What Testing Cannot Do
As described earlier, the commonly used testing methods are limited in what they can detect and measure. Skilled investigators are aware of these limitations and dont rely on testing when it is not appropriate. However, many people have unrealistic expectations of what mold testing can do and they can be taken advantage of by those who perform testing poorly or for inappropriate reasons. Below are some impractical reasons commonly given for requesting mold testing.
How Do You Treat Mold Toxicity Symptoms
Right now, youll see a lot of experts recommending handfuls of supplements and strict diets but the reality is, we just dont know for sure if these are the right treatment approach, says McElroy. Instead, she recommends the steps below. You might be surprised to see that killing the mold is only one out of five. Thats no coincidence! As McElroy explains, I often dont focus on killing mold since most symptoms are due to the immune response, not the mold itself. Instead, she starts with simple lifestyle steps and utilizes non-pill practices to achieve a state of better immune health , including:
My Online Vcs Test Results
While the online VCS Test is free to take, I recommend making a small donation, which will unlock more detailed results, allow for multiple tests over time , and give the ability to download reports in PDF and csv format.
I have taken the online VCS Test twice, approximately 14 months apart. Here are the results of my first test:
Here is an explanation of how to interpret the charts:
The charts above plot the results of your contrast sensitivity test for each eye. The left axes represent contrast sensitivity, the right axes represent percentage contrast, and the bottom axes represent the spatial frequency of the parallel bars in the test images . Each plotted circle represents an image from your test, and its position corresponds to its contrast level and spatial frequency. The biotoxin columns 6 and 12 CPD are outlined in blue. A green-filled circle indicates that you answered correctly when asked to identify the tilt of the bars, whereas a red-filled circle indicates that you answered incorrectly. The black tails point in the direction the bars in the test images were tilted in your test, and where you answered incorrectly the red tails point in the direction you indicated.
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Genera Of Mold Tested By The Mycotox Profile
We are currently measuring 11 different mycotoxins in our test from a wide variety of 13 mold types including Aspergillus, Penicillium, Fusarium, Myrothecium, Stachybotrys, Bipolaris, Gibberella, Chaetomium, Trichoderma, Trichothecium, Cephalosporium, Verticimonosporium, and Monascus. Since each of these genera contain multiple species, the MycoTOX Profile is likely to detect hundreds of mold species. In addition, poisonous mushrooms also produce some of the same mycotoxins as the molds. This makes the MycoTOX Profile the most comprehensive test on the market and it is the most cost-effective.
Perform A Visual Inspection
If you suspect you have mold, the first step is to perform a thorough visual inspection of your home. You will recognize mold as spots that can appear in many different colors. Mold thrives on moisture, so pay particular attention to roofs, windows, pipes, basements, laundry areas, bathrooms, previously flooded spaces, and so on. Mold commonly appears on fibrous surfaces like drywall, upholstery, wallpaper, fabrics, and cardboard. If you see any signs of mold, call a professional.
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How Can You Detox From Mold
In addition to removing yourself from the environment where the mold is or having the mold removed, you can help your body detox the spores that have been inhaled and trapped inside. You can take supplements to build up your immune system, reestablish your gut health, and reduce inflammation:
Rather than trying to handle mold exposure on your own, you should consider seeing a physician. The situation may be more serious than you think.
How Do You Test For Mold
There are a couple of different ways to test for mold. Some tests check for mold on a particular surface. Other tests check for mold spores floating in the air. Sampling the air for mold can help you find hidden mold. For instance, if there is mold in your heating and air conditioning ducts, you may not be able to see it, but every time you turn on your furnace or air conditioner, mold spores will blow out into the room. A mold tests that samples the air for mold spores should let you know mold is present somewhere nearby. Youll still need to track down the exact location, though.
There are mold tests homeowners can buy and use themselves its not necessary to hire a professional to test your home for mold. However, the do-it-yourself mold tests are very limited and may not provide accurate results. Improper handling can give incorrect results as well.
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Poor Reason For Testing #3 To Learn If The Mold Is The Toxic Kind
Many, if not all, molds may produce one or more substances broadly called mycotoxins. Molds that are known to be able to produce mycotoxins are referred to as “toxigenic.” Mycotoxins may harm living tissue if enough of the agent enters the body, but science does not yet know how much of the many mycotoxins that could be present are necessary to harm a person, especially by breathing it. It is simply safest to assume at this time that any molds may produce mycotoxins or other harmful substances in some circumstances and they ought to be removed.
Testing for mold is not the same as testing for mycotoxins. Since toxigenic molds may or may not be producing mycotoxins depending on the environmental conditions, their presence does not necessarily indicate that known mycotoxins are also present or that occupants will be harmed. Likewise, failing to detect molds that are currently recognized to potentially produce mycotoxins, does not mean that mycotoxins or other harmful substances are absent. MDH advises that any mold growth indoors should be safely removed regardless of whether toxigenic species have been found.
Where Does Mold Grow
Mold can grow anywhere with high moisture and a food source. Common areas are:
- Roof leak areas.
Its important to find the water leak source when testing for mold. Solving the water leak typically solves the mold issue. Unless the source is from your air conditioner, then you will need to call an HVAC technician.
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Causes And Signs Of Mold In The Workplace
When determining an issue with mold in your work environment, you can inspect some common areas to see if you have a mold colony growing.
Thing To Remember When Testing For Mold
Please understand mold is everywhere so sometimes reading the test results can be confusing. Reaching out to ProLab can help you understand what is going on.
