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BLACK MOLD - anyone know about it?

Discussion in 'Addressing Biotoxin, Chemical & Food Sensitivities' started by snowathlete, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1

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    Its the mold spores in the AIR which are the issue. I had a mold inspector come out to my house and he told me even if it was removed all from the walls, it is still there as its in the air. He recommended not just removal from walls/ceiling but also ozone? I think it was, to be put throu the house to actually kill it. You can not remove black mold from a house just from getting it off of walls.

    In my own case it is possible mold has played a part in my illness. Mark.. I also had those symptoms quite severely you described (but dont get them anymore). I live in government housing and there was a huge water issue in this house for years (the housing people actually accused me of tipping water onto the floor!!). My mother once stayed the night in my lounge room floor on a mattress and woke up with a very damp bed.

    What I know now was going on is there must of been a leak up in the roof tiles and when it rained, water must of been getting down in the walls and then seeping or travelling under the floor boards to which point it would start appearing most in between the floor boards inside.. I'd actually get very shallow puddles inside. After that issue had been going on for 2-3 years (mostly in winter), the housing people did routine maintance on all the houses in my street and regrouted all the tiles and that water issue stopped occuring.

    To add to that my bathroom had no ventilation at all (only a tiny wide out window which only wound out a wee bit.. no fan either and I had a disabled child/teen who was incontinent.. so required lots of showering/baths. My whole bathroom roof was COMPLETELY covered in mold.. one a fine black mold (there was also two other types of minds up there). There was mold also over the walls in that room. Due to water condensation in my house with all the water issues.. I also got what looked like black mold growing on other house windows inside the house.

    At the time I was far too ill (the whole roof was covered in mold while I was completely bedridden) to even try to clean up this mold. (my eldest daughter developed asthma). When I finally was a little better and well enough to stand on a chair.. I wiped all the surfaces over with bleach. That further just added to my issues and I got terribly sick from the bleach (breathing and chest issues).

    I strongly suggest not to try to go cleaning such mold issues yourself but to get an expert in. (I do improve some when Im staying away from my house). Fortunately I nowdays have a roof fan in that bathroom and no leaks in the roof nowdays but I strongly suspect even now with no water issues.. this place is still affecting me some. I know this house actually affects visitors who have stayed the night even thou that mold nowdays doesnt show, (they later complained my house had made them sick and two different people have told me that my house smells strongly of mold).
     
  2. snowathlete

    snowathlete

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    Here are some pics. I know it may not be the entirety of what is there as not all of it may be visible, but its not too bad yet.
    The one above the black tiles is on the ceiling above the actual shower. I hadnt noticed until today that it was there too, though very small amount.

    IMG_0025.jpg IMG_0024.jpg IMG_0023.jpg

    This is a new house and im hoping we have caught it early enough and can just get it sorted quickly and not have a recurring problem.

    The cost is going to be an issue potentially, there is no way that we can afford to get people in in hazmat suits and all of that stuff. We will struggle just to have the plaster removed and replaced by a general tradesman.

    We will start by getting it tested. If it is not badly toxic then i may be forced to do it myself. Get the best chemicals, get a new extractor fan, paint with antimould paint and get an air filter. If its toxic a bit then a tradesman is probably the answer to remove and replace the plaster. If its heavily toxic then - well, lets hope its not.

    I could do without this...
     
  3. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    My condo was hit by a hurricane and the inner walls grew black mold. We were not allowed to live in the units while they did remediation. They cut out the sheet rock anywhere near the mold (they actually took most of the sheet rock out of the condo), treated the steel studs, used extractor fans throughout, etc. etc. And all of the windows were replaced with very expensive ones from Germany. Of course, in this case, insurance paid.

    When hit with another hurricane later they washed down the walls with bleach immediately and used extractor fans. At that time the remediation people said that bleach was only good enough if you caught the damp walls withing a day or two. Otherwise the mold would grow under the surface.

    I developed a sort of water phobia through all this!

    Hope your situation is easy to fix.

    Best wishes,
    Sushi
     
  4. madietodd

    madietodd Senior Member

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    I can't even see your mold. Mine was covering the entire ceiling, in splotches, and down one wall, and into the medicine cabinet. Do you have anybody who would come over and wipe the surfaces down? Or would you try it, with a mask on and one of the not-bleach remedies recommended here? Then you, or anybody, could paint the room. It looks like a small problem to me, possibly easily fixed.

