ERMI (Environmental Relative Moldiness Index) is a DNA based standardized test from Mycometrics (www.mycometrics.com) that provides rapid, reproducible results for identifying and quantifying mold in your home. It utilizes dust samples as a reservoir for mold spores, which have been found to be a more representative sample of mold levels over time than short-term air samples (which have previously been used in assessing mold).
Through a Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (MSQPCR), ERMI analyzes settled dust in homes and buildings to determine the concentrations of the DNA of different mold species. A mold index is determined from the difference between two groups of mold. Group 1 (WDB, water damaged building) is composed of 26 species of mold that are water damage-related while Group 2 consists of 10 common indoor species of mold (not associated with WDB). The difference between these two groups is the mold index, which ranges in scale from -10 to 20.
In order to effectively use this tool, a national database was created from 1,096 homes across the U.S. as part of the HUD American Healthy Home Survey. Individual indices are ranked from lowest to highest and used to create a national Relative Moldiness Index (RMI) Scale. The ERMI is compared to this database in terms of the amount and types of mold found in your home, or your “mold burden”. Using the EPA system, a score of zero or less indicates that the mold burden in the house is average or better. A score of five or higher would be clear evidence that water damage and fungal growth were present in the home at some point.
ERMI is the initial test used to determine if a patient has been exposed to molds and an assessment of their baseline. Once a baseline is established, repeat testing utilizes the HERTSMI-2 test to determine their risk from re-exposure. This scoring system is an application of the DNA testing shown on ERMI test results. The new test is designed to help patients (previously sickened by water-damaged buildings) understand if a given building is safe for occupancy. Scoring values are assigned based on the concentration of five different types of mold that are prevalent in the homes of individuals with the most significant mold illnesses. It is a quick and simple test to assess whether a building is safe following a remediation.
Resources for Improving Air Quality
Propolis is a flavonoid-rich product that is harvested by honeybees from the resin of plants, buds and exudates. Propolis is an antioxidant that reduces inflammation, modulates the immune system, and eliminates bacteria, mold, viruses, and air pollutants. It has been shown in studies to reduce airborne bacteria by 72% and reduce airborne pollutants (benzenes, hydrocarbons, and smoke particulates) by 15-70%.
The Propolis Vaporizer is a cylindrical-shaped ceramic heating element that is calibrated to 140-176°F (60-82°C) in order to release the essential phenolic acids and flavonoids of the propolis into the air. It therefore is able to decrease bacteria, mold, and viral loads in a roomexponentially while releasing its powerful healing attributes into the air. Ideally one vaporizer is used per room to maximize efficiency and potential. Find more information at www.beehealthyfarms.com
An air purifier is a device used to remove the contaminants from the air including dust, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, dust mite feces, smoke particles, and volatile organic compounds. With advancements in technology, air purifiers are becoming increasingly capable of capturing bacterial, viral, and DNA damaging particulates. One of the best technological purifiers are called high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters that, by US government standards, must remove 99.97% of particles that have a size of 0.3 nanometers or larger from the air that passes through them. HEPA filters are critical in the prevention of the spread of airborne mold, bacterial, and viral organisms and thus, infection.