Toxic Mold Illness - 5 Important Things To Know | Chris Kresser
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5 Things You Should Know About Toxic Mold Illness

by Chris Kresser

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moldy wall
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The awareness of toxic mold’s effect on human health has increased dramatically over the past few years. But mold is only one of the many biotoxins found in water-damaged buildings, and the illness caused by exposure to these toxins is much more complex than most clinicians and patients assume.

Over the last several years, I’ve written extensively about the importance of nutrition, physical activity, stress management, sleep, social connection, pleasure, and spending time outdoors. There’s no doubt that these factors are vital for all of us.

But it’s also true that there are other factors that are just as important to our health, yet far less often considered. One of these is toxic burden.

Toxic burden is determined by two factors: the levels of toxic chemicals and microorganisms that we’re exposed to, and the function of our innate detoxification system. If our exposure to toxins is high and our detoxification system is compromised—due to genetic predisposition, environmental factors, or both—then our toxic burden will be high.

The toxins that adversely affect our health include chemicals (e.g., BPA, phthalates, pesticides), heavy metals (e.g., mercury, arsenic, lead, cadmium), and biotoxins (toxins produced by living organisms like mold, bacteria, dinoflagellates, and blue-green algae).

Toxic mold illness has received a lot of attention recently, including a recent documentary created by Dave Asprey of Bulletproof.

While this is surely a positive development, there are a number of misconceptions and misunderstandings about mold illness that I’d like to address in this article. So let’s get to it!

#1: Mold illness is not just caused by mold

Yes, I know this doesn’t make sense. Of course mold illness is caused by mold. That’s why it’s called mold illness!

However, what we often refer to as “mold illness” is actually a much more comprehensive and multi-faceted syndrome now known as chronic inflammatory response syndrome, or CIRS.

CIRS was originally defined by Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, a former family physician in Maryland. (Dr. Shoemaker is now retired, but he is still actively involved in raising awareness and advancing the understanding of CIRS.

Is the air quality in your home or workplace making you sick?

In the late 1990s, Dr. Shoemaker discovered a connection between a mysterious illness that some of his patients were experiencing and a toxin produced by a fish-killing dinoflagellate called Pfiesteria. Since then, Dr. Shoemaker has linked a similar kind of illness to toxins from a wide variety of microorganisms and chemicals.

These agents—which are collectively referred to as “biotoxins” and are often (but not always) encountered in water-damaged buildings—include (1):

  • Fungi
  • Bacteria (possibly including Borrelia, Babesia, and other organisms transmitted by tick bites)
  • Actinomycetes (gram-positive bacteria from the order Actinomycetales)
  • Mycobacteria
  • Mold
  • Mold spores
  • Endotoxins (aka lipopolysaccharides, or LPS; cell wall components of gram-negative bacteria)
  • Inflammagens (irritants that cause inflammation and edema)
  • Beta-glucans (diverse group of polysaccharides)
  • Hemolysins (exotoxins produced by bacteria capable of destroying cells)
  • Microbial volatile organic compounds (mVOCs; organic compounds released by microorganisms when there is adequate food supply for such “secondary metabolite production”)

Nearly everyone will become ill when exposed to sufficient levels of these biotoxins, but most people recover once they are removed from exposure. Their detoxification system is able to recognize the biotoxins in their bodies as toxins and eliminate them via the normal mechanisms.

However, a minority of people have HLA (human leukocyte antigen) genes that prevent their bodies from being able to recognize and thus eliminate biotoxins. The biotoxins will remain in the body and trigger a chronic, systemic inflammatory response. These are the people that develop CIRS.

#2: CIRS is much more common than you might think

According to Dr. Shoemaker’s research, roughly 25 percent of the population is genetically prone to develop CIRS if two conditions are met:

  1. Sufficient exposure to biotoxins
  2. A “priming” inflammatory event (something that triggers and activates the immune system, such as a serious upper respiratory tract infection or a tick-borne illness like Lyme disease)

Dr. Shoemaker also estimates that 2 percent of the population has genes that render them highly susceptible to developing a multi-system, multi-symptom illness after prolonged or repeated exposure to biotoxins. (Side note: unfortunately, I am part of that 2 percent, which could explain a lot about my past history with chronic illness!)

This suggests that roughly 1 in 4 people have the potential of developing CIRS when exposed to biotoxins. But how common is exposure to biotoxins?

Unfortunately, the answer is: extremely common.

According to a report entitled Implementing Health-Protective Features and Practices in Buildings issued by the Federal Facilities Council, 43 percent of buildings they examined had current water damage and 85 percent had past water damage. When water damage occurs, mold can grow in as little as 24 to 48 hours.

As alarming as these numbers are, they don’t tell the whole story. Although water damage is probably the biggest concern, mold and other biotoxins can also develop in buildings that are not water-damaged but have indoor humidity levels above 50 to 60 percent. In fact, many experts recommend maintaining indoor humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent for preventing the growth of mold and other biotoxins.

Here’s a list of steps that you can take to minimize biotoxins in your home and improve indoor air quality (2, 3):

  • Fix plumbing leaks and other water problems as soon as possible. Dry all items completely.
  • Scrub mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water and dry completely.
  • Discard absorbent or porous materials, such as ceiling tiles and carpet, if they become moldy. Don’t paint or caulk moldy surfaces.
  • Clean and repair roof gutters regularly.
  • Keep air conditioning drip pans clean and the drain lines unobstructed and flowing properly.
  • Make sure the ground slopes away from the building foundation, so that water does not enter or collect around the foundation.
  • Keep indoor humidity between 30 and 50 percent. Relative humidity can be measured with a moisture or humidity meter, a small, inexpensive ($10 to $50) instrument available at many hardware stores. Venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources to the outside; using air conditioners and de-humidifiers; increasing ventilation; and using exhaust fans when cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning can all help to reduce indoor humidity.
  • Do not install carpeting in areas where perpetual moisture problems may develop (i.e., in a bathroom).

Another helpful intervention is to use air filters and purifiers/sanitizers. I will write an article discussing them in more detail soon. For now, I will tell you what I use and recommend to my patients:

  1. A HEPA filter that is capable of removing ultrafine particles (<0.1 microns) like mold, dust, pet dander, VOCs, and even viruses from the air. These ultrafine particles represent 90 percent of all airborne pollution that you breathe.
  2. An air sanitizer that eliminates allergens, odors, mold, and germs.

The number and range of devices on the market in both of these categories is mind-boggling, and I’ve spent countless hours figuring out the best options for our home. My research is ongoing, but currently this is what we are using:

  • An IQAir HealthProPlus. IQAir makes HEPA filters that employ a four-stage filtration process (which includes activated carbon) to filter particles all the way down to 0.003 microns—the smallest particles that exist—with a guaranteed efficacy of more than 99.5 percent. We have one of these in the main living area of our home and one in the basement. Important note: Amazon.com is not an authorized reseller of IQAir, so if you purchase from there the warranty won’t be valid. I recommend purchasing directly from IQAir or from one of their authorized resellers.
  • Blueair Sense filters. Blueair filters use “HEPASilent Technology,” which combines electrostatic and mechanical filtration to capture 99.97% of airborne particles down to 0.1 microns in size. We use these in bedrooms and my home office because they are smaller, quieter, and more energy efficient than the IQAir HealthProPlus units.
  • AirOasis air sanitizers. These units work differently than HEPA filters. They use a technology developed by NASA called advanced hydration photocatalytic oxidation (AHPCO) to destroy mold, bacteria, and other microorganisms with ultraviolet light and a catalyst. We have a few of the Air Angel units in smaller rooms, as well as an AO3000 in the main living area. Important note: I currently recommend running the AO units only when you are not in the rooms, and turning them off when you enter. This is due to the small amounts of ozone that they release. Though these levels are well below the recommended limit according to AO’s website, I prefer to be cautious. I also recommend using a HEPA/charcoal filter along with the AO devices, rather than using them on their own.

These devices are not cheap, but given what I’ve come to understand about the importance of indoor air quality to health, and given that my wife, my daughter, and I are all genetically susceptible to CIRS, I think they’re worth the expense. As an added benefit, the air in your home will smell like it does outside! It’s an incredible difference.

#3: CIRS is frequently missed or misdiagnosed

As I mentioned in #2, up to 25 percent of the population is susceptible to CIRS and perhaps a majority of buildings are either water-damaged or have conditions that make mold growth possible. Combine these factors with the increase in inflammatory diseases (which can serve as priming events) that has occurred over the past few decades and you have an environment that is ripe for CIRS.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of patients with this condition have not been properly diagnosed or treated because conventional doctors—and even many functional and integrative medicine specialists—simply aren’t looking for it. The fact that CIRS patients also typically meet the criteria for other syndromes and diseases like fibromyalgia, ME/CFS, post-treatment Lyme syndrome (PTLS), and multiple sclerosis (MS) compounds the problem.

CIRS patients present with a wide range of symptoms, including:

  • Fatigue, weakness
  • Post-exertional malaise
  • Memory problems, difficulties with concentration and executive function
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Headaches
  • Vertigo, lightheadedness
  • Muscle aches, cramping, joint pains without inflammatory arthritis
  • Hypersensitivity to bright light, blurred vision, burning or red eyes, tearing
  • Cough, asthma-like illness, shortness of breath, chronic sinus congestion
  • Air hunger or unusual shortness of breath at rest
  • Chronic abdominal problems including nausea, cramping, secretory diarrhea
  • A propensity to experience static shocks

As you can see, these symptoms are “non-specific,” which means that they don’t conclusively identify CIRS (or any other disease) by their mere presence.

Dr. Keith Berndston, a physician in Park Ridge, Illinois, has written a thorough summary of CIRS that I highly recommend reading. In it, he highlights the following criteria that a patient must meet to be diagnosed with CIRS (4):

  1. History, signs, and symptoms consistent with biotoxin exposure. In cases of mold toxicity, history should include exposure to toxin-producing molds as documented by the EPA-approved ERMI test (more on this in point #4 below). In other cases (microcystin, ciguatera, etc.), history should include likely exposure or laboratory evidence of exposure.
  2. A genetic predisposition to biotoxin-related illness based on identification of an HLA-susceptible haplotype.
  3. Abnormalities documented by visual contrast sensitivity (VCS) testing. VCS testing measures your ability to see details at low contrast levels. Dr. Shoemaker and Dr. Ken Hudnell—a principal investigator for the U.S. EPA’s National Health and Environmental Effects Research Lab and an expert on how neurotoxins affect the physiology of vision—discovered that the biotoxins affect the optical nerve and decrease the ability to detect visual contrast.
  4. Biomarkers consistent with the neuroimmune, vascular, and endocrine abnormalities that characterize CIRS. If you have a history consistent with biotoxin exposure, a susceptible genotype, and an abnormal VCS test, you are very likely to show the laboratory abnormalities seen in CIRS. Major and minor criteria are a work in progress.

The VCS test is best performed in the office of a CIRS-aware clinician. However, there are two online versions that can be used as a starting place.

The first VCS test is available at Dr. Shoemaker’s website, Surviving Mold, at a cost of $15. This is a Functional Visual Acuity Test (FACT) that uses a scoring algorithm developed by Drs. Shoemaker and Hudnell to determine the likelihood that a patient is being adversely affected by biotoxin exposure.

The second VCS test is available at VCSTest.com. The raw (unconverted) scores and the contrast sensitivity curve are provided for free, and a $10 donation is requested (but not required) for the upgraded results with detailed analysis and interpretation and a PDF that can be downloaded and shared. VCSTest.com now offers what they call an Online Contrast Sensitivity Test, which addresses one of the primary shortcomings of online VCS testing: the variability in how different computer monitors and displays handle visual contrast. The OCST features full display calibration, which adapts the test images to each user by taking into account both their display size and individual display characteristics/properties, like their video card, video drivers, operating system and display settings, including contrast, brightness, gamma, etc. As far as I know, this is the only FACT-based online VCS test that controls for display calibration.

In practice, I think both of these tests can be used successfully as screening tools, but the OCST offered by VCSTest.com has the advantage of full display calibration, which allows for accurate results across any device (helpful in re-testing and tracking progress if the patient is re-taking the test on an iPad, for example, if the original test was done on a laptop computer).

The VCS test is so accurate that, if it is positive, there is a 92 percent chance that the patient has CIRS. That said, it’s important to note that a positive VCS test cannot be used to rule CIRS in or out on its own, and I have definitely had patients that passed the VCS test who went on to be positive for CIRS, and vice versa.

