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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » Help! Bad mold situation. Dont know what to do.

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Author Topic: Help! Bad mold situation. Dont know what to do.
Rumigirl
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We are living in a mold situation, and I dont know what to do. Ive known for a long time, but was too overwhelmed to deal with it. Surely it has been affecting my health a lot. Im allergic to mold!

My husband and I have been living in the apartment for 35 years (!!), and there were conditions of bad leaks in the apartment from before we moved in. The apartment building is old, and the plumbing is bad, so there have been extensive leaks from that sporadically. The superintendent and the landlord are very lackadaisical and cheap about fixing things, so the fixes are slapdash.

The outside brick walls have lots of leaks of water to the inside walls. Its a very big job to fix that; it involves putting up scaffolding around the building, and workers going up and fixing it on our floor (were on the 7th floor) and above, too. And we have outside walls on 3 sides! Although the worst of the leaks are on 2 sides and involve our bedroom the most(!). The bedroom has both inside and outside wall leaks.

The way they have fixed a lot of leaks, both inside and outside walls, is to slap wallboard over it! So there is undoubtedly lots of mold and water damage under the wallboard. The weird thing is that the wallboard has the mold somewhat contained, so it seems easier to not do anything, but . . .

Ive made complaints many times before to the landlord and the appropriate city agency to fix the outside walls, to no avail. Now they do have scaffolding up on part of the building (not our worst walls), and I want to take advantage of that and try to finally get it fixed.

I dont know what to do or ask for, because its so extensive. I need to know how to assess it, and probably need a very good mold remediation service to help me figure it out. The landlord will only do what he is forced to do. I have a chance of maybe getting him to do the outside work now that the scaffolding is up on part of the building.

I have NO idea where I would live while the work is going on, unless I only lived in the other room where the work wasnt going on. Its just a one-bedroom apartment. We both live and work here! If we moved out for good, there would be nowhere we could afford to move to for a long way outside of the city where we have lived for decades and still work!! Its a rent-regulated apartment, which is gold where we live. We can barely afford our expenses as it is without adding an additional rent on top of it.

Please tell me how to assess it myself and how to find a good mold remediation service to analyze the situation. I will need the specifics of what would need to be done how, info on how to try to force the landlord to do what is necessary, and help on figuring out what I should do if and when this happens (could I live in the other room, do I have to move, where could I go, etc.).

Before the work happens, I need to go through the whole apartment and get rid of a ton of stuff, so the damage can be seen and dealt with properly. Arggh!! Sorry for the thesis here!

We also have a bad mold situation in our very old car that will take $1,000 to fix.

I am in such bad shape health-wise, I can barely make it through a day in the most skeletal way, due to extreme migraines, fatigue, pain, brain fog, etc. The only way I can make it through at all is with a ton of meds, supplements, and caffeine. Im at the point too often where death would be welcome (no I wont act on that). So to take on this big project is extremely overwhelming. I really need info and support here. Thanks, guys!

[ 11-27-2011, 03:50 PM: Message edited by: Rumigirl ]

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feelfit
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Rumigirl, talk to ElaineG or Momlyme. They are very good at all things regarding mold.

Your very poor health most likely has to do with mold exposure. You cannot get over lyme and co. with mycotoxins circulating throughout your body.

And you are allergic as well- if I were you, I would make serious efforts to tackle this problem...

meanwhile, here is a blog entry regarding biotoxins that may help you:Biotoxin Illness
Exposure to biotoxins can induce a cascade of inflammatory events in the body which may lead to chronic illness.

An estimated 25% of the population mount an improper inflammatory response when confronted with biotoxins. The body may directly acquire biotoxins through food, air, and water, or acquire them via toxin-producing organisms such as Borrelia burgdorferi, the spirochete responsible for Lyme disease.

