You’ve discovered black mold (or orange mold, or Aspergillus) in your home. You begin to connect some dots. The relentless allergies, brain fog, and headaches start to feel less like random events. Are they connected to the presence of this hazardous mold? Could these be black mold exposure symptoms?
You dive into research, hoping to find an easy remedy for eliminating the mold and restoring your health. Instead of concrete answers and practical solutions, you run into conflicting information or worse: dead ends.
I get it. It is unbelievably frustrating seeking out help for symptoms of black mold exposure and being told by otherwise reputable organizations that no such thing exists. What answers you discover come from resources that seem questionable at best. Meanwhile, all you want is to feel better.
Black mold exposure? Mold illness? Help!
I’ve been exploring the mold illness space for a while, looking everywhere I can to find concrete, data-driven solutions to symptoms of toxic mold exposure. I have wanted to write an authoritative article about toxic mold syndrome for a while, to create a resource that provides answers in a space that offers none. To my disappointment, no such answers exist.
For one thing, the conversations around mold illness are inconsistent in naming the thing. Depending on where you go, you may hear “toxic mold syndrome”; somewhere else may say “chronic inflammatory response syndrome” or “CIRS.”
As best as I can tell, all of these names are trying to describe the same symptoms of black mold exposure or toxic mold exposure in general.
So what’s with the inconsistencies?
It seems to come down to insufficient unified research on how mold affects human health.
Where is the good research?
It isn’t that high-quality studies don’t exist. I’ve read several reputable studies examining mold’s effect on human health, and they usually come to the same conclusion:
Mold exposure does appear harmful to human health, but we can’t prove it definitively. More research is necessary.
As I’ve touched on in previous articles, the key challenge when studying how mold affects humans is isolating variables. It isn’t possible to separate all of the other potential factors that may contribute to symptoms of mold exposure. These variables include diet, exercise, hygiene, medical history, genetic traits, mental health, etc.
Because researchers can’t account for all of these differences in every subject, they can’t come to causative conclusions; i. e., they can’t claim that mold causes adverse health effects, even if those symptoms appear correlated to toxic mold exposure.
So what can I do?
A lack of conclusive evidence does not mean you can’t get help. Awareness about how mold affects our health is growing. Many medical professionals now offer solutions to address your symptoms of mold exposure. Here is what I recommend:
- Remove mold from your home. Mold doesn’t have to be visible to affect your health, so don’t feel discouraged if you haven’t found it somewhere. Seek out a specialist who can reduce the total mold load in your home to less than one-third of the levels found in the local outdoor environment. This typically falls outside of the scope of what traditional contractors can achieve.
- Seek treatment with trustworthy healthcare professional. I recommend consulting with a medical doctor. Ask your general practitioner to refer you to a specialist and insist upon testing your blood for mold. This is critical if you have symptoms but no visible mold. I am very familiar with how frustrating it can be to bounce between doctors, so I encourage you to advocate for yourself. Push them to move quickly, and don’t settle for answers that go against your gut.
- Be diligent to seek out healthcare experts who can support their claims with reliable results. Don’t be afraid to ask for data! Few things feel as discouraging as placing trust in a person who says all of the right things but doesn’t follow through. As hard as the work can be, aim to become your own expert in this material and be thorough when choosing who you ask for help!
- Maintain a mold-free environment. The best way to do this is by preventing leaks, improving ventilation in your bathroom, and keeping a clean space. You’re never going to eliminate every mold spore in your environment. Still, if you are consistent with maintaining a tidy and sanitary space and reducing the risk of water intrusion, the odds are good that your air quality will remain high.
I hope you found this article helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us at any time, and keep an eye on this blog for more helpful information about mold.