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- Managing mold has been a long-standing concern for humanity.
- The stresses of contemporary life, including chemical toxicity, digital toxicity, and emotional stress, contribute to and exacerbate mold’s harmful effects on human life and health.
- Mold in the home increases the burden of disease.
- Mold illness is called “mycotoxicosis.”
- Mold illness harms the body’s immune system, nervous system, and respiratory system, and irritates and inflames the body as a whole.
- Mycotoxicosis has many and varied symptoms and adverse effects on the body.
- Mold spores are found everywhere in indoor and outdoor environments.
- The age of a house does not determine it’s susceptibility to mold invasion and damage.
- Mold and moisture can be controlled and prevented using some helpful tips and recommendations from the CDC and EPA.
- Tens of thousands of mold types and species exist in homes and buildings.
- A home walk-through inspection, with an eye on key problem areas, helps pinpoint sources of mold issues in a home.
- Eliminate mold and prevent it from returning with Dr. Jay’s money-saving tips and need-to-know cautions.
- Employ Dr. Jay’s At-Home Program for supplements and protocols that eliminate mold and its effects from the body.
MOLD: Home Invasion by an Uninvited and Unwelcome Guest
Humans and mold have always had a tenuous living arrangement. At times, mold has willingly obliged our efforts to make beer, wine, and cheese from grains, fruit, and milk, as depicted in ancient Egyptian art.
At other times, mold has invaded and imposed upon us, often with dire consequences. Mold was to blame for destroying the entirety of Ireland’s potato crop, resulting in the Great Famine of 1845-1849. Rightfully dubbed the Great Hunger, it left over one million people dead of starvation.
Mold’s harmful effects on human health and well-being are well-documented. Inspection, evaluation, and remediation of mold is an age-old and enduring need. A home mold management protocol, or “cleansing of defiling mold,” is outlined in the Book of Leviticus, from the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. The Bible even recommends that when mold in a home is persistent and continues to spread, the structure must be torn down!
That Was Then; This Is Now
So why must we have a conversation about mold in the present day? One would think with all our sanitizers, fungicides, pre-treatments, and technologies, that mold would be a non-issue in the modern age. Still, mold continues to be a challenging issue, one that is highly exacerbated by the stresses of contemporary living. Certain stresses add a heavy load to the body’s toxic burden, including:
• Chemical toxicity. Thousands upon thousands of chemicals have been created, a very high percentage of which have never been individually tested for safety, and most definitely have not been tested for safety in combination with other chemicals.
• Digital toxicity from electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and electromagnetic radiation (EMR). Both ionizing and non-ionizing radiation are known to produce undesirable biological effects.1 WiFi signals, in particular, are known to exacerbate mold growth and cause the biological mycotoxins released by mold to be more plentiful, potent, and pathogenic.
• Emotional stress is an epidemic in today’s society. Demands and expectations required and put on individuals in our contemporary culture overtax our emotional and physical tolerance.
In the 1990s the Harvard School of Public Health, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization (WHO) coined the term “burden of disease,” which defines loss of health and death due to injuries, diseases, and risk factors. Sadly, mold in the home increases the burden of disease.2
So, think about it. The mold in your home that was hurriedly wiped off or painted and caulked over, maybe not by you, but by the previous owners, could contribute to illness and death for you and your family. Furthermore, this hidden, health-destroying mold danger is present in buildings where you work, worship, shop, or go to school as well.
Every Breath You Take
Mold illness, also known as “mold mycotoxicosis,” has harmful effects on the immune system, the central and peripheral nervous systems, and the respiratory organs including the lungs, sinuses, and throat. It’s associated with an across-the-board inflammatory response and generalized irritation to many organs and systems.3 Mycotoxicosis can occur when molds are inhaled, ingested, or come in contact with the skin.