A list of the biomarkers that constitute a CIRS diagnosis can be found on Dr. Shoemaker’s site. However, if you fail the VCS test, and/or suspect you may have CIRS, I strongly recommend finding a CIRS-aware clinician in your area. You can start with the list of clinicians that have been certified by Dr. Shoemaker on his website. There are other clinicians, like those of us at California Center for Functional Medicine, that are familiar with CIRS and are actively diagnosing and treating patients for it, but are not yet certified.

Diagnosing and treating CIRS is not a “DIY proposition,” as it involves a lot of nuance and complexity that isn’t always apparent to clinicians and patients that are new to the condition. For example, C4a has to be run through Quest Diagnostics and then sent out to a specialized lab called National Jewish Laboratories in order to get an accurate result. I can’t tell you how many times patients have come to me with a C4a result run through Labcorp or another lab. It’s painful to have to tell them that we need to run these (sometimes expensive) labs again because they weren’t done properly in the first place.

For much more on CIRS diagnosis and pathology, check out my recent interview of Dr. Shoemaker on my podcast, Revolution Health Radio.

#4: Removal from exposure is the first step in successful treatment …

Dr. Shoemaker has developed a multi-step protocol for treating CIRS (it ranges from 11 to 14 steps, depending on how you count or combine the steps).

The first step in the protocol is removing the patient from exposure to the biotoxins. This involves testing all environments (home, workplace, recreational) that the patient spends significant amounts of time in throughout the course of his or her daily life. If mold or other biotoxins are identified, those environments must be successfully remediated (followed by taking adequate measures to prevent recurrence), or the patient must relocate to another home or workplace.

As both a clinician and someone dealing with CIRS myself, I have found step one to be by far the most difficult step in the protocol. Here’s why.

Many mold inspectors are not using comprehensive, accurate testing methods. If you call up a local mold inspector and ask him to come assess your property, chances are he will do a visual inspection and take some air samples. Both of these methods can yield useful information, but on their own, they are not enough.

Air sampling does not allow identification of particular species of Penicillium, Aspergillus, Wallemia, etc., which is important because different species have different health effects. In addition, air sampling devices only collect a small sample of air from directly around the device. This matters because mold spores have different molecular weights, and some do not remain airborne for long.

A better method of initially screening a building for mold is the ERMI test. ERMI stands for Environmental Relative Moldiness Index. It utilizes quantitative polymerase chain reaction (MSQPCR) technology to identify mold in dust that has settled in buildings.

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).

Dr. Shoemaker further refined the relevance of ERMI testing to CIRS patients by creating the HERTSMI-2 scoring system. This is a weighted score that takes the relative levels and danger of particular mold species into account.

The advantage to the ERMI is that it can identify the exact species of various molds present, and it will identify spores that are not airborne. However, it is crucial to understand that not all labs that perform the ERMI test are using the correct methodology.

In order to ensure reliable and accurate results, labs that perform ERMI testing must follow the EPA patent and laboratory procedures exactly. Otherwise, whatever results the test returns will not be validated.

As Dr. Shoemaker explained in a recent article, one of the most prominent labs performing ERMI testing, ESML (also the lab behind MyERMI), is not following these procedures and is currently under investigation by the EPA. Several CIRS-aware physicians had noticed that levels of Wallemia, a particularly problematic species of mold, tended to be under-reported on the ESML test. These false negatives could lead to someone erroneously assuming their home or workplace is safe, when in fact it is not.

EMSL has apparently promised a refund to everyone who has had an ERMI test run through its lab in the past three months. If you fall into this group, I suggest you contact the company.

The lab that I recommend for ERMI testing is Mycometrics. It follows the procedures established in the EPA patent by the letter, and it has excellent quality-control procedures in place.

It’s worth noting that no single test—including ERMI—is reliable as a means of assessing whether biotoxins are present in a building. There is no substitute for an experienced mold inspector that is using evidence-based methodology. (I just wish they were easier to find!)

#5: … but removal from exposure isn’t enough for most CIRS patients

While removal from exposure is an important first step, as I mentioned above, there are at least 10 other steps in the protocol.

People with CIRS have genetic mutations that make them unable to remove the biotoxins that have accumulated in their bodies. This means that getting away from the biotoxins may stop them from building up further, but it will not remove them.

Removal of biotoxins in patients with CIRS usually begins with binders like cholestyramine or Welchol. Other steps include eradicating biofilm-forming staph colonizations that tend to develop in the nasal passages of CIRS patients and correcting high/low MMP9, ADH/osmolality, C4a, TGF-b1, VEGF, and VIP.

In an ideal world, we’d have CIRS-aware physicians in every city and town. Unfortunately, that is not the case. There are currently only a few Shoemaker-certified practitioners, and perhaps several others that are not certified but are actively treating CIRS. Please share this article with those you think may be interested so we can help to spread awareness of this debilitating yet under-recognized condition.

228 Comments

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  1. Does anyone know a doctor that is experienced in this field ? I been dealing with mold in my old home but still really sick and the doctors I been seeing don’t really know much about mold. If anyone knows a doctor that can give me info please let me know thanks !

  2. I called Labcorp and was told that “HLA DR 1345 DQ Intermediate” in the lavender tube is $600. Is that the right test? I haven’t been able to figure that out on survivingmold.com, and haven’t found anything about the circumstances under which my doctor can code the test so it will be covered by insurance.

    • Yes, it is $600, with an added $25 venipuncture fee. and the lavender tube is correct as well. Hopefully you have an insurance plan which accepts LabCorp, many do. I used ICD-10 codes such as joint pain (M25.5) and chronic fatigue (R53.83), and it was covered. Mild cognitive impairment (G31.84) may work, as can codes related to immune system dysfunction or environmental exposure to mold. Remember that insurances do vary.

  3. Dear, Dr. Shoemaker
    I’m at my wits end and don’t know what to do. I have been suffering for a few years now, have had every test done, even the Aspergillus profile blood test. All are negative. Been to multiple ERs over and over. All will negative results. My story is long and very complicated, but I will describe my situation as brief as I can. About 4 years ago I was living in a double wide that had major roof leaks. Started noticing fungal growth on all my furniture and wall. Seems every surface was covered. Also I had 2 dogs who urinated in the carpet because I worked long hours. I clean everyday and shampooed the carpets 1 time weekly. I Stated having heart symptoms, rapid heart beat, pvcs, chest pain and anxiety. Symptoms started every now then but became more and more frequent. Started having burning in the lungs, numbness in the face, feeling like I can’t breath, dizziness and vertigo. My dogs also became very ill, took them to the vet and they said they had heart problems, put them on bad meds, stopped all that and gave them antibiotic, where they got better. Went to the Er where they found nothing, said it was anxiety! Over and Over. Got so bad I was laying on the carpet in the fetal position in agony. Moved out and in with my mother. I brought a lot of my furniture and all my clothes. Symptoms improved for a few months, the all the symptoms started again, they are now the worse they have ever been. Don’t know what to do. Can’t move, tried using every cleaner, air filtration devices, and even removed the carpet in the room I was staying in and found a lot of Black mold. I fear the mold spore have infected every part of the house. I have been sleeping on the back porch, but there is a large compost pile back there. Been to the Er 25 times in the last year, have been admitted where ever test for the heart was done with negative effects. Causing me to have almost daily panic attacks. My primary has no clue, I told him about mixed mold toxicosis, and he had no idea. I’m now on blood pressure, cholesterol, and anxiety meds, none of which eliminate my symptoms. I am at the breaking point, have bad thoughts not wanting to endure the living hell any longer. All my family think it’s in my head and I’m causing it. They yell at me to STOP! I tell them it’s physical, but everyone says I’m doing this to myself, PLEASE HELP, I don’t know what to do. I called poison control and all state agencies and no one has heard of this illness. I don’t have a lot of money. again PLEASE HELP, thank you so much for reading, I hope you respond soon…..

    • Hi! I have been suffering from mold, so I can relate to an extent. I would recommend getting rid of anything where mold may remain. Not sure about clothing, but definitely porous furniture – anything but metal. It is not worth it. I would also get the highest quality water possible to flush out your system.

    • Fogged my house with mixture of 35% H2O2 plus distilled water and had some immediate relief. Understand. Was just about there too. Jason

  4. Thank you for this. I’ve presented with a few of these symptoms, the most scary of which is the shortness of breath at rest, alongside pain in my chest and discomfort in my abdominal area.

    My GP ordered a chest x-ray, ultrasound and complete blood count to see if i’ve got an infection. Nothing showed up. He told me i’m probably just very stressed out from work when i told him i suspected mold sickness from the mold i detected days before it all started. I have had to shut the room off, and started a course of antibiotics. It’s helped a great deal. There are none of these air quality measurement gadgets where i live.

    And nobody save my friend who is a scientist and works with single-celled organisms was able to corroborate my suspicions.

  5. Chris are you still using these models or have you upgraded any of them to something superior? Many thanks.

    • Drew, what specifically are you criticizing? It’s obvious you’re dismissing some information in the article, but you don’t give any specifics.

      • Sounds like you completely misunderstood my comment Brian. I am not dismissing or criticizing anything at all in the article. As the article was written almost 2 years ago I was asking Chris if he was still currently using these same models or if since writing, he had possibly considered some others since then. Sorry for any confusion caused. Have a great day!

  6. What is your take on the ‘walk away from all your possessions’ question? Mold was found in our crawlspace and in one bathroom. We’re waiting on the report for how bad it is. Most of the mold info seems to say that even with remediation your possesions can’t really be decontaminated.

    • Hi Karen……google “paradigm change me, what do I do with my stuff”. This is a very good artical that explains what you should throw out and WHY in detail. I have found it to be very helpful. This isn’t an easy thing to do…dealing with all the loose we all have to deal with but if we want to get better we have to make hard decisions.

      • Donna, you can add a link to a comment here (so there’s no need to ever ask anyone to “Google” something that you know where it is). The only Google result for your quoted phrase was this article, because it appears in your comment. Here’s the article:
        http://paradigmchange.me/wp/stuff/

        The article is very interesting and informative. I see that it is for the less-hardcore people, there’s no mention of sanitizing appliances by taking them apart and washing every part (which I do every summer with my dehumidifier, and I’ve done with toaster ovens/food processors/ovens/etc.) or restoring books by storing them for several months with baking soda or activated charcoal.

        • Your report of restoring books by storing them for several months in baking soda and/or activated charcoal is very interesting . I read elsewhere that charcoal filters in an air purifier can remove mold mycotoxins . If books can be restored in that way , then perhaps clothes and shoes with no visible mould could also be restored . Are you referring to stachy , black aspergillus mold mycotoxins , or less harmful ones ? Were your books exposed to stachy ? Where did you dreive your info from about this method ? I have a black mould problem in a 1 1/2 mete area of one wall , not in the bedroom , but as I am on a pension , with few assets , and neither my clothes nor my shoes smell of mold , and I realise I will need to ditch my mattress , bed , furnishings , cushions , washing machine , portable air conditioner , two air purifiers , and blender , juicer , stereo , computer , radio , etc., I am loathe to also ditch all my apparel and bags , bedding , blankets , etc . I am aware of the washing protocol of washing 3 times with borax, vinegar and epsom salts, each separately , and the storage solution would be an extra remedial measure . Any info would be appreciated , also any ways that the machines with motors could possibly be saved .

          • Hi Patricia. I don’t know whether I tried the baking soda method based on just knowledge of baking soda, or having read someplace about its use for reducing mold odors. I have been participating in online discussion groups such as the GreenCanary email list on Yahoo! Groups for a long time. This method (storing books with baking soda) would be useless with live mold. Mold spores give off toxic chemicals that are by-products of their digestion, and these chemicals can inundate any material that is in the environment. Some items, such as a glass table, would be easily cleaned or would soon off-gas the chemicals once the live mold has been removed, but things such as books can absorb a lot of them and they remain for a long time. I did have a lot of success storing moldy-smelling things in a room with an air purifier (an Austin Air that has a lot of carbon in the filter). Books do not clean well this way though unless they are propped so that the pages are open slightly. I had some things that just could not be saved, for instance an antique storage trunk that visible mold colonies were infesting the interior paper lining. Other things such as clock radio/kitchen appliances/etc. I disassembled and cleaned as many parts as I could, leaving parts out in sunlight. That seemed to eradicate the mold odors in most cases, it’s a lot of work though! It’s difficult to sum up the methods for cleaning mold toxins from things. Various things need various methods. The acidity of vinegar can be useful for things that can tolerate it, I have used a spray bottle with diluted vinegar on box fans and other sturdy types of appliances that can be washed. Things that can’t be washed with water, often storing with baking soda or activated charcoal is the best thing. It seems like you have a good awareness about detoxing laundry. I find hanging things out in sunlight, if they’re fabric or something that do not have hidden areas like an appliance does, cleans them faster and easier than anything else. I was soaking some clothing items in changes of dishsoapy or detergent water for many weeks, they still reeked of mold, then I hung them outside for a few days and the mold smells vanished.

