Mold and Somethings that can bite are also on a scale that makes them easy to miss with out a microscope. This post “Mold lessons quickly” is intended to help others find what may be info relevant to their infestation/growth issues and protection of their health, sanity and assets.
I started with the idea of lets put Things I wish I had known when my issues with mold and mites began as the theme. Intending to just compile a list of resources.
I am by no means a pro or expert and this is by no means complete. if you are reading this and have suggestions feel free to drop them in the comments and as time allows ill add or create a section and add.
This is not intended as medical advice or to be acted on. Its at most something to think about. In my case I ended up dependent on my parents and moving back in only to find the issue was likely from their house.
I then/still am learning that if you happen to be male and between the ages of 16-59 you have very little rights or protection if the demographics of those that wish to harm you are otherwise. esp if that can be stacked/hidden with cultural expectations and or perceptions/images illuded to
Lab tests ( usually requires a doctor but the might not know of them/ you can probably request the lab)
testing that in my experience many doctors aren’t aware of:
I noticed quite often that I had almost no night vision.
by reverse, i stumbled on VCS and Dr shoemaker. Im not sure how accepted his work is or isn’t I do know what i experienced matches with what ive seen discussed about his findings and protocol.
Driving at night during the worst of it was like headlights and blackness even at dusk. little to nothing in between. Taking my rabbits to the vet one day (during the winter where it gets dark early) I almost missed their driveway because it lacked a street light but it really wasn’t that dark out i just had very few shades between blinding bright and black.
this is not medical advice/decide for yourself. I am not suggesting you only read this and make a decision. I am suggesting you think through multiple sources of info and think twice. I am suggesting you do your homework i am not telling you what to do or not to do.
that said from what ive read only the younger docs or older that really care about their patients are trained in/aware of what mold can do to a person. you have to remember just like any other job or profession, some are just in it for the paycheck, some are overworked and burnt out, some were c students (for whatever reason)
If one googles match box syndrome one of the risks of bringing any samples to a doc you do not trust becomes clear.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The matchbox sign, also referred to as the Ziploc bag sign or the specimen sign is a psychiatric finding. Patients with delusional parasitosis (DP) often arrive at the doctor’s office with this medical sign.
other names for this are Ectoparasitosis or Ekbom syndrome and delusional paracitosis.
its also known this gets over diagnosed. simple logic says organisms mutate/evolve/change all the time. on top of that we have no idea what every species is on the planet let alone on space rocks. some parts of the planet have hosted life that was sealed off for eons. while that’s unlikely to be the cause of your problem a doc whos burnt out from long hours could be.
if you go to a new clinic/one you haven’t been to before you might be presented with a form before your appointment, something about share your records electronically. I’m not telling you what to do or not but I believe one can more easily come back and sign that later/add permission than remember to remove it. I’m not an expert or suggesting any action on your part. just something to ponder.
heres an article suggesting real causes when other doctors have jumped to the in ones beliefs in their head conclusion.
I have an electronics repair stereo microscope. I knew better than to mention pictures but still ended up with a label only communicating “i have extermination documents and communications with the mold pro on my phone”
“patients aren’t allowed phones on the ward” – Fakatka docta
it helps to have an air mover/floor dryer. the velocity of the air really helps with carpets or into walls. heres a mod idea for a relatively cheap airmover to hepa filter air mover.
A full face mask is much more effective than a half mask (mouth and nose only) the reasons are two fold. The first is your eyes can absorb things and be irritated/ a path to entry. second, assuming you are well shaven most full face masks seal around the face and then a second time around the mouth and nose.
the most effective is a full face and powered air respirator. If i ever get out of this hell (long story parents with personality disorders and 2 on 1 while they try to get me force medicated despite paying for a remediation 9 mo after mold was confirmed )
why is powered air the best? positive pressure. Ie a pump draws air through a filter and pushes it into the mask. if you bump the mask the air rushing out should keep anything from falling in. dual carriage masks are easier to breath through than single but powered is by far the least fatiguing.
