scope of the Council’s activities. As part of a unification agreement with the Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA) and the Indoor Environmental Standards Organization (IESO), the Council no longer offers membership services, but instead focuses exclusively on certification programs.”

    This is troubling and I am one of many legitimate experts in the field who do not recognize the IESO “standards” to be scientifically valid, or to carry any probative value in legitimate discussions amongst bone fide indoor environmental quality experts. Based on the information available to me, which were conversations directly with the IESO staff, the IESO “standards” were developed a couple of years ago by a particular laboratory in an effort to promote sales. The IESO “standards” (such as IESO 2210) are, in my opinion, mostly myth-based procedures devoid of any actual scientific merit, and lacking any credibility. For example, my copy of the referenced “standard” makes a central point of using outdoor airborne mould levels as comparison to sample indoor levels. However, this is an example of argumentum ad populum in the light of state-of-knowledge; essentially IESO makes the case that “since everyone else seems to be doing it, it must be correct.” However, it has long been known, that there is no correlation whatsoever between indoor and outdoor spore concentrations in the circumstances under discussion, and investigators who practice indoor/outdoor comparisons as commonly seen are usually “certified mould investigators,” and other generalists who lack any particular scientific training, who lack a knowledge of sampling theory and who lack any knowledge in aerobiology. If the IESO or the AIAQC would like to offer some defense for its "standards," I would like to invite them to so do, here. It's not my intention to "beat them up" just put the publications and practices into perspective.

    The promulgation of true standards is an arduous process involving literally hundreds of experts. For example, the ASTM International D22 Indoor Air Quality Committee has been engaged in the promulgation of an indoor mould assessment standard for over three years. The process involves the vetting of the language and the science by a broad spectrum of scientists, medical personnel, engineers, public policy experts, and even untrained, self-appointed “victim advocates” before the standard will see the light of day. Ultimately, an entire ASTM standard could be held up on the opposition of just one expert, until consensus is achieved or the objection is shown to be unsupported by sound science. By contrast, based on my information, the IESO was formed in 2002, and the “standard” was instantly published without review by any other organization or expert anywhere outside the author's small group.

    In their defense, the IESO indicates it’s lack of technical merit in its own standards. My copy of the IESO 2210, explicitly states, in its own language, that the standard is not technically exhaustive, and should only be used to determine if an appropriate specialist (e.g. an Industrial Hygienist) is required for further investigation. Indeed, the IESO 2210 clearly states:

    7.0 Applicability and Limitations
    7.3 The results and recommendations made by the inspector relative to this standard are not a warranty, surety, or guarantee of any nature or kind.


    I realize that the AIAQC and other groups were created to fill a vacuum - and I applaud the hard work of Charlie (in particular) and others who have attempted to appropriately fill that gap. It is not my intention to denigrate their hard work or commitment, only call into question the value of the final product.

    For those of you who have not yet seen it, here is a wonderful example of the level of credibility seen in national consensus “Certified Mould Inspectors:” (the following PDF has been linked directly from the internet – if, I have violated copyrights in some way, please let me know and I will remove the link and page immediately, and apologize to the copyright holder.) The author of the following ad identifies himself as a CIE and CMR.

    http://forensic-applications.com/mis...idamouldad.pdf

    Folks. Seriously. What is left to be said? Recently on the industrial hygiene board where I participate, we have seen discussions on the merits of the advancement of good science, and obstacles thereto; and in recent months we have seen (narrowly defeated) challenges to the scientific merit of Industrial Hygiene as a profession. It was my position that if Industrial Hygienists don’t take a stand and 1) promote and practice good and valid science; and 2) defend good science and defeat junk-science, the line between the professional Industrial Hygienist and the “certified whatzit” will become increasingly blurred. (By the way, in the last two years, I have been involved in litigation involving six ABIH certified industrial hygienists, two of whom also sported PhDs - in each case, the CIH's lost their arguments since sound science didn't support their practices, or conclusions; so industrial hygienists need to be careful and not fall into the "certification" trap ourselves.)

    Recent legislation such as the Maryland mould Bill moves to aggressively blur the distinction between peddlers of pseudo-science and legitimate scientifically based practitioners of industrial hygiene as much as possible and, in my opinion, will do nothing to protect the citizens of Maryland, and will only serve to open the door to encroaching junk-science and the promulgation of myths.

    Here’s a couple more examples. Like other consultants most of my work is performed under strict confidentiality and therefore, my reports seldom see the light of day. However, occasionally, some of my work surfaces on the web. For the first example, here is one of my actual reports that appeared in an unsecured area of the web (put there by the client), thereby making the report freely available to the general public. Therefore, the report has entered the public domain and I’ve provided a copy:

    http://forensic-applications.com/mou...estresults.pdf

    The report was a standard “Critical Review” we performed on work by an individual identified by the AIAQC as one of its members. The work by the AIAQC member exhibited the kind of gross technical incompetence that I have come to associate with each member of the AIAQC whose work I have reviewed. To date, I have not seen any AIAQC member perform an adequate or scientifically based “mould inspection.”

