Mycotoxins May Not Be The Issue!
This could actually be titled, “Stop trusting disaster Companies” Or “Stop Trusting Air Quality Testing!” Or “Since when do we trust air quality tests?”
When a disaster occurs, typically from a flood caused from a storm or a leak, the disaster company is going to come in and do what they do. These are their steps:
- 1. Stop the water intrusion.
- 2. Assess the area, determine what is wet or has been wetted, and determine mold growth or mold concerns.
- 3. Contain the area that is wet, or has microbial growth with plastic, and tape.
- 4. Set up negative air, and air scrubbers.
- 5. Dry out/tear out damaged materials. (carpet, padding, sheetrock, etc) 6. Monitor the moisture level of the remaining materials.
- 7. Begin the rebuild when appropriate.
- 8. Complete the rebuild, continue with air scrubbers.
- 9. Keep the air scrubbers in the confined area, sometimes for days.
- 10. Test the confined area for spores that may have been missed by the air scrubbers. (notice they’re not testing the home, they’re testing the air scrubbers)
- 11. If the Test comes back with the total spore count, “Close to or below outdoor level” they will then declare the job completed, and most importantly, suggest that the home is now safe.
I’ve talked to traditional remediation companies about this, and this is typically how the conversation goes:
Mike - “Why don't you test the home after the containment has been removed?”
Traditional Company - “ It’s not in our scope of work, we were contracted to take care of the disaster and return that area to dry, rebuilt and no/low microbial growth.”
Mike: “I understand that, but what about the rest of the home?”
Traditional Company: “We were not hired to deal with the rest of the home, we were hired to correct the area affected by the disaster”
So what is the problem?
The problem is that in as many as 75 percent of homes in this country there is an elevated mold load long before the disaster occurred. The mold growth at the site of the moisture is simply a manifestation of an elevated mold load to begin with. Additionally, very few people understand the inadequacies of air quality testing, and certainly air quality testing within a confined area does not in any way, shape, or form indicate that the home is healthy. This desperately needs to be understood by all those involved. If this is not universally understood, then all subsequent thought processes and planned treatment of getting well from mold toxicity, are now based around the false notion that the home is now mold-free. It affects all parties including the customer, the health care provider, and the customer's family.
The Customer - Now thinks that their home is mold-free, and has to drawn the conclusion that either they are not sick from mold as they have been told. Secondly, and just as dangerous; they conclude that since there is no longer existing mold, it must be this ever-present and (almost impossible to get rid of) mycotoxin. This becomes mentally exhausting and leads to a number of decisions that are not rooted in fact.
The Health Care provider - Now often trusts the report, and believes the home is finally mold-free. He or she potentially changes the diagnosis or at least changes the approach. Again, they have been assured by the “Mold Experts” that, based on the test results, the home is now mold-free. The popular opinion in the mold toxicity world is now, the issue must be the ever-present mycotoxins. Don't get me wrong, I wholeheartedly believe that when a person has been exposed to mold, the mycotoxins and their detrimental effects can linger on for a long, long time. Mycotoxins inevitably become the emphasis of the concern. In other words, everyone feels the mold has been addressed, so the mycotoxins must still be the issue. This becomes a real issue when certain mold pundits around the world begin telling their patients that the mycotoxins cannot be removed and you must walk away from the home, leaving your mycotoxin-contaminated belongings behind. (All this, based on an air quality test, within a small, plastic tent using a testing method that, quite frankly, nobody trusts.) Are they right in saying the mycotoxins are present? Yes, of course, they are. But they are missing the point. The mycotoxins remain because in multiple places in the home… the mold remains and is constantly emitting the toxins. This is still an ongoing mold issue.
I do not believe a home exists, in which the mold has been completely remediated, yet the mycotoxins remain. I also do not believe that many homes have been completely remediated unless they have received the Pure Maintenance Service. Pure Maintenance often gets phone calls requesting information that proves we eliminate mycotoxins. My first thought is always, “If we don’t, who does?" Secondly, peracetic acid has been proven to break down the sulfur and sulfhydryl bonds of enzymes and metabolites. I.e. mycotoxins. It would be very easy for us to simply say, “Yes, the mycotoxins get dismantled by the peracetic acid.” We believe it is more important to educate our customer base on what is really going on in the home. Having said this, I repeat, I do not believe, that the home that has been remediated by traditional “tear-out” has
only mycotoxins remaining. In fact, this is a total fallacy. The home has been spot treated for mold and ignores the fact that every home inherently has an elevated mold load. My point is, if you think you still have mycotoxins, I believe you still have mold. As evidence, we know that mycotoxins have a documented half-life. Certainly, the half-life within a home and the contents of the home, must be equal or less than that within our body or within our own cells. Our homes, for the most part, get a constant supply of fresh air daily and even hourly.
Furthermore, to make the assumption that all of the mold that was in the home previously, before the flood or leak, simply migrated to the moisture, so that all of the mold within the home could conveniently be cleaned up and disposed of in a couple of plastic bags with zippy ties is beyond ridiculous.
Hopefully, I have explained that the mycotoxin problem is not because toxins mysteriously hang out in the home long after the mold has been addressed, but more accurately, the home still has an elevated mold load and is still emitting mycotoxins. It is the constant emittance of mycotoxins from existing mold in the home that is the real issue. Mold finds food and moisture in a number of unseen places. Window sills, bathrooms, clothing/shoes, HVAC ductwork, air conditioning coils, drains and overfill holes in sinks, floor drains, carpeting, caulking around bathroom tubs, and kitchen sinks, crawlspaces, etc, etc. And it is often the cumulative effect of the mold throughout the home that creates the elevated mold load and the constant emittance of mycotoxins.
As a comparison, let’s assume your home has a natural gas leak originating from two places, the water heater, and the furnace. Next, let’s assume the gas company fixed the water heater, but did not realize that the furnace had a gas leak and was releasing dangerous natural gas toxins. It would seem very odd to me, for the gas company to say, “Yes, we fixed the gas leak, so if you are still feeling toxic effects from the natural gas, its because the gas is still in the home from the original leak.” In other words, they claim to have fixed the problem, now you, as a homeowner, will have to deal with the toxic gas that hangs around. This, of course, is nonsense and I don't believe any gas company would ever say that. However, that is essentially what the mold world is saying when they:
1. Trust the very tests that everyone knows are inaccurate and inconsistent. and
2. Assume that because the Disaster Company tested within the plastic tent, after running the air scrubbers, and those tests were OK, the whole home is OK.
More appropriately, the gas company would come back and check for other gas leaks. A mold company should do the same before anyone waves the “mycotoxin white flag," and inaccurately declares that the mold is gone but the mycotoxins remain. Consider getting your home treated by a Pure Maintenance Licensee. Pure Maintenance recognizes that the entire home needs to be addressed, in order to assist our customers in their journey to wellness. The mycotoxins will no longer be an issue, once the mold (ALL OF THE MOLD) is remedied.
Pure Maintenance July 23, 2021