Many individuals who fall into this category share unique HLA genotypes which are associated with the inability for the immune system to properly tag and process the biotoxins for elimination from the body. The diagram below illustrates the process of events which occurs in both non-susceptible and biotoxin-susceptible individuals.

http://www.survivingmold.com/docs/biotoxinpathwayritchieshoemakermd.pdf

The Biotoxin Pathway

Stage 1: Biotoxin Effects
It all starts when a person is exposed to a biotoxin. In most people, the biotoxin is 'tagged' and identified by the body's immune system and is broken down and removed from the blood by the liver.

However, some individuals do not have the immune response genes (HLA-DR genes) that are required to eventually form an antibody to a given foreign antigen. In these cases the biotoxins are not 'tagged' and remain in the body indefinitely, free to circulate and wreak havoc.

Once present in the body, the biotoxins begin to set off a complex cascade of biochemical events. The biotoxin binds to surface receptors (Toll receptors and many more) in nearly every kind of cell in the body.

This recognition and binding of the biotoxin causes a continual upregulation of multiple inflammatory pathways, including production of cytokines, split product of complement, and TGF Beta-1.

Biotoxins also directly affect nerve cell function, which is one of the reasons that the symptoms and visual contrast sensitivity (VCS) test are so useful in diagnosis.

Stage 2: Cytokine Effects
Cytokines in turn bind to their receptors, causing release of MMP9 in blood. In the brain, cytokines bind to the leptin receptor, preventing its normal function in the hypothalamus.

The blocked leptin receptor will no longer create the initiation of steps that lead to production of alpha melanocyte stimulating hormone (MSH). Elevated cytokines can produce many different symptoms

including: headache, muscle ache, unstable temperature and difficulty concentrating. This problem is the disastrous effect of MSH deficiency. High levels of cytokines can also result in increased levels of important compounds such as I-1 and clotting factors as shown by a von Willebrands profile.

Of importance in cardio vascular health, MMP-9 delivers inflammatory elements from the blood into sensitive tissues and can combine with PAI-1 to increase clot formation and arterial blockage.

Stage 3: Reduced VEGF
The elevated cytokine levels in the capillaries attract white blood cells, leading to restricted blood flow and lower oxygen levels in the tissues (we call this capillary hypoperfusion). Reduced VEGF leads to fatigue, muscle cramps and shortness of breath.

Stage 4: Immune System Effects
Patients with certain HLA genotypes (immunity related genes) may develop inappropriate immune responses which may include antibodies to: gliadin (gluten sensitivity), actin, anca (think ulcerative colitis), cardiolipins (affects blood clotting), and more. Most devastatingly of all, the complement system becomes chronically activated resulting in high levels of C4a.

Stage 5: Low MSH
Reduced MSH production results in yet another set of problems and symptoms. The production of melatonin is reduced which results in sleep problems.

Endorphin production is suppressed which leads to chronic and sometimes unusual pain. Lack of MSH can cause malabsorption or 'leaky gut' which further weakens and deregulates the immune system.

White blood cells eventually lose regulation of cytokine response so that opportunistic infections may occur or recovery from infections is slower.

Stage 6: Antibiotic Resistant Staph Bacteria
Reduced MSH also allows resistant staph (MARCoNS) to survive in biofilm on the mucous membranes.

These bacteria further compound MSH deficiency and the problem by producing exotoxins A and B that cleave MSH, further decreasing the MSH levels. At this point, the downward spiral starts to perpetuate itself.

Stage 7: Pituitary Hormone Effects
Reduced MSH can decrease pituitary production of antidiuretic hormone (ADH) which can lead to thirst, frequent urination, neurally-mediated hypotension (NMH), low blood volume, and electric shocks from static electricity.

While sex hormone production is often down-regulated the pituitary may upregulate the production of cortisol and ACTH in the early stages of illness, then drop to abnormally low, or low-normal ranges later.

Please note: Parts of this page including the Biotoxin Pathway Chart and Biotoxin Pathway Explanation is proprietary information belonging to survivingmold.com, surviving mold, llc. It has been reposted here with express consent from surviving mold, llc.
Source: survivingmold.com

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Rumigirl
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Thank you, thank you, feelfit!! Yes, I do have a lot of genetic glitches that prevent proper detox, methylation pathway blockages, and, according to my LLMD, propensity to autoimmune disorders (which I have plenty of). So I know this must be addressed. How to do it is daunting to say the least.
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momlyme
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I think you should get out of the apartment, ASAP.

