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TOPIC: My cheap method for detecting mold illness

My cheap method for detecting mold illness 12 years 11 months ago #1

For 1.5 years, I've had a mysterious illness which caused, among other things, severe food sensitivities to almost everything I ate. After endless research, I discovered that mold was the cause.

I recently discovered a technique to help figure out if mold is behind your illness, and I'm sharing it here in the hope that someone may use this information to avoid undue suffering.

Reposted from my blog:

I've written about my condition at length that my experience might help others who suffer similarly.

Here's the 10 second summary: Starting in Spring 2009, I began having thousands of skipped and extra heartbeats a day. I lost weight. My poop was soft and weird. I couldn't sleep. I grew allergic to nearly all the food I ate. I may have had atrial flutter. I spent hundreds of hours and chests full of money trying to figure out what was wrong. I have slowly, and with frequent set-backs, recovered. In the end, the cause appears to have been mold sensitivity/toxicity brought on by a moldy house.

If you have an illness for which mold is responsible, good luck figuring it out. I've met people who suffered for a decade before understanding what was wrong.

Physicians are bad at spotting environmental illness. They're not trained well for it, and even if they were, environmental illness would still be difficult for them to spot because it's highly individual. If you read books about mold-illness, for example, you won't read about anyone with symptoms like mine.

This is a problem because you have to suspect mold-illness before you can do anything about it. My own suspicions regarding mold dawned on me only very slowly, over many months, through the accumulation of several ambiguous lines of evidence.

Today I'm writing about a technique for gathering evidence of mold-illness that I may have invented. Anyway I've never seen it discussed elsewhere.

Sadly, I discovered the technique only at the very end of my trouble, after I already knew that mold had my number. I wish I had thought of it a year ago. I'm writing this in the hope that others will avoid what I went through by using it.

Here's what you do: Buy a hygrometer. It's a device that measures humidity. You can get one for 20 bucks at most the big box stores (I got mine at Target). Carry the hygrometer and a notebook along with you wherever you go. Note the severity of your condition in the notebook at various times each day, along with the relatively humidity at the time. After collecting data for a couple of weeks, see if there's a correlation between the humidity and your illness.

If there is, then suspect mold-illness, because mold prevalence varies with humidity.

When I did this experiment, I was dumbstruck by how closely my illness tracked the humidity. I didn't even need to make a graph to see it. How did I not see it earlier?

You might at this point think: \"Well, I guess mold isn't my problem because I haven't noticed any correlation between the weather and my illness, and shouldn't I have noticed one?\"

That's what I thought too, and it's wrong. The reason is that we spend much of our time indoors, and the humidity of the indoor environment can differ from that of the outdoor environment. For example, my office had a high humidity over the summer (higher than 80%) even when it was relatively dry outside. But now in the fall it's much drier in the office, even when it's raining heavily outside.

If you suffer from a mysterious illness, especially mysterious food allergies or digestive problems, or live in a musty house, please suspect mold.

If you know anyone with mysterious illness which could be environmental, please have them read this. I'm happy to share my experience in more detail with anyone interested. Feel free to write at nickobento [at] gmail.com
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Re:My cheap method for detecting mold illness 12 years 10 months ago #2

  • Maff
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Hi Nick,

Thanks so much for posting this. A very practical and common sense method for screening for mold-related illness!

I'm sure many will find this information useful.; It is amazing how often mold is not suspected in cases of mysterious chronic illness. It is undoubtedly at least a contributing factor if not the entire picture in cases of environmental illness.

While Nick's mold-detecting method is cheap and ingenious, if you want further confirmation mold is truly the issue at play then I would certainly recommend the scientifically-proven Diagnostic Mold Test Kits available online from Micro Balance Health Products. While not 20 bucks, they're not overly expensive at $45. Always good practice to corroborate your findings using a variety of methods, just to be absolutely sure; anyone with EI will have been down many a blind alley in search of answers!
If you are going through hell, keep going - Winston Churchill
Last Edit: 5 years 2 months ago by Maff.
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Re: My cheap method for detecting mold illness 12 years 5 months ago #3

  • idkwia
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Nick, I have read this post and your story. I also have a mysterious illness that I have been suffering with for over 2.5 years. My symptoms are all gut related. My illness started when I stayed 3 times over a period of 18 months at a friend's house, every time I stayed there I awoke at 4 am feeling very nauseous for about 4 hours. Each time I made a complete recovery but about a week after the last time I stayed there I suddenly without warning became very nauseous in my own house; I got a number of similar attacks over the ensuing weeks and each time it took me longer to get better until in the end I stayed unwell all the time.
Thus far I do not have any diagnosis for my illness. Doctors have disregarded the fact that this started 3 times at my friend's house but I know that there must be a reason and it cannot be coincidental. His house, which is in the UK, is very old and one or two people have mentioned the possibility of an illness caused by mould. Apart from the hygrometer what is the best source of information on mould illness that you have come across please? And is there any other way to test for mould illness? (I should say that I am pretty sure that my house is low in humidity (I live close to London)). Having only stayed at his house for single nights I am pretty sure that I could not have transferred any mould, if indeed it was there, to my house and my house is about 20 years old and I have not come across any mould anyhwere here; I am retired so I don't frequent anywhere else. I should also say that I did have a comprehensive stool test done by Metametrix which was normal. I would really like to ascertain once and for all if mould is the cause of my illness so if you can help I would be grateful.
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My cheap method for detecting mold illness 5 years 2 months ago #4

Hi Nick!
I hope you are enjoying much better health these days.
I read your post and while humidity is a potential cause of moisture, it doesn't necessarily mean you have mold growth that is affecting your illness.

Identifying relative humidity levels is one way. But there are many others.

Just keep in mind you need three elements for mold growth:
1. water
2. high relative humidity
3. a nutrient for mold to grow on.

Source: https://lookmold.com/what-is-a-mold-inspection/
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