    I didn't use Kilz paint, which smells horrific. My local store sells a paint additive in a little tube that stops mold.
     
  5. snowathlete

    snowathlete

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    Sounds like i have caught it early which is great news, as i can hopefully deal with it quickly and easily.

    Maybe your right, maybe a breathing mask would be enough and i could do it myself. My dad would help, but he lives a few hours away so it would be worse by the time he is available to come up, in a few weeks.

    I have a decent face mask for spray painting cars - i could use that, its incredibly good at filtering out very small particles. You can get specific ones for different tasks to, i think maybe one for dealing with this sort of thing too. It would also mean i could use a strong chemical and avoid breathing it in. As you say, i could then paint the room (its not very big) with an antimould paint, or use an additive (thats really handy to know that you can just get the additive, because we have a 10 month old sleeping in the room next door, so id rather use a low vapour paint, and that would be possible with an additive) and then that might be problem solved.

    This is a big task for me mind, energy wise.
     
  6. madietodd

    madietodd Senior Member

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    I think you could safely do it in stages. Wipe off visible mold one day. Wipe down other surfaces on other days. Do it again, maybe, in say 2 weeks. Then ask your dad to get the supplies and paint the room. I'd do some research about the additive ahead of time; I don't know what you have in the UK.

    I used a damp mop on the ceiling. If I was doing it now, I'd use one of those swiffler-type dust mops with a plastic extension handle (much lighter). It was easier to wield the mop than to deal with climbing a ladder and wiping over my head. The mop did a large area in a single swipe. If you can handle working over your head, it should go really fast.
     
  7. sianrecovery

    sianrecovery Senior Member

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    Hi snowathelete

    Healthy House that Mary mentioned has good mold products, I have two of their airfreee models which dont filter the air (Dr Samways a uk mold doc reckons most filters just redistribute mold) but incinerate mold spores. They are silent, you leave them on 24/7, I think they've helped me. Ventilation and dehumidifaction are crucial, you may also want to get a decent dehumifier. when I have to clean mold up, I use a mask (husband is a decorator, so have some good full face masks) and the detol mold and mildew remover neat. I dont like the idea of antimould paints, but then I have chemical sensitivity. So the bleach isnt ideal, but what the hell. I am no expert at this, Lisa knows a lot more. Dr Samways wrote a little book with a chapter on mold allergy (different to what Shoemaker is talking about) which is useful in avoiding mold. Its called I'm A Patient, Get Me Out of Here. I was due to see her next week, but am too ill to do the journey - but will let you know if anything useful does emerge from the consultation when I do. Get the free Healthy House catalogue, it has a good page on combating mold. Their no is 0845 4505950. Good luck
     
  8. snowathlete

    snowathlete

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    Thanks for the tips and support everybody.

    We called a company that specialize in testing and removing mold, and they basically asked a bunch of questions and then told us that the problem was almost certainly not a highly toxic mould.
    Of course, even if not highly toxic, it could still be somewhat toxic and an issue for someone with ME.
    We also called the councils environmental health office and got some advice, and they said tha tsame thing. They also posted us a leaflet about mold and how to treat it. They say to use a product the has a certain safety number on it, so that it contains the right stuff, and we got some of that from B&Q for just over 5.

    What we decided to do, considering everything, was for me to treat it myself. I went and bought some new filters for my respirator mask - about 20 for the filters - so not cheap, but they are very very good.

    I also bought some heavy duty chemical rubber cloves and some cloths and a sponge.
    Im going to (probably tomorrow) start cleaning it up. We wont be painting it at first, because my wife is concerned about the fumes as our baby sleeps in the room next door to the ensuite. So that will have to be done at a much later date.

    I also just ordered this air purifier:
    http://www.dry-it-out.com/DiO68801RC

    They are sold on Amazon too, for a few quid more, and seem to have some good reviews. The filters arent as expensive as some are, and seem to be fairly good ones. There are alot of different filter types, what with silver coating and uv lights and so on, which may be good, but those didnt have as good reviews, and i think the main thing is to get a good filter on it - its the same principle as an air filter on a car. I think this should work quite well.
     