See how you feel when you are out for a couple of weeks. Don't take anything with you except a few sets of clothes and stop at the laundromat to wash the clothes with a cup of ammonia. Put the clothes in new bags that did not come from your apartment.

You will be able to think clearer when the mold brain fog lifts... re-evaluate and make a plan.

If you try to stay in the apartment when it is being remediated, you will probably get sicker. You cannot afford to get MORE sick than you already are.

I believe that if we stayed in our house we would all be dead.

My son had ZERO quality of life in that mold infested house. Now he is 100% better.

We left for what was supposed to be a week or two and we have been out over 7 months. When you see the dramatic health improvements I saw in my son and in every other member of our family (including the dog) you would stay out of the toxic home too!

I know this may sound extreme, but leaving with absolutely nothing is the only way to tell if it is the mold that is making you sick.

If you aren't already, start doing good things for your liver. I use LiverLife by bioray. When I first left, I did the "Clean" program which includes a lot of juicing - book by Alexander Junger. I still juice a lot. Castor oil packs, liver flush, coffee enemas... detox! The mold and mycotoxins hang out and clog up the liver.

We are still trying to get our house clean enough to move back in. We have ripped most of it to studs and tossed out moldy building materials all the way out to the exterior shingles in some cases.

We are $15,000 into this project and I still get sick going in... one last ditch effort this week I have a floor refinisher sanding and refinishing our floors. We rented a negative air scrubber to purify the air while this is being done. I will know next week whether we sell or stay.

I think that once you got sick in a home, the fingerprint mold that made you sick gets you sick in a hurry and you may never be able to live there again. This is my experience and yours may be different or similar.

I don't want to scare you or get your hopes up. Mold is difficult to get rid of and impossible to live a healthy life in!

--------------------
May health be with you!

Toxic mold was suppressing our immune systems, causing extreme pain, brain fog and magnifying symptoms. Four days after moving out, the healing began.

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Elaine G
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Rumigirl, first thing I want to ask is it your apartment the only apartment having the leak problems or are they prevalent in the building? Are neighbors also suffering from leaks and mold?

If you don't know your neighbors, start knocking on doors. This is important to determine if you are the only one with mold or is this a building issue.

If others tenants are having the same problem then you are living in a mold poisoned building not a mold poisoned apartment. Ask your neighbors if they are having leaks, if they are then they have mold. Ask them if they are having health problems, they are probably not aware what illness the mold can cause.

If it is only your apartment, you will have more difficult time getting this remediated through the rent controlled agency putting demands on the owner BUT if a good portion of the building is contaminated you can surely rouse other tenants to go to the agency. You have a better chance getting the building remediated if you all work together. More complaints to the rent controlled board may spur some action. I don't know if the board of health would help but it may be worth a phone call.

To rouse the other tenants, I would print up some mold information and leave for them and ask them to report their issues to the rent controlled board. Having one apartment remediated, if the whole building is sick, is not the answer. The whole building must be remediated if infected. Otherwise, you will still be breathing the mold toxins walking through the building.

If you have Stachybotrys mold, I would move and leave everything behind. That mold will not only make you sick but it can kill you.

Determine the type of mold. To get an idea you can do different DIY tests to find what type of mold you have. However, you live in an apartment then the owner is responsible for testing and remediation.

FIRST.....determine if you are the only apartment in the building with leaks and mold.

Second.....do some inexpensive testing to find out what mold you have in your apartment, if the building owner will not do it.

You can PM me and I can suggest different labs to use, where it won't cost you thousands to get mold testing. Professional mold testing is the best with a good forensic tester but that costs thousands and the building owner should pay for that.

I would also send a registered letter, return receipt to the owner documenting the leaks and complaints.

