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Environmental Assessment: A Key Point to Your Diagnosis and Health

By Justin Seay, Director of Environmental Services

Have you or a loved been diagnosed with CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome) or possibly experiencing health issues such as trouble finding words, headaches, nasal and sinus pains/pressure, dizziness, tingling sensations and drowsiness? Many people are not familiar with the direct correlation of a toxic environment and their overall health. Our certified Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP) team at Rezilir provides numerous services to decipher alongside our clinical team, if your environment is toxic and wreaking havoc on your brain and body.

Our most frequent tool in finding possible toxins that are contributing to the decline in your health is to begin with a home/building assessment, where we collect a dust sample for analysis. The reason we prefer dust sampling over air sampling is simple; dust settles over time and gives us a history of a property while air sampling is only giving us a 5 minute view of what’s in the air in that particular time period. There are three analytical reports we can provide from the lab we use. In most cases, to gather as much information as possible, we will ask that one sample have several tests run on it to get a better understanding of the property’s history and air quality.

The ERMI, The HERTSMI-2, and the Actinomycetales

An ERMI analytical report takes into account 36 species of mold that are commonly seen in water damaged buildings. 26 of these species are water damage molds and are grouped together in “Group 1”. “Group 2” consists of 10 common indoor molds. The ERMI stands for Environmental Relative Moldiness Index and is determined by subtracting the sum of logs from Group 1 from Group 2. The resulting number is the ERMI score.

The ERMI score is then placed in either Q1, Q2, Q3, or Q4. Q1 consist of ERMI scores that are less than -4 (low moldiness relative index) while Q2 falls within the score of -4 to <0 (indicating investigation is needed). Q3 scores are any result that range between 0 <5 (also indicating investigation is needed) while Q4 consists of scores of 5 to <20 (high relative moldiness index) to >20 (very high relative moldiness index).

As a general rule, most people with mold sensitivity will need an ERMI score to fall under 2 or lower to see relief from symptoms.

The HERTSMI-2 score breaks down the ERMI from 36 species to 5 specific species that have been found to create the most health issues for those with mold sensitivity. Aspergillus penicillioides, Aspergillus versicolor, Chaetomium globosum, Stachybotrys chartarum, and Wallemia sebi are the 5 species analyzed for a HERTSMI-2 score. Each species has a raw Spore E./mg count and based on that number, is assigned a weighted score of 0, 4, 6, or 10. Once all five species have a weighted number calculated, the weighted numbers are all added together to determine a HERTSMI-2 score.

The ideal HERTSMI-2 score is a 10 or less. At that level, we see that in 1.7% of cases, re-occupancy of building following mold remediation has led to relapse of CIRS-WDB symptoms. Scores that fall between 11 to 15 are borderline which means further remediation and re-assessment is indicated. A HERTSMI-2 score of greater than 15 says that re-occupancy is ill-advised until further remediation and reassessment are conclusive.

The Actinomycetales Analytical Report looks for Actinobacteria which are a group of bacteria that can produce similar symptoms to mold illness. This group of bacteria is found in the same conditions that mold grows in water damaged buildings. The analytical report looks for 40 species of bacteria associated with water damaged buildings and assigns an Actinomycetales score based on the number of bacteria found out of the 40 that are analyzed for.

An ideal Actinomycetales is one that is calculated to be 9 or less. A score of 10 to 15 suggest further investigation is needed. If a score is calculated to be greater than 15 then it is suggestive of Building Related Illnesses.

What can I do if I suspect a toxic environment might be a catalyst to the decline in my health?

At Rezilir, our Indoor Environmental Professionals work hand in hand with the clinicians to help pinpoint the source of an environmental illness. We are trained to identify possible environmental hazards to the individual’s health. When we do an assessment, we collect all the data that we can about the environment where the patient resides, then take that data and interpret it into a report with our findings that is shared through an extensive review with the clinician and yourself. When a patient comes in with symptoms of toxic mold exposure or CIRS, they often have a panel of labs that are ordered to see if they have any of the signs of environmental hazard exposure (Mold/VOCs/etc..). Once these tests come back, if the clinician believes the environment is causing the illness, our IEP team is called in to assess the home to find the root cause of this exposure. We work alongside the clinicians to rule out or confirm environmental exposure so we can better tailor to the patient’s needs and make recommendations to get your environment to a safe level and begin the healing process.

If you suspect you may have mold illness (CIRS) or think there could be mold/toxins in your home, please give us a call at Rezilir 1-866-REZILIR.  You can also email any inquiry regarding our IEP services to IEP@rezilirhealth.com.  We are state and nationally certified for mold assessment and will perform an assessment for you using non-invasive instruments. Rezilir’s IEP team is available to service your requests nationwide.  Be sure and visit our mold and toxin conditions we treat at https://rezilirhealth.com/conditions-we-treat/mold-and-toxins/. Our assessments include:

  • Moisture Meter: We use a moisture meter around all visible plumbing, appliances that use water, and any area that is suspected to be water damaged to measure the moisture content of those areas.
  • Infrared Camera: We use an infrared camera as a non-invasive method to look into walls to detect visible cool spots/areas of concern.
  • VOCs & Formaldehyde: We use an indoor air quality monitor to measures Volatile Organic Compound and Formaldehyde levels in real-time.
  • Particle Counter: We use a particle counter to compare readings between the inside and outside of the home to measure the overall air quality.
  • EMF Detector: We use an EMF detector to measure electric magnetic fields in the home that many people are sensitive too.

Our goal is to make sure your home is environmentally safe from mold and toxins and offer solutions that you can act on to protect and restore the health of you and yours.

Rezilir’s Director of Environmental Services Justin Seay graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in the Fall of 2008 with a Bachelor of Science degree. Starting in October of 2018, he studied under Larry Schwartz (CIEC) of Safestart Environmental and obtained his Council-Certified Residential Indoor Environmentalist (CRIE) certificate from the American Council for Accredited Certification. After completing a year of apprenticeship and traveling throughout the United States for investigations, Justin became a Certified Indoor Environmentalist (CIE) by passing a rigorous test, submitting case studies, and getting a unanimous vote of approval from the American Council for Accredited Certification governing board. A Florida state certified mold assessor (MSRA# 3554), Justin is nationally and state certified for mold assessment.

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