ERMI Test (Home Mold Dust Test)


ERMI Background

The US Environmental Protection Authority developed ERMI to provide a straightforward, objective, sensitive and standardized way to assess mold and indoor air quality investigations. The USEPA developed the ERMI as a ranking system based on dust samples collected from homes, the ERMI will help predict the moldiness of homes.

Based on widely published data from EPA researchers and the 2006 HUD American Healthy Home Survey, the test has been developed as a tool to evaluate the potential risk of indoor mold growth and associated health effects to occupants.

In initial studies by the USEPA, the concentrations of different mold species in “moldy homes” (homes with visible mold growth or a history of water damage) and “reference homes” (homes with no visible mold) were compared. Based on those results, mold species were selected and grouped into those with higher concentrations in moldy homes (group 1) and those with lower concentrations (group 2). To calculate the ERMI the individual concentrations of the mold species detected are log-transformed and the sum of group 2 logs is subtracted from the sum of group 1 logs.

ERMI Test [Home Mold Dust Test]_Sample report..


ERMI = | Sum of Log10 Group I | minus | Sum of Log10 Group II

Below is a list of the mold species included in an ERMI report:

Group 1: Water Damage Molds Group 2: Common Indoor Molds
1) Aspergillus flavus/oryzae, 27. Acremonium strictum
2) Aspergillus fumigatus 28. Alternaria alternata
3) Aspergillus niger 29. Aspergillus ustus
4) Aspergillus ochraceus 30. Cladosporium cladosporioides1
5) Aspergillus penicillioides 31. Cladosporium cladosporioides2
6) Aspergillus restrictus 32. Cladosporium herbarum
7) Aspergillus sclerotiorum 33. Epicoccum nigrum
8) Aspergillus sydowii 34. Mucor amphibiorum
9) Aspergillus unguis 35. Penicillium chrysogenum
10) Aspergillus versicolor 36. Rhizopus stolonifer
11) Aureobasidium pullulans
12) Chaetomium globosum
13) Cladosporiumsphaerospermum
14) Eurotium (Asp.) amstelodami
15) Paecilomyces variotii
16) Penicillium brevicompactum
17) Penicillium corylophilum
18) Penicillium crustosum
19) Penicillium purpurogenum
20) Penicillium Spinulosum
21) Penicillium variabile
22) Scopulariopsis brevicaulis/fusca
23) Scopulariopsis chartarum
24) Stachybotrys chartarum
25) Trichodermaviride
26) Wallemia sebi


ERMI Graph

This table assists in interpreting the graph

Quartile Zone Percentage ERMI Value Relative Mouldiness
Q1 Green 25% of houses Between -10 to -4 Low Relative Mouldiness
Q2 Amber 25% of houses Between -4 to 0 Low to Medium
Q3 Amber 25% of houses Between 0 to 5 Medium to High
Q4 Red 25% of houses Between 5 to 20 High
Red Greater than 20 Very High

Swiffer Cloth Sampling

One clear limitation of ERMI vacuum sampling is that many homes do not have carpet, and many people who are susceptible to mold-related illness have chosen to have wooden or tiled floors. As a result, the “Swiffer Cloth Method” was developed. The important issue when sampling is that the procedure needs to collect dust that is representative of the area sampled, providing a sufficient quantity of dust so that the lab analysis can be successful.