Originally by Leo Galland, M.D., edited by EiR, 2017
Mold is an all-too-familiar indoor air pollution problem for many people. While it is no surprise that mold overgrowth is common in damp places such as basements, mold can also grow in unlikely spots, such as the air ducts in office buildings.
Researchers from the School of Medicine at Cardiff University in Wales studied the connection between indoor mold and asthma symptoms. In a study funded by Asthma UK, they discovered that symptoms of asthma improved when indoor areas were cleaned to remove mold, and ventilation was improved by the use of fans.
Dr. Michael Burr, of the School of Medicine, explained: “In the houses where mold was removed, the symptoms of asthma improved and the use of inhalers decreased ... Removing mold also led to improvements in other symptoms: sneezing, runny or blocked noses, and itchy-watery eyes.”
The symptoms of sneezing, runny or blocked noses, and itchy-watery eyes described by Dr. Burr are typical of hay fever. Most readers likely associate this condition with grass or tree pollen but it is also frequently the result of mold allergy. As with asthma, maintaining a mold-free living environment could be key to significantly reducing symptom frequency and severity.
Breaking the Mold
The U.S. EPA provides the following for controlling mold:
The key to mold control is moisture control. It is important to dry water damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth. If mold is a problem in your home, clean up the mold and get rid of the excess water or moisture. Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water. Wash mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely. Absorbent materials (such as ceiling tiles & carpet) that become moldy may have to be replaced.
N.B. Readers in the U.S. would benefit significantly by using the specifically formulated and scientifically proven EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate in place of regular detergent. Testing mold levels is also a simple process using EC3 Mold Screening Test Plates, before and after implementing the EPA's recommended remediation measures to ensure they have been effective.
Check out the EPA’s “10 Things You Should Know About Mold”.
For a comprehensive step-by-step guide to mold remediation see EiR's "5 Step Environmental Mold Removal".
Limiting Exposure to General Indoor Air Pollution
Here are a few quick ideas for reducing exposures from common sources of indoor air pollution, both chemical and biological (e.g. mold), that may contribute to asthma and allergies:
For your home or office, look for non-VOC paint. Stick with white, because adding a color can add VOC’s.
Laser Printers and Laser Copy Machines
Use an inkjet printer or copier instead. There should be no odor when using these types of machines.
Household Cleaning Products
Use all natural and non-toxic cleaning products like EC3 Mold Solution Concentrate formulated with a blend of citrus seed extracts. You can also simply use baking soda and water for most general cleaning, and vinegar diluted with water for windows, mirrors and glass.
Wash new clothes well before wearing, to soak out some of the dyes and bleach used in manufacturing. Avoid scented laundry detergent, fabric softener and dryer sheet products; these increase your exposure to chemicals. Get unscented laundry detergent instead. In terms of mold, EC3 Laundry Additive is entirely natural and will kill any mold and mold spores on your clothes with its proprietary tea tree oil and citrus extract formula.
Stale Indoor Air
With airtight buildings and homes, toxins can build up. Get outside for some fresh air from time to time. You may also benefit from investing in a HEPA air purifier, using EC3 Air Purification Candles, and regularly opening windows - assuming you live a good distance from busy roads!
N.B. This article is an edited excerpt of an article titled 'Hidden Toxins in the Home and Workplace' by Leo Galland, M.D., originally published by The Huffington Post in 2011.
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Leo Galland, M.D.
Author, The Allergy Solution