    Essentially, as seems to be the standard procedure of the certified mould inspector, the consultant collected some useless indefinable and uniterpretable samples and then made unsupported claims based on the meaningless “results.”

    Although the report is available on the internet, in deference to the client, I censored the client’s identity, but left the name of the AIAQC “certified mould consultant” intact (although the complete report is still out there on the web). My argument stands – This consultant is precisely what I typically see coming from members of the AIAQC – it’s hype, it’s mythologically based, it lacks science, it lacks precision, it lacks accuracy, it lacks support, it lacks legitimacy, it lacks definition, it lacks credibility, it lacks relevancy and it is what the Good People of Maryland apparently have been handed in the dark under the guise of professionalism.

    In the second example, the “CIE, CMR” (“certified” individual), is Mr. Tal Moore, who has produced some remarkable discussions on mould and identified himself as a CIE, CMR. These designations are, I believe, are issued by the AIAQC. Here is a copy of some of Mr. Moore’s very interesting writings regarding indoor mould (I’m not making this stuff up):

    http://forensic-applications.com/mou...lerarticle.pdf

    Here is another interesting document about Mr. Moore outlining what the courts seem to think about him:

    http://forensic-applications.com/mou...rtdecision.pdf

    I would call your attention to page four of the above referenced April, 2006 document by the Fourth Judicial District, Court of Appeal for State of Florida, wherein Mr. Moore’s “Expert Witness” is also listed as a member of the AIAQC and of whom the court noted:

    “Dugay (sic) does not have a college degree or a resume. He testified that 0.5% of his work is testing for mold contamination and he relies on industrial hygienists to do mold testing. Dugay (sic) stated that he spent approximately one hour reviewing the case at the time of the trial. He never visited the Chodorows’ (plaintiff) home or saw pictures or videos of the home. He did not review any test results or documents, nor did he conduct any tests, before forming his opinion.”

    DuGuay supported Moore in the placement of allegedly useless equipment and diametrically opposed the opinion of Dr. Ron Huggins, CIH, MPH of whom the courts observed:

    “Dr. Huggins has a B.S. in Biology, an M.S. in Environmental Biology, an M.P.H. in Environmental Health/Industrial Hygiene, and a Ph.D. in Industrial Hygiene/Toxicology. He has an extensive background and career in assessing air quality and evaluating damage due to water intrusion and mold.”

    Disturbingly, during the testimony, DuGuay was initially seen on equally footing with Dr. Huggins. (Well, after all, DuGuay IS a member of the AIAQC and therefore obviously an expert, right? The State of Maryland seems to think so.) It is my understanding, based on Moore’s representations, that he too, at the time, was a member of the AIAQC. Now it’s possible I’m incorrect and Moore used the designations without authority and was not an AIAQC member; I would like to know if the “CIE” and/or “CMR” designations are used by other than the AIAQC, and I would like to know if this “certified” mould guy was in fact a member of the AIAQC when he wrote this rubbish.

    Some time ago, (within the last few months), I trawled the web and looked at various sites of members of the AIAQC; I was appalled at the wide reaching lack of technical competence exhibited in the writings. It was rubbish. Although, I’m sure there are several members out there somewhere, I failed to find a single web site that identified themselves as members of the AIAQC and also provided sound indoor mould related information devoid of hype and/or myth. What I saw was bunk.

    Now, mind you, I’m not entirely complaining about bunk – after all, bunk keeps me in business. If it were not for the bunk peddlers, I would have far too much nonbillable time on my hands for comfort, and my mortgage holder would then become nervous (not to mention my wife).

    But here's the solution - if you want the accredidation to actually mean something, and not be branded as incompetent by associaiton, then get your organization to take action against the goof-balls who share your professional accredidaitons. That is what I do (usually to no avail). If you think I'm hard on mould inspectors, you should see how hard I am on my own peers.

    But that’s just me, swinging a stick in a wasp patch at 9,000 feet where the air is thin, and I can still see snow on the ground.

    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Industrial Hygiene

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG


  9. #9
    Jeff Bleil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone use Pro-Lab test kits from HD, Lowes, etc.?

    We use Pro-Lab test kits regularly, to verify killing of mold and mold spores. In a home or other enclosed space that is clearly infected with mold, we perform a test BEFORE treating the space. Typically, we'll see many colonies of various mold types at this time. Next, we treat the space, using our gas-based technology. Approximately 24 hr after treatment, we'll perform another mold test. Success of our treatment is indicated by ZERO colonies present on the post-treatment plate.

    We agree with another post, that comparing inside vs. outside mold is an improper test. Before and after is a proper test.

    Jeff Bleil
    PATI Pure Air Technologies


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    Default Re: Anyone use Pro-Lab test kits from HD, Lowes, etc.?

