Mold Assessment

Mold Assessment

Is ERMI Testing Reliable To Test A Home For Mold? – Part 2

Beware! The EPA mold scale ERMI© is misleading

By
Charles and Danielle Dobbs

ERMI testingIn part 1 of “Is ERMI Testing Reliable To Test A Home For Mold?” we explained the research behind ERMI testing, now here are the flaws:

FLAW NUMBER 1
Improper sample selection of “moldy” and “non-moldy” homes
First, the homes were classified as either “moldy” or “non-moldy” based on the following criteria.  The paper states:

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Types Of Mold Testing

types of mold testingThere are three main types of mold testing – air samples, surface samples, and carpet samples.   We feel ERMI testing, developed by the EPA, is totally meaningless, and therefore we will not mention it in this post, but we will explain in detail in an upcoming article. Incidently,  self-testing mold kits are also meaningless, see Mold Test Kits – Are They Reliable?

Sampling is the scientific approach to mold assessment.  Mold testing provides a snapshot of the environment at the time of sampling at a particular location, as conditions can change over time.

Air sampling methods include  Culturable and non-culturable samples.  The culturable method allows the microbiologist to differentiate between species whose spores are visually similar, but it takes longer to obtain the results and it is also more costly.  In addition,

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Useful Mold Inspection Flowchart

Mold Inspection Process

The following flowchart is an example of a mold inspection process which entails a process from the time a mold problem is discovered or suspected, to the process of testing, and in some cases mold remediation is necessary, followed by post-remediation testing.

SCENARIO – Occupant experiences allergies. He reports a musty odor in the house and requests a mold inspection.

MLS = mold-like substance
Mold inspection = performed  by a licensed mold inspector or mold assessor
Mold remediation = process of mitigating a mold problem performed by a license mold remediator
Mold remediation protocol = set of instructions written by a mold inspector/mold assessor for a mold remediator to safely mitigate a mold problem.
VOC = Volatile organic compound

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Mold Testing Accuracy And Quality Control

mold testing accuracy and quality controlMold testing accuracy is extremely important, but just as important is quality control.  Accuracy involves collecting samples in a precise and methodical manner while quality control is about keeping excellent records of the testing to avoid mistakes.

When we started our mold assessment company, we developed standards and operational protocols for the office and in the field.  Besides a mold testing methodology to ensure accuracy, we developed a quality control system to maintain a visual record of the mold testing in the field, because we felt that a record of the chain of custody was insufficient.

Pictures provide a visual record of the testing and
complement mold testing accuracy.

We take a digital photograph of a placard with the following data for each sample:

    Mold Test Kits – Are They Reliable?

    mold test kitMold test kits are unreliable and here is why.  A mold test kit is simply a petri dish, so named after a German bacteriologist by the name of J.R. Petri.  The dish contains moisture and nutrient and is used in laboratories for culturing bacteria and other microorganisms.

    Mold, known by its scientific name as fungus, is a microorganism found everywhere in nature.  Its purpose in life is to help dead organic material to decay.  It needs a surface to grow on, food, and moisture in order to grow.

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