How Toxic Mold Cost One Texas Family Their Home And Health
by: Kelsey Thompson, Nexstar Media Wire
AUSTIN On a recent trip to New Orleans with her eldest daughter, Austin resident Kristina Baehr walked by a building and, without stepping foot in it, immediately knew there was mold present inside.
She and I would be like, its there, its in there,’ she said. Thats how sensitive we are to toxic mold and water damage.
This time last year, Baehr was staying at a hotel and navigating a benign tumor diagnosis. It was the latest health complication in a multi-year litany of symptoms.
The root cause? Toxic black mold throughout her familys home.
The symptoms extended over a three year time period, beginning with migraines and ending with the benign tumor. She described the sensation of drunken-like wooziness in the middle of the day, and waking up with rashes covering her skin.
One of her sons developed sinus complications, while the other began showing signs of developmental delays. One of her daughters began experiencing erratic mood swings and anxiety symptoms each day spending hours playing in and sleeping in a room where black mold was growing mere feet from her bed, inside the walls.
Further inspection by mold specialists revealed that, due to the flashing problem in the roof, black mold had spread everywhere throughout the house, from the kitchen and bathrooms to deep within the walls of their bedrooms.
Increased Risk For Mold Growth
Buildings with flat roofs or basements, or that are built on hillsides or in shaded areas are at increased risk for mold growth. HVAC systems are also a significant source of mold growth, especially when ducting is in a basement. In addition, water damage can come from a leaking roof, pipe, or appliance such as a dishwasher, refrigerator, or wash machine. Buildings that are poorly maintained are much more susceptible to mold growth. Government buildings and schools, as well as rental apartments and homes, tend to be poorly maintained.
There are also circumstances when water damage to a home or building is apparent. A patient shared a story of a wall caving in under the pressure of a paint roller because the sheetrock was so damp from water damage. Others have reported discovering mold growing on a wall after removing a bed or a picture . I have seen patients who were exposed to mold in their car and at their place of work.
Current and past mold exposure can cause illness. People can continue to have elevated mycotoxins from a past mold exposure long after leaving a moldy environment.
However, most of the time, my patients are unaware they have been exposed to mold until they get tested. Once diagnosed with mold illness, people may recall a house they lived in years prior to their health decline had a musty odor. How about the dorm the college student lived in where the air conditioning unit was on all the time? When did their health decline?
How Mycotoxins Affect Your Body
Like mold spores themselves, mycotoxins are often airborne and enter your body through your respiratory tract. In the short term, this can cause a number of respiratory symptoms including asthma, allergies, sinus infections, and cold- and flu-like symptoms.
If you have a leaky gut, mycotoxins may also pass through your intestinal wall and travel throughout your bloodstream to your skin, brain, and other organs. This can lead to mycotoxins symptoms in any part of your body such as eczema, psoriasis, anxiety, brain fog, and autoimmunity.
One way mycotoxins wreak havoc on your health is by adversely affecting your cells mitochondria. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of your cells, making them essential to nearly every bodily function. They provide your cells with energy. Thats why you can experience chronic fatigue or weakness when dealing with mycotoxin poisoning.
When mitochondria are not functioning optimally, they release free radicals, which are unstable atoms that can cause cell damage. This cell damage, in turn, causes inflammation. The more inflammation you have, the higher up on the autoimmune spectrum you are. This is why its so challenging for autoimmune patients to reverse their symptoms while dealing with mycotoxin poisoning.
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How Is Black Mold Exposure Diagnosed
Illness caused by mold exposure often leads people to seek medical care.
Once at the doctors office, a blood test can determine black mold exposure. Called the radioallergosorbent test, this blood test can measure your immune systems response to black mold.
Other symptoms may require X-rays, and doctors can identify black mold exposure in some cases viewing lung damage.
Testing Your Home For Toxic Mold
Remember too, that mold testing is not mycotoxin testing. While there is some value in testing your home for mold, its important to recall that molds are a natural and necessary part of our environment. While mold may be growing in your home as a result of water damage that should be fixed, these molds are not necessarily creating mycotoxins and also dont necessarily have any adverse health effects.
1. ERMI Test
The illnesses associated with mycotoxin poisoning have become such a well-recognized issue that the Environmental Protection Agency has developed a research tool called the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index . Dust samples are collected in a home and DNA from mold in the dust is analyzed. The sample is then compared to the ERMI, an index or scale.
The analysis can be used to determine the amount of mold in an environment, as well as the types of mold. From there you can tell if the mold thats present is the type that can produce mycotoxins.
