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J Urban Health. 2009 Nov;86(6):850-60. doi: 10.1007/s11524-009-9384-1.

Correlation between ERMI values and other moisture and mold assessments of homes in the American Healthy Homes Survey.

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  • 1United States Environmental Protection Agency, Cincinnati, OH, USA. vesper.stephen@epa.gov


The main objective of this study was to evaluate the correlation between the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI) values in the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Healthy Homes Survey (AHHS) homes and an alternative analysis frequently used in mold investigations, i.e., the inspector's "walk-through" assessment of visual or olfactory evidence of mold combined with occupant's answers to a questionnaire about mold odors and moisture. Homes in the highest ERMI quartile were in agreement with visual inspection and/or occupant assessment 48% of the time but failed to detect the mold in 52% of the fourth quartile homes. In about 7% of lowest ERMI quartile homes, the inspection and occupant assessments overestimated the mold problem. The ERMI analysis of dust from homes may be useful in finding hidden mold problems. An additional objective was to compare the ERMI values in inner city east-Baltimore homes, where childhood asthma is common, to the AHHS randomly selected homes.

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