Signs of a Mold Problem

SOM CoverThe most common question asked by patients after being informed they have been ingesting mold from somewhere in their home is:

“How do I find it and what do I do?”

This ebook available at iTunes was written to provide information about the effects mold has on the health of those being exposed in Chapter 1. Chapter 2 discusses how to determine if mold is growing in your home. The twenty two signs of a mold problem is covered in Chapter 3. Mold can be difficult to find. Helpful hints for discovering mold can be found in Chapter 4. In addition to warnings about scams from so-called mold specialists and insurance companies. Cleanup, removal and prevention tips are discussed in Chapter 5.

Order Your Copy: Signs of a Mold Problem

Signs of a Mold Problem: Taxonomy Unavailable is a comprehensive guide to identifying possible sources of environmental yeast, mold or fungus causing serious health issues. When it comes to mold remediation, the most important thing to do is educate yourself on proper procedures. You don’t need to know everything there is to know about removing mold. But understanding the fundamentals of mold remediation can save you a lot of time, money and aggravation.

Signs of a Mold Problem: Taxonomy Unavailable 

Sample Of Contents

Chapter 1

Yeast/Fungi; taxonomy unavailable


  • Health effects from exposure to toxic mold can include any of the following symptoms
  • Immunological Effects
  • Toxic Mold Health Effects

Mold: Mycotoxins

  • Mycotoxins in Indoor Environment, Their Health Effects and the Mold Producing Them.
  • What Factors Favor Mycotoxin Production
  • What Do We Know About Mycotoxins in Indoor Environment and their Health Effects

Mold: Somatostatin

Mold Sickness

  • Level – I Common Symptoms of Mold Exposure
  • Level – II Advanced Symptoms of Mold Exposure
  • Level – III Late Stage Symptoms of Mold Exposure

Fungi Kingdom

The Importance of Lab Testing

Concerned about your Health?

Call today! 530-615-4083

Yeast/Fungi; taxonomy unavailable 

The Metametrix Gastrointestinal Function Profile 2100 Mycology Profile is an easy and cost-effective testing option to monitor patients for yeast/fungi overgrowth.

Yeast in small amounts is considered normal. However, yeast/mold overgrowth in the gut has been linked to many chronic conditions, in part because of allergic responses in some patients to even low levels of yeast/mold growth. Potential symptoms can include diarrhea, headache, bloating, atopic dermatitis, and fatigue. The GI Effects Mycology Profile identifies yeast, mold and fungi, in real quantitative amounts, as well as fungal sensitivities of pharmaceuticals and botanicals.

A Yeast/Fungi; taxonomy unavailable finding may indicate ingested mold. The higher the number – the greater the need for treatment using pharmaceuticals and botanicals, particularly when accompanied by clinical symptoms.

In these unique stool tests for Yeast/Fungi, we have the means (a universal probe) to detect the presence of Yeast/Fungi DNA, even when the taxonomic classification (environmental – non-human) is unknown. This kind of finding happens in more than 50% of people we test! While less than three percent have Candida reported in the DNA stool testing. Why?  Because even after the usual suspects are ruled out, there are clearly more yeast, fungus and mold than we think there are in our collective GI tracts from environmental exposure.


Figure 1: Culture testing shows significant growth of Candida species over 3 days. DNA testing did not exhibit growth and would not be reported as abnormal overgrowth. The Culture testing samples at days 1, 2 and 3 would be reported as abnormal overgrowth.

Ninety nine percent of all microorganisms colonizing a human body are anaerobic. The can survive in air about as long as a person can live under water. The means that 99% of the microbes are dead three minutes after the sample is collected. This leaves Candida without any competition for growth during the culture test. This overgrowth during the two to three days of transport has fueled the common belief of many people and healthcare practitioners of the deleterious health effects of Candida overgrowth in the gut. For more information read: Documented Limitation of Culture Based Stool Assessment. This belief results in the inappropriate prescription of anti-fungal drugs and difficulties in maintaining the “Candida” diet. The Candida diet is identical to the Insulin Resistance diet. The success of the Candida diet in many cases is due to successful dietary management of blood sugar issues associated with insulin resistance.