You can hire a company to do this, or use one of the many kits. Some of these include professional evaluation of the results and some you compare to a chart. Your best results will come from hiring a professional, however, that is also the more expensive option.
Remember that it is not necessarily the amount of mold that can cause problems, it is the type.
2. Spore Capture Test
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A Qualified Environmental Lab Took Samples Of The Mold In My Home And Gave Me The Results Can Cdc Interpret These Results
Standards for judging what is an acceptable, tolerable or normal quantity of mold have not been established. Sampling for mold can be expensive, and standards for judging what is and what is not an acceptable quantity of mold have not been set. The best practice is to remove the mold and work to prevent future growth. If you do decide to pay for environmental sampling for molds, before the work starts, you should ask the consultants who will do the work to establish criteria for interpreting the test results. They should tell you in advance what they will do or what recommendations they will make based on the sampling results. The results of samples taken in your unique situation cannot be interpreted without physical inspection of the contaminated area or without considering the buildings characteristics and the factors that led to the present condition.
Testing For And Diagnosing Mold Illness In A Clinical Setting
A helpful technique that practitioners of environmental medicine, such as myself, are taught to do is to draw a timeline of each patients health history. By doing so, we are able to tie together the onset of symptoms with certain environmental exposures or illnesses. This exercise often provides the greatest clue in figuring out what is going on with the patient. However, it is also necessary to look at several objective tests to determine what is going on.
One of the first things with mold that we cannot lose sight of is the fact that testing the environment is just as important as running tests on the patient. A patient cannot be sick from mold if they are not being exposed. To that end, ordering mold plates and doing some simple DIY testing, or calling in a licensed and certified professional mold inspector to come in to look at the mold counts in the home, car, and workplace is extremely important. This information will also be important for getting the patient out of the exposure, so that treatment can work, and they can properly respond and heal.
As for testing of the patient, there are several things that I find very helpful and important, both for diagnosis and for convincing of family members, work place supervisors, and at times, proving in a court of law that a moldy environment was the cause of illness.
What follows are those tests that I find most helpful in looking at the problem:
1. A fungal culture of the nose and sinuses
2. IgG mold antibodies test
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Black Mold Vs Toxic Mold
Like all types of mold, black mold can be toxic to those who are sensitive to its spores.
In most cases, black mold is no more toxic than other molds but may cause increased allergies in some who inhale its spores.
Black mold toxicity symptoms can affect people differently, and the range of illness varies based on factors like the size of the mold colony, pre-existing conditions, and the length of exposure.
Mold Toxicity Multiple Sclerosis
Mold toxins destroy the myelin sheath on brain neurons causing the classic white spots seen in Multiple Sclerosis.
Dr. Sponaugle diagnoses over 20 patients a year with Multiple Sclerosis via MRI of the brain. Many of these patients are middle-aged females who initially assume they are coming to Florida Detox for addiction treatment. Had these women sought addiction treatment at other rehab centers, unknowing rehab doctors would have been blamed for their brain fog on drug addiction or alcoholism. The true cause of their physical and mental demise, Multiple Sclerosis, would have potentially gone undiagnosed for years.
Dr. Sponaugle uses his Brain Wellness Program combined with his Intravenous Mold Toxin Removal Protocol to reverse damage caused by Multiple Sclerosis.
About Sponaugle Wellness Institute
At Sponaugle Wellness Institute we practice integrative medicine, combining the best of conventional and alternative medicine to focus on outcome-based treatments for patient. Our mission is to diagnose and treat the underlying cause of our patients illness rather than to treat their symptoms. Dr. Rick Sponaugle, Director of Sponaugle Wellness Institute, is an integrative physician with extraordinary brain expertise having treated over 8,000 patients who were suffering with various psychological and neurological disorders.aView all posts by Sponaugle Wellness Institute
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Black Mold Exposure Symptoms
The symptoms of mold exposure, including black mold exposure, can vary from person to person. Those that are young or that have pre-existing health conditions often are more greatly affected.
For some, black mold health effects can feel relatively mild like a cold or seasonal allergies.
For others, there can be long-lasting illnesses associated with black mold poisoning symptomsthat dont go away even after the black mold is cleaned.
The intensity of health issues that come from exposure to black mold can be reduced when the mold growth is discovered and treated early. The longer the exposure, the more likely health-related issues can occur.
I Heard About Toxic Molds And Black Molds That Grow In Homes And Other Buildings Should I Be Concerned About A Serious Health Risk To Me And My Family
There is always a little mold everywhere in the air and on many surfaces.
Certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce toxins . Hazards presented by molds that may produce mycotoxins should be considered the same as other common molds which can grow in your house. Not all fungi produce mycotoxins and even those that do will not do so under all surface or environmental conditions.
