Would you buy a home that needs low level mold remediation? Asking people who are mold sensitive/toxic...

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WWYD -- What Would You Do? To those who are mold sensitive...

I am in the process of buying a house and the mold and mycotoxins tests (Realtime Labs) are being conducted Friday morning. Is there any level of mold or mycotoxin that you would remediate or would you walk away from the deal?

Do you have a mold and mycotoxin test done to every home that you consider living in? Have you ever found zero levels?

To those who have remediated their homes and possessions, what did it cost and what did it entail? Were you able to live in it afterwards or not?

FYI mold mycotoxins have been linked to ME CFS symptoms. I have toxic levels of two molds (among other toxicities and viral loads etc), and was in doubt for a long time that mold played a role in my illness until I spoke with Dr. Irma Rey at NSU (aka Nova) and got my test results and her theory of ME CFS, as well as evidence that her patients are recovering more then others. Then I began seeing the bigger picture and putting the pieces of the puzzle together with the help of Dr. Rey. You can read my blog on this site for more info. It is a LOT to take in.
 
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Wishful

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I live in a small cabin, and prefer below-typical room temperature (12C). In winter, mold does grow in the corners and other places where humid air meets cold surfaces. My ME symptoms don't change when that happens, nor do I notice any other health issues from it. I'm also surrounded by muskeg and forest full of rotting logs, so there must be mold/fungal spores much of the time. The importance of avoiding mold depends on the person, and so will the responses to your question. You might edit your question to include 'how sensitive are you to mold?' Otherwise you'll get 'Sure, I'd buy a house with mold issues' responses from mold-tolerant people.
 
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I live in a small cabin, and prefer below-typical room temperature (12C). In winter, mold does grow in the corners and other places where humid air meets cold surfaces. My ME symptoms don't change when that happens, nor do I notice any other health issues from it. I'm also surrounded by muskeg and forest full of rotting logs, so there must be mold/fungal spores much of the time. The importance of avoiding mold depends on the person, and so will the responses to your question. You might edit your question to include 'how sensitive are you to mold?' Otherwise you'll get 'Sure, I'd buy a house with mold issues' responses from mold-tolerant people.
WOW, you are not bothered by mold. That is super surprising to me. I do not doubt you, it is just that you are the first person that has told this to me. I will edit the question and thanks for commenting.
 

ljimbo423

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Do you have a mold and mycotoxin test done to every home that you consider living in? Have you ever found zero levels?
I think most every house will have some level of mold. I agree with @Wishful in that it depends on the person. Weather you are sensitive to mold or not. I moved into an apartment with significant mold from a leaky skylight.

When I moved in my CFS was pretty bad, I was mostly bedridden. My symptoms didn't get any worse. In fact, living in the same apt. I have improved my CFS from severe to mostly mild, without addressing the mold issue.

It seems I am not sensitive to mold but some people are.
 
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I think most every house will have some level of mold. I agree with @Wishful in that it depends on the person. Weather you are sensitive to mold or not. I moved into an apartment with significant mold from a leaky skylight.

When I moved in my CFS was pretty bad, I was mostly bedridden. My symptoms didn't get any worse. In fact, living in the same apt. I have improved my CFS from severe to mostly mild, without addressing the mold issue.

It seems I am not sensitive to mold but some people are.
This is mind blowing to me. Everything that I have read and everyone whom I have spoken to says any level of mycotoxin is harmful. I am really glad that you are getting better.

I had the opposite experience. I was ill, maybe a 6.5 on the karnofsky performance scale. When I moved here I became seriously ill, mostly housebound often bed bound, and a 3 on the Karnofsky scale (the one that NSU uses not the typical scale that you find on the web). Only recently did I learn that I have mold toxins (among other things) and that there is likely a mycotoxin problem in my house. I will have to have it tested to confirm but that is my suspicion. It does not affect my partner. But my belief is that it will in the long run... that it goes undetected like most toxins, and then one day you have xxx disease.
 
