This podcast will help you take control of your indoor air quality at home or at the office. Learn how to reduce your exposure to mould toxins especially after water damage as well as minimise harm caused by other environmental pollutants. Your host, Dr Cameron Jones, PhD is a recognised authority on mould in the built environment and a widely published academic and public health advocate. The Mould Show brings you practical information, expert interviews and research breakthroughs you can use each week.
Does mould harm children's health?
I'm often asked whether mould affects children's health? I thought this would be an appropriate topic to kick off the new year for The Mould Show in 2022. In approaching this topic, I'm going to review some of the key symptoms associated with exposure to mould and then provide you with an easy visual guide that you can use to not only remember the typical mould symptoms but the causes and effects but that may be helpful when describing indoor air quality issues in your home or workplace.
We all know that unexpected weather increasingly contributes to mould problems indoors in addition to water leaks and home dilapidation problems. In turn, most of us understand that moulds grow on wet surfaces and release their spores into the air. It’s important to remember that mycotoxin levels inside water-damaged buildings are sometimes 1000-fold higher than the mould count. It's also known that 50% of fungal growth can be hidden and is missed by mould testing according to the EPA.
Find out what the key research papers say about mould and your child's health?
Campbell AW, Watson P. Mold, Mycotoxins, and their Effects in Children. Altern Ther Health Med. 2021 Jan;27(1):8-10. PMID: 33609089.
Campbell AW, Decena K. The Brain and Mycotoxins. Altern Ther Health Med. 2020 Nov;26(6):8-11. PMID: 33609092.
Campbell AW. Molds and Mycotoxins: A Brief Review. Altern Ther Health Med. 2016 Jul;22(4):8-11. PMID: 27548484.
Theoharides TC. Mold and Immunity. Clin Ther. 2018 Jun;40(6):882-884. doi: 10.1016/j.clinthera.2018.05.005. Epub 2018 May 30. PMID: 29859636.
Spengler JD, Jaakkola JJ, Parise H, Katsnelson BA, Privalova LI, Kosheleva AA. Housing characteristics and children's respiratory health in the Russian Federation. Am J Public Health. 2004 Apr;94(4):657-62. doi: 10.2105/ajph.94.4.657. PMID: 15054021; PMCID: PMC1448314.
Jedrychowski W, Maugeri U, Perera F, Stigter L, Jankowski J, Butscher M, Mroz E, Flak E, Skarupa A, Sowa A. Cognitive function of 6-year old children exposed to mold-contaminated homes in early postnatal period. Prospective birth cohort study in Poland. Physiol Behav. 2011 Oct 24;104(5):989-95. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2011.06.019. Epub 2011 Jul 8. PMID: 21763705; PMCID: PMC3758954.
Szumilas M. Explaining odds ratios [published correction appears in J Can Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2015 Winter;24(1):58]. J Can Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2010;19(3):227-229.
Wong CT, Wais J, Crawford DA. Prenatal exposure to common environmental factors affects brain lipids and increases risk of developing autism spectrum disorders. Eur J Neurosci. 2015 Nov;42(10):2742-60. doi: 10.1111/ejn.13028. Epub 2015 Sep 19. PMID: 26215319.
Which Mould Spores are Protective Against COVID-19?
When you think about the over 5M fungal species that exist on the planet and juxtapose this against the approximate 2000 mushrooms species we might eat as food - there really are a lot of chance and probable possibilities for us to come into contact with these microorganisms in our everyday lives.
This new paper that came out from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is quite an eye-opener because it looked at how fungal communities inside 1135 homes in the United States is connected with something called the Infection Fatality Ratio (IFR) which describes the number of deaths caused by COVID-19 per 1000 coronavirus infections.
Their research showed that an increased fungal diversity especially for specific Species of indoor fungi versus outdoor fungi (Beta diversity) was associated with a reduced infection fatality ratio.
In their paper, they looked at whether there was a correlation between certain Species of fungi and adverse outcomes from COVID? And amazingly they found that “yes” there is!
They found that something called the beta diversity assessed from a comparison between fungal spore types collected outdoors and then inside the home living environment was of fundamental importance.
The key result is that: high diversity of outdoor fungi when also present indoors is associated with a suppression effect for COVID-19 mortality.
This means that collecting spore trap measurements from the outdoors and indoors is very important for predicting adverse events like mortality from COVID-19 and emphasizes the importance of the environment on human illness. Now it’s not just the raw numbers of fungi, but the overlap of which types are present outdoors and also found indoors which defines different aspects of Species richness and diversity.
