The world is slowly awakening to the reality that indoor air quality is critical to health – especially when it comes to mold.
According to the World Health Organization:
“Indoor air pollution–such as from dampness and mould, chemicals and other biological agents–is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide.”
Quote directly from WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould.
I shared our mold story over at Whole New Mom recently.
(Read the article at Whole New Mom here.)
Immediately after this blog post appeared, I heard from numerous families.
1. This family of nine developed numerous symptoms after moving into a newly remodeled 100+ year-old home six years ago. Their 13 year-old daughter developed headaches, their 5 year-old began bruising terribly, another child developed severe allergies and nosebleeds, and another stomach aches. There were sleep issues, itchy ears, fungal infections and more. The father was recently diagnosed with leukemia.
After making the connection between the growing list of health issues and the home, the family called in a mold specialist a month ago. He found high amounts of bat guano in the attic and advised them to leave. His words, “Leave. Act as if it was a house fire. Take nothing with you. No clothes, no furniture.”
The family is in the process of numerous decisions regarding leukemia treatment, housing and more.
2. The second family purchased a home in August 2013. The home had previously flooded. They were assured multiple times that the home was certified free of mold.
“I was seven months pregnant and our older daughter was two at the time. Soon after the baby was born I noticed the toilets were black. We had the water tested and it was fine. In December we noticed the baby was very congested. . . She was diagnosed with respiratory distress. I tried everything I could to help her – Vicks VapoRub, nasal aspirators, nasal saline, essential oils, etc. I had to hold her upright at night and during naps because if I laid her down she would gasp for air. I took her back to the doctor at the end of January and we were told she had nasal congestion that was likely due to an allergy.
We didn’t understand what she could possibly be allergic to. I took her to multiple chiropractic visits to try to get the mucus to drain out of her nasal area to no avail. The chiropractor told me that this was NOT normal and that something wasn’t right. She asked me if there was any possibility that there could be mold in our home. I immediately said no and dismissed it thinking of the seller telling us that the home was certified free of mold.”
Mold was discovered nonetheless in April 2014. They were advised to leave the premises and are now in the process of trying to determine their next steps.
3. This mother suspected a deeper problem soon after a move into a rental home.
“My family unknowingly moved into moldy house a few years ago. My middle son began having respiratory issues within the first weeks of living there. I began having lung irritation which developed into a lung infection. I noticed it would flare up in the rear areas of the house, which contained the bedrooms. I connected the symptoms to mold exposure when I recalled my stepdaughter had similar experiences in a house she lived in as a young girl. I had never had experience with mold prior to this and figured the mild in the windowsills and bathroom simply had to do with the humid climate we now lived in.
However, once the mold made its appearance on walls, carpets, and underlayments. I knew there was a deeper issue. A pest control person who inspected under the house told me there was a lake of water sitting under the those back bedrooms. It never dried! By this time, my son was diagnosed with asthma and had some scary episodes with pneumonia and the flu. His doctors and our landlord scoffed at my mold theory although I presented research and talked to experts. We were referred to an allergist, who knew it was a mold problem right away. He gave us a letter directed to our landlord stating we were to be released from our lease with no penalty or he would have his attorney deal with the situation!”
These stories propel me to keep sharing our story. Toxic mold isn’t behind every health issue – but it’s certainly worth considering when mysterious symptoms exist. One principle remains true: air quality in an indoor environment matters.