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Development of an Environmental Relative Moldiness Index for US Homes

Vesper, Stephen PhD; McKinstry, Craig MS; Haugland, Richard PhD; Wymer, Larry MS; Bradham, Karen PhD; Ashley, Peter DrPH; Cox, David PhD; Dewalt, Gary PhD; Friedman, Warren PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: August 2007 - Volume 49 - Issue 8 - p 829-833
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181255e98
Original Articles

Objective: The objective of this study was to establish a national relative moldiness index for homes in the United States.

Methods: As part of the Housing and Urban Development's American Healthy Homes Survey, dust samples were collected by vacuuming 2 m2 in the bedrooms plus 2 m2 in the living rooms from a nationally representative 1096 homes in the United States using the Mitest sampler. Five milligrams of sieved (300 μm pore, nylon mesh) dust was analyzed by mold-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction for the 36 indicator species in 1096 samples.

Results: On the basis of this standardized national sampling and analysis, an “Environmental Relative Moldiness Index” was created with values ranging from about −10 to 20 or above (lowest to highest).

Conclusions: The Environmental Relative Moldiness Index scale may be useful for home mold-burden estimates in epidemiological studies.

From the United States Environmental Protection Agency (Drs Vesper and Haugland, and Mr Wymer), National Exposure Research Laboratory, Cincinnati, Ohio; Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Dr McKinstry), Battelle, Richland, Washington; United States Environmental Protection Agency (Dr Bradham), National Exposure Research Laboratory, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina; Department of Housing and Urban Development (Drs Ashley and Friedman), District of Columbia, Washington; and QuanTech (Drs Cox and Dewalt), Arlington, Virginia.

CME Available for this Article at

Stephen Vesper and Richard Haugland receive a percentage of royalties paid to the EPA from companies that utilize Mold Technology: Aerotech Laboratories, Inc., Ambient Group, Inc., CENAS AG, EMSL Analytical, Inc., Forensic Analytical, Galson Laboratories, Genetic ID, Healthy Office Co. UK Limited, Microbac, Microbial Insights, Inc., Mycometrics, LLC, Pure Earth Environmental Laboratory, Inc., P & K Microbiology Services.

Address correspondence to: Stephen Vesper, PhD, US EPA, 26 West M. L. King Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45268; E-mail:

©2007The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine