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Interpreting lab results

Full Course Title

Sampling Methods and Interpretation of Lab Results for Fungi and Bacteria

Course Description

This one day course will focus on the interpretation of analytical results obtained from testing of the indoor environment. Special attention will be paid to the potential health impact resulting from the quantities and types of microbial growth reported. Additionally. specific information will be provided to detail types of microbial growth indicated and the impact upon remediation. In this interactive course, key considerations for designing a sampling plan that will provide meaningful results will be emphasized. The information presented will enable each participant to apply their knowledge on a specific case-by-case basis to answer the basic questions of when, where and how fungi and bacteria should be sampled. Various field techniques for sample collection and the methodologies utilized by laboratories for analyzing the samples will be reviewed. Participants will have the opportunity to try the different sampling methods presented. A tour of the laboratory will allow for first hand observation of the analytical methods used. Interpretation of laboratory analytical results for both fungi and bacteria will be presented. Types of microbial growth, limit of detection, raw counts and other elements found on reports will be explained using examples from actual report data. Participants will be able to share field experiences through group discussion and apply what they have learned to those discussions.

This course is intended primarily for occupational hygienists, engineers and health & safety specialists engaged in the investigation and management of indoor microbial biocontamination. Approaches to conducting building investigations will be discussed and proper use of sampling equipment will be emphasized. In depth
discussion will be provided on approaches to interpreting the results of environmental sampling data, including techniques for reconciling datasets that appear incongruent and strategies for providing critical appraisal of sampling datasets for legal purposes.

Learning Outcomes

When this course is completed the participants will be able to:

  • Understand and interpret results from the analytical laboratory;
  • Communicate technical laboratory results to clients;
  • Determine potential health implications related to the types and quantities of microbes found as a result of the testing; and,
  • Establish remediation procedures based upon analytical results.

The following continuing education credits have been applied for:

  • 1 MP by the Canadian Registration Board of Occupational Hygienists (CRBOH)
  • 0.5 CMPs by the Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals (BCRSP)
  • 1 Industrial Hygiene CM by the American Board of Industrial Hygienists (ABIH)


The next course will be offered in Wednesday November 18 2015.

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