Yeast/Fungi; taxonomy unavailable is “NOT” Candida or Saccharomyces. These microbes have DNA the same as we do. If it were either of those two – the lab would report it. Taxonomy unavailable indicates gastric atrophy or achlorhydria, which is lack of stomach acid (your first line of defense) allowing the Yeast/Fungi to pass through the stomach into the colon. +2 or greater values point to chronic environmental exposure leading to it being found in the stool test.

  • Likely ingested
  • Search home and work place for possible Mold infestation
  • Use Indoor Air Quality Test Kit (NSP 5287-0) to locate possible infestations. Available from Wellness Alternatives
  • If infestation is found take appropriate steps to eradicate:


Statistics show that most people spend an average of 90 percent of their time indoors. We like to think our homes are healthy places to live and raise our families and that our offices safe to work in, but just how safe are they?

Inhalation of fungal spores, mycotoxins and other volatile organic compounds from a wide variety of fungi may cause a wide variety of adverse health effects, including immunologic (allergic) reactions, toxic mold poisoning, or internal and external infections in humans and animals.

For all these reasons, and because measurements of exposure are not standardized and biological markers of exposure to fungi are largely unknown, it is not possible to determine general “safe” or “unsafe” levels of exposure to mold for people.

It is not possible to determine general “safe” or “unsafe” levels of exposure to mold.

Once mycotoxin laden spores are airborne, they can rest on clothing or skin and become trapped in mucus membranes from normal breathing. They can affect humans in many different ways. Some people may have immediate reactions, and others may not notice or exhibit symptoms for several days or weeks. Most people who do feel ill in moldy environment often feel better after they’ve been away from that environment for a time. The longer one is exposed, however, the longer it can take before they notice feeling better. With enough long-term exposure to elevated mold environments, it is possible for mold related illnesses and health effects to become lifelong chronic diseases.

Health effects from exposure to toxic mold can include any of the following symptoms:

  • Headaches memory loss problems focusing or concentrating chronic fatigue
  • Nose and throat irritation persistent cold-like symptoms dizziness nausea
  • Burning itching or watering eyes tremors heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath (during mild exertion) exhaustion after routine activity
  • Serious swelling in legs, ankles, feet serious swelling in torso or stomach
  • Prolonged muscle cramps and joint pain sensitivity to odors cancer
  • Women who are pregnant could experience multiple problems, even miscarriages

If you or your coworkers, school mates or family members show signs of unexplained chronic fatigue, daily headaches, persistent cold-like or flu-like symptoms, or symptoms associated with exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOC) they should see a physician. Mold health effects are nothing to ignore.

Concerned about your Health?

Call today! 530-615-4083

Immunological Effects 

Immunological reactions include asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP), and allergic rhinitis. Contact with mold may also lead to dermatitis and a variety of other skin disease and infections. The most common health effects are symptoms associated with allergic reactions such as runny nose, eye irritation, cough, congestion, and aggravation of asthma. HP may occur after repeated exposures to an allergen and can result in permanent lung damage. HP has typically been associated with repeated heavy exposures in agricultural settings but has also been …

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Chapter 2

How to Distinguish Mold Growth From Other Discolorations

  • How do we tell if it is mold growth?
  • Are mold growth conditions present?
  • Are signs of mold growth present?
  • How to Confirm Mold Growth
  • Mold and Efflorescence

How to distinguish mold growth from other discolorations

The first step in any mold growth investigation is a visual inspection of the building and documentation of the area covered by mold growth. This requires the ability to recognize mold growth as opposed to dirt, stains or other discolorations. Mold investigators sometimes come across discolorations or stains that they suspect to be mold growth, only to receive a report from the lab indicating there was no mold detected. Commonly, black discolorations on insulation material and wood can be difficult to distinguish from mold. Similarly if the mold has matured and degenerated, it is difficult to recognize since it rubs off the surface leaving only stained spots or patches.

attic moldGrowth of some groups of molds is easy to recognize and even to tell the genus of the mold involved. For instance mold growth on this ceiling wood (see the picture above) would not be difficult to recognize and even to suspect that it is a Penicillium. Generally, the growth pattern of the mold and the colony surface texture determines whether it would be easy to recognize or not. Growth of molds that lack aerial mycelia and have fine texture would be difficult to recognize by unaided eye. It would also be difficult to recognize mold growth if the color of the surface on which the mold is growing is similar to that of the mold or if the mold is not pigmented.

How do we tell if it is mold growth?