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I would run far away from any home that inspectors told me needed remediation. I've no idea what the lab result should be, and I'm also sure that all houses have some level of mold. But some (normal?) level of mold is very different in my mind than a home inspector saying it's "needing remediation". I had an experience with this because I moved recently (for other reasons) from an apartment that reeked of mold (to me at least with the super sensitive nose) to one that has a "normal" level of mildew under the bathroom cabinet. Shocking to me, I am feeling ever so slightly better. Now clearly much has changed with moving house, so maybe I'm wrong in attributing it to mold, but I still think it's about the mold. I did not remediate any possessions, because they don't smell moldy. The mold was growing in the walls from wind driven rain. Interestingly, I lived in this apartment for about a year before my triggering event and was just fine. I don't know if ME/CFS made me more mold sensitive than I was before. I have no logical explanation. I did not consider myself a mold sensitive person before this experience (other than the reactions any normal, healthy person would have to mold). Now I'm going to try to avoid it.
 
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I'm also sure that all houses have some level of mold. But some (normal?) level of mold is very different in my mind than a home inspector saying it's "needing remediation".
I would wonder the following: are most homes in the geography your looking at similar? (like the whole area is generally moldy....)...versus is it this particular house....due to some event or leak or what have you. If its highly localized maybe its ok, if properly dealt with.

I know someone bought a house that the prior owner had smoked...it took a couple of years to get THAT out of there....I know it was hard.
 
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I would run far away from any home that inspectors told me needed remediation. I've no idea what the lab result should be, and I'm also sure that all houses have some level of mold. But some (normal?) level of mold is very different in my mind than a home inspector saying it's "needing remediation". I had an experience with this because I moved recently (for other reasons) from an apartment that reeked of mold (to me at least with the super sensitive nose) to one that has a "normal" level of mildew under the bathroom cabinet. Shocking to me, I am feeling ever so slightly better. Now clearly much has changed with moving house, so maybe I'm wrong in attributing it to mold, but I still think it's about the mold. I did not remediate any possessions, because they don't smell moldy. The mold was growing in the walls from wind driven rain. Interestingly, I lived in this apartment for about a year before my triggering event and was just fine. I don't know if ME/CFS made me more mold sensitive than I was before. I have no logical explanation. I did not consider myself a mold sensitive person before this experience (other than the reactions any normal, healthy person would have to mold). Now I'm going to try to avoid it.
I did not use to react to mold, either. The way that it was explained to me is that we collect all of these toxins in our bodies, mold is only one and there are others, and one day it finally becomes too much... like a rain barrel overflowing with water or a dam that breaks.
 
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I would wonder the following: are most homes in the geography your looking at similar? (like the whole area is generally moldy....)...versus is it this particular house....due to some event or leak or what have you. If its highly localized maybe its ok, if properly dealt with.

I know someone bought a house that the prior owner had smoked...it took a couple of years to get THAT out of there....I know it was hard.
I think that you raise a very good point. Thank you.
 
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As someone is mold sensitive, I would say don't buy something that needs remediation. It can become a never ending money pit of fixing issues and dealing with cross contamination.

In terms of finding a place to live, I used the method Lisa Petrison recommends, of honing my ability to figure out what makes me sick. Mold tests are designed to pick up levels of mold that would make an average person sick. They don't cover everything that someone sensitive might react to either. (https://paradigmchange.me/testing/)

It's a huge hassle to go through the process but it's made mold avoidance much easier and more effective for me. It's also helped me figure out what level of mold/mildew that I can tolerate.

Right now I'm renting an old adobe house that feels wonderful except for one closet that was recently added on. As it smells vaguely of mildew I don't store anything in it and I don't sleep in the room where it is. However the house and surrounding area feels so good that I know I can handle it. My health has improved enormously since moving in, so I am confident that I made the right call.
 
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As someone is mold sensitive, I would say don't buy something that needs remediation. It can become a never ending money pit of fixing issues and dealing with cross contamination.

In terms of finding a place to live, I used the method Lisa Petrison recommends, of honing my ability to figure out what makes me sick. Mold tests are designed to pick up levels of mold that would make an average person sick. They don't cover everything that someone sensitive might react to either. (https://paradigmchange.me/testing/)

It's a huge hassle to go through the process but it's made mold avoidance much easier and more effective for me. It's also helped me figure out what level of mold/mildew that I can tolerate.

Right now I'm renting an old adobe house that feels wonderful except for one closet that was recently added on. As it smells vaguely of mildew I don't store anything in it and I don't sleep in the room where it is. However the house and surrounding area feels so good that I know I can handle it. My health has improved enormously since moving in, so I am confident that I made the right call.
I am glad that you are doing so well. I have not been able to read everything by Lisa or Erik. I did a mold sabbatical from my house and became unmasked. I am certain that it has mycotoxins even though there is no sight of mold. And likely endotoxins. The humidity is very high, creating the environment for them to grow in, 80% in the basement! It is such a shame because otherwise this is a pristine area. And now all of my many many items are contaminated, as is my car and RV. Perhaps they were already contaminated and I could not tell because I was not unmasked. It is not clear to me how a car or RV becomes contaminated. I have read about plumes but do not understand them. Do you know?

