If you suspect you have mold in your home, it’s important to test before doing repairs, like cutting into any drywall or lifting any carpet. If mold is an issue, disturbing the spores can make the situation much worse. ERMI Mold Testing – dust sampling – is an effective way to assess your moldy situation.
ERMI stand for the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index. The US Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) developed ERMI to provide a straightforward, objective, sensitive and standardized way to assess mold and indoor air quality investigations. This government organization developed the ERMI as a ranking system based on dust samples collected from homes.
Several labs offer ERMI Mold Testing, including EMSL Analytical, EMLab P&K, EnviroBiomics, and Mycometrics. Mycometrics offers the simplest form of ERMI testing, using a Swiffer-type AccuCloth Kit. They also offer an affordable HERTSMI test option, also using the AccuCloth collection method.
Ways You Can Determine Mold Infestation
- Look for signs of water damage. Where there is water damage, there is mold. Take photos of any water damage and signs of mold you find. Remember 50% of mold is hidden, so you will not be able to see it all. But, it’s a good starting place.
- Use a moisture meter to determine the humidity in your home. Some meters have penetrating electrodes that can test inside walls and other hard to reach areas.
- Since air sampling is unreliable due to frequent variations, dust samples is more reliable in determining the species of mold. Mold spores in the dust can be examined for specifics, including multiple strains that may occur. Mold sampling from various parts of your house is best.
- Collect dust from areas in the house that do not readily get cleaned. Keep all dust samples separate from each other. If dust samples are mixed, it is not possible to know which areas are most contaminated. Excellent sample areas are refrigerator coils and other hidden dust accumulation areas (under washing machines), giving the history of the home since installation of the appliances. Dust from the top of kitchen cabinets is another good source.
- You can also do bulk sampling. Cut out a piece of the contaminated materials, e.g. drywall, carpeting, etc. Put it in a Ziploc bag, date and label the bag, and send it to the testing lab. If litigation is involved, then a chain of custody is needed and a witness to the sampling.
In all cases, protect yourself from mold exposure. Wear rubber gloves and clothing that can be easily cleaned or discarded. To prevent eye irritation, wear goggles that do not have ventilation holes. Wear an N95 or HEPA respirator mask purchased from a hardware store to reduce the mold spores you breathe in.
Source: https://momsaware.org/home-buying-tips.html. This article quotes Dr. Thrasher’s work. For more information on Dr. Thrasher’s work, visit his website. To learn more about toxic mold, check out Andrea Fabry’s helpful resource, Is Your House Making You Sick? A Beginner’s Guide to Toxic Mold.