If this should go court, there is a lab whose mold results will stand up in court. The urine test at Real Time Labs is $ 699.00 and retesting is, I believe, $ 199.00 within 2 years of original testing. Their test will show mycotoxins in parts per billion. You need a doctor to sign off for their test and it is urine sample overnighted to them. They supply the testing materials. This is the lab to use if you think this may be going legal.

The other thing that you could try is diffusing Thieves oil but that will only work with the leaks fixed and the damaged areas' removed. If the leaks are not fixed the mold will only return.

Read info on this website:

Dr. Close remediation with Thieves oil

Dr Close, a Ph.D claims to use thieves oil to remediate, a hospital, office buildings, a community college and homes. He used the theives cleaner on the areas' of contamination that has been removed. You may want to look into this for your car.

My doctor who has written books on mold, believes Thieves oil is a temporary fix, not a permanent one but I guess that is debatable, at this point.

If you want information on where to buy the diffuser and oil, PM me. I have no affliation with anyone that I recommend, I just did a lot of research on where to buy everything MUCH cheaper.

Yours is not an easy fix because it may affect one apartment, several apartments, many or the whole building.

Even IF you found another apartment, all your possessions are contaminated with mold spores. There is a detergent that you can wash your clothes in to rid them of mold and mold spores. Also, your hair is a "mold mop" there is also shampoo for that. But nothing will help UNLESS you get the problem solved with the building.

You would also have to detox your body. I'm using Cholestryamine, Charcoal caps and Bentonite clay. However, you may be at the point where you are breathing more mold than you are able to detox.

I also agree with others if you can live somewhere else while this is being settled and remediated, that would be the best for your health.

I would be happy to help you in any way that I can. Also, there are at least 3 other people on this forum who have gone through or going through mold contamination. Hopefully, they will offer some suggestions to you.

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feelfit
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Rumigirl,

I am in the same spot that you are in. I have had my clothing and urine tested for mycotoxins and have moderate levels reported in both.

Have the dreaded HLA genotype, and have been treating lyme and co. for 4 years with '0' sustainable progress.

Pretty sure that it is the mycotoxins that keep me ill, however, like you, I find the whole testing/ remediation thing horribly overwhelming.

I am too sick to figure this all out and follow through. But! I imagine that if we continue on our present course, there is little hope at all.

My best,
FF

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steve1906
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You got some really good information here from all three members> (Elaine G - momlyme - feelfit)

You have been living in these conditions for 35 years, I'm surprised you can function at all.

Please read this site below (page 1 & 2). Also start doing some more research, there are thousands of sites regarding Landlord Liability, Responsibility for MOLD!!!

I agree the 1st. thing you have to do is get out of this apartment. I know $$$ is a problem but, you're only going to sicker staying where you are.

Also, when they start cleaning out the mode you mentioned, it going to get MUCH worse.

I wish you the best, keep us updated.

Here's one site to take a look at: It mentions a number of States, guidelines and regulations for mold in indoor air.

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/mold-rentals-landlord-liability-responsibility-prevention-30230.html

--------------------
Everything I say is just my opinion!

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steve1906
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Rumigirl,
It would help if we knew what State you're from?
We can help you do some more research for that State!

Example> Here's the MOLD law for Texas:

http://www.expertlaw.com/forums/showthread.php?t=59554

--------------------
Everything I say is just my opinion!

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Elaine G
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Steve, very good for links on information for renters. Thanks for posting them.
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Rumigirl
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Wow, thanks, guys!! I'm in NY state. Gotta run to a dr's appt right now. More later.

Ironically, the dr's appt is dermatologist. It's for something else, but I also developed a HUGE, dark red, itchy, hard bump on my calf that looks like some kind of bite, yesterday. We visited friends in NJ for Thanksgiving. Now what?! (This is totally off topic, of course, just a"now what" moment).

