Mould – the silent killer in your home!
Finding the cause of cancer is very tricky and can lead you to search in mysterious places. Many cancer survivors are well aware that their home can actually make them sick! There are many hidden dangers in your bedroom, bathroom, pantry, lounge and tv room and sometimes its the whole house.
Mould is at the top of our Sherlock Holmes inspection list! It quietly and silently takes away energy, cognition and easy breathing. Leaving behind pain, fatigue, and even weight gain.
The symptoms of mould exposure may not seem life-threatening at the onset but over time your body accumulates large amounts of toxic mould or becomes sensitive which then leads to serious illnesses. The toxins produced by mould can damage any organ in the human body and can not only cause cancer but also other symptoms and diseases via multiple mechanisms.
If you are experiencing several of these symptoms, mould illness could be the cause:
- Nasal congestion
- Irritation of the eyes
- Weakness of muscles
- Inflammation of sinuses
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Muscle cramps
- Abdominal pain
- Mood swing
- Night sweats
- Concentration issues
- Red Eyes
- Immune system suppression
Some people are more vulnerable to the effects of mould than others. This includes children, the elderly and those with a weakened immune system or other medical condition(s), such as asthma, severe allergies or other respiratory conditions.
Mould illness is not an allergy but an inflammation within the body that severely stresses the immune system. Mould toxins attach themselves to fat cells within the body causing them to continuously release inflammatory cytokines. This results in chronic inflammation, which has devastating effects on your health. Reduced circulation in small blood vessels resulting in reduced oxygen levels in the cells, heart disease, nerve damage, and autoimmune disease are the result of mould exposure.
It is important to make sure that your home is free from mould!
‘Toxicological evidence obtained in vivo and in vitro supports these findings, showing the occurrence of diverse inflammatory and toxic responses after exposure to microorganisms isolated from damp buildings, including their spores, metabolites and component.’ – The World Health Organization – www.who.int
Mould is the common word for any fungus that grows on food or damp materials. Mould can be black, white or almost any colour. It often looks like a stain or smudge and it may smell musty. In order to grow, mould needs moisture and a material it can live on. It then releases “spores” into the air which are small enough that people can actually breathe them in.
Stachybotrys chartarum also called Toxic Black Mould is one of the most dangerous toxic moulds because it can grow in your houses and is very dangerous. Stachybotrys is a greenish-black gelatinous mould and usually slimy on its surface. Unfortunately several moulds look just like toxic black mould and only an expert can see the difference under a microscope.
Another dangerous mould is Aspergillus niger. Aspergillus niger can grow in environments with very little nutrients available. In houses it is often found growing on damp walls. Aspergillus niger is black on the surface and white or yellow underneath. It can colonize the lung causing a chronic inflammatory process, such as tuberculosis, bronchiectasis, pulmonary abscess etc. It can also cause allergic reactions when inhaled leading to asthma and allergic alveolitis.
What to do?
Elimination of the cause is the only way to resolve the problem in the longterm. Therefore, look for moisture in the floors, walls and ceilings of your house/apartment. A musty smell is the first sign of mould. There are many sources of water intrusion commonly seen in construction, both brand new and old. Crawl spaces and basements are the biggest offenders. Look for water coming through concrete walls (block and poured concrete are porous wicks for water).
- Check for in-ground water pressure against a subterranean wall, especially if the wall is at the bottom of a hill.
- Humid weather, bad air circulation causes mould as well
- If your cupboards are too close to the wall and have no air circulation, mould often sets in.
- Check your bathroom
- Check behind furniture and sofas positioned close to walls
- Clothes, especially leather, in badly ventilated wardrobes are often affected by mould.
- Without the elimination of mould in your environment you are in for a vicious cycle, which will ultimately lead to a chronic illness.
How to remove it?
Mould can be easily removed from non-porous surfaces like walls, tables, wooden furniture, glass, bathtubs, tiles and counter tops.
- Mould removal with Borax.
- Borax is a natural cleaning product and although it is toxic when swallowed it does not emit chemicals or dangerous fumes like some other mould killers. Borax is a white powder with a pH of 9. To kill mould using Borax, create a borax-water solution using a ratio of 1 cup of borax per gallon (3.7 L) of water.
- Use a scrubbing brush with the borax-water solution to scrub the mould off the surface.
- Vacuum up any loose mould with a HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner to lessen the number of spores stirred up into the air during the cleaning process.
- Wipe up any extra moisture and excess mould particles or dust/debris to prevent them spreading into the air once the surface has dried.
- You don't need to rinse off the borax as the solution will prevent more mould beginning to grow on the surface again.
- Leave the surface to dry completely.
- Mould removal with Vinegar.
Vinegar is acidic and can kill more than 80% of all mould species. It is totally safe and non-toxic. Use white vinegar, which you can get very cheap from all supermarkets.
- Pour some vinegar into a spray bottle without watering it down.
- Spray the vinegar onto the mouldy surface and leave it to sit for an hour.
- Wipe the area clean with water and allow the surface to dry. Any smell from the vinegar should clear within a few hours.
- Mould removal with Hydrogen Peroxide.
Hydrogen Peroxide is an anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial agent and kills mould very effectively. Due to its non-toxic safety it can be used on chopping boards and kitchen bench tops.
- To kill mold pour 3% concentration hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle.
- Spray the moldy surface completely so that the mouldy areas are saturated with hydrogen peroxide.
- Leave the surface to sit for 10 minutes while the hydrogen peroxide kills the mould.
- Then scrub the area to make sure to remove all the mould and mould stains.
- Finally wipe the surface down to remove residual mould and spores.
- Mould removal with Tea Tree Oil or Clove Oil
Both Tea Tree Oil and Clove Oil are very effective in killing mould. They are harmless to people and pets and also smell very good. Be careful as clove oil could stain a surface.
- Add water to a spray bottle, keeping in mind how many cups it takes to fill the bottle.
- Next add tea tree oil / clove oil at the ratio of roughly 1/2 teaspoon per cup of water that went into the spray bottle.
- Spray the solution on the mouldy surface.
- Use a damp cloth to scrub away the mould.
- There is no need to rinse since leaving the tea tree oil on the surface will kill the mould and prevent it from returning.
It will get tricky if mould grows on porous materials. Very often the only remedy is to remove the material (wallpaper, chipboard etc.) to eliminate mould exposure.