Story at-a-glance
  • Many homes are frequently contaminated with high levels of mold toxins
  • Mold contamination is typically the inevitable outcome whenever you have some form of water leak or flooding in your home and appropriate measures are not implemented
  • Poor ventilation is another major cause of mold
  • If you have visible mold growth, it's time to take immediate action; the key to mold control is moisture control  Removing the source of the moisture and removing the mold itself using detergent and hot water is generally effective at stopping mold growth

By Dr. Mercola

Air quality is extremely important, yet for all the pollution you're exposed to outdoors, your indoor air quality can be even worse! Jim Pearson has 30 years of experience in this business, and has been working with mold for nearly as long.

When scams within the mold remediation industry became a problem, an official professional mold remediation standard and reference guide was written, which is certified by the ANSI (American National Standards Institute). This document describes the correct way to address molds, so make sure any remediator you hire follows these standards. Pearson was part of the group who wrote this standard, and during the last four years of its creation, he served as the chairman of the consensus body writing it.

What Causes Mold?

Obviously, mold is the inevitable outcome whenever you have some form of water leak or flooding in your home. Poor drainage around your house or something as simple as clogged gutters or leaky plumbing can also cause problems.

However, high humidity is another a risk factor.

Aside from flooding, poor ventilation is the second major cause of mold. You really don't want to keep any kind of wet materials around the house for any length of time (think forgotten laundry in the washing machine, for example, or wet beach towels tossed in a corner), as it can cause mold to start to grow. Mold only needs two things to thrive: water and food. Its food is any organic source, such as paper, dry wall, or wood for example.

Indications that your environment has, or is conducive to mold growth include:

Water damage from putting out a fire, or any kind of water intrusion, whether internal (like a leaky pipe) or external (such as broken shingles) Condensation on windows (indicative of high humidity in an environment that can cause mold growth especially around the windows or the window sills)
Musty odor Water stains
New or increased allergy symptoms Cracked or peeling paint, or loose drywall tape/wall paper
Rusty metal (as it's a sign of high humidity) Drawers or doors that stick

Naturally, once you have visible mold growth, it's time to take immediate action.

Mold Remediation 101

The key to mold control is moisture control, so it's important to wipe up the excess water and dry the area and any affected items within 24 to 48 hours of the leak. Once it's dry, you need to clean up the mold.

"You don't cover it up. You don't paint it over. You don't spray bleach on it. You don't do any of that kind of stuff," Pearson warns. "And you don't mess with it without protection."

As a first step, Pearson suggests taking "the middle of the road approach."

"What I want you to do is take a reasonable approach to this. It's not going to kill you. It probably won't even make you sick. But you're not supposed to have mold in your house. The Centers for Disease Control is very clear about that, the EPA is clear about that. If you see visible mold growing, there is a problem there and you need to correct it.

I'll tell you -- there is this mold that's called condensation mold. It's a mold that forms on a wall in the condensation layer on the wall. For example, if it's super cold outside and you have poor insulation in the home walls, if you have a couch pushed up against the wall, you may get a little condensation there because there is not enough airflow in the winter time? So you might get a small patch of mold.

? If you're dealing with a little patch of mold that's less than the size of a dinner plate, you can take care of it yourself quite simply. First, do not spray anything on it. Don't blow any air on it to dry it out?

[T]ake a microfiber or a terry towel, a little hot water and just a little bit of detergent. Any of the dishwashing detergents are fine. You don't need to disinfect.

Just get that and kind of sneak up on it and place it over the mold. Don't be vigorous, and move slowly. Place it over the mold and kind of gather it up into the palm of your hand and then wipe the rest of it off and you're done. It's just that simple."

Warning Against Using Vinegar

Some people suggest using vinegar to destroy visible mold, but this might not be such a great idea, according to Pearson.

"Frankly, I think it's fruitless to attempt to kill a mold with anything," he says.

? Poisons, toxins, and allergens? they're not living things. The only thing you can really kill with anything that you can put on it would be the infectious or opportunistic types of mold. There are a few and they are very dangerous.

? But frankly, we're not in the "killing mold" business, we're into the "removing of the mold." Remove the source of the water and remove the mold itself and you're pretty much good to go. I say that because I don't want people trying to put on things that they hear about, bleach and home remedies and things to wipe this stuff up thinking that they're going to kill it, because that's not the goal. The goal is to stop it from growing?"

