Mold Evaluation Checklist
A Quick Reflection Tool
- High Humidity
All experts agree the number one problem in causing indoor toxic mold is excess humidity. Humidity over 60% clearly will promote indoor toxic mold. If a school turns off their air conditioning system for a week, the school humidity often is over 65% and will promote significant mold -- all in the name of saving a few dollars.
- Poor Air Exchange with the Outdoors
In the 1970's the movement to save energy costs caused an increase in building "sealing." The goal was to prevent cool air or warm air that was "conditioned" to escape to the outside. Yet, a leaky house that has major exchange with the outside, causes mold spores to be carried outside. One man told me merely opening his homes windows allows him to have no "allergy" symptoms in his home. One imagines it is because of the reduced toxins from the "fresh air."
- High Contrast in Temperatures Between Inside & Outside
When you have places in your home or building with strong contrasts in temperature, these are places of condensation, where water droplets can form.
- Synthetic Exterior Stucco
Stucco is pretty to look at but it has serious problems if the synthetic variety. It is called an "Exterior Insulating and Finish System." It has an insulation board attached to the exterior, e.g., plywood, and a water-resistant coating is placed on top of the insulation. Other materials are added, but the big problem is not that water will get into the walls. Water gets past virtually all materials, including brick. But it cannot get out with this strong synthetic construction. So it makes mold.
If you had a small leak in the wall in the room you are at this moment, how would you know? Many leaks are so minor they can be missed for years. You only need 3 days to start growing toxic indoor mold.
- Hurricanes or Flooding
Last year I walked away from a tub and six months ago I walked away from a work basin -- I was returning emergency pages. Yes, I flooded a floor and then a wall.
So what is the problem? Simple, you have only 48 hours to dry out the structure before mold starts to grow.
- Eccentric Odors
Some people are so used to basement or crawl space or "old building" smells, that they think it is "normal." Death and taxes are normal but not preferred. Since many molds first grow out of sight, you might smell them first. However, some toxins have no odor.
If you smell mold when you turn on your air conditioning or heat, turn it off and get a mold consult. Before you spread the mold spores further throughout the home or building.
- Reports of People Having "Allergies, Asthma or Shortness of Breath"
If one or more people living in a house, or working in a building (especially if it is an unusually high percentage of occupants) begin suffering allergic reactions that seem to be associated with your home or building, then it could be due to the presence of high levels of mold, especially if other signs are also present.
This may mean that people began experiencing much more allergic and respiratory-related symptoms after moving into a home, or after beginning to work in a building.
Remember, that according to a 1999 Mayo Clinic study, nearly all chronic sinus infections (afflicting about 37 million Americans) are a result of mold.
- Red Eyes
The eyes have huge numbers of receptors for pain and very complex fluid that bathes them. They are hit by air all day long and are "open" to the world in terms of flying chemicals. We have become casual about red eyes, but they are not normal.
- A/B/A/B Health Signs
You are better the longer away from the moldy home or workplace. I have had kids who are the best behaved the month before their moldy school reopens.
- Concentration, Focus or Mood Changes in the Building
Mold biotoxins do more than bother the mucous membranes of the nose. These chemicals can go into the brain or effect other chemicals that go into the brain. Then your thinking falls in one of many ways. And your mood can change.
- New Regression
Your child acts two to eight years younger than their age. This is very important if this is new behavior. In adults, you find you are more sensitive to problems than in the past.
- Lab test changes
In our new book, Mold Warriors: Fighting America's Hidden Health Threat, we list many lab tests that change with exposure to toxic mold. These include: aMSH, MMP-9, leptin, TNF-a, VEGF, Cardiac C-reactive protein, Activated 3Ca, etc.