    • Hi – sorry you’re having to deal with this. I recently moved out of the house that made me sick, and took all my possessions with me because … well, because it didn’t occur to me not to. Then I did my research after the fact. I think there are several important, individual factors that affect the decision about what to keep or throw away.

      1. Consider your level of sensitivity and illness. If you’re bedridden and the slightest pro-inflammatory trigger affects you, it’s a good idea, in an abundance of caution, to get rid of almost everything. I was not/am not that ill, so I am willing to accept a higher level of potential risk.

      2. Soft furnishings are problematic. After I moved and felt significantly better – though I’ve still got a long way to go – I recognized that I still felt sedated/off/lethargic when I sat on a particular sofa and on the two chairs in my living room. That was tough, because they were really good pieces of leather furniture that I’d bought in the last couple of years as real “adult” furniture. I thought leather might be more impervious than fabric, but moisture & mold spores can still get in. So, I got rid of soft furnishings and bought new sofa & chairs.

      3. Consider where your mold problem was, and which possessions were affected. If mold was throughout your house, or in your duct work, then likely everything in your house could have been exposed. In my house, the problem was in a sun room and two AC units on the first floor. But the spaces and possessions on the second floor did not seem to be affected.

      4. IMO, books, magazines, and newspapers are very susceptible to mold and decay even w/o a house having a mold problem. A sensitive person prob shouldn’t keep mags & newspapers around their house in any event. I love by books; I keep them in enclosed bookcases with glass doors.

      5. Carpets & curtains are often culprits, and likely good to eliminate anyway, as they are reservoirs for dust and other allergens, which can add to total inflammatory load.

      Wishing you luck. I appreciate the community on these boards, but it’s not one anyone really wants to enter; and I hope one day all of us can leave.

  7. 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!

  8. I had a portable humidifier in bedroom and filter molded. I did not know and still ran it for a few months. Meanwhile ended up so sick sinusitis bronchitis pneumonia asthma numb arms hands insomnia joint pain and swollen face and hands. I thre out the unit which was on dresser blowing right at me at night. Once I did that I began to get better. Could there be any air born issues? Our house is only 10 yrs old and we built it so i know its never had water damage, but I just dont know it its like on all my stuff or what.

  9. I once lived in a mold infested dwelling for 6 years. Was having different symptoms, headaches, skin rashes, overall fatigue. Moved after becoming convinced the mold problem in bldg was real and was impacting my health. Gradually over some years I began to have rashes and itching in upper body which became more severe and torturous, especially at night with sweating and overheating. Rashes and redness were and are present. My doc finally did blood tests and saw that my red cell count was proliferating, causing high hematocrit and found to have histamine reaction. Was directed to a hematologist at hospital who did many tests over months leading to a potential dx of Polycythemia, not Vera(PV) but secondary polycythemia. Docs have no answers but I must have phlebotomies every couple of months to get my blood hematocrit lowered. I need to know where this is coming from and am not finding any answers related to blood and mold specifically. PV is rare but 95 % of patients have a mutant gene, found after having a bone marrow biopsy. I don’t have this so I’m in 5% that is unknown, after eliminating some possible causes through testing. I need to know how this scenario could play into a mold problem that could
    still be causing havoc in my body and need to know specifically about blood disease caused by an overproduction of histamine, relating to abnormal red blood cell growth in the marrow. I hope I can get some answers.

    • Suzy dated March 7th……this is very interesting. I have mold illness and was finally diagnosed last yr Feb 2016 and i am HLA-DR positive, CIRS, Hashimoto’s disease, hypothyroid, anemic, leaky gut, systemic yeast and still living in this house with many molds including THE black mold stachybotris chartrum. My sister lives in MD and is a nurse as well as myself. She was diagnosed with PV about 3yrs ago and they were just watching it and then about a yr ago her platelets were 3x’s the high level and they were talking about starting blood letting and oral chemo. Then they re tested her and said she does NOT have PV…..but they dont know whats going on. He herself had started taking a baby aspirin to thin here blood understanding the risk for blood clots and heart attacks but she still has no answers and is just living with it. She has not been to my house since i had the mold in july 2012 when a pipe burst and a minor leak happened and the co that was sent out by insurance did not take down the small area of wall or the little bit of wall to wall carpet in the finished basement and i started with all these symptoms. She said she has not had mold in here house except in her bathroom a little and WE know that is all it might take to make a susceptible person sick but she dosent want to have the HLA-DR test and i dont think she believes me about how sick i am or how serious this whole subject is. Please post any info you might come across bc id like to pass it on to her. If i here anything i will do the same. I am going to try to print this out and send it to her bc there might be a link. Thanks! Donna Z.

  10. Great article – very helpful! One thing about the HLA’s that continues to confuse me is the groupings (multi-susceptible, mold, chronic lyme, etc.) For ex. if you have a mold specific haplotype like 17-2-52A does that mean that you are ONLY susceptible to mold? And not other biotoxins like lyme and dinoflagellates? Or if you have a lyme specific HLA like 15-6-51, are you only susceptible to Lyme and not to mold?

      • I am not an expert but my understanding is that once MSH becomes low you are susceptible to everything (mold, lyme etc) regardless of HLA genetics. So in other words exposure to one type of biotoxin can lower MSH such that you become susceptible to other types. You should definitely consult a doc that specializes in biotoxin illness to get a definite answer.

        • Thanks Peter for that input, yeah I’m just interested and should have a better answer from my doctor in a couple of weeks.

          4-3-53: susceptible to both biotoxins from mold and Lyme

          11/12-3-52B: susceptible to both biotoxins from mold and Lyme

          14-5-52B: susceptible to both biotoxins from mold and Lyme

          7-2-53: susceptible to biotoxins from mold

          13-6-52A, B, or C: susceptible to biotoxins from mold

          17-2-52A: susceptible to biotoxins from mold

          18-4-52A: susceptible to biotoxins from mold

          **15-6-51: susceptible to biotoxins from Lyme**

          16-5-51: susceptible to biotoxins from Lyme

          Does **mean that once you are treated** and do not have Lyme and away from mold, then you shouldn’t be as sensitive to it?

          • 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.

  11. The article was very helpful and informative. I was exposed to toxic mold in workplace. I have severe childhood/adulthood allergies to penicillin and mold spore antibiotics that almost killed me as a child. They moved us to a musty mold infested building and i took ill immediately as did others but not to my extreme of passing out, flu like symptoms. The first complete test on bldg revealed mold but after bleach bombing they retested the air in one area of building and cleared the bldg to be reopened. Meanwhile, people are still working in that building and and getting ill with headaches and clients are still being seen even after i reported bldg to proper authorities. I have been diagnosed with lupus, fibromyalgia, arthropathy, as well as newly diagnosed asthma. I suffer from extreme joint and muscle pain my ANA and blood panels are extremely high for inflamation. I no longer work there but the damage is done to my health.

  12. Hi, I lived in orange county and Black toxic mold destroyed my entire life. Even till this day. I only live in the house with major black toxic mold(which all looked perfect because there was new carpet, new everything. But it has brought my life down. and nobody has any clue the amount of money it will take to combat this problem for the rest of my life. I need help. I’m facing the landlord soon in court. n I can not have kids due to this, I lost everything i own. I am also disabled. what do I do???

    • hi, my name is Liesle I’m having the same problem. I’m trying to get my case together bc I’m going to see the owner in court.I wish you the best. My biggest problem was I was disabled before this. and all the mold doctors don’t take insurance. wheat do I do, I don’t have the money for this. Its a silent killer. Because not enough people know enough about it. Good luck to you, N I’ll be praying for you and everyone!!!

    • If you don’t have money to see a doctor that specialize in mold treatment (such as a Shoemaker certified doctor) I would recommend pursuing Mold Avoidance. Check out the web site http://paradigmchange.me as well as the Facebook group Mold Avoiders. Lots of good free information on how you can get better.

    • Liesle please go to survivingmold.com and look at the physician list. Start with Dr. Ackerly she can do a phone consult. You will need a local doctor to order blood labs. You cant be treated unless you are in a safe environment. Leave your stuff and get somewhere safe so you can start to heal.

      • My name is Emma. I lived in a place that had black toxic mold. And I’m trying to get proof it is still in my system bc I still feel sick. But I can’t find any doctor that will take my insurance bc I can’t afford to pay cash. I’m disabled. PLEASE HELP

  13. What is the best way for regular maintenance cleaning of my shower? I have CIRS and chemical sensitivities. Can I use a scrub brush and my essential oils to scrub the floor and walls of my shower? I can see that some mold is starting to form so I’m not sure if it’s safe for me to clean it. If someone else cleans it for me, can they use bleach or strong cleansers to kill the mold/mildew? The leftover odor will likely bother me, but the mold might bother me more. I would appreciate any suggestions. Thank you.

  14. I felt like I was going crazy. People are patronizing me. I’ve been living in this house for 2 years now. My roommate actually has Lyme disease so she’s probably affected as well. She was ill too but “got better” I have Sarcoidosis. We did the Petri dish thing last year where you test for mold in different parts of the home and they all came back positive but we already knew there was water damage. There are leaks everywhere. Water stains in the ceilings etc. There was no follow up or repair after the testing. I don’t own the home so I couldn’t do anything about it. I’m on SSI so it’s difficult to find a place an affordable place to move to. What prompted the testing was me smelling this horrible mildew smell and becoming increasingly sensitive to every smell and my body reacting to the presence of it. I was finally able to attribute my hyperosma to the methotrexate and phentermine I was taking but, those meds only enabled me to smell the mildew that is present not imagine that it was there! I can feel tingling sensations on my skin, my eyes, my tongue even. Now certain things I touch burn my skin. It’s like I can feel these invisible allergens present on surfaces and clothing, burning my skin, causing itching inside my ears, shortness of breath. People keep saying I’m crazy because they can’t see, smell or feel them. I CAN and I’m not crazy! I think I have CIRS. I have increasing joint pain with no inflammation. My eyes are growing ridiculously sensitive to light and they feel dry and burn all the time. I get dehydrated. My potassium is all over the place. My brain feels weird. I can’t sleep or focus. I can’t eat or I’m TOO hungry that it just hurts so bad! My stomach just one way or another hurts. It produces way too much acid or mucus or both. I’m just bleh. I’m so tired. I’m afraid they’re going to be right and I am going crazy. I need someone to help me!

    • Please don’t lose hope. The best thing you can do right now is to leave even if for a week or 2 the place with the problem and see if you begin things feel better. If you do then you know is the mold and you will do anything including sleeping in your car or a tent to allow your body some reprieve so it can begin to heal until you can find a place with minimal or no mold at all. I pray God gives you the strength, the means attend wisdom to begin a journey of healing and rest. May the Lord bless you in Jesus’ name.

      • From my experience some of your symptoms can improve when you remove yourself from the toxic environment but other symptoms like fatigue can get worst because your body in a detoxification process which will take a long time. Chim and fluox could be the best for this.

