This applies to everybody, but especially for those who suffer from Mould Illness/Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS).
Why don’t you want to kill mould?
Mould spores and hyphae (roots) will fragment into hundreds of toxic particles when killed. When inhaled these ultrafine and nano particles, and the toxins residing on them, trigger the innate immune system which sees them as Pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMPs) and Damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMPs) (Source: Berndtson, K. (2016). Biotoxin Pathway 2.0). Killing mould spores can also make them produce more mycotoxins and other defense mechanisms such as microbial VOCs as they die.
So in all respects you actual increase the toxin and inflammagen load when you kill, rather than remove, mould.
Substances that kill mould and other microbes are known as antimicrobials or biocides.
There’s a huge disconnect between Indoor Environmental Professionals (IEPs) and mould remediators who follow best practice industry standards and most news or blog articles on the internet and many government agencies, even those quoting mycologists and other “experts”.
What is a water-damaged building?
According to Dr. Shoemaker’s studies a building is considered water-damaged when it has any one of the following:
- A musty odour
- Visible mould growth
- HERTSMI-2 score > 11 (derived from the ERMI test which is qPCR test based on household dust co-developed by the EPA)
I would add the following
- An Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP) has inspected the building and indicated there is mould overgrowth/the building is water-damaged
- There’s an increase in symptoms when in the building compared to outside, or another mould free location. Read The Beginners Guide to Mold Avoidance by Lisa Petrison and Erik Johnson
- There’s an increase in fails on VCS testing when exposed to the building
- There’s an increase in C4a when exposed to the building (see Dr. Shoemaker’s SAIIE protocol/FAQ, or Dr. Patel’s serial C4a testing)
What should you do instead?
The caveat here is that if you have more than a small amount of surface only mould growth then you should consult with an IEP and if required a professional remediator. An IEP will write up a remediation scope of works for the remediator to follow.
Make sure the IEP/remediator follow the IICRC S520 at a minimum and give them the Surviving Mold IEP consensus statement for them to follow. See the References section for where I’ve sourced my information.
Click the plus sign to expand each section
Gassing and Fogging
There’s fierce debate in the mould testing, remediation and patient community on the role, if any, of biocides whether hydrogen peroxide, ozone gas, chlorine dioxide, concrobium or any other magic mixture. If they have a place, it’s after mould removal and in place of, or addition to, antimicrobial wiping. Be extremely wary of any remediator who tries to sell a fog or gas as the sole means remediation. From the IICRC 520:
12.2.1 Remediators should not mist or fog disinfectants or sanitizers in an attempt to kill mold in lieu of source removal.
If you’re an CIRS patient, any mould removal should done by someone else, ideally a professional. In fact be out of the house/building while remediation is taking place.
Everyone, patient or not, should use protective gear when removing mould. The CDC recommends at a minimum:
Wear personal protective equipment. Wear an N-95 respirator at a minimum, goggles, and protective gloves. …AFTER YOU LEAVE A MOLD SITE: Protect yourself and loved ones. Shower and change your clothes. This will help you avoid carrying mold and other hazards back to your current living quarters.
A heavily contaminated building may require full Personal protective equipment (PPE)
So there you have it, let’s get the right information out in the mould community. Once more, with feeling:
Stay tuned for the next part: Remove, Don’t Kill Mould – Part 2 – Possessions