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Toxic Mold Destroys Both Your Health and Your Home!

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          Picture of Stachybotrys mold growing in and on dry wall.

Dangerous. Stachybotrys mold growing in and on drywall. Courtesy of Case Western Reserve University.


Four months and four brain operations later, Big is in a coma in a Bangkok hospital. The odds are that he will dieónot from injuries sustained in the car crash but from an infection by a lethal fungus that blooms in Bangkok's klongs. The fungus entered Big's bloodstream when his heart stopped and his lungs filled with water. Undetected, it attacked blood vessels in Big's brain, causing a massive hemorrhage two weeks after the crash. - TIME Asia Magazine: Fancy a Swim? -- November 24, 2003 / Vol. 162 No. 20

Most homeowners believe that as long as they do not see visible signs of mold, that is, patches of green, blue, or black discoloration on surfaces, their environment is free of mold contamination. What homeowners often don't realize, however, is that large accumulations of hidden or concealed mold may be growing in areas that they cannot see, like air  ducts, remote attic or basement spaces, or wall cavities. Left to multiply, these infestations may produce enough organic compounds to cause allergic reactions, sickness and, in extreme cases, death (a possibility with infants. - Edward R. Lipinski, HOME CLINIC: The Battle Against Mold and Mildew, N.Y. Times, 9/12/99  

What are moulds?

Moulds are those little cottony patches we often see on  left-over food like bread, fruits and cheese. Sometimes they can also be found spreading on old books kept on our shelves, and other things in the home which are exposed to damp.  These little patches of various colors, which are often taken for granted, can cause losses in millions of dollars to properties and worse, is hazardous to your health. 

Leaving on holiday last week, I turned off the A/C and left my balcony door slightly ajar to allow my apartment to air. What was I thinking? I am now suffering from a Hong Kong affliction more insidious than SARS -- mold! My leather sofa, leather jacket and even a pair of Bally shoes are growing fur. - The Gweilo Diaries: The Fungus Among Us, Posted by Conrad on April 27, 2003

Imported mycoses imply to acquiring the infection overseas with a fungus, basically not existing in Japan, and the symptoms develop in Japan ... In Japan, 27 cases of coccidioidomycosis, 30 of histoplasmosis, 17 of paracoccidioidomycosis and one penicilliosis marneffei have been reported   - Imported Mycoses in Japan, IASR 2002; 23: 55-56

Extensive indoor mold contamination can cause very high and persistent airborne spore production and exposures.  Persons exposed to high spore levels can become sensitized and develop allergies. Health problems caused by molds can range from mild to severe allergic reactions and infections, and poisons produced by molds, called mycotoxins, can cause a myriad of disorders, from irritation to cancer and genetic mutation.

Fifty percent [50%] of homes contain problem moulds. A new medical study attributes nearly 100% of chronic sinus infections to moulds. A 300% increase in the asthma rate over the past 20 years has been linked to moulds. - USA Weekend, Dec. 3-5, 1999

Exposure to certain types of fungi, known as toxic mold, can cause a serious [allergic] reaction. If you're unlucky, this is the kind of mold you have. If you're really unlucky, your toxic mold will gird for battle and go to war, secreting chemicals called mycotoxins, which can find their way into your body, entering through your nose, mouth, and skin, lodging perhaps in your digestive tract, your lungs, or your brain. Among these toxins are trichothecenes, which were rumored to have been used as a biological weapon during the wars in Afghanistan and Vietnam - Lisa Belkin, Haunted by Mold, New York Times, Aug. 13, 2001

All moulds have the potential to cause health effects. Moulds can produce allergens that can trigger allergic reactions or even asthma attacks in people allergic to  mold. Others are known to produce potent toxins and/or irritants. Potential health concerns are an important reason. - Environmental Protection Agency, USA, March, 2001

Mold growth can also damage furnishings, such as carpets, sofas and cabinets.  Clothes and shoes in damp closets can become soiled. In time, unchecked mold growth can cause serious damage to the structural elements in your home. 

Even if mold in your house doesn't cause you any medical problems, if it becomes established in the wood in your home, 'dry rot' may form. Dry rot can result in a homeowner's nightmare. When the mold dies, the wood dries and then shrinks, breaking up into irregular chunks. Cracks in the wood fiber then act like straws, siphoning up moisture and carrying it to undamaged portions of the wood. Left unchecked, this process keeps recurring, continually rotting more wood, and can cause severe structural damage to your home. - Vicki Lankarge,

Where and how do you  look for mold infestations?

The best way to learn how to handle and control mold is hands-on training. There are in-person mold training seminars scheduled throughout the year. What better way than learn alongside those who are aspiring to be professional inspectors and remediators!

For those who are unable to train in person, the home study program is the next best thing. The distance or home study program will most likely be video based and online assisted sessions. This recourse has the most flexible schedule and venue - at the convenience of the student/trainee.

Otherwise, surf the web for specific information,  buy a book, or engage the services of a professional home inspector.

Healthwise, money-wise

Mold infestation can get you sick, get you sued, and get you ruined. There must be a way to fight back.

Mold-related health problems are often misdiagnosed or difficult to diagnose: treatment is not targeted at the real cause, becomes drawn-out, prolonged, and inevitably cause deterioration in lifestyle and financial health. Healthwise, money-wise, prevention is definitely better than cure.

Researchers in France have found a strong link between people who are+ sensitive to the type of mold that can sometimes be found on plants and paintwork in the home, and those who have life-threatening asthma attacks. -  Mold 'linked to severe asthma, BBC News World Edition, 22 August, 2002.

Mold problems have become more prevalent because of increased use of cheaper building materials like plasterboard and plywood, which are more prone to growing mold when wet ... Mold, as always, is spreading. But so is mold litigation, to the consternation of the insurance industPicture of Penicillium mould growing in floor and wall in water damaged bathroom in Corona, California.ry. Last week a state court in Austin, Texas, awarded Melinda Ballard and her family $32.1 million in a case involving allegedly extensive mold damage to their Dripping Springs, Texas, house. The jury ruled that Farmers Insurance Group had failed to properly address Ms. Ballard's original water-damage and mold claim and committed fraud in its handling of her claim.  - Christopher Oster, Insurers Blanch At Proliferation of Mold Claims, Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2001.   

Penicillium mold growing in floor and wall in water damaged apartment bathroom in Corona, California. Photo by Mold Inspector Phillip Fry.


The dangers from moulds are not just confined to house nor properties. Their harmful products, mycotoxins, are becoming more and more prevalent in our environment. Some mycotoxins have been harnessed to benefit man - like penicillin, the first antibiotic, which is sourced from moulds. Now, mold toxins are being considered not only for their therapeutic potentials. Harmful moulds, mold particles and products are now utilized by science and technology, ostensibly to benefit humankind, despite the risk and gamble on unforeseen consequences.

Here is an excerpt from House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 1 Nov 2000:

"The only United Nations International Drugs Programme (UNDCP) research into mycotoxins in drug crop eradication programmes is into the opium poppy fungus, pleospora papaveracea. The UK has supported this programme which has focused on establishing whether this naturally occurring fungus is viable as an opium poppy control agent and whether the fungus is specific to opium poppy.

Subject to the progress of research in this phase, a further phase of research would investigate wider safety issues, including the potential for mutation. The Government have made it clear that if research revealed harmful effects, the UK would withdraw support and press for closure of the programme.

No consideration is being given to the use of genetically modified mycotoxins in drug crop eradication programmes."

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