The research showed that at least four of the following seven fungal genera have a key role in suppressing coronavirus infections. These were: Alternaria, Aspergillus, Epicoccum, Eurotium, Toxicocladosporium and Wallemia as well as a novel Mycosphaerellaceae fungus.
You could argue that simply airing out your property will naturally bring fresh outdoor air containing mould spores indoors. So, wouldn’t that automatically select for the correct beta diversity ratio that’s better for your health?
On the surface, you'd be right to conclude this. However, I've personally done 1000s of indoor air quality inspections over the years and many homes have hidden mould problems that contribute to poor indoor air quality. This is often caused by water damage and dampness and in most of these cases, there is a skewed distribution of fungi indoors that’s very different to the outdoors.
This publication is extremely important because it shows a correlation effect between bioaerosol counts especially mould spores and respiratory disease outcomes. The key takeaway here is that COVID-19 mortality is suppressed inside homes where the outdoor fungi occur indoors at very similar levels.
When the skewness or difference between the outdoor: indoor diversity changes, or when the indoor fungi are significantly different to the outdoors, then COVID-19 mortality increases.
These researchers found that fungal beta diversity was a much stronger correlate for adverse COVID-19 outcome as age. For example, older persons have worse COVID-19 outcomes, and this paper says that fungal beta diversity in the wrong direction is also bad for your health. The authors stress the method is unlikely to be restricted only to coronavirus but could extend to surveillance of other allergic and viral diseases. This research, therefore, underscores the importance of fungal biosurveillance in the built environment to improve public health outcomes.
Censorship of Mould Illness in Finland
This week on The Mould Show, I'm going to be talking about censorship of mould illness. And to do this, we’ll be reviewing a paper that came out earlier this year that focused on the situation in Finland. Essentially, this is a battle between free democracy and socialism and the impact that politics has on contemporary scientific thinking and the dissemination of applied science into the wider community.
So, what's this all about? Well, most of us understand the connection between bad indoor air quality and water damage and how this can impact our health. However, I'm always amazed when people try to negate this connection between environmental exposure and illness or outright deny the scientific facts.
This is very perplexing because on the one hand, when the mainstream media is considering carbon credits, or net-zero, they seem to have no trouble linking the slightest change in the environment with some type of consequence to someone somewhere.
In certain socialist, corporatist European countries like Finland, mould related illness has become highly politicized. And today we're going to be reviewing a paper put out by Professor Tamara Tuuminen in May/June 2021. She is a very courageous scientist and doctor who discusses the fact that even though the epidemiological literature shows an overwhelming consensus that mould induces a multi-organ symptomology way beyond just the sniffles - that many government and corporate institutions in her country of Finland deny this link.
She discusses the Government Department of Health and Welfare as well as the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health as two of the key institutions that aim to deny mould as a real environmental illness. Her paper discusses how this is achieved using corporatist special interest groups and educational bodies who often position themselves as independent opinion leaders. In many cases, they are far from unbiased and can demonstrate corruption by not disclosing hidden conflicts of interest or selectively quoting only those academic works of literature that support the government or corporate agenda.
In the Livestream, I'm going to present evidence as far back as 1964 showing that this approach is patently false, and any non-brainwashed person can easily verify these facts for themselves. DYOR and it quite easy then to connect environmental illnesses connected with mould and the many very real physiological problems that can ensue.
I'll also discuss how the Finnish attempt to use mindfulness exercises and referrals to psychologists or psychiatrists, instead of addressing the fundamental problem of indoor air quality and building damage. Contemporary, mainstream narrative protocols instead blame the person for the sickness and from a clinical perspective, attempt to retrain the patient’s brain to remove the stressful situation.
I hope you'll join with me and watch the live stream or download the podcast which touches on multiple areas of contemporary #FollowTheScience and #Censorship of science and how this has become politicized.
I’ll conclude with some recommendations that you can follow to minimize this bias to get at the ground truth and let the science help rather than hurt you.
Tuuminen T. Dampness and Mold Hypersensitivity Syndrome, or Mold-related Illness, Has Become Highly Politicized and Downplayed in Finland. Altern Ther Health Med. 2021 May;27(3):59-64. PMID: 33882029.
Salt Therapy and Mould Illness
In this presentation, I want to review something called salt therapy, which is considered a complementary method for the treatment of respiratory tract illnesses. This will have a special focus on mould related disease. Clinical practice referrals my Company receives revolve around exposure to indoor air dampness and mould, usually in the home. When this is prolonged, it can cause problems including: vocal cords irritation, rhinitis, cough, wheezing and recurrent infections of the upper and lower respiratory tract. Breathing in bioaerosols might also make existing asthma worse or bring on new asthma in children or adults. Many of the client and patient referrals we receive complain that their doctor does not truly understand their symptoms or may even consider some of these to be psychosomatic.
