A cost-effective small static chamber method has been developed to assess the potential for microbial growth on a variety of materials commonly found in the indoor environment. The chambers can be controlled to simulate differing environmental conditions of temperature and relative humidity to which construction and finishing materials might be exposed in a building environment. The chambers are intended to reproduce specific microenvironments that may exist within a building as well as some bulk room conditions.
Testing of multiple types of ceiling tiles and HVAC materials has been performed. The results have demonstrated that the method is a valuable tool for the characterization of biocontaminant source reservoirs. The data indicated that very low levels (<5%) of material moisture were required for fungal growth.
The static chamber method has been submitted to ASTM Subcommittee D22.05.06 as a draft guide entitled, “Standard Guide for Evaluating the Ability of Indoor Materials to Support Microbial Growth Using Static Environmental Chambers.”