The Environmental Relative Moldiness index (ERMI) was developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development (ORD) as a research tool to investigate mold contamination in homes. The methodology is based on using mold-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction (MSQPCR) to quantify 36 molds and calculate an index number for comparison with a database of reference homes. Our firm was one of the first collaborators to help establish the use of the ERMI in the field and to offer this service to clients for the identification of mold problems in some buildings.
The ERMI is the most recommended test by mold illness doctors and specialists. This test, was originally developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and examines the proteins in a dust sample from the house or building being inspected. Using DNA analysis, the sample is tested for the genetic presence of 36 different mold species. The ERMI report provides a score that compares the building in question to a variety of 1,000 other U.S. buildings, with regards to the likelihood that it may cause harm to its occupants.
Although experts believe that the ERMI does a generally good job in identifying unhealthy buildings that are harming people, it is not considered a perfect test and is still classified by the EPA as a research tool, even though it has been in field use for over a decade.The ERMI is a moderately priced test, costing around $400 depending on the laboratory used.