The 12th Invest in ME Research Conference June, 2017, Part 2
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Throw my computer in the trash?

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by stolpioni, Jun 28, 2016.

  1. stolpioni

    stolpioni

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    So my apartment was heavily infected with mold. I have just moved out. Had to throw away all of my stuff (including clothes, TV etc). About 2 weeks ago I purchased a brand new computer for $3000. Do you think I have to throw this too?

    There has been a little bit of dust on it, but I opened it up and it still looked new.
     
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  2. wastwater

    wastwater Senior Member

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    Id keep hold of the pc if it cost so much,give the outside a damp down with diluted apple cider vinegar,and throw the box and packaging.
     
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  3. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member

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    No. The packaging should have protected it to some extent. What did the inside of the packaging look like? If it was fine you shouldn't have a problem.

    Leave it somewhere warm - but not too hot and no direct heat! - and dry - for a few days before powering it up.

    If you are in any doubt you could maybe get somewhere to check it out before powering it up.
     
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  4. frog_in_the_fog

    frog_in_the_fog Test Subject

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    If you are worried, get some canned air and clean the computer outside. That is what I do. Don't spray any liquid cleaning chemicals into the inside of the computer.
     
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  5. parabola

    parabola

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    You could just change the fan unit if you're worried about it blowing spores about the place
     
  6. Deltrus

    Deltrus Senior Member

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    Why not sell it or give it away? I don't think other people would care if there is mold in it if they aren't sick.
     
  7. Gingergrrl

    Gingergrrl Senior Member

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    We consulted with a mold expert when dealing with this issue last summer and in our case, we had to get rid of our computers, all electronics and furniture, all clothing, and about 95% of everything that we owned prior to moving. We literally kept only our cars, our wedding rings, medications, and a few other items. We hired a company to back up our documents and photos so most were not lost.

    But we had rock solid mold testing done on the electronics and household goods besides the a/c filters, ducts, air testing etc. We had 19 kinds of mold and one of the highest levels of toxic black mold (stacybotrys) ever seen. A positive test was over 0.1 ppb and ours was over 8.0 ppb. We consulted with two testing companies (one hired by landlord and one hired by us) plus a restoration company before consulting with the mold doctor.

    The restoration company would have made about $20K off of us to "clean and restore" our belongings but in good conscience they declined our money and said the items were not salvageable due to the levels of mold (and there was zero visible mold on our belongings- only inside the a/c unit and the walls/floor of the a/c closet.)

    It was a very hard decision especially with the sentimental items but we felt we had no choice. We were able to get some of the glass items restored but nothing with a fan, nothing paper, no clothing, etc. I recommend my mold doctor highly if the OP is interested, just send me a PM.

    Just re-read the first post, was the computer never taken out of the box until after you left the apt? Or were you using the computer inside the moldy apt?
     
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  8. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1

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    If it was me, i think I'd wipe outside down with bleach and seal it for 24hrs inside a bag filled something which kills mold spores. If only 2 weeks old, it probably doesnt have much mold spores on it at this point.
     
  9. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    I thought it was pretty much impossible to get rid of all spores anyway? They're just in the air, and air circulates into homes, A PC is not something particularly likely to have mold growing in it... especially a new $3000 one!

    PS: If you want me to take it off your hands, I'd be willing to do so.
     
  10. JohnCB

    JohnCB MEow

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    I would have thought that inside a PC is about the last place mould and fungus would develop. A traditional PC tower will have internal temperatures above those in which these things grow. There is no moisure either. The materials used in electronics aren't friendly to them, especially the significant amounts of copper. Copper is the basis of many fungicides.
     
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  11. Gingergrrl

    Gingergrrl Senior Member

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    The mycotoxin spores would be inside of the fan of the PC or any electronic device with a fan and then if you move it to a new place, the fan blows it into the air at your new place. Wiping down the outside with bleach etc doesn't change this.

    It really depends on the individual and I was extremely reactive to mold and trying to detox and mold was a big trigger of histamine and MCAS for me. We just couldn't risk it even though my daughter had a brand new lap top at that point. We couldn't contaminate our new place but I know for others, the risk and how it affects them might not be as high as it was for me.
     
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  12. stolpioni

    stolpioni

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    Thanks guys.

    I opened up the computer and there is some dust laying on all parts of it. I believe mycotoxins are spread through dust. It's not a lot though, just very little.

    My thinking now is to buy a new case (the outer material) and new fans, and then take the parts, vacuum clean them and then insert them into the new case. This should be good enough?
     
  13. stolpioni

    stolpioni

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    Thanks for your advice.

    Yes I have used the computer in the moldy place, for about 10-14 days. Slight bit of dust inside it on all the parts (albeit minimal). This apartment wasn't as moldy as the one I had before, but there was visible black mold in several rooms (although not in the one where the computer was).