Mold growth, which often looks like spots, can be many different colors, and can smell musty. Color is not an indication of how dangerous a mold may be. Any mold should be removed and the moisture source that helped it grow should be removed.
There are very few reports that toxigenic molds found inside homes can cause unique or rare health conditions such as pulmonary hemorrhage or memory loss. These case reports are rare, and a causal link between the presence of the toxigenic mold and these conditions has not been proven.
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What To Do If You Find Black Mold In Your House
Finding black mold in your home is a stressful event. The discovery often occurs after a water or fire loss.
As black mold thrives on moist materials, it can be found on everything from tile to carpet to insulation and beyond.
When you suspect black mold is growing in your home, it is recommended that you reach out to professional mold remediation and mitigation services, like HRS Restoration Services in Denver.
Professional mold remediation specialists are able to assess the source of the mold growth, dry and clean the affected space, and return your home to its pre-damaged condition.
Mold Toxicity Treatment Center In Florida
Mold Toxicity, also known as Mold Sickness or Mold Poisoning, is an emerging illness that has become much more prevalent in the last 50 years. It wasnt until the 1970s that we began producing more air-tight, energy-efficient homes, and office buildings. The advent of drywall and the production of energy-efficient homes has caused a rapid rise in the number of Americans suffering from black mold symptoms and black mold health effects.
The Federal Government recently released a report suggesting that 50 percent of Americas buildings are sick buildings. The toxic gases produced by indoor mold spores often outgas from molds that are hidden behind water damaged walls, behind shower tiles, and above ceilings where condensation from air conditioning units has occurred. This is driving an increase in mold symptoms like never before.
God gave us logs and stone mold grows slowly on wood and stone, but it flourishes on wet drywall, which is essentially pressed paper. Prior to 1970, the majority of our walls were made from plaster and plywood.
When buildings suffer water damage, molds grow quickly on cellulose material like drywall. Billions of toxin-producing mold colonies can become trillions of colonies in just days. Two phenomena, the advent of drywall and the production of energy-efficient homes, have caused a rapid rise in the number of Americans suffering from mold toxicity.
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For Help With Mold Removal
If you need to hire someone to remove black mold from your home, we suggest scheduling a free consultation with a mold removal professional. Even if you are planning to do the work yourself, you can benefit from some free expert advice from an experienced professional, including information on the safe handling of materials that may be contaminated with mold. For a list of qualified mold removal professionals offering free in-home consultations in your area, just follow the link.
Strengthen Your Immune System With An Optimal Diet
If you havent been optimizing your diet, now is the time to start. Its especially crucial for those with mycotoxin poisoning to avoid more toxic substances that will compromise your detox pathways. That way, your body can spend all its energy eliminating the mycotoxins rather than working overtime to keep up with clearing out toxic foods you introduce at every meal. Steer clear of inflammatory foods such as grains and legumes, nightshades, gluten, and dairy.
Even after youve tackled your mycotoxin poisoning, I recommend eliminating toxic foods such as sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners from your diet entirely. These foods are toxic for all bodies and contribute to leaky gut and autoimmunity.
On the flip side, there are plenty of foods that help you detox naturally that you can easily add to your daily diet. Optimizing your diet to include these foods can help boost your detox efforts and quickly reverse the symptoms of mycotoxin poisoning.
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Brain Spect Imaging Helps Treat Brain Toxicity Caused By Black Mold
Kimberlyn had booked a Full Evaluation, which took two days to complete. She filled out multiple questionnaires and history forms, talked to specialized counselors, and finally had a set of SPECT images taken of her brain. Just to really see exactly what was happening to my brain in the SPECT scans and that I do have a toxic injury due to mold was amazing, said Kimberlyn. They did such a good job with all of the evaluations, and they were so thorough. By the end of the second day, Dr. Arsalan Darmal had a whole binder of material that discussed the results of the testing I had done while I was there.
Dr. Darmal and the staff at Amen Clinics Orange County, CA discovered that Kimberlyn also had ADHD and a previous traumatic brain injury that was increasing the effects of the mold injury. When my brain swelled from the mold exposure, I was getting almost no blood flow to my prefrontal cortex, explained Kimberlyn.
Co-occurring conditions that can increase the effects of an injury or illness on the brain are common, yet can be easily overlooked. Kimberlyn was shocked to hear that the brain injury she had suffered in high school was impacting her life today and even more surprised that she had ADHD. The medication for ADHD has made a huge difference in my productivity and ability to focus. That was like the bonus prize that I wasnt even expecting, said Kimberlyn.