  9. maryb

    maryb iherb code TAK122

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    But that filter won't destroy mould? Is it just for your bedroom to kill the dust mites.
     
  10. sianrecovery

    sianrecovery Senior Member

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    ventilate and dehumidify. Think about an airfree - I'm with Mary on this on - I think they are good little machines for mold.
     
  11. snowathlete

    snowathlete

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    The hepa filter will trap the mould in the filter. It filters down to 0.3 microns. Most mold spores are 3-100 microns, but some are as small as 1 micron.
    So the filter should collect these from the air, trapping them in the filter. I dont see any basis for the idea that an air purifier would just recirculate the mold, not if it has a good filter pack in it - these have layers of decreasing filter material and its one way, so spores get trapped and cant get out because the filter material gets smaller and smaller, where they cant pass. Some filters dont have a hepa filter in it, just a filter with bigger spaces and these wouldnt work because they wouldnt trap the spores. But with a Hepa, once in, they cant exit along with the airflow.

    However, just because they are trapped, doesnt mean they will die. Though many manufacturers, and sellers claim they will because there is no moisture in the filter...but if its on then surely there is fresh moisture going through it all the time? And water molecules i would think, are much much smaller than 0.3 microns. I know viruses are, and they must surely be bigger. To be sure, I think i have two options here, drying out the filter should result in the mold dying, but im not sure how easy this would be because i dont want to disrupt the mold in the filter. Perhaps i could 'cook' it in the airing cupboard, but i think a better idea is just to replace the filter fairly quickly, and thats what i think i will do.

    We will also be changing a few behavioural things to avoid future problems. After a shower, we plan to leave the door to the bedroom open, the extractor fan on, and the window in the bedroom open, so that the moisture can escape. We also wont be leaving any damp towels in there anymore. And we will turn the radiator up in there. This should reduce the risk of a reocurence.

    I agree that the airfree sterilizers are a good idea, but financally we couldnt do it. I think the solution we've gone for instead is pretty good, and its about half the money. If i had a bigger mold problem though then i might have stretched for a sterilizer.
     
  12. antares4141

    antares4141 Senior Member

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    I have moved around a lot, in a particular situation 70 year old home with mold I can remember itching that felt like insects crawling on my skin. I knew they weren't because every time I went to scratch there was never nothing there. The itching was so intense and because it felt like an insect it was very hard to resist the urge to scratch. Usually a good scratching would take care of it, not the type of itch that constantly has to be revisited like a mosquito bite.
     
  13. Anne P

    Anne P

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    Hi snowathlete

    Just a thought for you. I found that after I bought a heated towel rail, it kept the bathroom warm and dry and no more mould.

    Anne
     
  14. slayadragon

    slayadragon Senior Member

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    I've spent the past four years of my life doing almost nothing but learning about toxic mold. I've gone from severely ill with ME/CFS to "mostly recovered" as a result, and have helped a number of other people with classic ME/CFS to obtain substantial improvements as well. Here is some background info about me:

    http://locationseffect.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=bios&action=display&thread=37&page=1

    Unfortunately, this is an extremely difficult issue, for society in general and especially for ME/CFS patients. Mold does not work the way that you'd think it would. Thus, there are a lot of misconceptions out there and people often waste a lot of energy and resources doing things that end up not helping them.

    Here are a few background points related to things discussed on this thread.

    * Toxic mold is a problem not so much because of the mold spores, but because of the toxins that the mold creates. The toxins are attached to the dormant mold spores, which are released from the colony in waves. (This occurs especially when the colony is dried out or killed, which is why dehumidifiers, ozone machines or products that "kill mold" can actually be counterproductive for homes that already have a toxic mold problem.)

    * Especially when we're talking Stachybotrys (commonly known as "black mold"), the spores fall quickly to the floor and disintegrate into spore fragments (basically, poisonous dust that blows easily all over the house).

