Mold: How Do You Fight It?
In our last article, we discussed the fact that mold is widely present in our environment. There are more than a thousand types of mold, and most houses are affected. Some molds cause allergies and asthma; others are responsible for deadly infections and even cancer.
Once you have determined mold is in your house, or that you are having an adverse health reaction to mold, what steps should you take?
People often begin by trying to clear their homes of mold themselves. Mold spores are hard to kill, even with cleaning products like bleach (which is itself toxic). Dr. Doris Rapp is a mold expert and the author of several books, including Our Toxic World: A Wake Up Call. She stresses the importance of getting physical separation from the affected area, even if you have to move. She says:
I’ve seen people try to stay in a moldy house when their child is very sick or they are very sick. They try to clean the place up. They take out the moldy carpet and decide to paint the moldy walls. But they can become so desperately ill that it is very hard to treat them in the future.
If moving is not an option, here are some preventive and remedial steps you can take:
1. Use a high-quality air purifier to control mold toxins. When mold breaks down, every particle can contain mycotoxins that can make you sick.
2. Use a photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) unit. These can cover a whole house, up to 3000 square feet, and they are relatively inexpensive.
(Remember that no air filter can deal with mold issues until you control humidity and the mold has been cleaned from your home.)
3. Hire a professional rmediator. If your problem is extensive, or if you have black mold, you need help. The removal process is difficult and dangerous. Find a remediator that does not use toxic chemicals.
Be careful in choosing a remediator, as they vary in cost and quality. Seek recommendations and get competitive bids. The IICRC and NORMI are certifying organizations for mold remediation.
In terms of personal health, you might consider a a treatment strategy called Provocative Neutralization, which offers people who are allergic to mold permanent relief with virtually no side effects. Its success rate is very high, and it can be done on an outpatient basis. During this treatment, a small amount of the allergen is injected under your skin, where it produces a small bump called a “weal.”
You are then monitored for your reaction. If you show a positive reaction such as fatigue or headache, or a growth in the size of the weal, the allergen is neutralized with diluted injections of the same allergen. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) keeps a list of physicians who are trained in treatment modality.
Research also suggests vitamin D may prevent mold allergies. Have your vitamin D levels checked and supplement if needed.