ERMI stands for Environmental Relative Moldiness Index. It is commonly viewed as the best method to quantify human exposure to mold by many health practitioners, doctors, labs, and water damage assessors.
ERMI samples are analyzed while keeping the testing objective, and the results classify selected mold species by referring to a standard database.
In this post, we’ll discuss the basic aspects involved in ERMI testing in the event that you choose to have it done for your Chicago property:
1. Collection of Mold Samples
Generic mold testing is done by taking air samples, which is not always the best method of obtaining samples to test for mold. Therefore, ERMI testing relies on carpet dust, which acts as a breeding ground for mold. Vacuuming about 2 square meters of the bedroom or living room carpet can yield the necessary dust samples. The dust sample needs to be shipped overnight to the laboratory to avoid any further mold growth in the sample.
2. Analysis of Mold Samples
The dust sample is then examined using a mold-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction (MSQPCR) method. It is a method that identifies and compares the mold species against a national database to indicate the relative moldiness index (RMI) of your home. In non-technical terms, the test results allow you to compare the type and degree of mold present in your home to similar establishments across the United States.
3. ERMI Score
ERMI tests use a statistical formula to provide a single ERMI number. The formula groups mold spores that are associated with water damage, and those that grow outdoors. This makes interpreting the score all the more challenging. It is recommended that you discuss the score with your doctor to obtain clarification and better understand how the mold infestation in your home could affect your health.
4. Cost of ERMI Testing
If your home has carpet (that has not been damaged by water), and if you are able to take a vacuum sample, the ERMI sampling kit will generally cost around $300. Alternatively, if you do not have a carpet, you will need to purchase a kit to take a “Swiffer cloth sample”, which is often less expensive and can be ordered online.
5. Challenges with ERMI Testing
Apart from the difficulty of interpreting the score, ERMI testing also poses a few other challenges. For instance, the results cannot tell us about current mold conditions, as ERMI testing uses settled dust as a sample. This can sometimes lead to skewed lab results.
Secondly, for an ERMI test, only a single sample is collected. Therefore, the methodology is also said to have its results based on a non-uniform sample size collection. Hence, even if an ERMI test has diagnosed a mold problem, there is no way of knowing the exact remediation steps to take. The process somewhat lacks established guidelines and standards.
Although, ERMI testing is the more superior method available, it is recommended that visual inspection, moisture evaluation, and traditional spore testing be done in addition to ERMI testing.
Are you looking for a mold testing and remediation company in Chicago?
Is your home or business space under attack by mold? If you are in need of a mold testing and mold removal expert in Chicago, then we at Axis Response Group are the people to see.
Our professionals have tested and removed mold from numerous commercial and residential properties in the Chicago neighborhood and beyond. Our licensed professionals can help to completely eradicate any mold that exists within your property.
Contact us today to schedule an inspection!