    • Agelika you do have CIRS it sounds like. THose are all CIRS symptoms. You need a safe environement and a doctor from survivingmold.com website

    • I have the same symptoms as you. The burning gets worse when follow the protocol for removing the toxins. I was diagnosed first with Fibromyalgia, then my thyroid went hypo. I got sick so quickly. In hind site…everything got bad when I was under stress. At times I couldn’t walk up and down the stairs. My lips would swell for no apparent reason. The allergist couldn’t find anything wrong.
      After years of these symptoms, I ended up in the hospital for five days due to a bad lung infection where my throat closed. I couldn’t breathe due to the extreme swelling of the glands in my throat. Lymph glands. I was put on three different antibiotics and steroids, plus breathing treatments. I was released after five days with no know cause.
      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.
      I went to see a doctor that specialized in the Shoemaker protocol. I do have the HLA gene defect. I didn’t pass the VCS test.
      I am very sensitive to the detox protocol. My body couldn’t handle the Welchol, which was expensive. After five days I had extreme burning, anxiety and mental confusion. I now take Medi-Clay capsules, a probiotic called Accustomed Boulardii and charcoal capsules. They pull the toxins out. I have to space everything out, due to the “burning” sensations.
      Some days I don’t take anything because I cant stand the burning that happens.
      I wish you good luck with this. I pray a lot and I truly believe God brought me to this specialist. The sad part is that many general practitioners and internists don’t know anything about this and don’t care. They just want to put you on pain killers, anti-inflammatory drugs and anti-depressants.
      I wish you well. God bless.

      • Not Accustomed Boulardii…Saccharomyces-Boulardii.
        I also drink smoothies I make from fresh celery, red apple with the skin and mango juice from Costco. It clears out toxins.

  15. I was diagnosed with fybromyalgia about 15 years ago. I know on several occasions I was exposed to black mold. I’ve a lot so been reading some on the fact that some have been misdiagnosed with fybro, when it was black mold desease. I have asked my family Dr group 4 times to be tested, reading that the symptoms are extremely similar. They insist that as long as I am no longer exposed, there is no need to test. True?

    • No this is not true. If you are among the 25% of the population that is susceptible to mold, your body has a hard time getting the toxins out of the system. Unless you are in an extremely pristine environment, you are not likely get better. Binders such as Cholestyramine are needed, in addition to being in a mold free environment. I would suggest going to a different doctor, e.g. one of the Shoemaker certified one (complete list on http://www.survivingmold.com.

    • Hi Chris,

      Thank you for your hard work and dedication. I have mold/mycotoxin toxicity, and C677T genetic mutation.

      Air disintegration machines only disintegrate mold spores that can be disintegrated up to 400°. In order to disintegrate tricothecene you need a disintegrator that can disintegrate that particular mycotoxin with a machine that disintegrates molds/mycotoxins above 500°. Do you know of any disintegrator that kills spores above 500°?

      All of my molds and mycotoxins are classes 2 and 3, confirmed by Real-time labs, in both urine and blood.

      The meds I need are not affordable such as daily caspofungin injections or pozacanazole tabs and daily injections of gamma globulin. Each combination plus weekly irrigation costs between $100,000 to $118,000 per year. I cannot afford them and I have no health insurance. I need a miracle. My health just keeps declining and I have been bedridden for almost 2 years.

      I cannot take Cholestyramine because it severely constipates me.

      All I can afford are Rx’s and supplements to keep my symptoms at bay.

      Thank you in advance for your help.

      Best wishes,

      Jenny

    • Not true!! The average doctors are not aware that micro toxins can form from black mold events attacking your immune system for years! Many disorders like copd , chronic fatigue , neuropathy, random pain can be caused by the neurotoxins from black mold.
      Many MD’s r not even aware of what the tests are….I have had two neurologist who thought heavy metal poisoning was a scam.. don’t trust your doctors lack of knowledge ..insist on testing …they will not suffer years of pain….you will !!

    • margaret that is absolutely not true. The mold toxins can build up in your body and your body cant remove them without medical support. go to survivingmold.com. CIRS is very commonly misdiagnosed as Fibro

  16. I too am sick from mold in my previous rental home. I didn’t know the mold was there until I moved our storage out of a big walk in closet. I don’t know what kind of mold it was because the landlord went in and bleached the wall as soon as I got our things out and someone else moved right in. I have been sick for 7 months and can’t find any doctors in WY or Montana that have a clue how to even test me for it. I am trying a starvation diet that I found online. I just am at wits end trying to find help and also going broke.

    • One of the most important things about remediation is that you should never EVER use bleach for removing mold, as it would make the problem worse. While diet is important in any case, it will not cure you of CIRS, if that is your problem. Look up a Shoemaker certified doctor on http://www.survivingmold.com. Many of them do phone consultations.

    • SUSAN!! OMG just go to survivingmold.com. You have one of the best docs in the country there treating mold. Dr. Kellyn Milani at Trillium Integrative Medicine. C’mon people do your due diligence and read the information at surviving mold. This is what Chris Kresser did. He actually read the material on the website. All the resources are there. Many labs are covered by insurance. Most of these doctors can follow up by phone or Skype after initial consult. Some is even covered by Medicare!!!!

    • I have a doctor out of Michigan who I’ve been working with for several years… I’ve been diagnosed with Fybro for many years but recently took a big decline. She immediately tested me for Lyme (the gold standard test level) and Mold. Sure enough I tested positive for two types of mold and are now in the process of taking two over the counter items (for 6 months) to rid my system.

      RealTime Labs out of Texas did the tests. check website – http://www.realtimelab.com. Phone is 972-492-0419.

  17. I live in a housing complex and we have mold I clean the walls in the shower with Bleach. My Husband was a maintenance worker here and he did alot of repairs in the job Tearing down walls etc, He now has memory problems confusion nervousness etc. they say it is stages of Alzheimer’s. I am always tired and we at home seem very irritable can our symptoms be related to the mold? also can we get an air purifier? will that help? what can we use at home to help with the air quality? I always have our ac’s on on fan cycle.

    • Yes these are exactly the symptoms of mold. I am having short term memory problems and also can’t focus. Fatigued and sleepy all day long. Headaches come and go. I know this might sound hard to do, but you either get professional mold removers or move out of the house.

      • If you can afford to built your own home, build with hemp crete or jet board. It does not get mold, or pests and takes much longer to burn if a fire breaks out. Magnacrete, another board, does not burn at all. It costs about $7 more a board than the formaldehyde toxic board but why make a home 10 times more toxic than the air outside by using such poisonous wood to make your home with? Also check with what the dry wall is made with. Some is made from the toxic waste of fertilizer production waste! Scary.

  18. The trichothecene mycotoxins produced by toxic black mold are neurotoxic. This means they can kill neurons in the brain and impair a person’s mental ability. They also cause nervous disorders such as tremors and can cause personality changes such as mood swings and irritability.

    Symptoms:
    (1) Confusion
    (2) Brain fog
    (3) Shortened attention span
    (4) Difficulty concentrating and paying attention
    (5) Slowed reflexes
    (6) Disorientation
    (7) Dizziness
    (8) Memory loss and memory problems
    (9) Impaired learning ability
    (10) Hallucinations
    (11) Shock
    (12) Anxiety
    (13) Depression
    (14) Aggression and other personality changes
    (15) Tingling
    (16) Trembling
    (17) Shaking
    (18) Seizure
    (19) Numbness

    [Source] http://www.floodaz.com/toxic-black-mold-symptoms/

  19. I had Air samples taken in my apt…I’ve been sick & in a hotel since Sept. High counts of Asper/Pen…been sick of & on for the 20 months there but health went down hill middle of Aug.
    Landlord did not disclose mold problems & they have to in VA.
    Had exrays, small white spots in lungs, Asthma & many other symptoms. I just found a place to move. I saw a Pulmonary Special last Fri & he sent out Blood (RASP) changed inhaler & started Singulair tabs. I go back on Mon for lab results. He mentioned maybe Itraconozole. He thinks condition might be Aspergiliosis. I gave my 30 day notice on Mon. My cat is still there but can’t move her until 21 or 22 Nov. I will do the ERMI
    test. Any mold Dr’s in VA? Any one here using attorneys? Do I have to lose everything? I’m disabled…my service dog has shown symptoms off & on…she does not go in with me when I tend to the cat 2 times a week & I wear a mask but I’m still effected when I go in apt.

    • Also Chaetonium was found The Asper/Pen was 27 times higher in livingroom where I sit than outdoor sample & bedroom was 14 (?) times higher…HERTSMI Mold Test will this stand up in court? Thank you for all your helpful info Chris!

  20. I was a housepainter for 28 years and usually worked in several nasty houses each year that had previous water damage. None of their occupants nor I ever became ill from being exposed to the various molds, fungi, etc. That changed in 2007 when I did four in a row and wound up with a nasty case of Mycotoxicosis. My doctor said there wasn’t anything available to fight it except time for my immune system to develop a resistance to the cruds. Said it could take several months or several years. Took me two years and wound up getting it again but worse two years later. This time it took 40 months for my body to get rid of it. Didn’t get it from living at home since my mother remained healthy and she was in her late 90’s. The only places I went that could’ve been infested were my 1995 car and 1988 work van since their doors’ weather stripping were allowing rain to enter during downpours. They had been that way for years so once damp inside I just left all the windows until they dried out. I guess some of those nasty micro-organisms’ spores eventually found a way in and began to proliferate.

  21. I live in an apartment which is section 8. I have informed my office of all of my issues here in my apartment . I know without a doubt I’m a hundred percent sure that my home is full of toxic mold. Over all the years I’ve lived here my health has completely went downhill and I truly believe I am slowly dying . I have done so much research on this but no one wants to believe me and no one wants to help me . I am disabled and I have nowhere else to live . I have every single symptom you had mentioned and my home which I have thoroughly photographed is completely falling to pieces and there is mold everywhere . What can I do I have nowhere to go and no way to turn ? Can anyone help me ?

    • Hi Amy,

      I would have the landlord contact a professional company to conduct an air test to see what kind of mold spores are in the apartment. That would be the best way to prove it has Toxic Mold. I lived in an apartment with Toxic Mold and my health went downhill. If the test comes back positive, I would move right away.

  22. The antibody test for the 3 year exposure to Stachybotrus came back negative. Is that normal? I do not know which particular antibody test she did. Does this mean it is accurate? and all my symptoms are probably MS?

  23. We had a huge leak into our house several years ago as we live on the east coast and we’re hit by a few storms in a row leaving lb after lb of ice on the roof which finally gave in. The water damage affected the entire upstairs which is our whole living space. We had people come in and rip everything out from most walls, all of the bathroom down to just the like the tub and toilet, the kitchen cabinets and ceramic tile floor, I mean we had to start all over with a 24k insurance check. It didn’t affect the bedroom to their knowledge but when they put those HUGE humidifiers in 4 of the rooms except the bedroom I came down with a respiratory illness and had complete laryngitis for 4-5 months. That’s a long time to go with out speaking. And I was in the house almost the whole time this was going on with my pets and self closed off in the bedroom with an air purifier. But I think being in the house was the worse idea possible but I was on bedrest from an injury and out on FMLA. I’m wondering if they didn’t do a proper job with getting the water out or may have opened a can of worms bc I my health has declined ever since, making me at home 90% of the time and I’ve been through so many tests and they can’t find out what’s wrong. After reading this article I am seriously going to make an appointment with my dr and if it’s out of his leaguests he needs to point me in the best direction!! I mean can your primary order the specific tests needed or do I need a specialist, or if he orders the proper tests and thing come back abnormal is that when he would sent me to a specialist? And just wondering for those who have had their house tested around how much could that approximately cost? And say the previous owner knee about this would they have needed to disclose this when I bought the house, or would I have had to specifically had to ask? Thank you

