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J Occup Environ Hyg. 2018 Jan;15(1):38-43. doi: 10.1080/15459624.2017.1376069.

Quantification of mold contamination in multi-level buildings using the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index.

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a National Exposure Research Laboratory (NERL) , United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) , Cincinnati , Ohio.
b National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) , Morgantown , West Virginia.


The goal of this study was to evaluate the possible use of the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI) to quantify mold contamination in multi-level, office buildings. Settled-dust samples were collected in multi-level, office buildings and the ERMI value for each sample determined. In the first study, a comparison was made between two identical four-story buildings. There were health complaints in one building but none in the other building. In the second study, mold contamination was evaluated on levels 6-19 of an office building with a history of water problems and health complaints. In the first study, the average ERMI value in the building with health complaints was 5.33 which was significantly greater than the average ERMI value, 0.55, in the non-complaint building. In the second study, the average ERMI values ranged from a low of -0.58 on level 8 to a high of 5.66 on level 17, one of the top five ranked levels for medical symptoms or medication use. The mold populations of ten (six Group 1 and four Group 2) of the 36-ERMI molds were in significantly greater concentrations in the higher compared to lower ERMI environments. The ERMI metric may be useful in the quantification of water-damage and mold growth in multi-level buildings.


Dust; ERMI; mold; office building; water damage

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