The reason for using detergent and hot water as opposed to vinegar when removing mold is because the detergent acts as a surfactant and breaks down surface tension. This is important because mold is hydrophobic, so it repels away from water?and away from vinegar, or any kind of aerosol spray. This actually causes the spores to scatter and SPREAD.

Remediation Steps for More Serious Mold Problems

Now, if you have moldy wood, such as a moldy baseboard, cabinet, or wall, then soap and water is not going to remedy the problem. That's when you want to call in a professional, because there's no telling how bad the problem might be. The visible portion may just be the tip of the iceberg.

So, how do you pick a professional?

"They really should have some certification in the cleanup, or some kind of training? There are considerations such as airflows, negative pressures, HEPA filtration, personal protective equipment, deconstruction rather than demolition; there are so many factors to consider.

? Pick somebody who belongs to an association or some sort of industry, [that has] ongoing training and schooling and certification," Pearson suggests.

You can find contractor or professional listings on the following sites. Both the IICRC and NORMI are certifying organizations for mold remediation, but the IICRC certification is perhaps the most widely used:

  • IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification)
  • NORMI (National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors) 
  • ACAC (American Council for Accredited Certification)?a certifying body that is third-party accredited.
  • The IAQA (Indoor Air Quality Association)?a membership organization with no certification program (the ACAC handles this by agreement)
  • RIA (Restoration Industry Association)

Keep in mind that a mere certification or listing may not be enough. Also evaluate the remediator's qualifications and insurance (liability as well as workman's comp). With the ACAC, there are a few different levels.

Standard mold remediation includes:

1. Setting up containments and sucking the air out with negative air pressure. (This is similar to turning on your bathroom vent fan.)
2. Next, they clear the air using a HEPA filtered air purifier or scrubber. The air must be cleaned because once they start working on the mold, the spores will begin to fly everywhere like light dust.
3. Wearing protective gear, such as HEPA filtered respirators, goggles, protective suits and latex gloves, the remediator begins taking the affected area apart. Removed parts, such as drywall, are slowly and carefully placed into a bag.
4. Once the affected pieces are bagged, every inch of the area is carefully HEPA vacuumed again.
5. Once the source of the mold has been located, it's carefully removed using hot soapy water, scrub brush, HEPA filtered sanders, chisels, or any other tool that will remove the mold.
6. Professional remediators will typically treat the area with a disinfectant, as bacteria accompany mold growth.
7. Next, the area is force dried. Once thoroughly dry, repairs can be made.

Post Mold Remediation Air Purification Strategies

Once you've remediated the mold, or if you don't have any to begin with, you may want to consider addressing the air quality. Ozone generators effectively remove odors, even some of the most persistent ones, such as:

  • Combusted materials (fire)
  • Organic odors
  • Skunk

Another useful tool in the remediation process is the photocatalytic oxidizer, which employs UV light on titanium dioxide. Pearson isn't fully convinced that it is an effective way to remove mold spores, but the UV light does destroy bacteria and viruses.

Always remember however, you must remove any mold FIRST, before you consider purifying the air of any lingering odors.

"My analogy is: you got a dead rat in your ductwork. There are two things I can do. I can put perfume on it and it will smell like a dead rat with a lot of perfume on it, or I could use ozone?but if you leave the darn thing in there, it's going to start smelling again.

Removal first, and then you can approach these other issues."

Simple Tips to Improve Your Air Quality

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), poor indoor air quality is one of the top five greatest environmental risks to public health and well-being. Amazing as it sounds, indoor air can be five to 10 times more polluted than outdoors air! This is because there's a lack of ventilation, so contaminants build up and stagnant air is re-circulated.

Common health problems that can be attributed to poor indoor air quality include:

Headaches Fatigue and lethargy
Depression Allergies
Poor concentration and forgetfulness Rashes
Stomach- and digestive problems Neurological problems

So what can you do about it?

Regular duct work cleanings might spring to mind, but according to Pearson getting them cleaned more frequently than once every five to 10 years is unnecessary, as this is unlikely to resolve your health issues. Here too, it's important to make sure the duct cleaner is certified and well-trained. A good resource is the NADCA (National Air Duct Cleaners Association), which created the standards and lists qualified HVAC technicians.

