“An acute and chronic, systemic inflammatory response syndrome acquired following exposure to the interior environment of a water-damaged building with resident toxigenic organisms, including, but not limited to fungi, bacteria, actinomycetes and mycobacteria as well as inflammagens such as endotoxins, beta glucans, hemolysins, proteinases, mannans and possibly spirocyclic drimanes; as well as volatile organic compounds.
You might consider calling a professional mold remediation service and have them come out (many times no charge for estimate from the reputable guys and gals). Take good notes with options on what they have observed and go from there.
Remember, mold doesn’t have any tricks up its sleeve. It needs very specific things to grow and its movements are predictable. So until mold develops a genetic resistance to bleach, you’re in charge here.
The mold remediation industry is not well regulated in most states. Therefore, it is very easy for a customer to be taken advantage of. If you do need a professional remediation, do your homework and protect yourself.
A mold (US) or mould (UK / NZ / AU / ZA / IN / CA / IE) is a fungus that grows in the form of multicellular filaments called hyphae. In contrast, fungi that can adopt a single-celled growth habit are called yeasts.
When you’re done using any of these methods you may want to finish up with baking soda, a natural disinfectant. Spray the area with a mixture of 1/2 tsp baking soda and a cup of water. Scrub the area clean and rinse with water. If you use vinegar or hydrogen peroxide then finish with baking soda you’ll be sure to get all the mold with this double attack on it!
Consult your doctor or an allergist to find out what medicine you can take for allergies and be sure to carefully follow the directions of any medications you use. It should also be remembered that these types of medications only lessen the symptoms of allergic reactions, they do not cure you of the allergy or make you any less allergic to mold in the future.
Bleach – Bleach is effective at killing mould, but it will also fade any colours. So use bleach only on whites or colourfast clothes, as a pre-soak or scrubbed directly onto the mould itself. Always follow the product instructions, wear rubber gloves, and work in a well-ventilated area away from any children, as bleach fumes can be strong! And, remember to store bleach in a secure cupboard out of the reach of children or pets. (Use biocides safely. Always read the label and product information before use.)
If you have over 10 square feet of mold growth the EPA and the American Industrial Hygiene Association recommend you contact a professional. Most industry standards recommend, and some states mandate, you obtain an independent evaluation from a Qualified Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP) or Industrial Hygienist prior to having professional mold remediation performed. This will protect you, as the consumer, from being taken advantage of. Having a remediation company assess whether there is a problem, determine the severity of the problem, determine the steps needed to remedy, and bid the project presents a serious conflict of interest. Get an independent evaluation from an IEP and then have several remediation companies bid on the protocol supplied by the IEP. Also, I would suggest having the IEP return after the remediation and perform both a visual inspection and sampling to ensure the work has been completed satisfactorily. This is going to cost a little extra, but is definitely money well spent to ensure the mold is gone.
Reality: This is a tricky one. At one time fiberglass was linked to cancer, but in 2001, the International Agency on Cancer Research (IACR) removed fiberglass from its “possibly carcinogenic to humans” list. However, fiberglass does emit a synthetic material called styrene, which the IACR and the EPA say is a possible carcinogen.
It is possible to reduce your sensitivity with treatment, yes. I suggest you read up on Shoemaker’s work. The VIP spray can help with this. Also mold avoidance is important, eventually you will probably be able to recognize bad environments. It’s hard to raise MSH though.
In 2004 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition. The IOM also found limited or suggestive evidence linking indoor mold exposure and respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children.
Discard any items that are porous or if you are unable to completely remove the mold from them. It’s also a very smart idea to get rid of any carpets that have been flooded because they’re very prone to mold. Never paint or caulk over moldy surfaces.
Before the renovation, the fourteen hospital employees developed respiratory health problems related to mold. All previously had been healthy. Four of them developed occupational asthma. One of these employees also developed pneumonia. He had a series of respiratory issues, fevers, and infections which recurred whenever he was assigned to work in this building but improved whenever he was transferred elsewhere.
Cut the area out with a utility knife. Saw along the line with your knife, pointing it out and away from you as you work. When the patch of drywall comes free, carefully remove it and set it down, mold-side up, on the plastic.
15 years wading through chronic conditions the best I can. What are some better-than-nothing air purifier options for the majority of us that have limited budgets? Say under $200? I appreciate the functional medicine approach, but it would be great if practioners included cheaper alternatives, acknowledging many of us don’t have the choice to choose expensive tests and gadgets.
Decongestant nasal sprays. These include oxymetazoline (Afrin, others). Don’t use these medications for more than three or four days, as they can cause congestion to come back with even worse symptoms when you stop using them. Other possible side effects include headache, insomnia and nervousness.
