By Naturopath Scott from Grasses of Life
You may have never heard of back mould but if it it’s in your home it could be making you sick. Also known as Stachybotrys chartarum, black mould typically has a greenish black colour which thrives in damp wet environments. Black mould thrives where there is a constant moisture source.
Breathing in toxic air is a serious hazard to human health, especially as most of us spend a great amount of time breathing indoor air, both at home and at work. So how would you know if you have toxic air?
Hidden air pollutants are everywhere contaminating the air, the world health organisation reports that there are around 7million deaths globally due to indoor and outdoor air pollution. The air in our homes can be toxic dependent on where we live (damp humid areas), water leak, poor sunlight, poor ventilation, flooding, chemicals used, new carpets, fabrics, bedding, paints, or a new home off gassing and even dusts.
But what about nonchemical, biological threats?
Our noses are typically going to give us a clue when something is not quite right, but what if we can’t smell it and can’t see it? In my case I am particularly sensitive to mould and mould smells which sets off alarm bells. However, there are mould or biological toxicants that don’t give off odours.
Toxins are poisons and when microbes produce these poisons it’s referred to as biotoxicity.
Read more below...
Airborne biological organisms can lead to severe illness. Hidden mould and bacteria gone undetected can adversely affect your health. Mould toxicity is more common than you’d think. The problem is that mould emits toxic gasses or mycotoxins. Mould spores are so tiny, you can fit 250 000 on a pin head. Which means we can breathe in around 750 000 spores per minute, breathing at a normal rate. That’s a lot of mould to contend with, especially if you have a pre-existing respiratory condition or allergies.
While airborne contamination is considered the primary route for spores to enter the body, we can also consume contaminated food or come into contact via the skin too. Although this article primarily focuses on airborne mould toxicants, mycotoxins in staple crops represent a significant foodborne risk as well. (Goodman, Risk Assessment and Risk Management of Mycotoxins: Mycotoxins in Food, 2004)
What Are Mycotoxins and Why They Are So Dangerous?
Mould produces a deadly gas called mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are so dangerous that they have been weaponised into chemical biological weapons. (Paterson, Mycological Research, 2006)
Mycotoxins can cause a raft of health problems.
- Respiratory Disease: Asthma, sinusitis, pneumonia-like symptoms, nose bleeding
- Neurological Diseases: nearly every neurological disease can be associated with mycotoxin exposure
- Cancer: Mycotoxin exposure is associated with liver and kidney cancers
- Reproductive: birth defects
- Immunosuppression – leading aspergillosis
Crinion and Pizzorno, Clinical and Environmental Medicine, 2019
What Makes Mould Grow?
Mould is considered an indoor micropollutant that proliferates in wet, moist areas that don’t get enough light or ventilation that grows best in warm, damp humid conditions. Mould likes to grow best on cellulose materials, paper, fabrics, cardboard, ceiling tiles, carpet, upholstery and plasterboard. Typically, water damage, flooding, water leaks and humid environments contribute to mould growth.
Symptoms of Mould Toxicity (source CDC.gov)
- Mould is considered
- May irritate Asthma sufferers (allergic response)
- Development of Asthma in non-Asthma people
- Coughs which irritate the sinuses
- Suppressed immune system
- Itchy eyes
- Upper respiratory tract symptoms: infection, cough, sneezing, wheezing in
- Severe reactions, shortness of breathe and fever
Common Mould Illnesses
- Aspergillosis infection is caused by Aspergillus, (a type of mould fungus) that is found both indoors and outdoors. Aspergillus produce a toxin called Aflatoxin M1 and a very carcinogenic
Most people breathe in Aspergillus spores every day without it affecting them, yet some people with poor immune systems or lung diseases are at a risk of developing health problems from to Aspergillus. Aspergillus infection can include allergic reactions, lung infections, and infections in other organs.
- The toxin Ochratoxin is produced by moulds Aspergillus and Penicillium which can lead to kidney damage and neurological problems.
- Black Mould Infection (Stachybotrys chartarum ): Which is typically found where there has been water damage, water leaks and flooding. Black mould is known to cause pulmonary haemorrhage (bleeding) and is immune suppressor,
Supporting Nutrition for Mould Illness
- Calcium Bentonite Clay – preferably consumed 2 hours away from food -
- Activated Silica Drops
- Vitamin C
- Saccharomyces boulardii (a probiotic yeast)
- N-acetyl cysteine (NAC)
- Methylation protocol
How to Clean and Remove Mould?
With any toxin caution is the best practice, if it’s serious you may need to contact a biological building expert or clean up specialist. Less severe mould contamination can be achieved using a laboratory validated products like “Surface Mould Cleaner”.
Testing for Mould in the Body
- Urine Testing which is tested for fungal toxins
Reducing Airborne Spores and Resolutions
- Some people may use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air to help reduce mould growth, but it won’t stop mould or remove it.
- Cleaning your air-conditioning system, the filters and coil can become contaminated with mould. You may simply be blowing mould spores around.
- Remove any contaminated items / materials immediately
- Remediate the problem with professional help if it’s serious.
- Avoid the home or workplace until the problem has been resolved safely.
- Use laboratory validated mould cleaning products (Mould Surface Cleaner)
- Using a mould air diffuser to kill airborne spores (Mould Gone) .
Additionally, you may also seek out a mould home investigator to assess your home or work. They look in all kinds of places for mould can live and be silently affecting your health.
Find out more about Laboratory Tested and Validated Products