Busting the Biggest Myths about Mold and Mycotoxins with Guest Jason Earle - Inna Topiler

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Busting the Biggest Myths about Mold and Mycotoxins with Guest Jason Earle

The Dangers of Hidden Mold and How to Remediate it Safely

The Case: 

  • Allison was dealing with brain fog, fatigue, and joint pain.
  • She felt much older than her chronological years.
  • Labs showed that her B vitamins, iron, and thyroid were all fine but her symptoms persisted.

The Investigation

When I met Allison, I decided to check her thyroid again but everything really was normal. We talked about a lot of other possible root causes but when she told me that things had gotten worse after she moved to her new house, I started to suspect that her issues may have something to do with her environment. It was time to see if there was mold in her house. 

Indoor Air Quality Crusader and Mold Expert

Jason Earle is the founder and CEO of 1-800-Got-Mold as well as the creator of the Got Mold Test Kit. He’s appeared as an expert on The Dr. Oz Show, Good Morning America, and Extreme Home Makeover. Jason is passionate about mold because his childhood in a moldy farmhouse resulted in several health issues for him. 

What is Mold?

Jason explains that mold is, on a very basic level, the beginning of decay. This decay, which is nature’s way of breaking things down, causes a smell that serves as a warning sign to humans. Some people are more sensitive to molds and therefore find it easier to smell mold when it’s in the air or the environment. Mold sends you a signal that the air is not healthy and you want to heed that warning because mold problems just get worse if they are not dealt with. 

Unhealthy Building or House

Moisture is the enemy of a healthy building. Mold is a natural byproduct of prolonged dampness. Plus, mold spores become airborne and are constantly looking for the right conditions to take hold, germinate, and form mold. Spores can cause allergic reactions including sinus issues, dermal reactions, and itchy eyes. These spores also carry a by-product of mold called mycotoxins. And, mold produces a musty smell known as microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs).

The Dangers of Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds (MVOCs)

MVOCs can make people very sick. Research shows that living in a home with ‘musty odor’ increases the risk of asthma in children by 250%.  Additional research, being done by Dr. Joan Bennett at Rutgers University is looking at the link between musky odor and reduced dopamine production. Such a connection could lead to potential links to Parkinson-like symptoms, depression, and cognitive issues. 

Testing for Mold

There are different types of tests available but they aren’t all created equal.  Jason doesn’t think the ‘petri dish’ tests are very accurate because petri dishes are made to grow mold. He says that spores are everywhere so the presence of spores doesn’t mean there is mold. He does sell his own version of testing kits called Got Mold Testing Kits. 

You can also hire a mold inspector but he also warns against expensive inspectors who may capitalize on the presence of mycotoxins and then charge thousands to treat it without removing the source of the mold. 

It’s important to note that there are two kinds of mold problems – the kind you can see and the kinds you can’t (sequestered) because it’s hidden in the walls or ceilings.  When inspecting a house, it’s important to look for both kinds of mold. Jason has a free ebook called “How to Find Mold in Your Home” that you can access at https://www.gotmold.com/mysteriessolved/

Finding a Professional Mold  Inspector

Hiring a trustworthy inspector to detect mold in the house is important. Jason warns against hiring anyone who may be associated with a remediation company as there may be a conflict. The free guide his company created (downloadable) includes questions you should ask a potential inspector. 

Mold Remediation

Jason’s company does remediation. They remove the area with the mold issue and ensure there is no more moisture. They then clean the house to remove any MVOCs without adding more (using chemical cleaners). Mold remediation is about removing the mold and its by-products from the home. It’s not about killing the more or killing the mycotoxins. Remediation is a controlled interior, demolition of affected materials, safe removal and then thorough cleaning of the affected areas in the building.  One of the tools professionals use in cleaning up after the removal of mold is a vacuum with a HEPA filter used many times. 

In order for remediation to be effective, the cause of any underlying moisture problems have to be corrected to avoid mold coming back. Many people don’t realize that mold occurs within 24-48 hours of a moisture problem. If porous materials stay wet for 72 hours or longer, they are automatically considered moldy and will need to be removed. Mold can be very expensive but the faster you take action, the less it will cost in remediation. Jason explains that any mold-afflicted area larger than 10 square feet must be removed by a professional. 

Using Foggers to Deal with Mold in the House

Many people try to deal with their mold issue by using a fogger. The concept of this is that by putting fog in the air (tiny water droplets) you will collect the mold spores and they will no longer be airborne. Jason says there is a logical flaw here because the last thing you want to do in a moldy home is increase the moisture. Plus, he points out, many companies use an antimicrobial fog but this is not necessary in most remediations. If there is potentially bacterial contamination (like if the water incident came from a sewer) then an antimicrobial treatment might be beneficial. However, many people who have mold sensitivity also have chemical sensitivities and fogging the house with chemicals could cause more issues. 

Keeping the Air Clean and Healthy

Running a HEPA filter air purifier will help keep the air healthy after remediation. In addition, wipe down areas and vacuum often to keep the spore count lower. We can’t avoid spores, but we can avoid air filled with MVOCs (which come from chemicals and plastics). MVOCs can make people very sick. Also, get rid of anything that has a musty smell clinging to it (like clothing or towels) – especially if you wash it and it still smells musty. 

Jason says that his preferred brands of air purifier are Medify and IQ Air. He says the important thing is to look for a true HEPA filter that has activated carbon in it (this is what will remove the VOCs). 

And finally, ventilate the room. Open a window to let the musty odor out and let the fresh air in. 

Avoiding Mycotoxins

Jason is a mold expert but his personal healthy journey has taught him a lot about where mycotoxin exposures may happen. For example, there may be mycotoxins in foods like processed foods, sugar, grains, and peanuts (including peanut butter). Exposure through diet can cause inflammation and other health issues. So, before blaming the house, check your diet. 

Next Steps in Mitigating Mold Issues

Join us next episode for the conclusion of this health mystery solved case. We’ll continue our conversation with mold expert, Jason Earle and learn about how the body deals with mold exposure and how to support your body after mold exposure. 

Eliminating Health Mysteries

Could mold be a factor in your health or the health of someone you know? Please share this episode and the next one with them. 


Resources mentioned

Thanks to my guest Jason Earle. You can connect with him, access the Got Mold Test Kit as well as the free ebook on his website: https://www.gotmold.com/mysteriessolved/

Related Podcast Episodes:

The Case of Hidden Mold w/ Dr. Tim Jackson 5 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight The Case of the Dizzy, Tired, Confused Brain w/ Evan Brand The Case of Becoming a Health Self-Advocate with Misty Williams

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