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Is Hidden Mold At Home Making You Sick?   PDF  Print  E-mail 
Posted by Susan Lillard  
Tuesday, 23 March 2004

Organization: ABC News

Other than occasional asthma episodes, Caitlin Murray was a healthy five year-old girl, until she became terribly sick three years ago and no one could find out why.

Her mother, Jill Murray, claimed her daughter would experience severe headaches, swelling of the face and would throw up for seven to 10 days. Despite being tested for everything from cystic fibrosis to leukemia, the doctors couldn't discover anything wrong with her. Deep down Murray felt the problem was coming from their home, so upon the doctor's recommendation, she tried leaving the house to see if that would help the situation. After going into the crawlspace, Murray was horrified to find there was mold everywhere.

The Murray's experience was not unique because modern homes are constructed more tightly sealed for energy, efficiency and water, all of which mold needs to survive. Mold has also been known to thrive on several home appliances such as clothes dryers and dishwashers.

Experts said a relatively small amount of mold species have been identified as producing mycotoxin, a type of toxin that has not yet been proven to be toxic to human beings. Scientists and doctors have agreed that one in three people have had allergic reactions to mold. In addition to affecting people's health, mold, which is not usually covered by insurance, can destroy the value of homes.

Visual warning signs of mold:

  • Signs of water intrusion--discoloration, peeling or bubbling paint
  • A musty smell
  • Persistent physical symptoms such as sneezing, runny noses, red eyes and skin rashes

When to call a mold inspector:

  • When you discover a musty smell, but can't find visual evidence of it
  • When you find visual evidence and need to assess the extent of the damage
  • No visual evidence, but a family member has experienced physical symptoms


Dr. Mercola's Comment:

Since 25 percent of the population suffers from allergies and mold is considered a very common allergy, I think it's a wise idea to check your home for signs of mold. If you find or smell evidence of mold in your home, I recommend you call a professional to come out and get rid of it in a safe, non-toxic way. Often times, in addition to the areas where we can visually see the mold, there are other areas it is lurking that can't be seen and can cause dormant mold allergies to flare up.

It is important to remember that allergies are a sign of an impaired immune system and strengthening the immune system is the first critical step that needs to be taken to address the underlying cause of the problem.

In my clinical experience, I have found both fish oil and cod liver oil have helped reduce allergic responses by enhancing the immune system and soothing irritated mucous membranes. If you take cod liver oil, it is important to remember to get your vitamin D levels tested . Although most Americans' vitamin D levels are far less than optimal , it is possible to overdose on vitamin D, particularly during the spring and summer months when you're already getting vitamin D naturally from the sun.

Another recommendation I give to allergy sufferers is to purchase an air purifier. This is a simple way to reduce your exposure to potential allergens found in both your home and work environment.

Last Updated (Sunday, 03 October 2004)

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