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CityChanger's Mold Avoidance Update

Discussion in 'Addressing Biotoxin, Chemical & Food Sensitivities' started by slayadragon, May 15, 2012.

  1. mellster

    mellster Marco

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    I might have said that - I tend do feel worse in buildings with AC in general or at last in buildings with poor AC. Also, there are other compounds in office buildings that leech from furniture, computers, printers, faxes etc. But I do believe that tolerance depends largely on your general health, as you get your chronic condition under control and start recovering, so the sensitivities seem to decrease. I also had bad pulmonary reactions to exercising in warm/hot weather (which I never had before coming down with FM/CFS), and those are mostly gone now as well. I think mold avoidance can be very useful, but I would always opt for natural air with some natural mold vs being in a building with AC :)
     
  2. slayadragon

    slayadragon Senior Member

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    Absolutely for me too. I have spent plenty of time in forests in pristine places, and obviously there is a lot of natural mold there. That kind of mold feels fine. It's the toxic stuff that often grows in (say) HVAC systems indoors, and occasionally in sewers and other inherently contaminated places, that is a problem for me.
     
    jenbooks likes this.
  3. SickOfSickness

    SickOfSickness Senior Member

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    Can you explain the difference more? I know outdoors is usually the better kind. What if a building got wet, is that ever okay mold? I know most wood gets wet during the building process, or if you had a flood or leak, can it dry out and be ok? How do you determine, by taking a sample and culturing it? Can't you clean up black mold and some other molds and it's okay? Is it too hard to get all of it?
     
  4. slayadragon

    slayadragon Senior Member

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    I tend to mentally divide "Mold" into three categories: benign molds (which make no toxins that are dangerous to humans, or at most very low levels of them), moderately toxic molds (the ones that were recognized in the literature prior to about 1995), and very toxic molds (the ones that have emerged in recent years).

    Outdoor molds are not necessarily benign. Moderately toxic molds seem to be fairly common, but the dilution with large quantities of fresh air seems to nullify many of their effects.

    In some cases though, molds making toxins that are really problematic for people (or at least, for people with CFS or mold illness) do grow outdoors. For instance, the chemical Roundup (glyphosate) is known to kill off a wide variety of microorganisms in the soil, allowing certain other microorganisms to grow unchecked. One of these is Fusarium, a toxic mold that creates a trichothocene toxins similar to the one made by Stachybotrys ("black mold"). Personally, I have a difficult time traveling to the Midwest, and the agricultural regions feel worse to me than the cities. I believe that the presence of this mold is part of the reason why.

    It's the belief of some of us that particularly dangerous toxins made by molds or other microorganisms also are present in the sewers in some places, and that these can emerge into the outside air. Scattered other outdoor places (especially those that have been damaged with particularly toxic chemicals) can be problematic with these toxins as well.

    Indoor molds also can be basically non-toxic, somewhat toxic or very toxic. However, the somewhat and very toxic species tend to dominate the non-toxic ones in most indoor environments, especially in modern buildings using such things as wall insulation, drywall and HVAC systems. As in the outdoors, the chemicals used inside homes seem to slant the balance toward the more toxic ones. Certain molds have evolved to be able to grow on mold-resistant paint, for instance. These are not normal molds, and thus may not be ones that our bodies are adapted to evolve (and, from what I've heard, do produce particularly problematic toxin).

    I don't know a terribly lot about buildings, but it certainly is true that many buildings get wet before the roof it put on. Apparently a bit of mold growing on solid wood studs is not considered to be a problem, in the building industry. (I was told once that that kind of mold tends to be aspergillus or similarly moderately toxic molds.) Much more problematic is when buildings are made of pre-fab construction and then get wet, because the processed wood is more likely to grow dangerous species such as Stachy. Obviously if a building is already mostly finished and a roof problem occurs, dangerous molds can grow pretty rapidly.

    There are labs that can identify molds, but most people in the construction business don't bother to do that. With the worst types of molds, such as Stachy, cleaning or painting over the molds does not help. The affected sections need to be removed, serious mold professionals seem to agree. Otherwise it grows back really easily.

    Best, Lisa
     
    cigana likes this.
  5. SickOfSickness

    SickOfSickness Senior Member

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    Thanks, I learned a lot.

    I remembered you writing about the wood studs getting wet. Horrible. You build a new house to escape contamination, and it probably has mold growing before you move in. And yes, all that drywall and insulation, chemicals in the paints and construction glues, off-gassing from furniture and vinyl flooring, fire retardant chemicals in mattresses, blechh.

    I'm not willing to give up possessions, and want to stay in my local area. I'm still wondering what I could do. I have a dream to live in a new construction that used natural materials - hardwoods that mold wouldn't grow on, for instance. It is probably out of reach to have a place with all new and natural materials.

    That is too bad about air being so polluted! I had mold in my previous residence and probably have it here, but I still did better indoors than out. My outdoor problems may have more to do with pollens and grasses. I feel best outdoors during rain and for a short time afterwards, then I feel terrible as it gets dryer and warmer and the flowers open back up.

    I know I've been exposed to black mold for weeks and months on and off. Someone told me it was black mold and it looked black, but I am not certain. I would get symptoms immediately when I went nearer to it, but they would subside. I think I am more tolerant of mold than many people, surprisingly, as I have a lot of other sensitivities, bothered by things that other people can hardly smell. I went in one house that had been flooded previously, and showed signs of it. It smelled strongly like mildew, which is an odd smell, but overall it almost smelled pleasant to me, like smelling mosses and leaves in a forest.