    • Tracy, so sorry to hear about your illness. I was just diagnosed with mycotoxin illness, CIRS (chronic inflammatory response syndrome), hypothyroid, Hashimoto’s thyroid it’s in Feb of this yr, 2016 due to a minor water problem July 25,2012 that the supposed remidiators didn’t handle properly…and mold grew within 2 days. After 3mths of arguing and pleading with insurance and the ass holes that were yelling at me saying there is no problem cuz they are the professionals, I got permission from insurance to call an air quality specialist to come find the mold…that insurance KNEW was here cuz they were here many times and smelled it. They found mold right away and recommended a full remediation of the finished basement where the pipe had burst. The only prob is that NO ONE told me to shut off the HVAC and so the mold and mycotoxins were being pulled throughout the whole house and have contamminated EVERYTHING I own…everything! I have to move out and never come back and start over. I started with asthma within 2 days, then urinary pain, frequency and horrible pressure within a mth and was seeing a urologist who did surgery on me that I didn’t need and over active bladder meds which did nothing…I’ve never been in so much pain in my life and it never stopped. I switched to another dr…a urogynocologist who jerked me around and lots of meds and a bladder repair that she said would help with the pain and freq did nothing to help…and I’m left with a $2,300 bill AND no relief. Then I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer…after losing 2 cats to cancer before this and after the mold..so I started to get suspicious that there might be a correlation. I went through chemo…and now I have found out there are many ways to cure cancer without surgery, chemo or radiation and my legs are ruined from nerve damage. My eyes got blurry and I was running to the eye dr asking him over and over and over to change my lenses cuz I still couldn’t see. I had a very serious bout of depression in March of 2013…7-8mths after my exposure…and I like you were house bound 24-7 with my cats cuz I had a seizure disorder at the time and couldn’t drive. Also I just read many times over that if mold is suspected and especially during remediation…NO BLOWERS of any kind should be used cuz they also blow the mold spores I tot he air and they get into everything..theses “professionals” that were here had blowers to “dry out the walls and carpet” which I found out you can’t do and they should have cut out the walls and taken up the carpet within 24-48hrs and then none of this would have happened! I started having terrible muscle pain and joint pain…especially my hips and fingers. Freq migraine headaches…and no sleep at all especially cuz I had to pee every 30mins around the clock. Then they think your a complainer so they suggest you “see someone” like a psychiatrist for meds which has happened to almost all of use effected by this illness. Oh, and the ANGERY issues I have…they call it mold rage…so don’t piss me off! I started yelling and cursing at people on the phone and in person and was blaming it on the seizure meds or menopause and crying cuz I’d feel so bad when I directed it toward my son who was away at college…he still dosent believe me that it’s the illness. I’m so dehydrated all the time and my skin actually burns if I don’t keep drinking cuz all I do is pee. There are so many other problems I have that it would take days for m to tell…but you get the idea. I just watched a short movie by Dave Aspry called “the movie MOLD” or MOLDY about his effects and he was one of the geniuses who discovered “the cloud” for the Internet..so you know he’s credible. I saw a lot of Drs and my long time interest after I brought him the lab results confirming I have all the above things wrong with me after he was blowing me off for yrs said ther is nothing wrong with me, mold doesn’t make anyone sick and they are lying to me to make money and the people that write these books just want fame and I don’t have pain and the peeing has nothing to do with mold and I don’t have hypothyroid and don’t worry about a little Hashi etc and then walked out of the room and b=never came back. Then I just on Friday saw a endocrinologist to get more thyroid and I’d never seen her and she was listed as a top dr in Nj….insulted me, made faces and fun of me cuz I went organic and I believe in mold illness and I don’t have hypo and there is nothing to do for Hashi I just have to live with it and she’s a professional who goes to all the meetngs and none of us believe in mold making anyone sick…and then I told her she’s narrow minded and ignorant and MAYBE she should listen and hear from someone like me who’s life has been turned upside down from this BEFORE she shuts the door on the possibility that this DOESNT exist CUZ I KNOW IT DOES AND THE LABS AND MY SYMPTOMS PROVE IT! She was not happy with me and I just walked out. I’m a nurse who always respected rd..but I don’t now and not just because of this illness but because I’d been mis managed for 5 yrs before reguarding something else. They don’t know nearly as much as we give them credit for so listen to YOUR gut and if you think your onto something DONT give up until you find someone who believes you. I’m not sure where you live on the east coast, but I live in Nj and happened to land in a Drs office down the shore in Springlake,NJ about something else and he had just finished his certification with Dr Shoemaker on mold and he FINALLY asked all the right questions about my water prob and mold and sent me to my lab with a mile long slip and 2weeks later I finally had the answers to my suffering for 4 very long yrs. mycotoxin illness/CIRS, Hashimoto’s disease/hypothyroid/ low iodine/low iron. I really would suggest cuz your quite sick si to maybe if you don’t live hrs away from the early part of the jersey shore, is to call DR Rothman and talk to his nurse Brenda and see what she thinks. It may save you lot of money and time to go to someone who believes in mold illness, knows the symptoms and most importantly the correct tests to run and either it will give you your answers or not and if it is something else he’ll be the one to figure it out. He gives you an 1 1/2 for the 1st appointment and you have to pay out of pocket but lab Corp runs the tests and my insurance covered that. I would at least call…you have nothing to lose at this point! His # is 732-268-7663. Good luck!

  24. I just had one of my cats urine tested for mycotoxins from real time labs and it came back as Gliotoxin and it’s a very nasty one. When I looked it up it said that these toxins can’t ever be pulled out of tissue and will remain imbedded because they have especially sharp hooks. They cause DNA/RNA damage as well. I want to cry. I probably have them too. Now I’m crying. This sucks.

    • Sorry to butt in here. . But does testing animal urine really work? If so who tests it? I rented a house in 2010 and my grandmother lived with me as I took care of her and worked everyday. She was 71 when we got here. . First it was vertigo. . Then vision problems. . . Memory loss . . Respitory arrest. . . And finally long term permenant care at a facility. I associated it to old age. . Meanwhile my dog loses all of the back half of his hair on his butt yearly to regrow it and lose it again. . .moving on to me. . . I started having sever problems with respitory issues in2012 which lead to a heart attack in 2014. When I was at the hospital I felt 25 again but I got home and kept getting sick. . I began to develops all of the same symptoms as my granny did prior. . . I’ve had pneumonia 4 times since 2014 . . Frequent urination constant thirst blurry vision mood swings light sensitivity vertigo and so on. 6 1/2 yrs ago when I moved in here I was 33 and in prime physical condition. . . Now some days I can’t get out of bed. . 5 days ago I moved a shelf in my bedroom corner and the baseboard split open where they meet at the wall and there is a spidering rash of mold running in both directions on the baseboards and creeping up the wall. . Since my grandmother’s departure to the facility her health has improved. My now fiance moved in 2 yrs ago and is 9 months pregnant. . Her 3 small kids all under age 10 live here and they are always sick too. . . The dog has been here all along but the vet said we can’t test his blood for mold. . . My doctor says I’m crazy. . . But it all makes sense. . I need to find a way to prove I’m right. .

      • Steve, you are not crazy..its all real what’s happening to all of you. I had a minor area of damage July 25, 2012 and became sick with asthma in 2days then within 2 wks it was crushing, burning pressure in my bladder with frequent urination and extreme thirst. Then anxiety and then 8mths later in March i overnight became severely depressed out of the blue. Then mood swings and rage issues and all the other problems continued. Then anorexia which i still have every so often where i cant eat for a wk at a time bc i feel so bloated and full…it passes and comes back again. Then blurry vision and the eye dr said i should be seeing ok but i couldnt and still cant. My cats started losing their hair a bit and 2 of them became asthmatic and they all (11) started throwing up thier food at every meal all around the house and still do. I had surgeries on my bladder that I didn’t need bc it has turned out to be IC which is interstitial cystitis which is what was and does if i eat the wrong thing what causes my bladder pain WHICH I HEALED MY SELF bc the drs are uninformed and were urging me crazy with over active bladder meds which did not work at all…none of them. Then they all were saying i needed anti depressants bc if they cant find the cause then of course it must be in your head…right? No! Thats not it at all. I was finally diagnosed this past Feb when i ended up in a recently rained dr in the Shoemaker protocol as in Dr Shoemaker and his website is called “surviving mold.com” and it has a lot of info which is very helpful. Many Drs and others do not believe that we are sick with this life changing illness but we all are and you need to know its a up hill battle you and all of us have to fight to get well and to be believed. There ar some very good books that i found very helpful to explain all of this. I was told in Feb by my dr to move out ASAP and to leave everything behind. If i take anything ill just contaminate the new place so ive been trying to get the money together to do that….but its very hard while you’re suffering and fighting the none believers and have no energy to do it..or anything some days. I had i one of my cats urine tested for the mycotoxins and it came back for gliotoxins which are shed by yeast. I lost 3 cats to cancer since the pipe burst and the company sent out allowed the mold to grow trying to cut corners and now im losing everything and no one will take responsibility for it which is maddening and completely wrong but its the way it is. I hope you get some answers but please do not give up..there is hope and there are people to help guide and give advice but it takes time. YOU ARE NOT IMAGINING IT, IT IS REAL!

  25. Hi’ my son is very sick’ the doctors after two and half months told us he has mold sickness ‘ my English is not good ‘ plz help me

  26. Hi’ my son is very sick’ after two months and half they saying he has mold toxin ‘ l need help’ my English not good enough ‘ I can’t explain how is painfull is for me see him like that ‘ plz help

  27. I had a spinal fusion 2 years ago and developed aspergillus in my spine. I was treated with antifungals and had the hard ware removed but I still feel sick all the time. Any suggestions to tell the infectious disease doctor?

  28. Can it cause severe itching, burning and prickly feeling on the skin if you touched it while cleaning and vacuuming the rug where it was? Bc now I’m not sure if it’s mold or a parasite or both. How do you rule that out? Thank you.

  29. Chris, I’d like your thoughts on this.
    I did a Bio Trek mycotoxin panel which is collected through urine. All parameters came back positive. Aflatoxin, Ochratoxin A and Trichothecene. I do have the multisuseptible gene and another mold gene. If I’m out of a moldy environment would you say I just haven’t detoxed these molds? What are your views on this panel?

    • Brenda
      I have a tingling sensation sometimes feels like prick or bite all over body. No rash or sores though. Its particularly bothersome at night. Muscle and joint pain too. 47 years old. I was in a dwelling that had mold several times to show remediators around and then it started about the second or third exposure. Seems too like my short memory has suffered some since, as well as more freq urination. IH tests showed spore levels to be 10 times higher than outside. I think i have toxicosis but have not neen tested….were you happy with your test experience? Did they respond to your question about detox and duration? my exposure totaled maybe 10 hours over the course of three weeks beginning about six weeks ago. I am experimenting with coconut shell charcoal and detox teas……hoping symptoms go away. Hopefully will be seeing a dermatologist soon too. How do you feel now…symptoms still? Thanks in advance.

  30. Chris: what were your daughter’s symptoms? My 1,5 year old daughter has some issues that are too mild for normal physicians to take seriously, but bad enough that Ive been reading and reading for months, trying to figure things out, going crazy, you must know the feeling. Wonder what the symptoms could be like in a toddler.
    And how often do you run the IQAir? I got the machine but was never sure how much and how often to run it.
    Thanks for all your help and the wealth of information.

  31. Cant all the biotoxin tests TGF- Beta, MSH etc be low with lyme or heavy metals etc?? since all are neurotoxins etc? any way to tell the difference since symptoms are a lot of the same??

  32. You have really shared an informative post of 5 Things we must know about toxic mold illness. Water damage is the main problem which grows mold if we didnt care and resolve the leakage as soon as possible it will grows mold. Mold creates a bad impact on daily life.

  33. Is anybody aware of water utility workers having contracted boop as a result of mold exposure? They often work in damp conditions, both in underground vaults and in water-damaged homes?

    Are there any pulmonologists who have expertise with this occupational risk?

    Thank you!!!

  34. I had 2 flood/water leaks in my finished basement in 2011-2012. The company my insurance co sent out both times didn’t do the proper procedures either time and at that time I knew nothing about mold. The 1st time the dishwasher hose split and was pouring onto the couch, carpet etc they just sucked what water they could up and put 2 dehumidifies down there for 2 days and said everything was fine and left. That’s when a musty smell started. Then a year later the front spigot burst and was pouring down the wall of the basement behind the Sheetrock, flooding out all over the carpet. Th same company came out the next morning with insurance adjuster and again sucked the water out of the carpet, put dehumidifies and left. By the next day the mold smell started and I had to keep calling them back and they piece meal “remediated” the basement over 6 weeks time, never removing the soaked Sheetrock tea and just DOUSED the walls and floor with Microban (triclosan) which nearly the gases) killed me and my 11 cats who vomited all over the house til the sun came up and I was soooo dizzy, nauseous, headache and my slight asthma that hadn’t bothered me for 20yrs hit me like e ton of bricks!!! That was 4yrs ago and I can’t go without my inhaler. I suffered a SEVERE bout of depression leading up to the summer of 2013 (just found out that triclosan causes depression among other things). I’ve lost 3 cats to cancer since and I had cancer Oct 2014 and surgery/chemo ended March 31, 2015. I ‘ve been sick for yrs with weird symptoms and dr’s say nothing is wrong. Then I just in Jan went to a MD/naturopath for something else and he questioned me about if I’d been exposed to any water problems and I told him so he sent me out with a lab slip a mile long and 2 1/2 weeks later (I’m a nurse and got the results sent to myself as well) had me come in. I’m missing the HLA gene, have hypothyroid, Hashimoto’s and tested positive for 4 types of mold (3 of which the air quality specialists I hired after 6 weeks of smelling HORRENDOUS MOLD, and being yelled at by Restorecore that there was nothing wrong and that they know what their doing because THEY ARE THE PROFESSonals and I’m nobody and making things up, found with samples and air testing and she saw and smelled the mold as soon as she entered the house) as well as candida and all the other mycotoxin/CIRS labs are of the wall! I feel validated but now I have to move because I’m still symptomatic even though I had a full remediation 2 mths after the flood. My insurance that I’m fighting with does not want to cover the naturopath because he’s not in network (he was just certified by Dr Shoemaker and is the only one in the state of NJ). I’ve tried to explain the complexities of the treatment, but there are no codes for CIRS/mycotoxin illness so they say if they have no codes they can’t charge. I told them they had better make up some because I pay $1,100 a mth for insurance and can’t afford treatment and will continue to get more sick and end up un the hospital and THAT will cost them even more money, so don’t be stupid! So we will see. Mean time I’m trying to get my condo together and on the market to sell but as these weeks go by, I’m at this time unable to eat -more then 2 bites of any food just 2x’s a day and I’m very anemic (ferritin was 9 and now after 6nths of trying to eat iron rich foods is only 23 and should be around
    100-150). Is suing the company for all I’ve lost and the cost of the move feasible? I’ve been here in this place for 19yrs and now have to start with a new mortgage and the cost of moving is crippling to me!!! Any advice or comments would be appreciated.

