Regular Mold Testing can help PREVENT an Illness-Inducing Exposure and the Health Fallout That Follows
By Cesar Collado
The MOST important piece of the “mold puzzle” for anyone trying to get well from environmentally-triggered illness or disease is removing themselves or the mold from their environment. No healing can occur if the cause (mold) of the sickness is still present. Thus, it makes sense that often the most overlooked and affordable tool everyone has at their disposal to prevent mold illness is mold testing whenever suspected. If you can identify mold issues, so that you can find the cause of the moisture or water and remedy the situation, you eliminate the problem. Unfortunately, the irony I have experienced with patients is that they want to keep mold testing at a minimum, even though it provides the required information to take action quickly and address issues before they become significant health problems. I personally like to be empowered to do something about it immediately.
My suggestion is always to test, test, and test some more to identify mold levels throughout your home. Mold is an opportunistic organism, it will seek out moisture and food and distributes it spores freely. Once it gets into your HVAC system, it can be distributed evenly throughout the entire home and all over your furnishings and things.
The EC3 Mold Screening Test Kit contains 6 plates to test your entire home. If you are unsure if you have a mold issue, this number of plates is adequate for an average home. I advise using a test plate in each common area where you spend time on each floor, and in your basement, and attic. The remaining plates can be used to “Tap” test trouble areas or items that normally harbor mold. Carpets can also be “Tap-tested” and provide important information. This test kit costs only a little over $6 per plate, and you do not have to send to a lab.
Because these tests are biologically-based tests and only require visual inspection, they are more accurate than many of the estimate-based tools mold inspectors utilize to count particles and estimate interior mold spore concentration. While the downside of using the plates is that you have to allow 5 days for incubation to allow the mold spores to grow, the test plates provide irrefutable proof that mold is growing.
In addition, EC3 Test Plates are treated with an antibacterial agent so that only mold is cultured. Simply count the mold colonies and you have an answer.
Once you know you have a mold problem, you can utilize Immunolytic’s test plates for lab analysis. This will provide specific information on the mold species your home tested positive for. This is invaluable information as you can determine if your home is potentially contaminated with mycotoxins, secondary metabolites released from certain molds. Mycotoxins are the poisons that can cause severe neurotoxicity or organ toxicity and are the most troublesome and debilitating of mold illness side effects.
Why More Testing?
Today’s homes have many rooms and trouble areas where mold can flourish. In addition, if there are children, elderly residents, immunocompromised individuals, or mold-sensitive family members, special consideration should be taken in areas of the house where the most time is spent.
Search for Trouble Areas
In my article, It Doesn’t Require a Hurricane. 13 Different Ways to Identify Common Household Water Leaks That Can Lead to Toxic Mold, I provide 13 examples of problem areas where leaks and moisture are common. When you discover what you think is mold, having a mold test plate available will provide you with the information needed to address the threat with the informed urgency about what the situation requires. The hard truth is that every home has plumbing and roofing issues at one time or another.
The “Gross” Factor
Since mold contamination is often blind to the human eye, so what cannot be seen is easily dismissed or ignored, consider thinking about your potential mold issues by replacing the idea of mold with lice. If you suspect someone in your home has lice, addressing broad contamination becomes an instant a priority. Then, consider that lice, while bothersome, are not as dangerous as mold.
Another consideration is to “Tap Test” items in rooms or close to rooms where you spend significant time. Test pillows and sheets, clothes, bedspreads, couches,
gym equipment, dirty laundry baskets, etc. All of these things are exposed to moisture or perspiration. The results can shock you when you actually see the mold content of pillow that you have been burying your face in for hours each night.
The Stacking Effect
Our homes breathe just like people. If you have a significant mold problem in a basement or crawlspace, the mold will eventually make its way into the main living spaces of a home. This becomes especially problematic as it provides an avenue for mold to grow behind walls with access to pipes. In the event of a leak, mold contamination can become dangerous prior to discovery of the water damage. This type of contamination leads to significant and expensive mold remediation and reconstruction projects that are cost prohibitive.
The primary message of this article is to emphasize the importance of using a cost-effective tool, like the EC3 Mold Test Plates, to screen your home for mold more often than “recommended” to prevent the expenses of major remediation and/or mold illness down the road. I think that these inexpensive disposables should be stocked in homes, so that mold testing is part of your maintenance process, rather than a reaction to sickness or a water “EVENT.” These tests are accurate and provide a snapshot of the mold issue early in the process.
More expensive testing or mold inspection can occur if and when an issue is found, or after you triage and possibly correct the issue prior to risking your family’s health. The health piece is what is most at stake and the home is often a family’s largest investment to protect.
What If I Test and Find a Problem Right Away?
In the event your home tests positive for mold, my suggestion to quickly “band aid” the mold situation, or this could be a permanent solution until you can find another home or if you are renting, is to first, investigate and identify any leaks or sources of moisture that are causing the mold infestation. Stop the leak or intrusion and fix it. Only then will the following remediation efforts be effective.
Then, acquiring an EC3 SANI+TIZER Fogger with EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate provides the easiest and most thorough means to treat all spaces and things in your home. You can fog everything: surfaces, furniture, walls, insulation, ceilings and clothes. I have fogged a 4,000 sq. ft. home (including basement) in approximately 15 minutes. The fogger aerosolizes and distributes the product in microscopic particles that reach all surface areas including crevasses. Each gallon tank will fog this size area multiple times, keeping mold air counts down to minimal safe levels. Fogging weekly or more is adequate, as mold takes time to grow to dangerous levels. You can also ask your physician for a written prescription for both the fogger and EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate, so that you can pay for it with your Health Savings account and benefit from a triple tax savings. Remember, though, the fogger is a tool to treat, not a solution to the mold problem. If you decide to go this route, you simultaneously should be trying to find a clean environment to move to or a permanent solution to what is causing the mold in the first place.
Micro Balance Health Products
Micro Balance Health Products has developed a portfolio of products that aid patients in treating mold in the nose (sinuses), clothes, and home. These safe, all natural, botanically-based products are instrumental in decreasing mold and mycotoxin exposure in your body and indoor environments. Removing mold from your body and immediate environment allows the body’s healing capabilities to fully function without continuous assault to the immune system through inhalation. In addition, a body not under assault by mold is programed for adequate detoxification and excretion that keeps it well.
Micro Balance has also developed homeopathic medicines to supplement the body’s immune efforts in times of environmental stress. These products aid the immune system in identifying and eliminating pathogens and supporting hormonal systems that can be disrupted by mold mycotoxins. The pituitary gland is often negatively affected when mold enters the body, because it sits next to the sinuses and controls 8 essential hormonal functions.