DNA Mold Testing:
DNA Testing allows for accurate and rapid detection of a wide variety of organisms. Assured Bio Labs is at the forefront of DNA testing, being one of the first labs in the United States to be accredited for molecular detection of molds and bacteria by AIHA (American Industrial Hygienist Association). Mold Specific Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (MSQPCR) is the umbrella assay that describes 36 mold DNA targets developed and patented by the U.S.E.P.A. National Exposure Research Laboratory program. DNA targets have the ability to probe a mixed sample of extracted DNA and bind only to a single mold species’ DNA. Once bound, the target emits fluorescent light that is detected by specialized laboratory instruments to provide species ID and the spore or spore equivalent concentration in a sample.
What is ERMI?
The ERMI was the first comprehensive DNA analysis developed by the EPA for residential use. The sample matrix for the ERMI is dust. The dust must be collected from the carpet using a single dust collector sample cassette from the master bedroom and common living area in the home. Dust provides insight into the mold history of a home. When following the EPA’s ERMI protocol for sample collection an ERMI score is provided. The ERMI score reports the mold burden of a home as compared to an index developed by the EPA from a segment of homes across the country.
The ERMI test is based on state-of-the-art DNA testing (MSQPCR) to identify molds that are linked to water intrusion and various respiratory diseases such as Asthma, Chronic Sinusitis, and Infant Wheezing. The results obtained from this test give each home an ERMI score, which can be compared to the 1,100 homes that were studied by the EPA.
Homes and businesses receiving a high ERMI score are more likely to have unwanted indoor mold growth than those that receive a low ERMI score. Read more about the ERMI score on our ERMI web page.
How do I collect a sample?
The ERMI Testing kit comes with a dust cassette, a pair of nitrile gloves, and a chain of custody form. Before choosing to collect an ERMI sample, ensure that you have masking tape, a vacuum with a hose attachment, and a carpet. In order for your analysis to be classified as an ERMI, make sure you collect your sample from the carpet. Any dust sample not collected from the carpet will be considered a SIM sample (Survey of indoor molds). The US EPA recommends collecting a composite sample from the living room and the master bedroom. Follow the steps below to collect a sample:
- Start out by applying your gloves.
- Using masking tape, tape a 6 by 3-foot rectangle on your carpet in both locations.
- You will then remove the bottom white cap from the dust collector and attach it to the end of your vacuum’s hose.
- Then, remove the top white cap and begin vacuuming the entirety of the rectangle for five minutes.
- Avoid making contact with the inside of the rectangle. If contact must be made, we recommend wearing gloves and or protective coveralls to prevent contamination of the sample.
- After you finish vacuuming the first area, keep your cassette pointing upwards, reattach your white cap, and move to the second location. Once you arrive at the second location, turn on your vacuum first, then remove your white cap. This will help prevent any dust from falling out of the cassette. Now you can begin vacuuming the second location.
- Once you finish vacuuming both areas, place both white caps back onto the cassette.
What if I don’t have a carpet?
Many people run into this issue when trying to conduct ERMI testing. When collecting a sample, it is important to follow the EPA’s ERMI method. That’s why Assured Bio developed the Survey of Indoor molds analysis (The SIM). This test allows inspectors and homeowners to receive the same results as the ERMI but without the need of collecting your sample from a carpet (ERMI score is not included). Click the link below to learn more: https://assuredbio.com/product/sim-survey-of-indoor-molds/
Filling out your chain of custody form
When submitting your sample for analysis, it is important that the proper documentation is filled out and received by your testing lab.
- Start out by filling out your name, address, phone number, and email.
- You will then write down a sample ID and record each room that the sample was collected in.
- Be sure to write down the sample ID on the red cassette to match up with the Chain of Custody form.
- Next, you will write down the project name, the area that you vacuumed, how long you vacuumed, and any additional comments.
- At the bottom of the page, sign your name, the date, and the time you sent your sample into our lab.
- Place your sample in a sealable plastic bag along with your chain of custody form and send it to our lab. Now your sample is ready for testing.