Effluvance Effluvance 1

Examples of Efflorescence

Chapter 3

Signs of a Mold Problem

22 Signs That You May Have a Potential Mold Problem in Your Home or Building

Cleaning Mold in the HVAC System

22 Signs that You may have a Potential Mold Problem in your Home or Building.

1. High Humidity

If you live in an area with high humidity, then you should always be on the lookout for potential mold problems. Naturally, the outdoor humidity affect indoor humidity levels, creating a perfect environment for toxic mold growth.

A relative humidity (RH) level of greater than 55% promotes the growth of mold and other fungi. (more about relative humidity). Although relative humidity remains fairly consistent outdoors, it fluctuates drastically inside as a result of being altered by the artificial heating and cooling (i.e. climate control by the HVAC system).

In which case, it is critical to closely monitor the relative humidity level in various parts of your home or building, since relative humidity can also vary from room to room.

In addition to using humidity sensors to monitor the moisture level, you can also run dehumidifiers and employ other products and methods to control humidity in the home or building.

2. Water/Pipe Leaks

Mold needs moisture in order to grow and thrive. Many mold problems originate as a result of some kind of water intrusion, especially those that are not resolved quickly. In which case, water and pipe leaks are common culprits, since they provide plenty of moisture, and are often undetected for days, months, or even years if minor enough.

When leaks are discovered, appropriate steps are not normally taken to minimize potential mold growth problems.


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Chapter 4

How to Find Mold

Where to Look and Ways to Uncover Mold Growth in Your Home or Building

Mold Removal & Mold Remediation General Information

  • Other Common Mold Scams
  • Insurance Companies and Insurance Adjusters as Scammers

Where to look and ways to uncover mold growth in your home or building


Inside Cabinets 

Any place that is dark, and where moisture can accumulate, is a potential breeding ground for mold.

Beneath Drywall 

When mold grows within wall cavities (which it often does) the nearby drywall is usually infected as well. If toxic mold does become engrained in the drywall, it should be replaced (after the mold is cleaned up and the source of excessive moisture is resolved).

If your walls show signs of mold (cracked/peeling paint, bulging behind the paint, discoloration of walls), then that section of drywall should be torn out and inspected. If the drywall is determined to have mold, then follow the suggestions on the Mold Clean Up page.

Remove electrical covers from switches and outlets to view the back side of the drywall.

Behind Floor Baseboards 

The space between the wall and the baseboards serves as a great growing ground for mold. Since it is a fairly sealed off space, it traps moisture. A lot of dirt ends up here, providing the mold colonies with plenty of nutrients to thrive.

Basements/Crawl Spaces 

If you suspect that you have a mold problem, then you should be especially conscientious of the basement or crawl space of your house. This level has more of a chance of fostering mold growth than any other level in the home.

In basements and crawl spaces, just look for any evidence of dampness. Be especially aware of any black mold growth that might be taking place in wooden building materials, especially in the framing, since this is the best path for mold to take to other parts of the home. It can also lead to the weakening of beams and other bearing walls that are crucial in the stability of the structure.

Water-Damaged Areas 

Any areas where flooding, leaks, or other types of water damage have occurred are prime candidates for toxic black mold growth.

Rooms / Areas with High Relative Humidity

If the relative humidity in a certain room or area is commonly above 55%, then over time, there is a strong likelihood a mold problem will occur. In which case, it is important to monitor areas Chapter 5

Remediation: Clean and Remove the Mold


The golden rule of mold remediation is: DO IT RIGHT OR DO IT AGAIN

When it comes to mold remediation, the most important thing to do is educate yourself on the proper procedures. You don’t need to know everything there is to know about removing mold, but understanding the fundamentals of mold remediation can save you time, money and aggravation. You may need to seek professional assistance in mold remediation.

Mold should be removed when it appears.

The goal of remediation is to remove or clean contaminated materials in a way that prevents the emission of mold spores and dust contaminated with fungi from leaving a work area and entering other occupied or non-abatement areas. At the same time, special care should be taken to protect the health of workers performing the abatement (remediation).

The following information can help you avoid getting scammed and ensure that your mold issues are handled ethically, honestly and professionally. Take the time to read it. If you have any questions, please call us.

Make sure your mold inspector is not in the mold removal business too. 

