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Got a professional mold test but stumped by the results...

Discussion in 'Addressing Biotoxin, Chemical & Food Sensitivities' started by Tiger Lily 813, Mar 8, 2014.

  1. Tiger Lily 813

    Tiger Lily 813 Senior Member

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    Hi all,
    In my quest to heal my adrenal fatigue/lyme/cfs/parasite junk- that flared like wild after moving into this apartment- I had a professional mold test done by a reputable company. I still don't know what level of concern I should have. Please let me know what you think!!!

    -No smell (the inspectors agree)
    -No visible mold other than minor stuff that happens in (any) shower
    -I do feel like it is moist in general
    -There were/are leakage issues in the apartment below
    -My bedroom has a bathroom attached. The air sample from that bathroom/my room did show Aspergillus.
    The level was "3 raw ct, 39 spores/m3"
    -The company claims anything below 1000 is considered a trace amount and that we're clear. I don't know whether I trust this because another site I was looking at, stated that "EMR levels" should not exceed a 2. But I'm not sure which value the EMR level is.
    -2 other roommates in different rooms down the hall are fine; they do not have bathrooms attached to their rooms though; the neighbors below us are fine as well.
    -My symptoms are chronic fatigue, hormonal imbalance, succeptibility to parasites. I do not have sinus or respiratory symptoms.
    -Location is New York City

    It is a rental apartment and I will likely move out when my term is up in August anyways just out of doubt/paranoia, but I would really like to know some opinions on this from those who may have experienced mold sickness. It might be entirely coincidental that my problems increased when I moved in.
    So grateful for your thoughts-
     
  2. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Narcissism = lack of self awareness

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    I lived in a place that hold mold. I had testing and removal. I had Aspergillis/Penicillin and Stachybotrus. From what I was told by my mold test guy, Aspergillis is common in the air where every you live and having it inside is not necessarily going to make you sick. (sorry I don't remember my levels).

    Did your guy do a test the air outside to see if the levels outside were the same inside? That is important to know andsomething that my guy did.

    This does not mean you are not having a reaction to the mold see we know we are much more sensitive than others. But it may not be causing you problems. You should have a vent fan in your bathroom to remove humidity so keep that going to help.
     
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  3. leela

    leela Slow But Hopeful

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    Did the inspector use a moisture meter or thermal imaging? This can lead to where to take a pencil sample if needed.
    I lived in a place where you couldn't see it, and only I could smell it. I pointed the inspector to those places and sure enough, several kind of mold were abundant behind the scenes.
     
  4. Tiger Lily 813

    Tiger Lily 813 Senior Member

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    I believe it was a moisture meter... It was an air test. Looked like something from Ghostbusters. I do think the location that they took it from was the suspect area as it's right above where the leak was happening downstairs...
    I also wanted to bring this to @slayadragon 's attention. I know this is a controversial matter, and anyone, professional or not, is somewhat guessing until it's blatantly obvious. I'm just trying to gauge and research and think about how significant a factor this is likely to be...
     
  5. Tiger Lily 813

    Tiger Lily 813 Senior Member

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    They did test outside, outside did not have Aspergillus, but it did have Clastridostridum or something spelled kind of like that. I did not have that one in my room.
    Thanks for the tip with the vent! I think also once it warms up having my a/c on will help dehumidify.
     
  6. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Narcissism = lack of self awareness

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    Mold cant grow without a moisture source so you just have to make sure there is no source.
     
  7. Tiger Lily 813

    Tiger Lily 813 Senior Member

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    Yeah I agree, I am just concerned about possible interior leaky pipe mold?
     
  8. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Narcissism = lack of self awareness

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    Repeated exposure to water is how you get Stachybotros. And if it was on the drywall, it would be soft and the drywall would give if you pushed on it.

    I would think if he didn't get any in the air then it's not an issue but if you aren't sure then tear out the drywall. Or cover the drywall behind pipes with plastic to seal it off. That's what my mold removal guy did. That'll protect you until you move out in a few months.
     
  9. leela

    leela Slow But Hopeful

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    Please don't randomly tear out the drywall. Stachy stays fairly immobile until it is disturbed, and then it spores out and spreads around like crazy. This could be more problematic than living with it hidden in the drywall.

    And the drywall does not necessarily have to be soggy for mold to be growing on the back of it. Mold only needs atmospheric moisture to be happy.
    If there is a hidden leak behind there, that would be enough, with the paper of the drywall a convenient hitching post.
     
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  10. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Narcissism = lack of self awareness

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    Let me correct that. I didn't mean for her to tear out the drywall. Just that is the only way to know for sure.
     