    * The poison from the spores and spore fragments attaches itself easily and permanently to walls and objects of all sorts. The reason that the mold produces this poison is to prevent other kinds of microorganisms (such as bacteria and other molds) from growing. The "plan" here is to have the environment be free of competition, so that when a water event next occurs, the mold producing the toxin can spring back to life and grow freely throughout the whole space. However, the toxin that is produced also can affect people (especially those who already have become sensitized to it), and it cannot be wholly washed off. (When I was first practicing avoidance and got clear, even washed clothing from my moldy house was enough to make me very sick, for instance.)

    * Toxic mold mostly grows in places where it cannot be seen at all, including inside drywall, in wall insulation and inside HVAC systems. Frequently, buildings with severe toxic mold problems have no odor of mold.

    * If a building has a hidden toxic mold problem, addressing the visible bits of mold will do virtually nothing to make it safe.

    * If a building has a hidden toxic mold problem, opening the walls to find the mold is very dangerous, since it can release large amounts of mold spores into the environment. ME/ CFS patients can get much sicker, permanently, as a result. This is a job for professionals.

    * Many mold professionals are totally incompetent at finding mold in a residence and/or at removing it properly. Unless someone comes highly recommended by someone trustworthy, or unless people know enough about the topic to be able to judge whether a professional is making sense, hiring a mold professional can be no better -- or frequently worse -- than doing nothing whatsoever about the mold problem.

    * Even if competent professionals handle the job, the remediated residence may not be much better for people with ME/CFS. This is because the home and the possessions in it will still be coated with mold toxins and full of poison dust afterwards. At least some (and, I suspect, all) ME/CFS sufferers are hyperreactive to this toxin, meaning that even tiny amounts of it in the environment can keep them really sick.

    * There is no way to know whether toxic mold is present in a home by asking questions over the telephone. Conceivably someone might be able to guess whether a particular visible species is toxic, by hearing a description of what it looks like. However, if one species is visible, other species almost certainly will be hiding. The problem in bad buildings is virtually never due to just one species -- usually a stew of benign mold, toxic molds and toxic bacteria are present.

    * If people want to know if a place is problematic with regard to toxic mold, a test called the ERMI (while not foolproof) may be helpful. Ive also heard good reports about mold dogs, which are trained to sniff out mold. Other forms of testing (especially air testing) are useless and misleading, and thus should be avoided.

    * A high percentage of residences in some places (such as England and the San Francisco Bay Area) have toxic mold problems. It may be difficult for people with ME/CFS to find an acceptable residence in those places.

    * At least some people with ME/CFS react to the outdoor air in some places in the same way that they react to bad buildings. The extent to which this problem is present in the environment is not necessarily correlated to ordinary air quality indices (because the government is not focusing on the problem of toxic mold).

    * Moving to Arizona is not the solution to avoiding toxic mold. Many buildings in Arizona are very moldy, and I have many negative reports about the air quality in much of the state from people who have successfully improved their health through avoidance.

    * If a house is moldy, an air purifier may appear to help a little for a short period of time (such as a few days). However, soon the purifier will become the most contaminated item in the house. Moreover, because were talking about poisons that adhere to objects, just changing the filter part will not solve this problem. (Air purifiers often do help with other substances such as ordinary pollution or household chemicals, for people who have MCS type issues.)

    * A good general place to start learning about toxic mold, as Rich mentions, is with Ritchie Shoemakers work. However, Shoemaker has a poor track record of actually getting people with ME/CFS to improved wellness. I believe that this is in part because he does not encourage sufficient avoidance (not saying anything about the Locations Effect and suggesting that only some belongings be discarded). For people with less severe mold illness, his suggestions may be appropriate. In addition, possibly his suggestions may help ME/CFS patients to establish a stronger baseline to benefit from other treatments or to remain at a steady level of health rather than to continue to decline in the future.

    http://www.survivingmold.com

    http://www.biotoxin.info

    http://chronicneurotoxins.com


    Obviously, all this makes the question of What should I do about the mold extremely difficult to answer. I wish there were easier solutions for people.

    Please feel free to ask me more questions here on this board or in private.