Did you get rid of all of your belongings or did you remediate them? Are you in the desert now?

I am fortunate to have found a company owned by a husband and wife who are extremely mold literate. They go to all of the environmental conferences and he, Bill Niccoll, had mold illness. I had a 2-hour conversation with him. He really cares and gave me a good education. The price that he quoted me for the mold and mycotoxin test was incorrect -- $200 less than he charges. I found that out when I spoke with his admin to schedule the inspection. But he stood behind the price and did not even balk about it. That shows a lot of integrity. The also have an employee coming in super early on Friday to do the inspection because I needed it done ASAP as my closing is Aug 23 -- and they did not have any openings until Aug 26! So, I feel very good about them.

I am not sure that I can walk into a place and know for certain that the place is safe or contaminated for me. On sabbatical I felt so much better everywhere that I went, which was quite a few places, except Asheville NC where it felt moldy and unclean. Interesting that it is the mountains / trees and my home where I got ill is in the mountains / trees, so maybe something in that environment bothers me.

Add to that, I have not been to this house that I am buying as it is far away in another state. That market is selling like hotcakes so I had to make an offer if I wanted the house.

The sabbatical was interesting. I felt much like myself again in a very short time. I felt good even coming back into my house. But eventually got ill again, maybe a month or two afterwards. The only thing that keeps me alive are the supplements and medicines that I take. So I am like a boat with a hole and taking on water, the supplements/medications are my bucket to drain the water.
 
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It sounds like you have a done a lot already by completing a sabbatical, even if you weren't able to get to a clear place afterwards!

To answer your questions-

After my sabbatical my partner threw away everything we owned except for metal pots and pans. We left a box of sentimental items at my parent's house but realistically we'll never be able to touch those things again. My parents house has mold too! We didn't want to risk trying to remediate something and then bringing into our new place and cross contaminating everything.

We live in a major city in a desert now. It's not considered a great place for moldies but it seems to be working for me. We live in an irrigated neighborhood so everything around is very green but the irrigation for our lot is blocked and the yard is filled with cacti, so it's kind of a mixed desert location?

As someone who is sensitive to mold, I would not consider buying a house in another state that I had never entered. Environment can have such a huge impact on health and mold testing is an incomplete method for understanding what might impact you. It's rare to have someone with integrity and it's awesome that you have found someone you can trust! But I think the tests and standards were developed for the average person, not us super sensitive types. TBH, buying a house like this sounds like a lot of risk. Is it possible to move to this new area and rent for a few months while you find a house?
 

Wishful

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I'm curious: do people with mold sensitivities also react to regular mushroom spores? I saw several mushrooms on my walk today, and pretty soon they're going to be popping up everywhere, releasing gazillions of spores. So, do those spores not cause problems, or do you live in hazmat suits all autumn? It just seems that fungal spores would be hard to avoid in most places on earth.

Is mold--or mold toxin--sensitivity limited to just a few species of molds, rather than fungi in general?
 
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As someone who is sensitive to mold, I would not consider buying a house in another state that I had never entered. Environment can have such a huge impact on health and mold testing is an incomplete method for understanding what might impact you. It's rare to have someone with integrity and it's awesome that you have found someone you can trust! But I think the tests and standards were developed for the average person, not us super sensitive types. TBH, buying a house like this sounds like a lot of risk. Is it possible to move to this new area and rent for a few months while you find a house?
Oh, I used to live in the city/state where the house is located. I lived there before I moved to the state that I live in now, which is where I became extremely ill. I had no idea my current house would make me ill. I had been here many times before as it was my parents' home. But I had not visited the house in several years owing to moving out of state... and when I visited my parents it was at my brothers' house. After Dad's funeral I did stay in this house for a week or two, I forget which, and cleaned everything top to bottom. It did not bother me then. The house sat vacant for 18-mos before I moved in. A few months later I became very ill, mostly housebound and often bed bound. That went on for a year. It took me a long time to figure out it was the house -- last Christmas I went away for a week and was surprised that I felt much better. Then I became familiar with Erik Johnson and the moldies. And when I traveled for 3 weeks for my sabbatical and felt great (except in Asheville NC) then returned to the house and felt great here, too, then as time went on I got ill again, well I finally began to question if something in the environment was making me ill. Plus I got my test results back showing that I was off the charts for two mold toxicities (among other things).

