The EPA Environmental Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI) and the American Relative Moldiness Index (ARMI) was developed by Dr. Steve Vesper and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ERMI and ARMI is a DNA based analytical method for identifying and quantifying molds to the species level.
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What is ERMI?
The ERMI is an acronym for Environmental Relative Moldiness Index.
It was developed by scientists at the USEPA to provide a straightforward, objective, and standardized way to obtain results for indoor air quality investigations.
The EPA is developing an ERMI ranking system based on dust samples collected from homes across the U.S.
The ERMI will help predict the moldiness of homes. Homes with high ERMI values have a greater chance of having a mold problem then homes with a low ERMI.
36 different fungi make up the ERMI and are designated as Group I (those found in atypical, water damaged homes) and Group II (those commonly found in all homes)
What is the ARMI?
The ARMI is an acronym for American Relative Moldiness Index.
It was developed by EPA as more cost effective analytical method than the ERMI
It has been proven by EPA to have good correlation with the ERMI for predicting the moldiness of homes
13 different fungi make up the ARMI and are designated a Group 1 (found in atypical, water damaged homes) and Group 11 (commonly found in all homes).
MSQPCR is an acronym for Mold Specific Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction.
The ERMI value is determined using the MSQPCR method in the lab. It was developed by scientists at the USEPA to detect and quantify fungi associated with indoor air quality problems.
It’s a FAST, ACCURATE, and SENSITIVE DNA-based analytical method for identifying and quantifying molds to the species level. The method looks for the presence of DNA sequences that are unique to a particular mold species.
How does ERMI work?
The ERMI test involves the analysis of a single sample of dust from a home.
The sample is analyzed using mold-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction (MSQPCR), a highly specific DNA-based method for quantifying mold species.
A simple algorithm is used to calculate a ratio of water damage-related species to common indoor molds and the resulting score is called the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index or ERMI.
The ERMI value is typically between -10 and 20.In order to most effectively use this new tool, the ERMI must be compared to a national database. Indices were determined using this method for 1,096 homes across the U.S. as part of the 2006 HUD American Healthy Home Survey.
Individual indices, ranked from lowest to highest were used to create a national Relative Moldiness Index (RMI) Scale.
What ERMI is Not
The ERMI is a mold index, not a health index. Each person responds differently to mold exposure due to genetics, pre-existing health conditions, age, etc. Medical questions about mold are for the Health Professionals to address.
What type of report will I get from the lab and how do I interpret it?
Your customized report will identify how many of the 36 molds were found that make up the ERMI and the quantity of each.
The report will also calculate the ERMI value and reports whether the value falls within EPA’s Level 1, 2, 3, or 4 designations.
These levels were determined from the EPA’s preliminary research and will be refined further as new research is performed.
An ERMI result in Level 1 or Level 2 indicates that there is a low likelihood that the building has a mold contamination problem.
An ERMI result in Level 3 indicates a moderate likelihood and a Level 4 indicates a high likelihood of a mold problem.
An appropriate, more in-depth follow up assessment and determination of the contamination can now take place in Level 3 and 4 buildings.
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