    Best,

    Lisa

    lisapetrison at yahoo
     
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  15. antares4141

    antares4141 Senior Member

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    Lisa,
    I noticed on your map wyoming and montana are pretty good areas. I had a theory based on weather sites which all now give pollen forcast's
    http://www.wunderground.com/DisplayPollen.asp?Zipcode=truth or consequences, nm
    http://www.wunderground.com/DisplayPollen.asp?Zipcode=denver, co
    http://www.wunderground.com/DisplayPollen.asp?Zipcode=cheyenne, wy
    http://www.wunderground.com/DisplayPollen.asp?Zipcode=miles city, mt
    If you follow these sites when their is snow out you will see the indexes fall down to .1, .2, on a scale of 1-12.

    I built a specialized camper with materials I trust (specifically to no wood products and the ability to immediately detect any water intrusion)
    http://i185.photobucket.com/albums/x74/antares41_41/truck01_2.jpg
    http://i185.photobucket.com/albums/x74/antares41_41/truck02_2.jpg

    traveled all the way up to Raton, nm from TorC, nm. Wish I would have gone farther, Denver had 3' of snow while I was up there.
    My thinking it might not just be mold that give's me the reactivity, maybe it's other things, "elm, cottenwood, juniper, etc." But regardless these count's go down to practically zeor when there is a good layer of snow on the ground. My thinking was mold would also. Unfortunally for the entire 5 weeks I was up there and also Eagles nest, nm only 2" of snow. I gave up and came home. Pollen count's were way lower there than t or c but no noticeable change in symptoms.
    I think the higher elevations were hard on me, (7 to 8 thousand feet)
    I would like to try it again but in areas with lower elevations, that means not pussyfooting and going all the way up to montana next year which will be expensive.

    My question to you Lisa, (or anyone else on this list) is have you traveled to places with heavy snow on the ground and did it help with your symptoms? For those living in conventional housing this test might not yield any useful information, because it's so hard to know weather there is anything in conventional housing that might cause reactivitey.

    Robert Christ
     
  16. slayadragon

    slayadragon Senior Member

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    I know that I respond to several different types of outdoor biotoxins, only some of which are helped by having snow on the ground.

    1) In cities, bad buildings have a "bad zone" around them. The mold from the buildings is vented outside and mixes with the pollution in the air. This is moderately problematic for me. Snow on the ground does not help at all.

    2) Also in cities and other settled areas, some kind of toxin from sewers is a problem. This is more of a problem in winter than summer, generally. Snow does not help at all. (Sewer grates are exposed in winter.)

    3) In the agricultural Midwest, there is some kind of toxin that feels to me like mold, that is associated with corn and soybean fields. There is a fair amount of literature that suggests that the pesticide Roundup (used on soybean and corn fields) causes the trichothocene-producing toxic mold Fusarium to grow abundantly. It's been a while since I spent time in the Midwest during winter, but I do remember the outside air in the agricultural areas feeling better in the winter than in the summers.

    4) Hazardous Algae Blooms grow on various lakes, rivers, and ponds. If these are frozen over, they will be less of a problem.


    Based on my experiences with NM, I would imagine that Raton would be pretty good in terms of biotoxins. Of course, there could be particular allergens there that were problematic to you (though those would be different symptoms).

    If we assume that Raton has good air quality and that your camper does not have mold growing in it, then the remaining issue that could be a problem is cross-contaminated possessions. If I were to go camping with possessions from a bad place, it wouldn't help at all.

    Best, Lisa
     
  17. antares4141

    antares4141 Senior Member

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    I would strongly suggest to anyone with CFS type illness to go on google and look and see how close you are to agricultural areas. Unfortunally they (farms) are usually not very far from many US cities and in some of cases 1/4 mile or less from outlying residential areas is not uncommon. I could never tolerate being this close to an area that sprays any types of pesticides. I like to have 5 miles or better. Although I believe my illness was at least partially caused by occupational expousure to pesticides and chemicals.

    We are on the same page when it comes to mold and how sick it can make you. Although I think I have taken my avoidance to a pretty extreme level:
    http://i185.photobucket.com/albums/x74/antares41_41/house1_2.jpg

    I don't quite take avoidance to your level, it is a gray area for me. I do think that one has to be careful of what they bring into their home, wood furniture, matteruses, couches, that came out of a moldy home would be a no no, but cloths that can be washed, dishes, tools, chairs, non pourous objects would probably be ok. Further I might keep questionble items that are expensive and not easilly replaced like power tools boxes of old crap and the likes in a shed or something as opposed inside my living area. I doubt I would ever get rid of a car simply cause I thought it had mold in it, my truck is 20 years old and I will admit there was a time I worried about living in it but not being able to see/experience a cause and effect relationship has lessened my concerns dramatically. I worry about things like tv sets that have very intricate surfaces on them and becuase of electrostatic charges can collect a lot of dust and if ever to get damp might start growing mold. I don't like running air conditioners cause they collect water in them.

