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612 North New Ballas Road
Creve Coeur, MO 63141

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Mulqueeny Eye Centers Friday Fun Fact

May 04, 2012 @ 08:30 AM -- by JoAnn DeRousse, COT

Who collects pollen and mold?

Ever wonder who in the world has the tedious job of counting daily pollen and mold levels?  Not just anyone can perform this task...only certified counters.  The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) must certify each counter after they have passed a year long certification course provided by the Harvard School of Public Health.

In St. Louis, we have been relying on this information from the Saint Louis County Department of Health since 1960.

What type of device is used to collect mold and pollen?

Counters use air sampling devices to capture airborne pollen and mold. They have recently begun using a device called a Burkard slit-type volumetric spore trap because it can continuously sample over a 24-hour period.

Mounted on the roof of a centrally located county building away from obstructions, the Burkard device pulls air in through a slit-like opening.  Inside the opening is a greased flat collection tape that traps particles sucked in with the air.

How are pollen and mold counted?

Once the tape is removed, it is taken to the laboratory where it is stained and analyzed.  Generally, the tape must be magnified hundreds or in some cases 1,000 times in order to see and count the pollen grains or mold spores.

The counters determine the number of particles per cubic meter of air sampled and this is the number that is reported to meterologists, local newspaper, radio stations, internet, etc. to keep the public updated.