    • Hi .. I am also suffering from toxic mold exposure.. Seek out an environmental specialist or facility. Unfortunately the main stream medical docs are ignorant to environmental exposures. I am also a nurse and let me say .. Thank god I know how to advocate for myself. I am still so so sick however just located an doc who specializes in This field. If this doesn’t detox, I’m off to Dallas or Fla for treatment, insurance does not recognize this illness. It is ridiculous .
      Reading the book by the “billings family, mold the war within” will be helpful, I’m drowning with this illness. My family had to leave everything and move . Good luck and keep pushing for help ,

      • My very best wishes for a full recovery to you.

        Would you be willing to share the name of the Doctor who specializes in this???

        • Hi Maureen…I didn’t know if you were asking me or Lauren for the name of a dr, so I’ll give you mine. His name is Michael Rothman, MD a naturopath that I went to by chance for something else and if I hadn’t I NEVER would have known. He was recently certified by Dr Rithchie Shoemaker in the treatment protocol and he is in Spring Lake, NJ. If you’re interested, he’s listed as MD Wellness or by his name. Hope this helps! Good luck…

          • I have various symptoms starting with vertiago after being exposed 20 years ago to mold . I was diagnosed a month ago by testing and history
            I do have mycotoxicois.. my question.. does anyone know of a treatment center .. will go anywhere but prefer Florida, Maryland or
            Costa Rico

            • Dr shoemaker who is the one who is training these other drs is inMaryland…i think Potomac but he’s not practicing anymore and is concentrating on training drs. Im sure you could look him up and ask who you can see and where. Hope this helps!

      • I just read the war within and it was very informative. I just found the correct and currant codes for SIRS….ICD code R65.10 and that’s for 2016. I’m not going to let BCBS NOT pay for my care! I’m going to keep fighting and refuse to cancel my insurance so that I can pay for the care…I can’t afford $1,100 a mth AND pay out of pocket for the treatment. What are we paying insurance for if they don’t cover anything you need?!!!!

    • Hi can you tell me the holistic doctor that Dr Shoemaker certified in NJ??? I have been sick for 8 months

      • Hi Christina! His name is Dr Michael Rothman and he’s in Springlake, NJ. Address 1325 Warren Ave, 07762. His phone is listed as MD wellness and his phone is (732)268-7663. Brenda his nurse is very nice as is he and I don’t think he’s actually a naturopath but he believes firmly in finding out WHY you have problems and them wants to correct them…which is the only way to get well, right? He’s into nutrition, clean way of living and will prescribe meds only if absolutely necessary and appropriate which all Drs should be doing. He doesn’t take any insurance but when other stupid un informed Drs have destroyed your health, it a blessing to pay someone who actually knows what to look for, knows what labs to test, spends an 1 1/2 hrs for the first visit so you have plenty of time to talk uninterrupted and then gets it right. I’m not trying to paint him as a God, but right now in my book….he’s close! I had been suffering for close to 4yrs, was operated on 3x’s for nothing, many, many meds, labeled as a complainer with phychiatric problems who they just wanted to medicate with anti depressants and then to hear your not crazy and to see the lab results..IT MADE MY DAY and I’ve contacted a few of those “other Drs” to TELL them how far off the mark with what they did to me they were and it’s satisfying to see their faces when they look at the lab reports and I tell them what they should have done instead. I really think God I ended up in his office because I still wouldn’t have any answers and I’d still be living in this sick house not knowing any better. I’m trying now to find a clean place to rent, at least for a yr but I have money problems and also 8 cats…so it’s not easy but somehow it will work out…I hope! Good luck and if you have any questions for me, don’t hesitate to ask!

      • Dr Michael Rothman on Warren Ave, Springlake, Nj. You can look him up and it comes as MD wellness. I thought he was a naturopath but he isn’t. He believes in natural medicine 1st and if needed then he’ll prescribe meds but likes to stay with natural substances rather then synthetic. If it weren’t for him I wouldn’t know why I’m so sick for the past 4yrs and I wouldn’t know I had to vacate the house….which I’m working on now but with limited money it’s been hard. Hope this helps!

  35. I believe that a birth defect that was caused by exposure to mold could have been the result of old technology under the toilet and the pregnant woman would be exposed to it every day of her pregnancy. Every home has them and up till now what is out of sight is out of mind. I am sure there are cases where the moms did not know how they were exposed. I believe I have found the answer.
    The toilet flange is the piece of plumbing that connects the toilet to the sewer. They all have open slots where the toilet bolts go and holes where the flange is screwed to the floor. These openings expose the bathroom sub floor which is food for mold to the inherent moisture that is always there.
    I believe that the open slot toilet flange is the secret killer.

  36. I have a question. My daughter has lyme and the “dreaded” HLA gene. We have done the ERMI test as well. We are moving her out of the house because our crawl space will have to be sealed, etc… We have a chance to move into a relative’s attached apartment. However, it did flood in the past. The ducts have been replaced as have the walls and floors. Would that be safe?

    • Kelli – In my opinion I would invest the money to do an ERMI or at least a HERTSMI-2 via mycometrics in the room(s) she will be staying in. Even though it sounds like remediation was done there is no guarantee.

  37. Hi Chris. Thanks so much for shining a light on the subject of mold. I’m just checking in to see if you have any further information from Dr. Ghosh about the safety of using the air oasis units while in the room or are you still just using them when not in the room? If so, I’m considering some programmable wifi outlets where I could set up a schedule for them to run when I’m not home. Thanks.

    • I hope your get an answer as I’m still eager to know, too! I want to run mine much more while I’m at home and while I’m out, but am not sure if it’s safe for my pets. Now I only run it in one room at a time and have to lock the pets out.

  38. Our family of 11 lost our home to toxic mold. It took us 8 years to make the connection. We vacated the home in 2008 and slowly got our lives back thanks to radical lifestyle changes. Thanks for spreading the word.

    • Chris’ podcasts were one of the things that led me to test in the first place Andrea. As much as I hate this mold fiasco, I’m glad I got to meet you in the process as well. 🙂

      • How long did it take to feel normal again? We have a mold issue and are trying to find a new home now. It hasn’t been easy finding a new place. We own our home.

        • Hi Stacie! Thanks for the encouragement. I let go of “normal” eventually and found that things slowly improved to the point where I wasn’t thinking about mold or chemical exposures much. You’re on a good path and will get to the other side no doubt.

  39. Chris good article. You mentioned “… identification of particular species of Penicillium, Aspergillus, Wallemia, etc., which is important because different species have different health effects.”

    I’d be interested to know what health effects are known about Wallemia mold. Thanks.

  40. Chris, I’m curious what your thoughts are on how extreme we need to take “getting rid of our belongings.” Literally, just last week we found out we’re dealing with a great deal of mold which likely explains our entire family’s health issues despite following a functional medicine lifestyle for years. We’re going to have the remediation done and have opted to also have all of our carpeting removed and flooring replaced. Do we truly need to consider getting rid of most of our personal belongings as well? I realize you may not want to make a blanket statement but would love any comments you do have to share. Thank you!

    • Terra…Google “paradigm change me.com” what do I do with my stuff? This will explain everything to you and what should go and why. It also has other good articals you can click on. I’m throwing everything out except my clothes and you have to wash all of them in ammonia in the washing machine. I’m bath9ing my cats in ammonia/water as well cuz it’s the only substance known to kill both mold and mycotoxins and is even safe to bath infants in. I’ll be bathing in it as well every night for 20mins once I move out of this sick house. Good luck!

  41. Chris, thank you for all the great work you do and especially the recent posts about CIRS.

    Now, I am asking that you read this with compassion. I think you touch the lives of many and could continue to do so, with increased awareness.

    I was reading this article and intrigued by the air filter mentions: you said they were pricey, and pricey indeed: I looked up the items and from what you said it appears you have invested at least $4000 in air filtration/sanitizers in your own home, which is, as you say, worth it. I believe it is for you and your family.

    I have been following your blog for nearly 5 years now and it’s been an invaluable resource through my own journey to better health, I traveled to Berkeley from Oregon on my own to your book release, you are my first resource for nearly anything health related.

    I am a supplements clerk, I make $10/hr, but I can only work 3-4 days a week because of yet-undiagnosed health issues. I have state health care and foods stamps. I devote a large amount of my resources to quality food and do the best I can.

    I say this because I am a huge fan of you: remember that much of your readership are not the Bay Area upper-middle class folks you often cater to. While you may say that it was worth it to you to spend so much on air filters, its a punch in the gut to us whom $4000 is a small fortune, to assume that there’s any way in hell we can beg borrow or steal an $800 air filter, much less even more than a months supply of probiotics. It’s hard to hear you call it “worth it”: as if suggesting that all your readers can just shift our budgets around a bit to accommodate the extra expense, or work a little harder. To put it in perspective, $800 is how much I make per month, total. $4000 is how much I make in 4- 5 months. And I have it pretty good compared to many.

    I don’t ask you to dramatically change what you’re doing, what you’re doing is great: and no, it’s not your fault that the “healthcare” system in this country is effed, or that access to healthy food, water, air, housing is heavily stratified among class and race lines…I merely ask that you lower your blinders just a little, to give a little nod to the masses that aren’t in your economic class, because some of us DO follow you. this could mean simply acknowledging the relatively inaccessibility of many of your suggestions, or even the occasional suggestion of lower-cost alternatives, or links to resources. Otherwise your efforts merely benefit the upper classes.

    Thank you very much, keep up the good work and thanks for reading my short novel.

    • Yep, Chris has a following of little rich brats who are the ones following his every suggestion and buying these items. See how he doesn’t answer the questions of the great unwashed suckers w real health problems? That is while he and his family splurge on preventives, at the expense of the suckers who are truly sick and who also have come to see him (oh, IN THE BAY AREA) after a blood soaking rigid protocol of getting thru his henchmen at the front end not to mention the 2k for a lousy needle pricker.

      I’ve come to not really believe anything anymore as it’s all about the greenbacks. This mold thing, btw, although real, is also a cash cow. Shoemaker is Mr Chaching and Chris is panting, all along for the dough.

      Not good manners to ignore the people, dude!

    • Just a reminder that Chris doesn’t determine the price of the air filters he recommends. His only job is to tell the truth as he knows it. Don’t shoot the messenger or you will no longer receive the message.

  42. What exactly is the mold-Lyme connection? If one has Lyme&co-infect. (Bab Dunc, Bab Fishe, Anaplasma), is mold often also an issue?
    We had the Hertzmi done & was “moderately elevated”…(have had condensation in attic…) ; (
    any thoughts?
    many thx!!

  43. I believe that the first thing you need to do if you suspect you have mold (of any kind) in your home or place of work, is to get rid of it. In order to know the correct method to remove it so it doesn’t come back and without risking further exposure you will need to get a mold testing specialist. companies like AirMD.com provide nation wide mold testings and other air quality testing. They’ve save my house from mold infestation.