Mold illness has a variety of symptoms including, but not limited to:
- Fatigue, low energy, weakness, and lack of motivation
- Headaches, dizziness, and lightheadedness
- Poor memory, lack of concentration, and difficulty focusing
- Brain fog, mood swings, and disorientation
- Morning stiffness, joint pains, and muscle cramps
- Skin tingling, numbness, irritation, rashes, and unusual sensations
- Shortness of breath
- Allergies, sinus congestion, and nosebleeds
- Coughing, wheezing, and sore throat
- Increased thirst and urinary frequency
- Red eyes, blurred vision, and seeing halos around lights
- Light sensitivity
- Bloating, nausea, and abdominal discomfort
- Static shocks
Armed and Dangerous
Toxic byproducts, known as mycotoxins, are produced by many species of mold.4 Over 200 types of mycotoxin have been identified, and many more have yet to be cataloged through ongoing research.
Mold mycotoxins can cause disease and death in humans and animals.5 They range from mild to moderately irritating issues like athlete’s foot to critical and deadly cases such as invasive aspergillosis. The symptoms of mycotoxicity depend on:
- Type of mycotoxin
- Duration and amount of exposure
- Age, sex, and health status of the person exposed
- Combined effects including genetics, dietary status, and interactions with other toxic assaults
Nutrient deficiency, infectious disease status, alcohol and substance abuse, caloric deprivation, and exposure to EMFs can increase the severity of mycotoxin poisoning. Additionally, mycotoxicoses can exacerbate and enhance the effect of malnutrition and microbial diseases like Lyme and related co-infections. Furthermore, they can combine synergistically with other toxins to overburden the body’s toxic load.
There are many well-recognized types of mold in homes and buildings. A few of the most common are:
- Penicillium is often responsible for food spoilage. Some species of this blue/green/yellow mold produce mycotoxins.
- Cladosporium. Many of the over 500 species of Cladosporium appear as green, black, or brown spots. Allergic reactions to this mold are common in sensitive people.6
- Aspergillus can manifest illness ranging from allergic reaction to severe invasive infection in immunocompromised individuals.7 Some of the over 200 identified Aspergillus species produce mycotoxins. Aspergillus flavus secretes a potent poisonous carcinogen called aflatoxin.8
- Alternaria is well-known for being allergenic. It’s plentiful in outdoor environments from early spring to late fall.
- Stachybotrys is the toxic black mold implicated in many health issues, including allergic reactions and mycotoxicoses.
Here, There, and Everywhere
No matter how old or new house is, it can have a mold problem. That’s because mold spores inhabit both indoor and outdoor environments, and their source is not age dependent.
Mold gets in the home through open doorways, windows, vents, and heating and cooling units. It also hitches a ride into the house on shoes, clothing, bags, backpacks, and pets. You can also bring mold into your home with clothing and furnishings obtained second-hand or from thrift shops.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends these measures to control mold:9
- Control humidity levels.
- Promptly fix leaky roofs, windows, and pipes.
- Thoroughly clean and dry after leaks or flooding.
- Ventilate shower, laundry, and cooking areas to outside the home.
- Make sure interior and exterior vents are clean and unobstructed.
Recommendations and tips for moisture and mold prevention include:10
- Maintain low indoor humidity levels of 30-50%.
- Ensure adequate ventilation and airflow.
- Use powerful exhaust fans and leave them running for up to an hour after cooking or showers.
- Fix leaks without delay.
- Clean and dry wet places quickly and thoroughly (within 24-48 hours) after leaks or flooding.
- Run dehumidifiers in damp areas.
- Ensure adequate airflow when hanging wet towels and clothes.
- Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products.
- Remove or throw away furnishings and carpet that can’t be adequately dried.
- Clear gutters and downspouts and drain away from the structure.
- Make sure the ground outside slopes away from the home.
- Aim lawn and garden sprinklers away from the house.
Walk This Way
Evaluate mold in your home by conducting a thorough home walk-through. Take your time and inspect every part of your house. Look at places where water flows or could enter the house. Look underneath things. Pull out and look behind them, too. Think back and do your best to recall all previous water incidents.
Pay attention to these house-wide considerations:
- Be alert for musty or moldy smells.
- Look for insulation, wood, and drywall discoloration.
- Scrutinize windows and window sills for condensation.
- Areas of high moisture or humidity are at high risk for mold growth.
