How Mold Sickness Destroys Your Health (And How to Protect Yourself)

| Nov 11, 2017

mold

We’ve written in the past about the manmade toxins that litter our homes: toxic furniture, bedding, clothing, cleaning products, and more. Environmental air pollution gets a lot of attention, but according to the EPA, the air inside our homes is two to five times more polluted on average—and in some cases up to 100 times more polluted. [1]

Toxic home syndrome is worth worrying about—especially given that we spend as much as 90% of our time indoors. Indoor pollution has been correlated with a rise in the incidence of many diseases, including cancer, autism, and many other degenerative conditions caused by an increased toxin load. [2]

A lot of this pollution comes from the sources mentioned above, but some household toxins are naturally occurring…and potentially just as dangerous as the industrial poisons with which our bodies have to content. One prominent example is mold.

What you must know about mold

Mold has been on this planet for a lot longer than we have, and it’s not going anywhere. It’s a highly evolved, highly adaptable fungal organism that makes up 25% of the Earth’s biomass—so it’s safe to say that mold is a fact of life.

This is not to say that mold should be viewed lightly, though. It can grow very quickly on almost any surface, provided that there’s enough moisture to support it. This means that bathrooms, kitchens, areas with leaky pipes, or areas prone to flooding are at highest risk. Once mold colonies grow to a critical mass, their spores become airborne, and they can travel throughout your entire home.

And all molds that produce mycotoxins, when present in high enough quantities, can be harmful to your health (with “black mold” being the worst of all). The effects of mold exposure are most often referred to as “allergic reactions,” but the truth is that it’s a slippery slope from mold allergies to mold illness (especially if mold is proliferating in unseen places around your home, like behind drywall or in small bathroom nooks).

Mold exposure can cause a wide range of symptoms, including irritation of the eyes, ears, nose, and throat, dermatitis, rashes, and other skin issues, asthma and other respiratory issues, fever, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and diarrhea.

Mold can radically suppress immune function (especially in people who already have a compromised immune system), and can even cause flu-like symptoms and liver damage. Animal studies suggest that excessive mold exposure can lead to kidney damage, infertility and other reproductive issues, and neurotoxicity. One human study even strongly linked household mold exposure to depression. [3]

Check out this video from the National Mold Resource Center to see if you have any symptoms of mold sickness:

Take action to protect yourself

While molds can be incredibly virulent and persistent, you don’t have to feel powerless against them. Small mold colonies are common, and usually pose relatively little risk to your health, so don’t feel like the sight of any mold whatsoever is cause for panic.

Also, because most of the ill effects of mold exposure come from mycotoxicity-induced immune dysfunction, you can protect yourself by boosting your immune system. Turmeric, vitamin C, vitamin D, and adaptogenic herbs are always a good choice. Low oral doses of activated charcoal or healing clays (like bentonite and zeolite) are also great for cleansing your body of mycotoxins.

Keep Your Home “Mold-Free”

If your home appears mold-free (or contains only small visible colonies), great! You can keep it that way by cleaning up spills or flooded areas immediately, fixing water leaks within 1-2 days, keeping your house well-ventilated (especially the bathroom and kitchen), and scrubbing away mold as soon as it appears.

If you become aware of large mold colonies in your home, though, taking supplements is not going to cut it. Mold infestations need to be dealt with swiftly and properly. There are home test kits available which measure the level of mold spores in the air, but they’re often quite inaccurate. If you can see any decent quantity of mold in your home, don’t wait to test…start removing it immediately!

Scrub off any visible mold with baking soda, distilled water, apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, and borax, and be sure to wear gloves and a protecting mask during clean-up. Avoid using toxic homecare products—the point is to remove toxins from your home, right?

Keep in mind that mold colonies can form well out of sight (if you have any of the symptoms listed above, and can’t link them to other causes, you might be suffering from mold exposure). Full mold remediation often requires the removal and replacement and walls, ceilings, and carpets. Unfortunately, these processes can be quite costly, but they’re well worth it.

If you’re a renter, talk to your landlord about any mold in your home. Only some states hold homeowners liable for mold remediation, but many landlords are willing to take care of the issue in order to preserve the future integrity of the house. If your landlord is not willing to take action, and you’re unable to afford the mold cleanup, you should strongly consider moving into a mold-free home.

By being aware of mold (and other toxins) in your home, and being willing to take action, you can ensure that your home remains a health-promoting oasis in an otherwise polluted world.

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References

[1] http://draxe.com/indoor-air-pollution-worse-than-outdoor/

[2] Ibid.

[3] http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070829162815.htm

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Category: Body, Featured, Healthy Living, Home

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