    It's a shame, but I may have to live in a building that had major leaks repaired. If I stayed in the building for 24 hours and noticed only minor effects, I am hopefully not going to have worse effects living there? Professional testing may cost too much. I was curious about cutting pieces of the wood that looked worse and bringing them to a lab. My 24 hour experience may be a better indicator?
     
  6. slayadragon

    slayadragon Senior Member

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    My experience is that any kind of a log home almost always feels really good to me. This goes for everything from a lowly KOA Kampin' Kabin to a million-dollar timber frame mansion. They don't necessarily feel perfect (obviously there will be some cross-contamination if nothing else), but they almost always are tolerable and very often are excellent.

    I guess that makes some sense. Log homes do not require insulation and do not have much drywall, and they don't leak much. Conceivably you still could have a plumbing leak, but if you built without any drywall and were careful with the cabinetry, I don't think even that would be a disaster.

    Also, although wood does receive some finishing, the amount of chemicals in it tends to be much lower than in a conventional home. That is good in terms of both chemical sensitivities and in keeping weird molds that can grow on chemicals at bay.

    So if I were going to build a home, that would be my own starting point.

    Here is a thread that talks about ideas for building a safe home.

    http://locationseffect.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=logistics&action=display&thread=213

    Where do you live?

    Usually 24 hours seems enough time for people to know if a house is super-bad. I've heard lots of stories about people moving into a house that feels only mildly problematic and then having it become increasingly intolerable as time goes on though. Intensification reaction is a funny thing.

    Best, Lisa
     
  7. slayadragon

    slayadragon Senior Member

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    CityChanger has some new entries in his biotoxin avoidance blog.

    http://ampligen4me.wordpress.com/2012/05/21/wuthering-heights-of-reactivity/

    >My greatest fear now is that because I experienced feeling great from extreme avoidance, I won’t be able to spend time in certain cities I love which my body reacts to. This is potentially depressing & devastating thought to many people I talk to about avoidance, whom always ask me whether there’s an escape plan from the desert. When reactivity comes down, maybe I”ll be able to tolerate more, but from my observations of others doing this exercise for a long time, it gets better but doesn’t go away. Lisa for example is no longer that reactive but she is still clearly bothered by the big city. Erik lives in Reno but not exactly in a practical way dodging plumes left & right. There is always something common that triggers inflammation in both their cases.


    http://ampligen4me.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/8-month-avoidance-update/

    >Avoidance is much harder than anything I ever imagined. I can also see why only a handful of people have done extreme avoidance. It is hard because it affects your sanity, makes you extremely isolated if you’re doing it alone, and may totally incapacitate you without leaving any exit strategies at times. But if I knew all that I know now 7 months ago, I would still do this. That’s how sick I was, and how close I was to suicide before I started “moderate” avoidance 1.5 years ago.


    http://ampligen4me.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/clarifications/

    >When discussing a treatment that has substantial risks (which is undeniable in my mind), I don’t think I’d be comfortable advising anyone to do it. However, if someone decided they’re still interested, I would be willing to discuss my experience and even help with logistics, as I have on a number of occasions. In other words, I wouldn’t advise anyone against doing this either. That’s not up to me.


    http://ampligen4me.wordpress.com/2012/08/17/optimism-in-the-midst-of-mecfs-silly-season/


    >The vast majority of patients that do biotoxin avoidance have nothing to do with the politics of mold, mold avoidance, or the polarizing politics of ME/CFS. They simply try an unconventional treatment & want to regain some quality of life. For this, they have been blithely insulted because of personal differences with 1-3 individuals, most recently Lisa P for her decision to investigate an accounting issue (nothing to do with mold.) This is like me saying “because I disagree with your views on retroviruses, I’m gonna publicly put to shame everyone that takes deplin.” If you think that analogy sounds insane, you would be correct.


    http://ampligen4me.wordpress.com/2012/08/18/lost-in-the-fold/

    >I think the point here is: does extreme avoidance benefit as much as it did for Erik? Is your expectation to climb Mt. Whitney? If so, extreme avoidance may have a 50/50 chance of being a great disappointment! But there are many out there whom disagree with Erik & Lisa (on several ends), yet readily admit to benefiting from mold avoidance. Paula Carnes writes on Jamie’s blog that mold avoidance is not a cure. Whoever said it was one? Whoever said Ampligen is a cure? But would you not jump to take ampligen if it cost the same as your nightly sleep medications?
     
  8. Riley

    Riley

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    I just found this thread through Google. Does anyone know how citychanger is doing, or how I can get in touch with him? His story is very compelling, and I am doing some preliminary research into avoidance.
     
  9. maryb

    maryb iherb code TAK122

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    @Ripley
    maybe Lisa will know, if you want to attract someone to a thread its best to put it this way -
    @slayadragon
     
  10. slayadragon

    slayadragon Senior Member

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    CityChanger is continuing to do well, including working full-time on his own business venture and exercising. However, his reactivities have continued to be high, causing limitations in where he can go and what he can do. And he still does not feel 100% in terms of cognitive abilities and energy. But all in all, he is continuing to improve over where he was when he wrote the last blog entry. I will PM you the email address.
     
  11. maryb

    maryb iherb code TAK122

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    @slayadragon
    re citychanger - that's good to hear, I fear mould has a lot to do with my illness but how I would change my environment as I have not the wherewithal. Always pleased to hear about people finding an improvement.

    I read about woods being not as bad for some - my husband swept the leaves up recently - I thought I was going to have a panic attack when he walked into the sitting room - I was overcome, he had to race upstairs and change.
    Wet leaves a big no no for me. Roll on summer.............
     

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