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Natural Awakenings Tucson

You’ve Located Mold—Now What?

Jun 05, 2019 12:09PM ● By Lance Morris

First, we need to establish if mold in our environment is a possible factor contributing to our health problems. The test kits that can be purchased online or from the hardware store, which use culture plates put out to collect air samples, are a waste of time and money.

The standard for mold testing is the environmental relative moldiness index (ERMI). There are two different levels of ERMI testing. Although they can be purchased online for home testing, it is recommended that one use a certified industrial hygienist (IH). Home kits cost about $150 to $350, while IH companies usually charge from $300 to $500.

Now let’s say we have confirmed both the types of molds and their relative concentrations. The next step is remediation to remove the source of environmental exposure. To be clear, if we live or work in a contaminated space, trying to merely treat mold on the surface or treat ourselves for the large array of symptoms will fail.

Attempting to self-remediate is problematic. Any mold that has entered a permeable surface cannot be treated with bleach, vinegar, soap, essential oils or baking soda; these products are only effective on hard surfaces. Unfortunately, once mold has entered particle board, dry wall, wood or insulation, these materials must be removed. To do this safely requires proper air-handling equipment and protective gear for the eyes, lungs and body. Special materials must be used to stop airborne spores and effectively attach them to wall and floor surfaces. Effective microorganisms (EM1) are ideal for this purpose, although most professional companies use other chemical viscous products.

EM1 will denature mold mycotoxin, rendering it harmless. If we just spray a layer of EM1 onto a permeable surface, unless we saturate it completely, the EM1 will fail. This is why removal of permeable contaminated materials is essential. Once that is accomplished, treating everything with EM1 is an excellent preventive measure.

Once the home environment is mold-free, the next step is to do adequate laboratory tests on the patient(s). This includes standard, regular blood tests, which are frequently completely normal. This often leads to patient confusion and doctors trying to reassure patients that they are fine when they are definitely not. 

Many of the tests that mold specialist physicians use are actually tests that show markers of inflammation. Inflammation can be caused by many factors, of which mold is only one. It is a careful history, symptom review and elimination of other diagnosable conditions that leads to the conclusion of mycotoxin as primary cause.

In truth, physicians that treat the whole body find that there are many vectors contributing to illness. Many of these vectors overlap, cross-contributing to induce a disease process. As such, even when we are confident that mycotoxin may be a primary induction vector in a particular patient, this does not exclude other primary, secondary or tertiary vectors as well.

Dr. Lance J. Morris practices at Wholistic Family Medicine, in Tucson. He has been in clinical practice in Tucson since 1985. Connect at 520-322-8122 or See ad, page 11.

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