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Most people are aware that outdoor air pollution can impact their health, but indoor air pollution can also have significant and harmful health effects in the Virgin Islands and Caribbean. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studies of human exposure to air pollutants indicate that indoor levels of pollutants may be two to five times — and occasionally more than 100 times — higher than outdoor levels.
These levels of indoor air pollutants are of particular concern because most people spend about 90 percent of their time indoors. For the purposes of this guidance, the definition of good indoor air quality (IAQ) management includes: READ MORE
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Molds and mold spores can be found almost anywhere, both indoors and outdoors. They are a ubiquitous, natural part of our environment. However, when excessive moisture is present in buildings or on building materials, mold growth can occur indoors.
It is not possible to completely eliminate mold and mold spores in the indoor environment. However, indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture, responding promptly to water leaks and providing adequate ventilation.
Here are some helpful resources on mold in the indoor environment:
General Information and GuidanceAmerican Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA)American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
There is no question that a high-quality active air purifier can help control mold issues but it will NOT remediate against them. You can use the best air filters and purifiers and they will never solve the problem if you continue to have water intrusion into you home that increases the humidity and feeds the growth of the mold.
You will need to stop the water at its source and carefully remove and clean the mold infested materials. While this may superficially seem an easy task, let me assure you that it isn't.
I recently had a leak in my basement that was improperly remediated for $10K and the cause was not addressed so the problem worsened, which more than tripled the price to properly clean it up. That is part of the reason that prompted me to contact some of the leading experts in this area and learn how to do this properly.
So let me tell you from personal experience, you need to fine a qualified expert and professional that is certified by one of the agencies below. I would also suggest getting several bids for the work.
You can find a contractor or professional listings on the following sites. Both the IICRC and NORMI are certifying organizations for mold remediation, but the IICRC certification is perhaps the most widely used:
Keep in mind that a mere certification or listing may not be enough. Also evaluate the remediator's qualifications and insurance (liability as well as workman's comp). With the ACAC, there are a few different levels.
= Be sure to see our next post in our ‘Mold Education Series’ of articles for more info on A Great Natural Treatment for Mold Allergy >>>>>>>>
Mold spores are very difficult to destroy, even with cleaning agents, such as hot water or bleach (which is itself toxic). The best way to reduce the problem is through smart preventive measures.
According to Dr. Rapp, first and foremost you want to get away from the problematic area—which means move if you have to.
If you can't move, you may need to consider a professional to take to address the problem:
***Please understand that no air filter in the world will take care of mold issues until you have the humidity under control and the mold properly cleaned from your house.
They later discovered that their illness was due to mold infestation in their home.
What started as tightness and burning in their chests and itchy eyes soon progressed into severely diminished lung capacity that did not resolve, despite moving out of their home. After extensive research and eventually recovering their health, they wrote the book Mold: The War Within14 in hopes of educating a poorly informed and disadvantaged public.
Yet, the Billings report that most physicians are unaware of this study, or at least of its significance.
A 1999 Mayo Clinic press release stated:16
"Mayo Clinic researchers say they have found the cause of most chronic sinus infections—an immune system response to fungus.
The Mayo Clinic study suggests that 96 percent of the people who suffer from chronic sinusitis are "fungal sensitized," meaning they have immune responses triggered by inhaled fungal organisms.
According to Billings, 37 million people in the U.S. suffer from chronic sinusitis, and its incidence has been increasing over the past decade. Yet, most physicians continue to believe that fungi are an uncommon cause of respiratory infections, accounting for less than 10 percent. Furthermore, in most cases, antibiotics are not effective for chronic sinusitis because they target bacteria, NOT fungi.
The bottom line in all of this is, if you have chronic sinusitis, you MUST approach it from the perspective of a fungal infection, not a bacterial infection, even if it means having to educate your healthcare provider. A good place to start is by sharing the Mayo Clinic study referenced above. Mold: The War Within17 is also a useful resource for you and your physician (you can read a review by NORMI here,18 the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors).
= Be sure to see our next post in our ‘Mold Education Series’ of articles for more info on What to Do Once You've Established That Mold Is a Problem >>>
A lot of people end up treating the symptoms of mold exposure and never get to the root of the problem. Oftentimes, they don't even make the connection that mold is the cause of their problems… and neither does their physician. According to mycotoxin expert Dr. Harriet Ammann,11 exposure to indoor molds can damage the systems of your body in the following ways:
Vascular: blood vessel fragility, hemorrhage from tissues or lungs
Digestive: diarrhea, vomiting, hemorrhage, liver damage, fibrosis, and necrosis
Respiratory: trouble breathing, bleeding from lungs
Neurological: tremors, loss of coordination, headaches, depression,12 multiple sclerosis
Skin: rashes, burning, sloughing, photosensitivity
Urinary: kidney toxicity
Reproductive: infertility, changes in reproductive cycles
One of the challenges of diagnosing a mold allergy is that reactions are so variable from one person to another. Some people start having memory problems, while others may experience sudden changes in disposition, such as agitation, anger, panic, or depression. Headaches are common but don't affect everyone exposed to mold. Common symptoms are:
= Be sure to see our next post in our ‘Mold Education Series’ of articles for more info on What You Don't Know CAN Hurt You: The Billings Story >>>