Moreover, just because you swabbed for mold or there is mold in the air, does not necessarily mean you have an issue. If the space of mold is less than 10 square feet, you can clean the mold with a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar, then monitor if it comes back.
If you have a persistent mold issue, are unaware of what the cause is, or have any doubts, please call your local home/mold inspector. They are there to help you!
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Treatment For Mold Exposure:
The best treatment is to avoid places that trigger your allergic reactions. To put you at ease, your doctor may suggest the following:
Mold Toxicity: How To Diagnose And Treat Mold Exposure For Good
Have you ever left a piece of bread out on your kitchen counter for too long?
If so, you probably saw some blue-ish, green, and grey hairy spots begin to grow. Never mind that sandwich for lunch
The culprit: mold.
Mold is a fungus that grows through filaments called hyphae. Different types of mold vary in color, shape, and size. But they all have one thing in common they all need moisture to grow.
Toxic mold can grow indoors and outdoors and can lead to mold-related allergies and illnesses. For some people exposure to mold can lead to a mold illness and could also eventually lead to mold toxicity . Does everyone exposed to mold react the same? The answer is no! Some people are more susceptible to the effects of mold than others. This is why it is possible for only 1 or 2 household members to have health issues secondary to mold when everyone seems fine.
If you suspect youve been exposed to mold, you may have asked yourself questions like
What are common ways you can be exposed to mold?
How can you test your home for mold toxicity?
What should you do if youre experiencing mold toxicity symptoms?
Ill share the functional medicine approach to answering these questions below!
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Poor Reason For Testing #2 To Identify What Type Of Mold Is Present
Some testing can be used to identify a portion of the live mold in a sample by growing it in the lab. This gives only a partial description of the total amount of molds, because those not present at the sampled time and location or those that didnt grow in the sample are not seen by the analysis. Most importantly, nonliving molds will not be identifiable, but they can still contribute significantly to health complaints.
From a practical, health-protective perspective, knowing the types of molds is usually not very important because any indoor mold growth represents a problem. The problem should be corrected regardless of the types of molds that can be identified.
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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Poor Reason For Testing #4 To Find The Cause Of Health Complaints
It can be very difficult to conclude if and how occupants may be impacted by a specific mold problem. For one thing, the full range of health effects caused by molds is poorly understood at this time. Whether health effects will occur depends, for each person, on how much mold gets into their body, the amount and potency of various substances that the mold mixture can contain, and the unique susceptibility of each person to the effects of these substances. Unfortunately, mold tests alone will not determine if a specific problem environment is causing a persons complaints.
Even when mold contamination is found in an area where health problems are occurring, it is often difficult to conclude that the mold is the actual cause of an individuals specific complaints since other contaminants commonly present in damp or water-damaged settings can also cause or contribute to the complaints associated with moldy environments. Indeed, focusing too heavily on mold alone can be a poor strategy if other potential causes of complaints are not also addressed. Nevertheless, such an association of complaints to evidence of mold contamination is reason enough to remove the mold and correct the underlying causes of excess moisture.
How Can I Find Out If Mold Is Harming My Health
You dont have to sit back and accept the harmful effects of mold exposure. Getting a mycotoxin test may help you determine whether you have mold toxicity in your body. This is a great way to test whether the harmful antigens in the mold are negatively impacting your health. This test may help you decide how to treat your mold exposure and allergies.
Treating these conditions may improve your symptoms and allow you to regain your health. These treatments may also prevent you from developing more serious mold-related health conditions.
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How Common Is Mold In Buildings
Molds are very common in buildings and homes. Mold will grow in places with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows, or pipes, or where there has been flooding. Mold grows well on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. Mold can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.
The most common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Aspergillus. We do not have precise information about how often different molds are found in buildings and homes.
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Poor Reason For Testing #5 To Determine If The Environment Is Safe
At this time, it is unknown what level of mold is safe or how much is necessary to cause health problems. Mold tests cannot measure all the molds in an environment or how much occupants are exposed to. Such testing can also miss evidence of problems and results may mislead or be misused. MDH recommends assuming that any visible amount of mold may potentially cause illness and advises that the best approach is to remove this potential threat as soon as it can be done safely. MDH also suggests that it is also reasonable to conclude that an area should be relatively safe with regard to mold, if all visible growth was removed, the surrounding areas thoroughly cleaned, and it remains dry and free of mold odors.
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Is Mycotoxin Testing Worth It
Mycotoxin testing can be helpful in some cases, but there are a number of points to consider before jumping in.
- Mycotoxicity is not well defined. Research on mycotoxin testing is still in its infancy. This means that even those who study mycotoxins or mold for a living dont know exactly how to interpret mycotoxin test results. This doesnt necessarily mean that test results cant be useful they should always be taken with a grain of salt.
- Choosing the best test is challenging. There are many different kinds of mycotoxin and mold tests available, using not only different methods but different reference ranges, and even looking at different kinds of mold species and mycotoxins. This makes an area that is already lacking in research even more confusing.
- Mold can be a red herring. Mold or mycotoxins may show up in small quantities on tests, even if the levels are likely not problematic. This can be a distraction from true underlying health issues that need to be addressed.
- Mold-related illnesses are complex. Even as we begin to untangle the nuances in testing, there is a lack of consensus when it comes to the treatment of mold-related illnesses and mycotoxicity. In other words, mycotoxin testing might provide clues to treatments, but it does not provide a road map.