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steve1906
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Looks to me like NY has a prety good law in place for tenants and Mold protection:

New York Tenant Rights with Mold:

http://indoorrestore.com/resources/renters-rights/new-york-tenant-rights-mold/

New York:
http://www.health.ny.gov/publications/7287/

New York State Toxic Mold Task Force
http://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/indoors/air/mold/task_force/docs/final_toxic_mold_task_force_report.pdf

http://www.epa.gov/iaq/states/newyork.html

--------------------
Everything I say is just my opinion!

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steve1906
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Mold Task Force NYState Testimony: (Video)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYYrY0QkFIA

--------------------
Everything I say is just my opinion!

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Jubilee
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I spent $1000 on Thieves oil and cleaner for remediation project. It helped slightly, but I now know that I should not have done this project myself. Others are right--do anything you can to get out.
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Rumigirl
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I know that it is NOT just in my apartment! It is a building-wide problem. However, not all apartments have it. It's a large building---26 stories with up to 7 apts per floor.

But now many of the tenants are relatively new, which means that they have "renovated" their apartments, which means slapping wallboard over all the walls that have water damage without fixing the source of the water damage. So the new tenants have no idea of what is underneath the wallboard, and probably don't want to know.

This would include the people upstairs from us. I know that their walls were just as bad as ours. But the landlord "renovated" long before the current tenants moved in, so the smoking gun is covered over. Unless someone either sees the damage or has bad health problems, they aren't going to care. But I will try to find out how many people have the damage or have health problems that might be related.

I may have to do initial mold testing myself before I initiate action with the landlord. First I'll read the above links.

I have gone elsewhere (not moldy) for weeks at a time and wasn't any better---although not in 10 years. I was in bad shape then, but I am in way worse shape now. But then what is going on with me has numerous causes, including too many injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (but way before they even had that diagnosis).

Sigh. I'm in for a very big deal. How the heck do you deal with all this when you can barely function at all?! I guess one foot in front of the other.

One other question: our car has bad mold in the carpets (my husband accidentally left the window cracked, and it rained in a little). We had it thoroughly cleaned (detailing they call it), but it didn't do it at all.

Now they say we need to replace the carpeting and pads underneath, as that is where the mold is. This will cost @ $1,000. But my question is, if we get that done, plus maybe ozone shock treatment, and a treatment for the air system, will that be enough to get the spores that may have gone to the seats?? Ack! Mold seems as horrific as ticks!

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Rumigirl
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Scott Forsgren has posted extensive notes on the recent Biotoxin Conference; here's the link: h [URL=Scott Forsgren has posted extensive notes on the recent Biotoxin Conference; here's the link: http://betterhealthguy.com/joomla/blog/251-biotoxin-illness-conference-2011]

It has great info and links that are extremely relevant. Thank you, Scott!!

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Rumigirl
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Thank you, Steve, for all the helpful links. ANd thank you feelfit. It looks like a number of us will be/are traveling this tough road together. Strength in numbers, I hope.
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Rumigirl
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I looked at all the links that Steve posted. My state's laws are actually extremely vague; they merely say that there is a warranty of habitability, nothing more definitive. The landlord's idea of fixing it would be strictly cosmetic, as it has been in the past. And no way would I be able to get them to test for mold. I will have to do it myself, or pay someone to do it, and then go after him legally.

I did, however, find out about a different city agency that I can try to go through. But no city agency is likely to insist that the landlord find and rip out all the moldy materials in the walls. I would be extremely lucky if we got him to fix the outside wall leaks. We'll see.

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sammy
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Rumigirl, I'm so sorry to hear that you are having to deal with this mold situation.

I was hoping that your quietness here lately meant that you were feeling well. Guess I was wrong [Frown]

I'll pray that God will give you the help and strength that you need to get through this.

Hugs, take care friend [Smile]

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oxygenbabe
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Move. It's that simple and there is no other answer.
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momlyme
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Rumigirl, I am sorry I never followed up on this post last year... I was very sick then. Bumping it up because it is relevant as to why you are not getting well.

What did you wind up doing about your apartment?

--------------------
May health be with you!

Toxic mold was suppressing our immune systems, causing extreme pain, brain fog and magnifying symptoms. Four days after moving out, the healing began.

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