Apart from focussing on fixing the building, what can you do to ‘get well’ if you’re mould affected? To this end, an important paper recently came out in the Journal: Alternative Therapies in June 2021. Salt therapy is put forward as a treatment for mould related illness. But what is it and why does it work?
Salt therapy has developed into a holistic complementary therapy available in day spa-like environments based on observations made by a 19th century Polish doctor, Feliks Boczkowski. He noticed that salt mine workers had far fewer skin and respiratory health symptoms compared with other mine workers.
Later during World War II in Germany, people who sheltered during bombing in salt caves were observed to experience relief from respiratory problems. Salt therapy exploits or mimics the microclimate of natural salt caves. People who spend time in these caves are take advantage of what is called Spleotherapy in the literature. This involves inhaling pure sodium chloride, NaCl along with other aerosolized elements including magnesium and calcium. A different version termed Halotherapy allows people to experience the benefits of salt therapy by spending time in a room that has salt coated walls and floor. Halotherapy may also use a generator (termed a halogenerator) to produce fine sodium chloride aerosols (1-5-micron diameter) which are aerosolized in the ‘salt room’.
The salt easily penetrates into all parts of the respiratory tract and has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Salt particles also promote ciliary transport in the lung, allowing mucus plugs to be coughed up and it also reduces IgE inflammatory levels.
Doctors have used salt therapy in the treatment of allergic rhinitis, asthma, COPD, bronchitis for cystic fibrosis and for viral bronchiolitis. There is even research support linking the use of salting of face masks to neutralize the SARS-CoV-2 virus in an effort to combat COVID-19.
Salt therapy is known to be 100% natural and it's generally safe because it improves the clearance of particulates from the lung, often provides relief from coughing and reduces bronchial inflammation. It’s easily experienced by spending time in a salt room (30-60 min. sessions) repeated 10 to 20 times. If your home might be mouldy, then consider salt your new ally for health promotion.
Wasik AA, Tuuminen T. Salt Therapy as a Complementary Method for the Treatment of Respiratory Tract Diseases, With a Focus on Mold-Related Illness. Altern Ther Health Med. 2021 Oct;27(S1):223-239. PMID: 34726628. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34726628/
Black Fungus Risks and COVID-19
Black fungus disease can have a devastating impact for people who contract COVID 19 and even for those who are recovering from COVID-19 and who are more properly classed as COVID long haulers.
My purpose in presenting this live stream is really to bring about awareness to every person about the potential impact of black fungus and explore some of the reasons why everyone should be aware of post-COVID infection co-infection with black fungi. It is my hope that this live stream prevents unnecessary illness, infection and even death.
So, what are the common types of black fungus and why is this connected with COVID? To answer this question, I need to focus on two of the most common fungi that are implicated in mucormycosis and they are from the Genus that includes Rhizopus sp. and Mucor sp. These are typically fast-growing fungi that produce copious spores.
The problem is that these black coloured fungi in the immunocompromised hosts such as those recovering from COVID can utilize the iron in blood as a food source. It must be remembered that the pre-COVID infectious period includes the one to two weeks prior to symptoms. The next month is the acute phase of COVID infection. And after five weeks, this is the post-COVID-19 period.
Those admitted to hospital are commonly offered steroid medications. These steroids like dexamethasone work by dampening down the body's immune system, but at the same time they also increase the levels of iron in the blood, which the black fungi use as a food source. Although dexamethasone does work and is a relatively inexpensive medication, it is a problem for treatment, especially when this has become widespread due to the fact that although it produces an anti-inflammatory effect, this property is at the same time, immunosuppressive in action. These mean this steroid has two contrasting properties as a treatment.
There are many ways in which black fungus can enter the body. Depending on where it enters, this determines the impact of the severity of the fungal infection.
So, what is the takeaway from this particular livestream? Number one, it's very important that you know whether or not you are at risk. Just because you've recovered from COVID 19 does not mean that your body is capable of neutralizing invading pathogens like the black fungi. Everyone should be mindful of the fact the indoor living environment has an effect on your overall health and predisposition to infection. Therefore, inadequate hygiene, high humidity, and water damaged materials can cause an already compromised immune system to become susceptible to various diseases.