    Interesting about the histamine. I recently went to an allergy Doctor and when he put some histamine on me (this is used for control, they want to see how much you react to histamine so that they can compare the response to the other substances), I didn't react to histamine whatsoever. He said he had never seen anything like it and therefore he could not interpret the test.

    Do you think it could be that my histamine levels were so high from the mycotoxins that I didn't get a reaction to additional histamine?
     
  14. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    I think that any spores in there are going to be so few that the equivalent number are likely to blow in whenever you open your front door. I'm a bit worried that you've ended up getting some mold advice that is a bit 'alternative'/unsupported by the evidence? It's up to you what you do, but I'd hate you to go to massive effort for no good reason.

    Having said that, my place could definitely do with a more thorough clean!
     
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  15. OkRadLakPok

    OkRadLakPok Senior Member

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    I would not throw it away. Like Ester said when you open the door, microbes will flow in at small levels. However, you gotta do what you must. I just hope it will be ok for you. Do you feel better?
    My question is WHY THE HECK where they allowed to rent a moldy apt??? Grrrr!!!
     
    Esther12 likes this.
  16. JohnCB

    JohnCB MEow

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    Vacuum cleaning is not recommended for delicate electronics. A vacuum cleaner can generate significant static electricity and if this discharges from the nozzle to a circuit board or chip, the chip internals can be destroyed. The recommended method, in normal circumstances, is to blow the dust out with canned air. Of course I can understand that you might not wish to blow the dust around the room. I usually do such things out in the garden, as typically there is a lot of dust when I get to the point of doing it.

    On the other hand, although I have often seen the recommendation not to vacuum the interior of a PC, I have not actually had someone say they have destroyed a PC that way.

    But on the other other hand, static damage doesn't always show immediately, but careful statistical analysis has been use to show that careless handling (in this case handling chips and boards by hand without wearing an earthed anti-static strap) does reduce the lifetime of electronic equipment. The point here is that lower level static discharges (you don't feel them) can do partial damage.

    Personally I would advise against vacuuming, but I say that on the basis that I do not think I am mould sensitive. I'd recommend blowing out the dust with canned air out of doors unless that is too high a risk for you. If it is too much of a risk, then use the vacuum, but be aware of the risk to the electronics.

    Also, if you do dismantle your PC, earth/ground your body. Either leave the case plugged into an earthed power socket, but switched off at the PC power switch and at the wall socket switch if there is one. The earth/ground lead is not switched. Then touch your hand against the metalwork of the case for a couple of seconds before touching the internal components. If you are removing them for later reassembly store them in antistatic bags if you have them available (it's the kind of thing I keep when I have them left over after installing new components. Another enthusiast might have some you could use).

    An alternative is to use use the grounding in your home. In the UK at least, building regulations insist that metal pipework and so forth is attached to an earthing point. I'm assuming other developed countries have similar rules. Then for example you could do the work on a dry kitchen counter with the PC disconnected from the electricity supply. Then first before you touch any internals, equalise everything to remove static by holding the metal PC case with one hand and the sink (assuming it is steel) with the other so that it is all grounded before you start. Repeat the equalisation if you step away and return as the act of walking on certain floor coverings can generate static.
     
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  17. Forebearance

    Forebearance Senior Member

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    Hi @stolpioni ! I'm sorry to hear about your predicament.

    Really only you are going to be able to tell if your newish computer bothers you or not.
    I agree with what others have said about cleaning it -- that could help remove any lingering spores and mold toxins in the dust on the computer. I have wiped things down with rubbing alcohol in the past.

    Computers and all electronics do have a tendency to attract mold toxins and then to radiate them back out when the devices are used.

    My main advice is: before you know if it bothers you, be very careful about where you operate the computer. I would suggest using it outdoors in a park or a place with clean fresh air. Don't use it in your new home until you are sure it doesn't bother you. It is really easy to cross-contaminate a room or a home with a toxin-laden computer.

    I hope you can save it or trade it in!
    But if you can't, it is still better to have a safe home than a computer.
    Forebearance
     
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  18. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    Do you actually have some specific hypersensitivities to mold? Or are you just assuming you might?

    If you don't, then throwing away your clothes, TV and computer seems like it might be going too far. Do these items actually smell of mold? Mold spores are in the air all the time, so you cannot escape from very low level exposure anyway.
     
  19. KitCat

    KitCat be yourself. everyone else is already taken.

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    I would love to know more. If you don't mind sharing...

    What/how did you get mold testing done?

    What kind of doctor? And what kind of treatment is he giving you?

    Did the treatment help?
     
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  20. Gingergrrl

    Gingergrrl Senior Member

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    @KitCat can you send me your questions via PM so I don't take this thread off topic?
     
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