- Indoor plants or soil can contain mold spores. Try adding small stones, aquarium gravel, or decorative glass vase fillers, gems, pebbles, mosaic tiles, and nuggets to retard surface growth.
- Peeling wallpaper is a good indication of mold-promoting moisture.
- Reverse osmosis holding tanks are dark and moisture-filled.
- Inspect for foundation leaks.
- Look near a sump pump.
- Floors and walls may have black, green, or brown patches and streaks. Also look for white areas with spots or yellowish-tinted stains.
- The back side of basement stairs in the lower treads & risers is an often overlooked spot for toxic mold growth.
- Furnishings, materials & belongings stored in the basement need to be examined–don’t forget to inspect the back and undersides.
- Washing machines, particularly front-loading washers, tend to develop mold. Wipe down the seal and leave the door open for an hour after each wash.
- Washer drain hose. Built up scum and crud here is a breeding ground for mold.
- Humidity in the clothes dryer can lead to mold growth.
- Drying racks and clotheslines provide attractive surfaces for mold.
Heating and cooling
- Turn on AC and heating units to check for moldy or musty smells.
- Mold and other debris collect on heating and cooling ducts. Make sure to check the flanges, too.
- Inspect areas around air conditioners, and the AC evaporator, blower, and coils.
Kitchen and bathrooms. Look for plumbing leaks around or under:
- Showers and bathtubs.
- Wet towels should be washed immediately or hung out to dry.
- Shower curtains, tile grout, and areas in and around the shower head and faucet collect mold and mildew.
- Mold may be lurking on bathing accessories such as shampoo, conditioner, and body wash bottles, and washcloths, loofas, and body scrubbers.
Attics or crawl spaces
- Roof leaks can leave dampness and discolored insulation or wood.
- Roof valleys, V-shaped joints where two roofs meet, accumulate mold and debris.
- Plumbing stacks and dryer & bathroom vents cause condensation issues.
Your home walk-through could leave you overwhelmed and wondering what to do next. You can seek help from professional mold evaluation, removal, and remediation specialists. Research thoroughly the services available in your locality.
Don’t Stop Believin’
There are a wealth of essential tips and supplement protocols in Dr. Jay’s At-Home Program that can help you mount an offense against mold’s uninvited and unwelcome invasion.
So, while your living arrangement with mold may always be contentious, with a bit of help, some steadfast determination, and perseverance you can cleanse mold from your body and turn things around in your home.
Keep in mind that although your battle with mold may seem quite personal, it’s really just part of the human condition. Humanity has been dealing with the unwelcome intrusion of mold since day one.
- Li, De-Kun et al. “Exposure to Magnetic Field Non-Ionizing Radiation and the Risk of Miscarriage: A Prospective Cohort Study.” Scientific Reports, Vol 7, 13 Dec 2017. Web
- WHO staff. “Environmental Burden of Disease Associated with Inadequate Housing.” World Health Organization. No date. Web
- Campbell, Andrew, et al. “Mold and Mycotoxins: Effects on the Neurological and Immune Systems in Humans.” Advances in Applied Microbiology, Vol. 55, 2004. Web
- Bennett, J. W., and M. Klich. “Mycotoxins.” Clinical Microbiology Reviews, Vol. 16, No. 3 July 2003. Web
- Fink-Gremmels, J., “Mycotoxins: Their Implications for Human and Animal Health.” The Veterinary Quarterly, Vol. 21, No. 4, Oct 1996. Web
- Bensch, K. et al. “The Genus Cladosporium.” Studies in Mycology, Vol. 72, June 2012. Web
- Sugui, Janyce A. et al. “Aspergillus Fumigatus and Related Species.” Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine, Vol. 5, No. 2, Feb 2015. Web
- Klich, M.A., “Aspergillus flavus: The Major Producer of Aflatoxin.” Molecular Plant Pathology, Vol. 8, No. 6, Nov 2007. Web
- CDC staff. “You Can Control Mold.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. No date. Web
- EPA staff. “A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home.” Environmental Protection Agency, 402-K-02-003, Sept 2010. Web