Mold Identification Testing
The Environmental Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI) is a quantitative, Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (QPCR) panel of testing developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). This panel includes 26 mold species and groups of species that are known to thrive in water damaged homes. This panel also includes 10 species that may be found in homes with and without water damage. Each species is enumerated by DNA extracted from mold spores in dust samples taken from the living and sleeping quarters of the home. The concentration (# of spores) of the 36 molds are used to derive an “ERMI Score” that rates the “moldiness” of each sample against over 1000 homes tested by the EPA. Values range from -10 to 20.Values of (-10 to -4) are low, (-4 to 5) moderate, and (5-20) high.
The ERMI test should not be interpreted is an indicator of the current health of the occupants or a predictor of the future health. It, however, may give an early warning that the building has a higher mold level than the 1,100 tested when the ERMI was developed.
RTL recommends the ERMI test be accompanied by a mycotoxin test to test the dust for the presence of the toxins produced by the mold, as these are more likely to cause cellular damage.