In terms of making a difference to your health, Pearson suggests the following five guidelines to improve your indoor air quality:

  1. Use a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner?Standard bag- or bagless vacuum cleaners are the number one contributor to poor air quality. A regular vacuum cleaner typically has about a 20 micron tolerance. Although that's tiny, far more microscopic particles flow right through the vacuum cleaner than it actually picks up! Beware of cheaper knock-offs that profess to have "HEPA-like" filters?get the real deal
  2. Provide plenty of fresh air ventilation?Open your windows and regularly "air out" your home. Opening at least two windows, on opposite sides of the house, will provide good cross-ventilation through your home. Also bring your mattress and rugs outside and use a rug beater to get the dust out. (Of course, don't leave out in a high-humidity or wet area)
  3. Clean your furnace often?A full and impacted furnace can cause the heat exchanger to crack, which can lead to carbon monoxide leaking out. In small amounts, it may cause headaches, but in high amounts, carbon monoxide is lethal. Replace your furnace filter at least once every three months. Upgrading it to a pleated Filtrate is also a good idea.
  4. Avoid storing and using chemicals in your home?Storing chemicals such as drain cleaners, scrubbing powders with bleach and dishwasher powder for example under your sink can create a noxious environment. Do you get headaches when washing dishes? Check what's being stored beneath the sink! Replace what you really need and use with non-toxic alternatives. Ditto for old paints, glues, fertilizers and pesticides being kept in your garage.
  5. Avoid powders?Talcum and other personal care powders can be problematic as they float and linger in the air after each use. Many powders are allergens due to their tiny size, and can cause respiratory problems.

I would also suggest adding a few house plants, as they can act as natural air purifiers. NASA, along with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA), conducted a classic study on the benefits of plants on indoor air, and found that houseplants were able to remove up to 87 percent of air toxins in 24 hours. They recommended using 15 to 18 "good-sized" houseplants in 6- to 8-inch diameter containers for an 1,800 square-foot house.

Many more details on the issues of mold and air quality are discussed in this interview?far too many to include in this summary, so for more information, please listen to the interview in its entirety or read through the transcript.



Sources:


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 Comments (16)

The following testimonials have been sourced from a number of different blogs and informational reference points across the net, and are all from individuals not seeking financial remuneration from testimonials given. Rather, these are pieces of correspondence from other seekers of the truth, regaling us with their own personal experience with MMS.

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Below is a fairly comprehensive description of an individual suffering from Candida, as well as other fnugal conditions, and how MMS aided in the treatment of these pathologies.

So far I have noticed that my breathing is better and my sinuses are clear. I had been diagnosed with sleep apnea. I told several doctors and ENTs that I don’t snore when my nose is clear but they all ignored me. They suggested losing weight and using a CPAP machine. I tried the machine two times, but it couldn’t push the air past my plugged nose.  I also suspect that I have candida. I never even believed in it before, but the more I read about the symptoms the more I believe that I have it. I’ve had athletes foot since junior high school (40+ years). I’ve had jock itch for the past ten years. I had a bad case of ringworm for two years (one doctor told me it was a rash from my pants rubbing, in the meantime it spread from about the size of a quarter to cover most of my thigh). I also got toenail fungus about 10 years ago.

Last year my saliva started to get “weird”. It got thicker and kind of sour tasting. I also had a few sessions of extremely dry mouth to the point where I had to get out of bed to drink water because my mouth was totally dry. I think these might be Candida related. I also have the brain fog and feel tired and have low energy all the time. About the time my saliva changed I got really run down. One day I sent out and dug up a lot of dirt and wheel barrowed it to another location. A week later I could barely lift the shovel.

So far on the MMS I’ve noticed my saliva is becoming more normal. I am sleeping better. My nose is clear at night and I don’t snore. Brain fog was getting better at first, but now I may be herxing so it is back but different.

I have also been applying MMS topically. I soak my feet in it and the athletes foot is clearing up. My toenails are no longer yellow (probably due to the bleaching effect). I forgot to mention that I have several patches of dry skin. They may be eczema or psoriasis. The rub the MMS on these areas and they are clearing up. I had one very dry and itchy spot between my eyebrows that is completely gone. I applied it directly to the jock itch and it is much better. Had a lot of skin slough off from that.

To make the foot soak I mix up a two drop dose and then add it to my soak water. I also mix up a one drop dose and add it to my Water Pik tank.

Also noticed that some joints work better. I probably have the beginning of arthritis in my hands. I can now make a fist much easier than before. There is an intersection nearby where you have to turn almost all the way around to watch for traffic. I went through yesterday and noticed turning my head was much easier. So far I am pleased with the results.

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 The brief testimonial below shows the relationship between fungal overgrowths and less than positive mood – and how MMS helped remedy this.

You are supposed to take MMS between meals, waiting at least an hour after eating – because the antioxidants neutralize the MMS. Natural fruit juice does not. I didn’t recall reading anything about protein interacting with it, but that doesn’t mean that isn’t so. Generally I take it mid morning and late at night before going to bed.

