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Realtime Laboratories has received many inquiries asking about the difference between our Environmental Mold and Mycotoxin Assessment (EMMA) vs. the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI).  There are numerous articles about the ERMI and the difficulties with the method of collection for dust samples and interpretation of results.


The EMMA test uses dust samples from the interior of homes, offices, or other buildings detecting the 10 mold organisms and the 16 mycotoxins that are produced from those molds.  The ERMI does not test for the dangerous toxins that can cause very serious diseases in the bodies of humans and animals.  The EMMA also comes with the brief description guides of the mold’s relationship to the mycotoxins and the guide description of the disease and areas of the body that are affected.

The ERMI was developed by the EPA as a research tool and has not been validated for routine public use in homes, schools or other buildings.  Realtime Laboratories is accredited by the regulatory organizations CAP and CLIA to perform this testing and has had four inspections by CAP since 2011, excelling in results with each inspection.

Many of the inquiries we receive ask: what are mycotoxins?  They are literally mold poisons, small molecules produced by organisms of the fungi kingdom, commonly known as molds that are toxic to humans and other animals.  Although hundreds have been identified, only a small portion are associated with indoor molds and pose a human and animal health risk.  The mycotoxin families that we test for are:  Ochratoxin A, Aflatoxin Group (B1, B2, G1, G2), Trichothecene Group (Satratoxin G, Satratoxin H, Isosatratoxin F, Roridin A, E, H, L-2, Verrucarin A, Verrucarin J), Gliotoxin derivative, and Zearalenone.

There is an excellent information series by Michael Pinto CEO of Wonder Makers Environmental titled “A QUICK PRIMER ON THE PERILS OF USING ERMI SAMPLES FOR POST-REMEDIATION VERIFICATION FOR MOLD PROJECTS”.  In the article, he points out that” the whole process was developed from a review of several thousand houses and was designed to evaluate long-term conditions in the building. Laboratories that analyze ERMI samples put a disclaimer in their reports stating that results may not accurately reflect recent developments in the structure.”  

The Realtime Lab’s EMMA is performed by homogenizing the collected dust in buffered saline prior to lab testing.  The number of spores in a culture of fluid is then documented and compared to the actual amount of DNA in the same fluid.

This is simply a measurement of how much fungal DNA is present in a sample.  This will be more beneficial to the homeowner, patient, physician and environmental inspector when evaluating fungal infestation in the home, etc., as well as evaluating the efficacy of the treatment of the environment.

Our goal is to be viewed as the gold standard for all those needing environmental testing of mold and mycotoxins, which explains why our environmental test is paired with the same mycotoxins on the clinical side for the practitioners using urine as the sample medium for humans and animals.