Not only is wearing shoes indoors a health risk, but it can also increase allergens. Wet leaves bring in mildew and pollutants from grass get trapped on the bottom of shoes. Take your shoes off outside, or put them in a washable tray as soon as you walk in the door.
The ERMI test was developed by the EPA as a means of determining the relative “moldiness” of a home compared to a group of reference homes that do not have mold. Thirty-six species were divided into 26 species/clusters of molds associated with water-damaged buildings (Group 1) and 10 common species not associated with water-damaged buildings (Group 2). The mold index is the sum of logs of Group 1 minus the sum of the logs of Group 2 in a building. The ERMI has been validated in several peer-reviewed studies (5, 6, 7, 8).
The truth is that all molds; whether black, green, pink, orange or red can potentially cause cold or hay fever symptoms in healthy people and can aggravate symptoms in those with compromised immune systems, or people with breathing issues.
I also have the mould problem on the rubber seal. Just like all of you, I have tried everything to keep it from happening to no avail. I had the smell in the machine despite leaving the door open – couldn’t get rid of it no matter what I did. I have recently stopped using fabric softner and use vinegar in the final rinse – no smell. Haven’t had a chance to tackle the mold, but at least the smell isn’t there.
Your Basic PPE (personal protection equipment) kit should include a minimum of safety goggles, protective coveralls with a drawstring hood, safety gloves, boots and a N-95 respirator (can be found at most local hardware stores).
Various practices can be followed to mitigate mold issues in buildings, the most important of which is to reduce moisture levels that can facilitate mold growth. Properly functioning air conditioning (AC) units are essential to controlling levels of indoor airborne fungal spores. Air filtration reduces the number of spores available for germination, especially when a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter is used. A properly functioning AC unit also reduces the relative humidity, or the moisture inherent in the air. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently recommends that relative humidity be maintained between 30% to 50% to preempt mold growth. Considering that fungal growth requires cellulose, plant fiber, as a food source, using building materials that do not contain cellulose is an effective method of preventing fungal growth.
The first step toward improved health and safety at home is getting a great mold test to find out just what is in the air you are breathing. This mold test from the Mold Inspection Network is a great option. Learn more about it below.
Avoid ozone generators that are marketed as air cleaners. Despite pseudoscientific marketing claims that they control indoor air pollution with things like “energized oxygen” or “pure air,” they in fact dispense large concentrations of ozone, a toxic gas with vastly different chemical and toxicological properties from oxygen, which even in small concentrations can cause serious health problems. For this reason, be aware that most electrostatic ionizers also produce some ozone. Just remember the EPA adage for ozone: “Good up high, bad nearby.”
I’ve been searching doggedly for more information about HLA haplotypes, cholestyramine treatment, and other aspects of treating mold illness mentioned here. Most of the information about these topics comes from Shoemaker. While he’s undoubtedly very smart and appears to have helped many people, he also has a reputation for lack of scientific rigor. I have very limited resources to follow up testing/treatment ideas. There’s no doubt that I have mold illness: I have experienced quite a bit of health trouble since being exposed to mold in a water-damaged apartment and certain detox measures seem to help a lot. Where might I find scientific data, preferably peer-reviewed or at least duplicated or showing all the study details, about these topics? Help!
I had a patient come back with a positive stachybotrys IgA level. My patient was greatly relieved to have these results as they helped her grasp that mold toxicity was the cause of her symptoms. It also helped her with her relationship, as her condition being caused by toxic mold, now had more credibility in her boyfriend’s eyes.
Funny timing on this article Chris. I just had my breast implants removed due to suspicion of Breast Implant Illness. I was going to search your site to see if you’d ever done an article on it. Although this article is not specific to that, the biotoxin concern is a great point of interest in the breast implant illness community.
1) Are you seeing a connection of the CIRS lab values and HLA mutations to other issues such as heavy metal toxicity? 2) If CIRS labs are out of range with HLA gene mutation and had a long-term past WDB exposure, can you recover without protocol over time? Will the labs remain out of range without treatment?
Keep humidity levels as low as you can—no higher than 50%–all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. Bear in mind that humidity levels change over the course of a day with changes in the moisture in the air and the air temperature, so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.
For instance, a combination of baking soda and vinegar may be just the ticket for getting rid of mold in damp clothing. If the clothing is sitting in a dark and poorly ventilated laundry room, then the conditions could be ripe for mold and mildew to develop.