I bought one when mixing cupric chloride to etch circuit boards. mainly for the splash protection. the 3m 6800 can sometimes be had for around $100 usd
there is a part one can swap out on the front giving it a nato standard “DIN” cart port. I may someday 3d print a powered air attachment cheaper than the several hundred dollar 3m version. even without it for the price its a fine mask.
a note on masks and contacts.
contact lenses can trap spores between the lense and eye. normal eyeglasses break the face seal of a full-face respirator. the solution is hopefully you had lasic already or look up “spectacle kit” for whatever mask you chose. A local eyeglass store can probably cut the lense for these frames. if they give you a blank stare ask if they do lenses for firefighters masks.
having samples tested yourself is not that hard. All one needs is clear packing tape and a ziplock bag.
Turn the ziplock inside out
fold over a little bit on one end of the tape (to create a tab to pull it back off with). aka stick it over on itself
Stick the tape on what you think is mold
pull it off
stick it to the ziplock
turn the ziplock rightside in
mail or drive to a lab for professional analysis.
If you are in the northern suburbs of the twin cities or central Minnesota in general I highly recommend GNL Enterprises.
The owner is highly knowledgable and equally important cares about what he does! I recall he mentioned having helped members of his church (who otherwise might not have had the financial resources to get the professional help they needed)
I cant speak for him but if you are on a budget or just want a knowledgable pro to get good advice the first time.
if you want an environmental sample tested a search string of “mold testing lab” + your city or state will probably produce a lab with a phone number or email.
if you hire a mold pro any samples they take will go to a similar if not the same lab. If funds are limited this may save quite a bit of money. I discussed how to take a sample above, I found but never ended up using a lab there’s more than one in my vicinity, I think the owner of GNL first mentioned this and both what he mentioned and the one i found were something like $30 per. It was a pretty crazy time for me so plus or minus 10/ look it up dont quote me
Usually a professional inspection will include lab testing one plus samples in the fee for the visit but you may be charged significantly more. This is fair though they need to drive them in or mail them in, they will probably be able to get it done as quickly as you need or give you a discount for waiting. If they run a lot of samples and labs in your area are backed up, their relationship with the lab/volume sent through may mean submitting it through them/paying the pro gets your result back faster. Remember, with any markup you are paying for someone else expertise and effort.
A lot of advice I’ve read says inspection is most effective as a team.
Before you even call a pro grab a note pad and walk around your residence. record areas you would like them to take a look at when they visit. Some point during that visit show him/her any areas of concern. if you live there you know some things he or she may not and as the same applies to the pros knowledge vs the resident.
The University of Minnesota in an article i read a while back had the advice of dont bother with tests if you can see it. This is not the same as dont hire or consult a pro. The advice meant that 1) esp black mold is a big enough threat you shouldn’t delay. 2) where there’s some there’s probably more. 3) an expert hired can probably find where without sending in a lot of samples.
All things considered a pro even without lab tests will likely think of places to look that you wouldn’t have on your own. They might cut you a deal for a visit without lab samples.
if you live in a cold climate this is an area where the temp changes abruptly causing the moisture in the air to become say water drops on a windowsill
in any climate things like pipes under the sink can end up damp from condensation
in basements if you have drywall hiding cinderblock, how its sealed or not/vapor barrier or not might create a cold condensing surface
first off, the US is one of the few nations developed nations with out strict limits on what is dangerous here.
that said the epa does give the advice that anything bigger than 9ft squared should probably be a professional job.
Stachybotrys chartarum is a rather large and heavy beast/spores. As far as a flying machine goes, it flys like the space shuttle of mold spores. Aka glides slightly better than a brick.
This means that when a colony spores the spores won’t be airborne for long or travel very far from the source. This doesnt mean it wont end up very far because it can hitch a ride on people their clothing, hair or pets.
I ran into more than one source warning that air samples shouldn’t be the first go to for black mold or used to reassure. If i can find it I will link it but I seem to remember the University of Minnesota Recomended skipping testing. If you can see its there, do your homework and or hire someone to get rid of it!
black mold on its own isn’t the issue, its the toxins it releases.
others can produce these nasties too. From what i recall reading the mycotoxins are many orders of magnitude smaller than the spore. The dangerous part of black mold with air tests is:
what can hurt you isn’t what’s tested for and what’s tested for doesn’t float very long.
Depending on what company does this for you they may make this more or less clear.