  11. Tiger Lily 813

    Tiger Lily 813 Senior Member

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    Yeah, I'm just renting, so without any testing findings or evidence I can't really investigate any further. I wonder if the fact that the test was taken pretty close to the interior I'm concerned about, and came out clear, that I don't have an interior problem... I wish I could assume that.
    I guess just being the tenant, I won't really be able to find out. The only way to test that would require drilling and whatnot, which without evidence I can't really do : (
     
  12. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Narcissism = lack of self awareness

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    I think you are just freaking yourself out unnecessarily. If you are concerned, cover the walls where the pipes are with plastic using duct tape. That will give you a level of protection. Then when you move out you just removed the plastic. Keep the vent fan on.

    I get why you are freaking, I was there, but you've done all you can do and the tests results are what you want to see. Don't make yourself crazy over this.
     
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  13. slayadragon

    slayadragon Senior Member

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    Unfortunately, there currently is no government funding and little other funding into looking in a scientific way at what mold might be doing in buildings.

    Even when it comes to what we already do know about mold through the science, the mold remediation/inspection industry is not incorporating this into their protocols.

    I thus suggest to you that it is a mistake to go about protecting your own health based on what "mold specialists" tell you. Just because someone claims to be a mold expert does not mean that they are trustworthy.

    What presumably you want to know is whether the building has mold in it that is harming you. Mold inspectors are not going to provide you with that information.

    I suggest pursuing the answer to this question in one of two ways, neither of which involves any mold professionals.

    1. If you want to be conventional about it, get an ERMI test done. This is a genetic test that analyzes the molds that are present in the dust in the home. It is not foolproof -- I have heard of people who have found big problems after engaging in reconstruction that were not identified by the ERMI. But it does seem to be more reliable than other tests.

    2. If you want to find out if your home is having an effect on you, then going on a trip away from it to a good place is the best way to find out. It is strongly recommended that you do not bring your own belongings on this trip and that you identify a good place for the "sabbatical." This is tricky to pull off, of course. But a bunch of people have done it and found it helpful.

    The only way that I think that a "mold inspector" might be helpful is to look visually at the home and identify suspicious places that a reconstruction crew will want to check out (e.g. by ripping out small amounts of the drywall under HAZMAT protocols). That has nothing to do with identifying health hazards though. It is designed for building reconstruction only.
     
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  14. Tiger Lily 813

    Tiger Lily 813 Senior Member

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    Thank you... I will definitely move in August. It just has been such a hard fight with my health this year and I wish I could move now. I think whatever mold situation might be lurking can't possibly be THAT bad- if no one smells anything... but it may be enough to set me off.
    In the meantime, would an air filter/purifier be worth the investment?
    I'm not entirely sure of where the pipes are enough to know how/where to seal off as @minkeygirl was saying. I will do more research on how to do that though!
     
  15. Tiger Lily 813

    Tiger Lily 813 Senior Member

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    @slayadragon I did spend time away over Christmas, and I thought that when I came back I was bothered by my apt environment but it's SO hard to tell- so many variables in a month of cfs/adrenal fatigue. Due to hormone cycles, missing the family I was no longer with, the vacation mindset vs. going back to work. Really tough to figure that out. I will be going home again for Easter, we'll see : ) Thanks so much for that info though. I am so over old(er) buildings! Hoping I can manage to end up in new construction next time!!
     
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  16. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Narcissism = lack of self awareness

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    @Tiger Lily 813 I would seal off under the bathroom and kitchen sink. That's probably all you can reach. It's something.
     
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  17. slayadragon

    slayadragon Senior Member

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    I would suggest that when you go home for Easter, you buy some new clothes to use while there (or borrow some) and not use any of your other possessions that have been in the suspicious place while on the trip. That may make it much easier to tell if there is a difference, since contaminated possessions can keep many people totally sick even when they get to a good environment.
     
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  18. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl Narcissism = lack of self awareness

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    All you have to do is wash your clothes in hot water. You can wipe down hard surfaces. Soft surfaces can be wiped but I tossed mine. There is spray stuff at Home Depot if you want use to spray surfaces that kills mold but not your brain.

    Books and stuff can be wiped down also. You don't have to go insane.
     
  19. slayadragon

    slayadragon Senior Member

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    You don't have to go insane. You can just wash your clothes and spray stuff on everything.

    Or you don't have to pay attention to the mold at all. You can just ignore it.

    But there are lots and lots of people with ME/CFS who have stated that attention to tiny amounts of toxic mold has made all the difference for them, in terms of their getting much better.

    Which does not mean that anybody else should follow their lead -- just that information that it has worked for them is something that is worth sharing, for those who are looking for options.

    Considering how few other options with any sort of track record other than resigning oneself to being really sick forever are out there, I mean.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2014
  20. Forebearance

    Forebearance Senior Member

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    Hey, Tiger Lily! Personally, if an apartment made my illness symptoms flare, that would be enough of a reason for me to decide to move. Plus, I have personally never had any good luck with a rental unit that felt damp-ish. The good places feel really clean and dry, to me.
    Wishing you the best!
    Forebearance
     
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