  44. I have been diagnosed with BOOP, interstitial lung disease, Mycobacterium abscesses, Aspergillus fumigata, and other lung diseases by an infectious disease doctor and pulmonologist at national Jewish Hospital in Denver Colorado. Throughout the last 25 years I have lived in homes and worked in buildings that have had mold in them. My husband and I purchased a home recently in Hendersonville North Carolina. After the home inspection during which time there was no mold found, I began to have symptoms. I have hired an environmental scientist to do mold inspection/testing. Your article has been very helpful and I will use some of your texts for discussion when he comes back with his results. Do you happen to have a doctor in the Asheville/Hendersonville area? in 2011 they found the above referenced infections/molds. I was in the hospital for 30 days and on IV treatments for three months. Currently, I am on three antibiotics and will be for the rest of my life. I take amoxicillin, minicyclin, chlofasamine. Thank you for your work. Patricia

    • Hi .. Can I ask how they concluded your dx? Meaning what testing?
      I am getting treated for mold exposure however I feel lost and I feel like my body is failing , all that is being done is confusing blood work
      Thank you

      • Would you please send me the name of the Doctor who diagnosed you with boop??

        My husband had it, it was vicious. I sincerely hope you get well soon.

        What type of occupation were you in?

  45. The owner of the house that I moved into last year started treatment for Lyme disease with a local doctor trained in Dr. Shoemaker’s protocols. At the initial appointment, her doctor advised that a HERTSMI mold test be done to make sure she was not having mold exposures that would interfere with Lyme treatment. The HERTSMI tests for the 5 worst mold species associated with human illness. It’s a subset of the 36 species ERMI test and what doctors usually order. Since I had the ‘dreaded’ haplotype and had been diagnosed with CIRS from living in two water damaged homes, I paid the extra to get the more comprehensive ERMI test ($290). The results came back with a low mold index score, and both my doctor and the home owner’s doctor said we were safe! However, Mycometrics staff explained to me that though the score was low, the fact that so many species showed up—particularly ones that can produce mycotoxins and that require a a lot of water over a long period of time—was an indication of a past or current water issue in the house. My symptoms worsened over the next months, and finally an inspection was done by a knowledgeable Industrial Hygienist. High levels of mold were discovered under carpet in the garage and behind the kitchen sink wall due to a pipe leak. He explained to me that the HERTSMI is usually ordered by doctors to detect risk for illness, while the ERMI provides more comprehensive info to Industrial Hygienists about what’s happening in the building. Doctors aren’t trained to analyze this info. So a cautionary warning: always speak with the lab when you get your ERMI results. (I only use Mycometrics and they are very helpful). They can give you info about which molds in your results produce mycotoxins and how much moisture they need to grow, which can help you identify a long standing hidden leak and guide you in doing remediation properly. Your doctor is probably not knowledgeable enough to interpret the results and may tell you there’s not a problem, when in fact there is a dangerous mold issue.

  46. 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.

    I think it would be great for you to do an article o implant illness to spread the word on how they are making people sick!

  47. 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.

  48. Thank you Chris for all your great articles! I just have one question: Under bioxin’s found in water damaged buildings you mentioned Beta-glucan. My understanding of beta glucan is found in mushrooms which works as a immune modulator and is suppose to be good for our health. Does this mean anyone suffering from toxic mold issues should not consume mushrooms and/or mushroom supplements?

  49. Cheers,
    Thank you for everything you write, it is helpful and encouraging. I would like to know your opinion on the mold who grows in certain grains such as corn as source of infection.
    Many thanks!

  50. What are the SNPs in the genotype for mold susceptibility, or the gs# of the genotype? I have my 23andMe data, and hopefully they’re provided in the raw data.

  51. Important update: Amazon.com is not an authorized reseller of IQAir, so if you purchase from there the warranty won’t be valid. I talked with someone at IQAir who said they are constantly battling to get the IQAir removed from Amazon, but it’s a difficult challenge. I updated the link in the article to go directly to IQAir’s list of authorized internet resellers.

  52. I dealt with an awful black mold experience in an old apartment. I had no clue what was making me so sick for so long. Doctors kept implying nothing was wrong with me. I even had a pulmonologist tell me what I really need was a psychiatrist.

    While moving greatly improved my symptoms, I still have residual illness many years later. I am going to look into CIRS more. This article is really interesting. Thanks

    Here is my mold story: http://glutenfreefun.blogspot.com/2011/06/mold-interrupted-my-celiac-diagnosis.html

  53. I find this article disturbing in that Chris, you always promote alternative medicine and to avoid prescription drugs.

    http://chriskresser.com/the-fatal-flaw-of-prescription-drugs/

    However, in this article you put a doctor “Ritchie Shoemaker” up on a pedestal as if he is the god of mold and the cure. Doesn’t Ritchie Shoemaker use prescription drugs to try and treat CIRS? (if so…why are you promoting him on your website when clearly you are against prescription drugs?)

    *Food for thought for anyone reading this.

    • That article points out the problem with relying exclusively on prescription drugs for treatment, as the conventional medical system tends to do. I am not against all prescription drugs, and I have written about the benefits of rifaximin (for SIBO), low-dose naltrexone (for autoimmune disease), thyroid hormone replacement, and many others.

      If you had read more than one or two articles on my blog before making a blanket accusation, you’d know that.

      • I think everyone else understand and appreciates what you are doing here Chris. Some people just vent on others just because we have no choice but to listen.

  54. I lived in a house where the mold grew on the walls in the cracks for 4 years. I had tubs with 2 liters of water removed from my bedroom every 2 weeks.
    I have moved out last year November, lost 12 kilos in weight, now weigh 38 kilos in total, auto-immune disease, stomach ulcers, pneumonia, vomiting, gastro, painful intestines, weakness and tired all the time, severe restless legs, severe headaches, sinus, confusion, cramps in whole body, from face, spasms to spasms in fingers, hands, feet, toes etc. Joint pain. Many more symptoms. Doctors keep looking to find what is wrong,, loosing more by the week, getting weaker by the week, and no-one has any answers,

    • you need to eat Doug Kaufmann’s Phase One Diet if you have a mold disease or fungus disease. Also, you need to alternate between ginger and Turmeric every other day for a month, then off a month, then on a month until the inflammation is gone. Don’t touch carbs or sugar if you have a fungal disease including mold. You have to kill the internal parasites for 70 ~ days then kill the fungus with antifungal herbs and eat greens uncooked, if you eat cooked foods, be sure to take enough digestive enzymes. Be sure you’re filled with fiber and probiotics, there’s none like Dr. Ohira’s probiotics, I’ve spoken to them… you can contact them and find the difference, it’s real. – didn’t send an email

  55. Been waiting a long time for this article. Thank you! The surviving mold site is rich with information but not entirely clear. Very eager to read future articles here that delve deeper into the subject. Particularly how to interpret neuroquant results and hopefully some healthier natural alternatives to CSM, Welchol, and BEG spray (Mupirocin).

    I really appreciate the section on air quality because true avoidance seems nearly impossible. That said, I’m a little concerned about the Advanced Hydrated Photocatalytic Oxidation Cell technology for sanitizing the air.

    From the Air Oasis website:

    Unlike an air purifier which circulates a portion of a room’s indoor air and pushes it through a filter, Air Oasis’s Surface and Air Sanitizers produce safe catalytic molecules that are blown throughout the room to sanitize both the air and surfaces 24/7/365.

    If indiscriminate sanitizing molecules are blown airborne they are likely to be inhaled. Intuitively, that seems unwise. Hopefully Chris can do regular flora testing and report back if his families skin, nasal, and bowel flora deteriorates with constant use of these machines.

    Does anyone out there know how to interpret the neuroquant brain volume report? Trying to normalize my results to compare them to the controls / subjects in Shoemakers paper is not entirely clear. Thanks.

    • I do have some questions about the AO devices and have been in contact with Dr. Ghosh, the scientific advisor for the company, to attempt to answer them.

      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.

      • Hi Chirs, Thanks for this great article. I’m wondering if you’ve heard back from Dr. Ghosh about your questions regarding AO? I want to buy one, but I work from home and have 2 cats here as well. It would be hard to run it while not in the room since we have an open studio, and if we run it only when we’re out the cats would still be exposed. Dr. Shoemaker highly recommend I get one, but I’m still a bit concerned about the cats based on your comments about only running them while you’re not in the room. Do you run the AO around your pets (if you have pets?) Thanks!

    • Salus, talk to the CIRS docs on the front lines. The Shoemaker protocol is still the gold standard. I am all for natural treatments and tried them for 4 years. NOTHING pulls mold out of your body except resin. Cholestyramine. The docs that do this every day are getting people well if you follow the protocol carefully. Call these doctors. They are all keeping statistics on success. And the Hi Tech Air technology is better than Air Oasis. I wish Chris new about it. It produces safe hydroxyl radicals that penetrate surfaces. Zero ozone is made by the Hi Tech machines. I have 3 and I love them. They enabled me to start treatment, where before I could not tolerate treatment. I had to take naps every day for 10 years until I used the Hi Tech Air – stable OH molecule machines. My energy is so much better now. This is the foundation for my treatment. A safe environment. I also did not have to throw out all my stuff. good luck to you!

  56. Thanks Chris for the excellent article. I am an 11-3-52b, and lyme was the trigger for me followed by a huge environmental mold hit. Healthy and strong until this happened. Glad that you have integrated this into your practice. I’m currently in treatment, but it’s a long process. God bless.

  57. We have learned how to seal up our houses but not how to ventilate them with fresh dry air. Every new house should have an Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV). The aren’t that expensive.

    • Energy recovery ventilator?? Haven’t heard of this. Are they easy to find?
      THANKS, Chris, for this very informative article. I too am of the dreaded 2%, who can’t detox these biotoxins, and have Lyme , co infections, viruses, mercury, lead toxicity, autoimmune diseases, among other things. Anyway, I always love your articles, which are so informative, and I so appreciate your sharing your knowledge and wisdom with all of us!

  58. Chris, your podcast and several others have added so much value to my life and are helping me overcome chronic illness. I became aware of Dr. Shoemaker’s work in April 2015 when it suddenly hit me after listening to Dave Asprey’s podcast and being indoors on a rainy day that the illness I was suffering from was mold. (Maybe Lyme too.) I requested several tests from my doctor. I failed an online VCS test. I was hitting potholes because I couldn’t see them. I am realizing many people labeled with mental illness are suffering from mold-related sickness too. I was suicidal. It started with what I believe was exposure to Stachybotris. Mary Ackerley, integrative psychiatrist has a great article about it. http://www.survivingmold.com/community/mary-ackerley-the-brain-on-fire-the-role-of-toxic-mold-in-triggering-psychiatric-symptoms I am beginning recovery. Also I realized that connection between mycotoxins, glutamine and histamines. Stopping high histamine foods is also helping. You contribute so much to the community and are helping me tremendously. Bravo!

  59. I noticed that a propensity to experience static shocks is listed as a symptom. This is also a symptom of low thyroid, especially for patients who are taking a T4 only drug like synthroid.

  60. Thanks for the coverage of this! I’m lucky enough to have a regular primary care doc that knows about mold illness but isn’t a certified mold doctor. Is there a resource that I can bring to her that shows exactly how to test for all of the CIRS biomarkers? It would help a lot to get preliminary testing done with a DR that’s covered by insurance in order to figure out whether or not it’s necessary to go to a certified mold DR.

    • You can see a list of the recommended tests, as well as download a PDF (the “lab orders” document) which lists the CPT codes and appropriate lab for each test, here: http://www.survivingmold.com/diagnosis

      Some need to be run through Labcorp, others through Quest. They cannot be substituted for one another.

      • Thank you, that’s exactly what I needed. I’m sorry to hear that your family is dealing with this. I believe that I am as well and your podcast with Dr. Shoemaker is what really opened my eyes to the likely cause of all my varied health problems. Just want you to know that work is appreciated and making a difference in people’s lives.

  61. We lived for 2 years in a house that was constantly damp with mold issues. The entire time we were there my kids coughed, often to the point of vomiting. I was starting to think they were asthmatic. We moved into a new warm dry house and within a week there was absolutely no coughing and hasn’t been any since and that was 5 months ago. We had bought an air cleaner but it didn’t make a difference. Only getting out of that terrible house helped.

  62. 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?

    • Virtually everyone we’ve tested in our practice has a susceptible HLA haplotype, which would mean most patients that test positive for heavy metal toxicity have susceptible haplotypes. But that association could be purely due to chance; more formal research would have to be done to establish a true correlation.