This point is probably better illustrated by how many spores may be released from a few square inches
Its dependent on the type but when I last checked a colony the size of ones foot or smaller would be millions of spores and that might only happen if its perturbed.
does the room bother you if no one is there to breath it? er if a bear… if i rent a bear from the zoo do you think i can visit the neighbors for toilet paper? calm down neighbor hes only into Modelo!
I need to get out more
what I was getting at is, if you think one room is more problematic, try to ask yourself when its the most problematic. Are you chasing the muttaround or are youngsters running all over? do you hear the thermostat click or feel the heat on for a while then end up sneezing or feeling crawlie?
I kinda applied it above but if one room seems to bother you more than others thats probably where you want the indoor capture/sample to be taken and try to replicate any activity or conditions that your head associates with when you feel the worst in it.
Unless you have a ferocious futile fungus / off the chart spore counts and or on meeting people they immediately notice you are a fun guy…
the test isn’t meant to stand on its own. its meant to be compared to an outside sample taken with in a short timeframe close to the residence where the air capture occurred inside.
Make sure they take another capture outside!
The outside test is the baseline. mold is everywhere, Dosage makes the poison and the stuff grows quick. but lets say you lived in a pineapple under the…
er forest covered in leaves/decaying vegetation all around the property and trees creating a lot of shade. the rules of mold control above apply outside but good yard keeping is enough, the point is as follows:
do you ever open a window or leave your house? Without an outside capture you might have just paid to inconclusively determine you should find a better mold pro and consider investing in a rake.
when windows are open and or you enter and exit your house the air outside is mixing with that inside.
if there are a lot of spores outside or even an average count outside its crucial to know.
The way air tests most effectively assess risk inside a structure is by helping determine if there is more spores inside than outside.
said another way: if the number of spores per cubic liter of air inside is significantly higher than outside it starts to suggest there might be mold growing inside. it might suggest you need better circulation inside. it could be outside air is creating that count. except poor circulation is one of the risk factors for the stuff growing. like i said its one tool in a bag of many and with black mold might not be required or worth it to pay for but im not a pro. do your own homework and or consult one!
Greg at GNL had a few tools you probably won’t duplicate on your own. One that comes to mind was a meter that could determine toxicity.
I’ve yet to look into how that worked but one thing he brought up with it and in general:
there are certain types of bacteria that can grow in indoor environments and be just as hazardous if not more.
if you can afford it and find a well-reviewed expert in your area that’s the path I would take. Even then you will get the most for your money if you do some of the things ive mentioned above. The expert is trained but its your domain/space/domicile. what ever is there or not is whats bugging you and your best bet at getting to the bottom of it is not just pass every aspect off to someone else but have a list of concerns/concern areas and listen closely to any and all advice. if the notepad is with you when the pro arrives a pen might be handy or better yet there’s an app that will do just about everything except remove the mold for you.
an audio recorder for your phone can ensure you dont miss a thing.
Once again for those in northern TC Metro/Suburbs or Centeral MN once again: http://www.gnlmoldremoval.com/ is a great place to start your quest for answers.
i mentioned above 1/3 is probably more sensitive than others. What i noticed is I can smell it when others can not. it might be taste. the two are confused frequently and or codependent senses.
Icecream and Icecubes with freezer funk was always in my face obvious obnoxious.
I would be at a party and handed a drink with ice if it was mildew/mold funky i would be debating do I tell the host, do i drink it?(i tend not to use it at home…maybe there’s a subconscious reason?)
The same goes for fountain soda. if the place hasn’t been sanitizing their lines i cant drink it. its got that funk tinge to it. Once while working a paid internship at NDSU there was an ice cream cake left for the interns but left a bit too long.I cream cake (esp the dq kind) is one of my favs it’s not that I’m paranoid or see/sense this everwhere)
At my parents, I could smell the issues probably 7 years before it was dealt with.
I did a volunteering trip one spring break from ND to DC on a bus. It was after sandy hit NY and one of our stops was at a house hit by sandy. Bumping my respirator was not pleasant. Also how I was later pretty sure I knew what I smelled.
I was never wrong with freezer stuff either. I’ve met one or two other people who have shared this trait. its not really a life of the party topic so its not that I have a huge set of people asked.
Have you smelled or tasted mold when others couldn’t? Wanna help create some data?