Research Article

Assessment of mold contamination in hurricane-damaged homes in Houston, Texas after sanitization by volunteers

Stephen Vesper*, Kevin G Libuit and Nicolas Esguerra

Published: 29 March, 2022 | Volume 6 - Issue 1 | Pages: 003-007

The purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate the effectiveness of mold sanitation in homes that suffered hurricane-related water damage. After a home is flooded, sanitation of the structure for mold is necessary before the interior of the home can be rebuilt. In this study, homes 
(n = 6) in Houston, Texas that had been flooded by Hurricane Harvey were sanitized by volunteers. At either 6, 8, 15, 25, 34, or 56 days after the sanitation was completed, a Button™ sampler was used to collect a 48-hour air sample, so that the mold cells in the air could be quantified. Each air sample was then analyzed by quantitative PCR (qPCR) assays for the 36 molds in the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI) panel of indicator molds. Quantifying the 36-ERMI molds in air samples results in “ERMI-like” values. The ERMI-like values in the sanitized homes were inversely correlated (Pearson p - value 0.04) with the log of the number of days after the sanitation was completed, an indication that it takes time after sanitation for the mold levels to stabilize. This pilot study demonstrated that the ERMI-like metric was useful in assessing post-sanitation mold levels in previously flooded homes. 

Read Full Article HTML DOI: 10.29328/journal.acee.1001033 Cite this Article Read Full Article PDF


Mold; Sanitized; ERMI-like; Volunteers; Air samples


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