      Some people like Erik Johnson have recovered by doing extreme mold avoidance and not using binders or other interventions in Dr. Shoemaker’s protocol. But most people will need treatment.

  63. Thank you for this amazing article and the advice on how to get tested! I used hydrogen peroxide spray which is easy to make to kill the small amount of black mold in the bathroom ceiling and, after it dried and killed the spores, I could scrub it off without risking being exposed to it before it was dead. I’m extremely chemically sensitive and bleach which kills it really well is not an option for me because it’s too strong a chemical and hydrogen peroxide doesn’t smell very much. I repeat spraying often to keep it from reoccurring and that seems to work. I’ve been unable to move or I wouldn’t live in a place that has mold, but there’s a lot of it here in Seattle. I’ve been around mold before and I’ve been so sensitive to it that, even in small amounts, it overwhelms my senses and I develop symptoms. It’s really important to get away from it or kill it, one of the two. Thanks again for the article!

    • Kathryn — I have read and been told by a mold testing expert that I should never SPRAY any kind of product onto moldy areas…. the mold will release spores into the air immediately in reaction. Instead, I was told to use products directly on a cloth, then scrub…. it’s the spraying that splashes the spores into the air! So when I read yr comment, I got a little scared for you– pls be careful!! DO some research to find out if spraying is as bad as I’ve been told… and good luck!!

      • I learned from our Industrial Hygienist that dead spores are still allergenic and may still contain mycotoxins, so you don’t want to touch or breathe spores that are dispersed into the air when liquid hits them. Always wear gloves, goggles, respirator, and shower immediately if you’re susceptible or allergic. Or better to have someone else who’s not sensitive clean it up. Also I was told that hydrogen peroxide isn’t effective with mold.

  64. How do we find a certified specialist to come inspect for mold once we have done the HERMI test? I’ve spend hundreds of dollars on inspectors, but they don’t understand CIRS patients. I live in a small county in Missouri so I don’t have allot of options locally. Kansas City is the nearest big city to me. I hope you can help! Thanks

    • I wish I had an easy answer to that question. We’ve had a difficult time finding someone qualified even here in the SF Bay Area. It’s a major challenge.

      • So can you comment on what we should be looking for in terms of engaging a mold inspector? I have been told by my functional med doctor that chronic inflammation is contributing to my symptoms (elevated C4, MMP-9 and TGF Beta) and the tests showed that I have HLA Mold and multi-susceptibility type BUT so far I have not been able to find any significant areas of mold my home other than the usual – little bit on the bath grout, bit of black slime around the kitchen sink. Plus, my symptoms have been ongoing for four or five years now and we have only been in this house for three. Today I spoke to an independent mold inspector that said he would visually inspect our home (for several hundred dollars) and if there was mold or had been mold he would find it because it usually leaves some kind of indication. His website mentions the use of infrared thermography if necessary. Any advice on what else to ask/look for with mold inspections? Thanks

        • Often CIRS is part of the picture but not the whole picture, in our experience. Unfortunately mold is not always visible, so the fact that you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Starting with an ERMI test from Mycometrics is typically what we recommend. It can’t rule in/out mold with 100% certainty, but it’s a good initial screen.

          • The advice I got from Dr. Ackerley is to buy the “swiffer cloth” HERTSMI test from http://www.mycometrics.com. She said not to trust anything else at this point. Use the cloth to wipe surfaces in all rooms – top of bookshelves, doors etc. Places that don’t get cleaned often. When the results come back you can decide if you want to pay extra to get full ERMI results. This is significantly cheaper than having an inspector come and gives you a good first indication of where you stand. I am waiting for our results at the moment.

      • Hi Chris,

        I also live in the SF Bay Area and have been searching for a knowledgable specialist to come check out my new apartment (just recently had to move as ERMI score was too high). Can you please share who you found in this area?

  65. Hi Chris,

    Do you think a BlueAir Sense filter would be enough for me Or is the heavy-duty IQAir HealthProPlus necessary?

    I used to live in a moldy house that made me sick. I’m better now and I live alone in a one-bedroom apartment. It’s standard size with a bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom.

    I noticed the BlueAir is cheaper, so I thought maybe I’d just go with that and have it in my bedroom/office (where I spend most of my time anyway).

    What do you think?

    • I’m still researching the difference between these filters, but one of the big advantages of the IQAir seems to be that it filters particles as small as 0.003 microns. This is 10 times smaller than a virus. Given that a lot of the most harmful particles are ultrafine, this may be a significant advantage over the Blueair, which only filters particles as small as 0.1 microns. But this is not my area of expertise and I am still learning more.

      • Are these considered better than the Austin air filter that I frequently hear recommended? Also, have you checked out how AllerAir compares to the others (one w/carbon filter)? Several yrs ago that was the one recommended yo me by an environmental health dr.

      • Call Mike Schrantz with Environmental Analytics. He is in Tucson however I have sent him all over the place for our customers. His number is 520.488.6639. I have been working with him for years and you will not find anyone more comprehensive.

        Thanks Dustin Anderson

  66. I recently had silicone breast implants and have been unwell since. I’ve been dx with Migraine Assoc Vertigo and present with light sensitivity, balance issues and chronic dizziness.

    There is a plastic surgeon that does implant removal and she contends that mold and other toxins poison us slowly. My symptoms started when I woke from surgery.

    Toxic overload? Surgical stress causing 5 month (so far) painless migraine? Mold?

    I found this article compelling.

    • Deanna

      I got exactly the same symptoms when I had silicone implants years ago. Bizarre and not sure why. I since had them removed. Good luck in your recovery.

    • Btw I should have qualified Deanna removing the implants didn’t have any positive effect on my health. Be gentle on yourself, work on your immune system, maybe try some decent colostrum powder and everything will be ok.

  67. Why did you use the word mutation along with HLA.
    I’m 11-3-52b with no mutations.

    Do you realize how many people are now going to look at their 23&me reports for an HLA mutation and be led to believe that they aren’t in the 24%.

    • That 24% is just a hypothesis by Shoemaker with no peer-reviewed studies to back it up.

      If 24% of the population is susceptible to mold illness, tens of millions would be severely ill, yet they’re not. Not like he describes anyway.

      Even in the case of Hurricane Katrina, we’d see thousands more chronically ill if his hypothesis is correct. It’s not.

  68. I certainly know that CIRS can be a difficult and problematic issue for some (since one of my family members tested positive for a mold mycotoxin that RealTime Labs tests for). However, I have a question that perhaps Dr. Kresser can answer. On other websites, I’ve read that Dr. Shoemaker compared haplotypes (i.e. one’s genetics) in this country to worldwide population frequencies. And, I’ve seen it written that via his method, that 90% of the United States population would end up with having genes that are of the mold susceptible type.

    So, if the above is not true, and one is in a minority of having mold susceptible genes, that is something that one really needs to be careful of and treat. If it turns out that nearly 90% of the folks in this country have the same genes, then you really have the same issues to treat, but that having unfortunate genetics isn’t one of them.

    Please note that I’ve read the above, but don’t know if the above is true, and therefore don’t know how much importance to place in the Shoemaker protocol in the overall grand scheme of things.

    Can anyone provide further guidance here?

  69. Such a great article! I’m so sorry you suffer/suffered from CIRS, but very happy to know what one of my primary care providers has been through it and can relate to how I’m feeling. I’m getting my blood work done tomorrow and a neuro quant MRI done on Saturday. Stay tuned!!

  70. I lived in an apartment for 21/2 years and right before moving out we discovered the air ducts were filled with mold. I had workd out of the apartment most of that time. 8 years ago I was diagnosed with MS after a bout of optic neuritis. I did have a VCS test which was found to be consistent with MS. I went gluten free, low dairy, low sugar and on LDN and have been stable ever since. However, I cannot be outside when the molds are high (this summer was awful-I literally have trouble finding words when speaking). The other day I tried to eat peanut butter for the 1st time in years and itched horribly for 2 days (I suspect the molds in the peanut butter). I have always suspected my illness was caused by my mold exposure. Thank you for this article-we are thinking about moving in a few years and my biggest fear is that I will end up in a moldy home. I will look into Dr. Shoemakers protocol but living in Louisville, KY we are always behind the times when it comes to integrative medicine.

    • Sara, I’m not to far from Louisville. You’re correct, Outside of conventional medicine, there are not many options in KY. There is an environmental Dr. In Louisville, not sure exactly how he treats though. There is a Dr. In southern Indiana that could help you detox. There is another Dr. Southeast Ohio, that treats mold illness. If you want a Shoemaker certified Dr., you would have to go further, like Chicago. Some of them will do phone appointments after your first visit in their office. I have contact info if you need any of it.

    • Hello, Sara. I’ve been sick for about a month and a half as has my mother. We also live in Louisville, KY. I was wondering if you have found a specialist close in this field so we could see them as well.

      • Robbie, there currently is no Dr.’s in Louisville that can competently treat for mold toxicity. I had to go to Chicago to see one. After the first visit, they can do appointments over the phone. However, lately there may be a few Dr.’s that are closer, that may possibly treat mold toxicity/CIRS. Send me your contact info and I can send their names/numbers to you. None of them likely take insurance, it’s usually an out of pocket expense.

  71. Desperate for a local Boston-based doctor to support me on this journey. I took have CIRS but have yet to find the right doctor to help me heal so I can focus on growing my family.
    With all of the amazing docs in the area – does anyone have a recommendation?

    • Danielle Shea Tan, Look up Peg DiTulio in NH. She is right across the border from Boston. She is my Shoemaker Certified Protocol doc and she was lovely.

  72. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!! I am so grateful you wrote this article and that you interviewed Dr. Shoemaker! I’m waiting for my CIRS tests to come back and I can’t wait to move forward toward healing! I’ve been very sick for 12 years and I am just feeling for the first time this may be a huge part of the illnesses I’ve been dealing with. Keep it up, Chris! Your work is so incredibly helpful!!!!

    • Mariah If you are on Facebook check out the group Shoemaker Protocol Toxic Mold and Lyme. It is a support group for people following Dr Shoemaker’s protocol. Lots of knowledgeable people there.

  73. I live in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It is currently very hot and very humid.

    I recently moved into a recently refurbished apartment. There is white mold on all 4 doors. The bathroom was always hot & humid even if I hadn’t taken a shower for hours.

    I have four 16″ floor fans going pretty much 24/7- 2 in living room area and one each in the 2 bedrooms. I put an 8″ fan on the floor just outside the bathroom door and it runs consistently. No more humidity there now.

    I also run another 8″ fan at night in my bedroom on a low setting to reduce fan noise. The ceiling fan works and is noisy so using the floor fan instead. Quieter.

    This whole city is moldy in varying degrees!!! Winter months are milder since it is usually pleasantly warm.

  74. THANK YOU for writing about this…this subject is so often not addressed and too often missed, yet affects more people and is underlying more illnesses than I think anyone realizes.

  75. About thirty years ago, I was living in an apt on the top floor of a flat roofed building. The tar on the roof needed upgrading and it rained a lot one year and suddenly my bedroom ceiling was COVERED in black mold. The apt building was owned by an Insurance Company, and I called the manager to let them know that this problem had occurred. They didnt take my concerns seriously and I ended up moving, but not before I noticed that I didnt feel quite right, started going to doctors to get answers without success, and took days off work due to fatigue. I recovered, but a few years later, I had a BLACK fungal infection in one of my ears. Gross, I know, but Im sure that it was related to my exposure.

  76. The AirOsis intrigues me, but the Amazon reviews say there’s a lot of ozone or other byproduct smells. What’s your take on the danger of ozone producing machines?

    • The AO does produce a small amount of ozone, but it is below the recommended limit. That said, we have always had a HEPA/carbon filter like the IQAir or a BlueAir with a SmokeStop (carbon) filter added to it in the same room as the AO, and I do recommend that to my patients. http://www.airoasis.com/knowledgebase/ozone-air-quality-purifiers

      I mentioned that my research is ongoing: this is one area I’m continuing to look into, and I’ll report back if anything changes.

  77. Thanks for spreading the awareness of this condition, and all the good info. Your recent podcast with Dr. Shoemaker led to the CIRS diagnosis for my wife, after 10 years of battling chronic pain. It’s pretty incredible and sad that this is not better understood out there by regular physicians. Now we are having our kids tested.

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