    I don't worry much about cross contamination but this area is gray also.

    I wouldn't want to bring a damp couch spewing out mold spores into my house for any amount of time but I probably wouldn't worry about decontaminating all of my cloths if I entered a moldy area, I would just plop them on the floor in a basket and wash them with the next load.

    My 28' 2005 travel trailer has mold in it I will go in it for shrot periods, I'm taking my baths in it. There was a time I wouldn't do this but it doesn't seem to have an effect either way. (for short periods) In a perfect world I wouldn't do this but I just don't have money to burn on expensive alternatives.

    Robert
     
  18. slayadragon

    slayadragon Senior Member

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    Robert, I'm in frequent contact with a number of people who have gotten to "mostly recovered" status as a result of biotoxin avoidance (and in some cases other treatments). Insofar as their belongings had been exposed to particularly problematic toxins, the "moderate" approach that you suggest would have caused all of them to remain wholly sick had they followed it.

    I'd never have made any progress at all using it, myself. And my goal is to be well, not to be "reasonable"!

    The only way for people to know if possessions are sandbagging them is to get wholly clear (unmasked) for a while. This involves spending time in a good place without the suspect possessions. (Obviously other possessions will need to be obtained for this exercise. Preferably a successful mold avoider will check them out to make sure they're okay, but some retail outlets have reliably non-contaminated products.)

    Then when people go back, they can judge for themselves whether the possessions are having an effect on them. If not, that's great, of course. But if they are having an effect, it's good to at least know that!

    Best, Lisa
     
  19. snowathlete

    snowathlete

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    Thanks Anne. Its a small room with a radiator, but i need to replace it because it is a bit rusty - new house, but they obviously scraped the bottom against some concrete or something, so there isnt any paint protection on the bottom. I would like to put a towel rail in, but its not straight forward as towel rail type have connectors for the pipework on the bottom, and standard rads on the side. So i would have to turn whole system off, do pipework, then flush whole system. I could put a replacement standard one in, by just isolation of that rad only and without any pipework etc.
    Still not sure what i will do to be honest. Nothing is easy.

    Regarding the mold, my options were quite limited, so i got new filters for my paint respirator, thick rubber gloves, disposable cloths, mold killer solution in a bottle and i went in, closed the door, cleaned it up (at least surface stuff) and then through all the rest of the stuff away, and left the room with the hepa filter going for a couple of days with the door shut.
    At least on the surface of it, it seems to have worked, and i dont feel any worse.

    Lisa, thanks for all the info, its very interesting. I being in the UK, and surrounded by farm land, hard not to be in alot of the England, and without any way of getting clear to see if i am better elsewhere, i really dont know what i can possibly do about it. Unless i win one of those holiday competitions to win a holiday on the other side of the world, with everything paid for, its never going to happen for me. I dont know where that leaves me really.
     
  20. slayadragon

    slayadragon Senior Member

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    There are a lot of very moldy buildings in England, that's for sure. Mark has been successful doing mold avoidance there, but in general it seems really hard.

    I guess if I were living there and wasn't going to be able to move to another country, I would think about doing an ERMI to see if I was in a really bad place and consider making changes if that was the case. Finding a really great place in that country is a real challenge, but maybe avoidance could at least take the bottom off really bad symptoms.

    I don't get the feeling at all that agriculture in general is really catastrophic, here in the U.S. Maybe it is for people who are reactive to pesticides, but it's not to me at all. I feel absolutely fantastic in farm states like Kansas, Montana and South Dakota, where little Roundup has historically been used, for instance.

    I don't think that GMO's are used in England, are they? That would be one point in that country's favor. When I was visiting England (before knowing that I was reactive toxic mold), I did do a lot better in the countryside near Stratford-upon-Avon than I did in the cities.

    Best, Lisa
     
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