We believe it’s a serious conflict of interest for the company you pay to “inspect” for mold also profits from the “removal” of mold. There are plenty of companies out there that do both, the question is; how can you ever truly be sure that they are not creating more work for themselves – work that doesn’t really need to be done? The opportunity for corruption is far too great. The only way to know for sure that you’re not being “set up” and scammed into spending thousands of dollars you don’t need to spend is to make sure the person you hire for mold inspections has no affiliation with any mold removal contractor.

Check your remediation contractor’s experienced and references. 

CALL THE REFERENCES! Don’t take anyone’s word for it when it comes to shelling out thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of dollars for remediation work. Ask for references for jobs that are at least 10 to 12 months old. Why? Because every mold remediation job looks great as soon as it is finished. If remediation work is not done correctly, it can take several months to realize it. As a rule, if mold does not reoccur in that time, the work was done correctly. A remediation contractor, who has nothing to hide, has no problem giving you references. If a contractor gets offend by your request, say bye-bye!

Hire a remediator to remediate. Hire a remodeler to remodel. 

The standard rates for remodeling or reconstruction work that involves mold remediation is approximately three time higher that the exact same remodel without mold remediation. That means, by hiring one contractor to do the entire job, you are paying triple the regular rate for the reconstruction work that takes place after the mold is removed. As rule, you save money by hiring a remediation contractor to remove the mold, then having a remodeling contractor come in to do the reconstruction. Some remediation contractors will insist on doing all the work or none at all. Just remember, there’s more where they came from. Furthermore, be sure to have …

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Chapter 5

Steps to Mold Cleanup

  • Resolve Moisture
  • Minimize Dust and Seal Off Area (Negative Pressure)
  • Containment
  • Minimizing Dust
  • Cleaning the Mold
  • Remove the Mold
  • Verifying the Mold Clean-Up Job was Successful

Protecting Your Health During Mold Cleanup

Cleaning Mold in the HVAC System

  • Preventing Mold Growth in the HVAC System

How to Get Rid of Household Mold

  • Tips for Preventing and Eradicating Mold in Your Home
  • How Mold Enters Your Home
  • Hidden Mold
  • Preventive Measures

Resolve Moisture Problem

Most importantly, the source of the water accumulation must be identified and fixed or fungal growth will continue to occur. If you have a high relative humidity in a room or area (55% or higher), then you should strongly consider a dehumidifier. To determine the relative humidity, you will need a relative humidity sensor, also known as a moisture meter or hygrometer.

If you experienced severe flooding or a water leak, then you want to remove or pump out the standing water, followed by drying the area. If the area is really wet, you will want to use fans and dehumidifiers. You may also want to move wet items away from walls and off floors.

The quicker you address the problem, the less extensive the damage will be since it may only take 24-48 hours for toxic mold to germinate and grow. Prompt remediation of contaminated areas and materials should be the primary response to water intrusion and indoor fungal growth.

Minimize Dust and Seal Off Area (Negative Pressure)

Before you begin cleaning and removing the mold, it is critical to make sure that you take measures to prevent the mold spores from spreading to other areas of the house or building. Since mold spores will likely be stirred, becoming airborne during the cleaning process, you need to properly contain each area being cleaned, while also minimizing dust (a primary means of transportation for mold spores).


Each room or area should be cleaned separately, one at a time. Before cleaning each room or area, you should seal it off as best as you can. This will prevent the mold from disseminating to other areas of the home or building while it is being cleaned, since cleaning can disturb and stir up the mold, causing mold spores to become airborne.

Once they become airborne, they can spread to other areas to germinate and colonize, unless the area being cleaned is properly sealed. See Cleaning the Mold to find out how to avoid stirring the mold as it is being cleaned.

Properly sealing (or containment) of a room or area consists of using plastic sheeting sealed with duct tape to cover doorways, vents, and other openings to occupied areas of the home or building.

If possible, you should place an exhaust fan next to an open (or partially open) door or window that is open to the outdoors. This will create negative air pressure, which will direct air flow outside, and therefore mold spores that have been stirred during cleaning will also be channeled outside. Just make sure the door or window is not near an air exchange that brings outdoor air into the home.

You should also turn off the HVAC system before cleaning mold.

Minimizing Dust:

Maintain dust levels as low as possible during cleaning to prevent spores from becoming airborne and spread to other areas. This will reduce the risk of exposure for those who are …

Order Your Copy: Signs of a Mold Problem

Concerned about your Health?

Call today! 530-615-4083

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