Dr James Schaller
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Over Use & Excessive
Dependence on Simple Mold
Screen Tests

Some patients wonder if their home has mold and have no funds for testing. For those patients with no mold symptoms, we have suggested using a vacuum sample with dust from all the rooms of the home and sending it to a special lab.

Those instructions are at this link: Indoor Mold: A Dirty Little Real Estate Secret.

However, this option can be simplistic at times. For example, some molds are only a problem with folks with AIDS and immune cell cancers -- in other words those with a poor immune system. But what about people that have a moderately compromised immune system? Individuals with excess Epstein Barr, a positive ANA, and a low natural killer cell number--will they laugh off this mold 100%?

We know that many individuals with infections like Lyme or Mycoplasma, will have a troubled immune systems over time if the infection is not killed. Do molds that effect AIDS victims have a small effect on them? I do not know. We also know that even fairly safe molds can be problematic if very large concentrations are present in a home.

But most importantly, if you have mold symptoms, a vacuum sample is simply not adequate to rule out indoor mold. No conclusions can be drawn. Indeed, I have heard of cases where one evaluator went to a home and found no toxic mold, and a more seasoned expert came in and found massive amounts. Who you use matters. That is why we suggest, Dr. Richard Lipsey, at www.richardlipsey.com, because he is very thorough and has 29 years of academic and field experience.

Further, one often finds in single sample from vacuum dust or a dirty HEPA filter an unclear result. For example, this year I saw a vacuum dust sample with very small amounts of toxic mold at 2% with a couple colonies. So what does this mean? One cannot generalize from this sample to know the amounts in the rest of the home or building.

The Bottom Line Message is What?

If you have mold symptoms, get a full and proper environmental inspection and sampling.

If you have had a clear water leak or a moisture problem that was not addressed promptly, get a full and proper environmental inspection and sampling.

Best,

Dr. J

DR. SCHALLER NEITHER SUPPORTS NOR OPPOSES THE INFORMATION LISTED ABOVE. PLEASE DISCUSS WITH YOUR LICENSED MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.



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