Try using a lemon, cut in half , rub on area that keeps coming back. Squeeze the juice out of the lemon on the area and let set for sometime. Take a clean steal wool scrub with baking soda, let dry. Wipe with clean cloth. Take normally three to four days to dry out.
Killing it is easy. Keeping it out is a huge job. This Old House devoted a program to it on about 1/17/17. It involved mold kill, regrading of landscaping to keep water away from the house, spray-foam insulation of the entire floor area underside, plastic sheeting welded into one piece over the soil, and ducting air from the furnace at 35 cfm into the crawlspace to reduce infiltration of moist, cold air. Expensive, but the estimated life of the job was 25 years.
Fisk and colleagues reviewed thirty-three studies to assess the risk of health effects in individuals who spent time in damp, moldy environments. Subjects were adults and children. They found that upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, wheeze, and asthma were more frequent in people who spent time in damp spaces.8
All u need is bleach i prefer scented and a long cotton ball strip the kind u get from a salon store like sallys soak your cotton strip place all the way around tub grout or calking leave for half come back remove throw away no scrubbing involved u will be amazed white vinigar works great for ceiling and toilet mold. Happy cleaning.
Thank-you and glad to help! Thoughts and blessings to all of you and yours for your recent losses and all of the challenges on your doorstep today… Your neighbors, friends, family and community are a real inspiration as you continue to pick each other up and move forward! Stay the course – keep the faith.
The EPA encourages homeowners to have their houses tested for radon. Quick tests ($8-$25) take three to seven days and are available at hardware stores and online; a 90-day continuous monitoring assessment (about $25 for a DIY kit; $150 for a professional inspection), which accounts for peaks and lows, will produce more thorough results. If your home has more than 4 pCo/L (picocuries per liter of air), hire a professional contractor to seal cracks and to install a venting system. You can also reduce your risk by increasing natural ventilation throughout the house and not smoking.
Indoor mold may be unsightly and smelly, but the potential problems are more serious than that. By definition, actively-growing mold damages the material it lives on, thereby impairing structural integrity. In addition, mold is associated with some untoward health effects in humans, including allergies and infections. (Some health effects attributed to mold may in fact be caused by bacteria, dust mites, etc., found in mold-colonized environments. So-called “toxic mold” has been claimed as the cause of “toxic mold disease”; this syndrome remains undefined and “toxic mold” as a cause remains unproven. “Toxic mold” is also unproven as a cause of the various symptoms associated with “sick building syndrome”.1,2)
There are several molds that look similar to toxic black mold. If you find what you think might be Stachybotrys the only way you can tell for sure is to have a mold expert look at a sample under a microscope.
At the moment, I am recommending that patients only have the AO devices on at night or when they are not in the room, and turn them off when they’re in the room. Also, I recommend using a carbon-based filter in the same room that the AO devices are in.
I had five days of lying in a hospital bed, connecting the dots of my progressive illness. When it started, what I was doing when my lips would swell. I figured it out! I was a waitress and bartender at Henry Ford’s Dearborn Country Club. It was a very old building with a shale roof. The roof leaked real bad in certain areas. Water would drip from the ceiling in the kitchen. Water was running down the wall. When I tended bar, I was standing in front of a wet floor due to the ice been. On top of working in a moldy environment, I worked in my garden all day before work. I had a beautiful yard on 3/4 of an acre with cedar mulched beds. I had a twelve foot compost bin that I put leaves and grass clippings in. I was always digging in mulch and exposed to mold! The mulch surrounded my home. It was under all my windows. When I ended up in the hospital, I had been spreading mulch for weeks. Bagged mulch that sat over the winter because I got so sick the previous summer before completing the task.
There are thousands of known species of molds, which have diverse life-styles including saprotrophs, mesophiles, psychrophiles and thermophiles and a very few opportunistic pathogens of humans. They all require moisture for growth and some live in aquatic environments. Like all fungi, molds derive energy not through photosynthesis but from the organic matter on which they live, utilising heterotrophy. Typically, molds secrete hydrolytic enzymes, mainly from the hyphal tips. These enzymes degrade complex biopolymers such as starch, cellulose and lignin into simpler substances which can be absorbed by the hyphae. In this way molds play a major role in causing decomposition of organic material, enabling the recycling of nutrients throughout ecosystems. Many molds also synthesise mycotoxins and siderophores which, together with lytic enzymes, inhibit the growth of competing microorganisms. Molds can also grow on stored food for animals and humans, making the food unpalatable or toxic and are thus a major source of food losses and illness. Many strategies for food preservation (salting, pickling, jams, bottling, freezing, drying) are to prevent or slow mold growth as well as growth of other microbes.