 Regarding the HIV patient who after MMS found sleep patterns normalizing – I’ve found sleep patterns are most often disrupted due to toxicity, disease, and overeating. Get rid of the toxins and you will sleep better. Also until I did the MMS I did not fully appreciate how dramatically a chemical imbalance in the body can mess up your emotional and mental state – until I also became much more clear headed, and HAPPY! for the first time in years. I was one of those who was overloaded with yeast, so the mood is related to that.

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 The observations I’ve made in my own personal experience of MMS do not support the direct reaction to MMS theory you’ve proposed.

My first week of reactions were all centred in my sinuses, neck, head, and jawbone areas that I think related to the death of some infection of a root canal I have. If MMS were directly toxic to tissues, I would have expected gastrointestinal symptoms first, not confined to my face and head. And if it were toxic to face and head, continuation should have increased the symptoms rather than abated them.

3 or 4 days ago (after 5 weeks of MMS use) I finally had the loose bowels and vomiting after taking a third dose that I’m not ramped up to while trying to fight a head cold. I have continued with that dose since then, with no belly effects to speak of. If the MMS were directly toxic, I would have thought that continued ingestion would make the belly symptoms increasingly strong, but that’s not what happened for me at all. Instead, I feel better than I have in 10 years at least.

That one person felt the MMS was killing beneficial bacteria does not make it a fact. It may, it may not, I don’t know with any certainty. But it hasn’t made me feel that I have to go to any great lengths to renew my gut bacteria beyond my normal daily ingestion of Kefir.

I think it more likely that it could upset the gut balance by killing of the bad guys like candida overgrowth whose remains are quite difficult to tolerate in large numbers and can make one feel quite ill. In that case it would be highly desirable to fill the “void” left with probiotics in any event, and to do some intestinal cleansing activities to speed the removal of the residue.

It does go against every instinct to drink this chlorine-like smelly stuff, but it has done me so much good in so many ways that I’m convinced of its efficacy. Every “detox” reaction I’ve had has been followed by yet another level of clearing of something and an increased sense of well being. I certainly have no sense of harming myself, although that sick belly day was a doozy!

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I have been taking MMS for almost one month and am up to 15 drops. Had diarreah one day when I took 4 drops, twice in one hour. No problem since then. I also have had Candida for many years and it is gone now and all the pain I had in my feet and legs also gone. Feeling great at 74 years old. Hang in there and pass the word on to every one you know.

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 I am a 46 yo woman who has struggled with systemic candida for over 25 years. Also, because I have traveled extensively around the world, I am aware that I have been exposed to many parasites. I have been very diligent in doing cleanses/detox for both of these issues with various results. Part of my health regime has also been consuming drops of 5% sodium chlorite in water…so I was very interested reading about Jim Humble and MMS.

These are some of the symptoms I have experienced since starting the MMS:

I began with 1 drop at bedtime. The next morning I felt I was beginning to get an upper respiratory infection with allot of sinus pressure and drainage. I used my Neti pot and I felt much better. This happened again another day, but I never did get sick.

I continued to add an additional drop of MMS each night. At 4 drops, I was feeling very sensitive to the chemical taste/smell of the MMS-citric acid combination and I thought I might not be able to continue. Several times, my skin was somewhat itchy and I felt a bit queasy..but only occasionally throughout the day. I skipped the next day but then continued with 3 drops and I had no problem, not even with the smell-taste. After 5 drops, I noticed my plantar wart going away. At 10 drops I experienced some diarrhea (but not the type that continues all day) so I backed off to 9 drops for a couple of days. I experienced the symptoms of a bladder infection for about a day and a half (burning, frequent urination), but it is now gone. The next time I took 10 drops at bedtime, the following morning, after drinking some coffee, I projectile vomited (sorry). I felt no nausea afterwards.

Today, I saw my MD and reported to her about the bladder issue I was having earlier in the week. She tested me and found some of the bacteria still there. Although she wrote me a prescription, I will not fill it unless I begin to feel the symptoms coming back again. It is very clear to me that the MMS is working and I think the symptoms are part of a healing crisis. I’ll keep you updated if I notice anything else. I’m curious to know if anyone else is experiencing any of these symptoms…?

 I started MMS about a week ago. I am up to 10 drops twice a day and have started to notice nausea and slight diarrhea. (BTW, I just saw the ‘rice’ in the toilet, I wonder what it is?)