    Hello Jeff-

    You are selling snake oil and using snake oil to confirm the process.

    It is my opinion your process is bogus, as presented. Your post, and the fact that you are using Pro-lab “test kits” demonstrates that you have a complete lack of knowledge indoor moulds and indoor mould remdiation.

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Applications Consulting Technologies, Inc. - Home

    (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG


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    Default Re: Anyone use Pro-Lab test kits from HD, Lowes, etc.?

    Isn't Pro-lab owned by an association owner?

    Raymond Wand Home Inspection Service
    http://www.raymondwand.ca
    The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.

  12. #12
    Stephen Masek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone use Pro-Lab test kits from HD, Lowes, etc.?

    In most states, consultants who check for asbestos and lead must be certified or licensed.

    Experienced consultants can and do use sampling to help determine the extent of mold problems, and to check remediation work. Besides my other credentials, I'm a member of Mensa, the high IQ society, and have studied statistics. However, we are dealing with buildings and construction work, not laboratory experiments, so all of the discussions of T-statistics and such are humorous. In the real world, we have many thousands of man years of successful experience using sampling to solve problems, which includes saving money and reducing liability.

    Yes, sampling can be misused. The building occupants who set out a dish of growth medium and find, horror or horrors, mold growing, are a real nuisance when they try to make this an issue for the owner of the building.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caoimhín P. Connell View Post
    ...indoor moulds....
    AMDG
    You repeat this incorrect spelling many times. We are not in England, or some such place, so your repeated incorrect spelling seems purposeful. Why?


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    Default Re: Anyone use Pro-Lab test kits from HD, Lowes, etc.?

    Who says its incorrect? Its the English spelling. Mold is American spelling. So much for Mensa eh?

    Raymond Wand Home Inspection Service
    http://www.raymondwand.ca
    The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.

  14. #14
    Stephen Masek's Avatar
    Stephen Masek Guest

    Default Re: Anyone use Pro-Lab test kits from HD, Lowes, etc.?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Who says its incorrect? Its the English spelling. Mold is American spelling. So much for Mensa eh?
    We're not in England. Are you just using that one word and usage from the British language, or others?


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    Default Re: Anyone use Pro-Lab test kits from HD, Lowes, etc.?

    Who said we were in England? This is a multinational forum, and there are those of us who are raised in the English language. Just because its not to your liking is irrelevant.

    There are all kinds of English and American words spelt differently.

    UK vs US spelling list

    Raymond Wand Home Inspection Service
    http://www.raymondwand.ca
    The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.

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    Default Re: Anyone use Pro-Lab test kits from HD, Lowes, etc.?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Who said we were in England? This is a multinational forum, and there are those of us who are raised in the English language. Just because its not to your liking is irrelevant.

    There are all kinds of English and American words spelt differently.

    UK vs US spelling list
    I hope he recognises his error, and apologises.


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    Default Re: Anyone use Pro-Lab test kits from HD, Lowes, etc.?

    For those that might not know, Caoimhín is from across the pond.....

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

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    Default Re: Anyone use Pro-Lab test kits from HD, Lowes, etc.?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    For those that might not know, Caoimhín is from across the pond.....
    You would think people coming to America from other countries would learn to speak OUR language.

    Just kidding

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: Anyone use Pro-Lab test kits from HD, Lowes, etc.?

    I think he is Welsh. Where is he anyway?

    Raymond Wand Home Inspection Service
    http://www.raymondwand.ca
    The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.

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    Default Re: Anyone use Pro-Lab test kits from HD, Lowes, etc.?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Adelsberger View Post
    Does anyone recommend Pro-Lab home testing kits (asbestos, lead paint, mold, water quality, radon, etc.) found in most home stores for a more complete inspection to their clients? These seem like a complete set of kits to offer as a package to potential clients. I know there are more expensive means of measuring some of the same items (like a continuous radon monitoring system, dedicated CO monitoring, etc.) but I found these and thought as a newbie, I could offer them to clients. Any thoughts would be great. Thanks.
    I cannot tell you about the other home depot/lowes shelf bought tests, but absolutely don't bother using the mod test! lol You can take plate straight out of box and send it in and you have mold! How you say? Well, unsealed box, unsealed sampling media, non sterile as well. Bottom line.....you have a test confirming a lot of what transpired during assembly, shipping, storage, and buyer usage. Rely on professional testing media. Pro Labs does offer professional testing media which is acceptable, the store bought box test...no for any sort of accurate results on the mold side.


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    Default Re: Anyone use Pro-Lab test kits from HD, Lowes, etc.?

    I used Pro-Lab for a while. Thought I was wise enough to be of aid to my clients. Maybe I was. But I decided that my skill sets were not strong enough and that I relied on an unknown entity in Florida that seemed hell bent on selling me stuff and calling me every week to sell more product.
    They may be good guys. Their reports seem good. But I got nervous about my knowledge base. If you're going to do it, get the schooling before you get the lab.

    JLMathis


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