I will likely go with my Plan B, which is to RV for 5-mos. Then I can decide what my next step will be.
 
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I'm curious: do people with mold sensitivities also react to regular mushroom spores? I saw several mushrooms on my walk today, and pretty soon they're going to be popping up everywhere, releasing gazillions of spores. So, do those spores not cause problems, or do you live in hazmat suits all autumn? It just seems that fungal spores would be hard to avoid in most places on earth.

Is mold--or mold toxin--sensitivity limited to just a few species of molds, rather than fungi in general?
This is a good question and something that I had not even thought of. Here is the top article on Google that addresses it https://sciencing.com/happen-exposed-mushroom-spores-12053065.html
 
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I'm curious: do people with mold sensitivities also react to regular mushroom spores? I saw several mushrooms on my walk today, and pretty soon they're going to be popping up everywhere, releasing gazillions of spores. So, do those spores not cause problems, or do you live in hazmat suits all autumn? It just seems that fungal spores would be hard to avoid in most places on earth.

Is mold--or mold toxin--sensitivity limited to just a few species of molds, rather than fungi in general?
In my experience, mold sensitivity is usually limited to just a few types of mold, though the number and severity of sensitivities varies by person. When people talk about mold avoidance, "mold" is a convenient stand in for "things that trigger me and are associated with mold, even though no one is precisely sure if it's mold spores, mycotoxins, VOCs, or something else."

Usually people develop mold sensitivities by being exposed to mold or something else over a long period of time. As their immune system gets overwhelmed they develop vague symptoms that get increasingly worse, so it's more of a gradual process than a sudden attack because they are near mold.

Usually people only have a sudden onset of symptoms after exposure if they have gone through the process of getting away from mold and deliberately becoming hypersensitive. Typically that means living in a dry area that wouldn't have mushrooms sprouting up everywhere.

Airflow can also make a huge difference. In buildings the air isn't moving around nearly as much as outside, so it can magnify the impact of mold. A lot of mold sensitive people report doing better in coastal areas, probably because of the great airflow.

I think one of the most interesting things about mold sensitivity is that it can extend to the microbiome of a place. The microbiome of our environment varies by place and cities have unique indoor microbiomes even.

I slowly declined living in a damp city no matter how much mold avoidance I did. I am pretty sure it was the general impact of the microbiome and mold toxins floating around but I didn't have acute reactions because it was just generally overwhelming my immune system. Once I moved to a drier city I started getting much better. It was so odd!
 
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Oh, I used to live in the city/state where the house is located. I lived there before I moved to the state that I live in now, which is where I became extremely ill. I had no idea my current house would make me ill. I had been here many times before as it was my parents' home. But I had not visited the house in several years owing to moving out of state... and when I visited my parents it was at my brothers' house. After Dad's funeral I did stay in this house for a week or two, I forget which, and cleaned everything top to bottom. It did not bother me then. The house sat vacant for 18-mos before I moved in. A few months later I became very ill, mostly housebound and often bed bound. That went on for a year. It took me a long time to figure out it was the house -- last Christmas I went away for a week and was surprised that I felt much better. Then I became familiar with Erik Johnson and the moldies. And when I traveled for 3 weeks for my sabbatical and felt great (except in Asheville NC) then returned to the house and felt great here, too, then as time went on I got ill again, well I finally began to question if something in the environment was making me ill. Plus I got my test results back showing that I was off the charts for two mold toxicities (among other things).

I will likely go with my Plan B, which is to RV for 5-mos. Then I can decide what my next step will be.
Eek! Moving out definitely sounds like the right course of action. RVing for 5 mos sounds like a great plan! Just avoid Asheville ;)
 

taniaaust1

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I'm curious: do people with mold sensitivities also react to regular mushroom spores? I saw several mushrooms on my walk today, and pretty soon they're going to be popping up everywhere, releasing gazillions of spores. So, do those spores not cause problems, or do you live in hazmat suits all autumn? It just seems that fungal spores would be hard to avoid in most places on earth.

Is mold--or mold toxin--sensitivity limited to just a few species of molds, rather than fungi in general?
Im extremely mold sensitive but have never reacted to mushrooms. I think too the types of molds really vary and some are much worst than others.