Pushparaj K, Kuchi Bhotla H, Arumugam VA, Pappusamy M, Easwaran M, Liu WC, Issara U, Rengasamy KRR, Meyyazhagan A, Balasubramanian B. Mucormycosis (black fungus) ensuing COVID-19 and comorbidity meets - Magnifying global pandemic grieve and catastrophe begins. Sci Total Environ. 2022 Jan 20;805:150355. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.150355. Epub 2021 Sep 16. PMID: 34818767; PMCID: PMC8443313. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.150355
Lukács, G., Papp, T., Nyilasi, I., Nagy, E., & Vágvölgyi, C. (2004). Differentiation of Rhizomucor species on the basis of their different sensitivities to lovastatin. Journal of clinical microbiology, 42(11), 5400–5402. https://doi.org/10.1128/JCM.42.11.5400-5402.2004
Zupančič, J., Novak Babič, M., Zalar, P., & Gunde-Cimerman, N. (2016). The Black Yeast Exophiala dermatitidis and Other Selected Opportunistic Human Fungal Pathogens Spread from Dishwashers to Kitchens. PloS one, 11(2), e0148166. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0148166.
Air Quality and Mould Inspection Report: Nauru Regional Processing Centre.
Clinical Mould Antigen Extracts and Moulds From Water-Damaged Homes
Common health concerns from mould include: asthma, allergic rhinitis, wheeze, cough, shortness of breath, or hypersensitivity pneumonitis, headache, eye and skin problems and other health issues. It is reasonably well known, at least by the integrative health community, that exposure to moulds and other fungi is correlated with a range of allergic and pulmonary diseases in susceptible individuals.
Allergy is often tested using antigen extracts. The paper we're discussing today shows that the available antigen extracts are not well matched to the types of fungi that are commonly found indoors.
Allergic sensitization is measured in vivo by something called the skin prick or intradermal testing method or by serological testing against a panel. Fungal antigens are therefore used to determine reaction and it is an important clinical diagnostic that supports environmental inspections.
It is also known that environmental remediation is correlated with improved outcomes of hypersensitivity pneumonitis and asthma. But linking these conditions with buildings relies on either the environmental inspection or the clinician being able to prove the allergy using fungal antigens.
This important paper shows that the actual spore counts in the air reveal exactly which fungi are most likely to induce allergy.
The research reviewed nearly 25,000 indoor air samples from over 7,500 mould affected or complaint homes and compared them against nearly 30,000 outdoor air samples. It was found that the Penicillium fungus was the dominant Genus in water damaged homes and was more common than Aspergillus.
Overall five important Penicillium Genus fungi and three Aspergillus Genus species were identified as the predominant indoor water damage related fungi. Notably, none of the Penicillium species and only one of the Aspergillus species have a clinical antigen extract available for skin testing or serum testing.
The conclusions show variously that commercial production of additional antigen extracts are required and that air spore count measures are fundamentally important to determine risk level of the indoor air versus the outdoor air.
So, what is healthy air versus unhealthy air? The researchers review the recommendations put forward by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) who state that higher indoor versus outdoor mould levels, determined using either viable Petri plate culture or spore trap air sampling should be considered as unhealthy.
This new research also introduces a new quantitative minimum threshold risk level:
Where the combined concentration level of Penicillium/Aspergillus fungi in the indoor air is greater than 200 colony forming units per cubic meter of air (CFU/m3) higher than in the outdoor air. This may be an appropriate evidence-based benchmark.
This research concludes by stating that the accuracy of clinical detection of mould sensitivity can be significantly improved by (1) adding new antigen extracts for the predominant species of Penicillium and Aspergillus commonly identified in damp and mould affected homes and that (2) this will lead to improved outcomes for individuals who suffer from mould related conditions so that (3) timely environmental interventions such as (4) patient relocation and or (5) mould remediation when required can be implemented as a (5) critical component of disease management to improve the outcomes of asthma and hypersensitivity pneumonitis in the built environment.
Misalignment between Clinical Mold Antigen Extracts and Airborne Molds Found in Water-Damaged Homes. William M Sothern, Sarah L O'Beirne, Michael Berg, Daniel Devine, Nasrin Khandaker, Christopher Mikrut, and Robert J Kaner
Published online: November 17, 2021as DOI: https://doi.org/10.1513/AnnalsATS.202101-096OC
Loved this podcast! The speaker is enjoyable to listen to and picks such interesting topics. I just listened to the episode about how often you need to wash your bed sheets and this was honestly something I’ve been thinking about a lot! Loved the statistics throughout the episode. Looking forward to future podcasts!
Very informative and valuable content
This is Just what I needed. I listen to it every moment that I can. The Mould Show is very Amazing. I Admire it. When I listen to this podcast I forget everything. I learned many things from these Podcasts. You share very informative and valuable content with us. Thank you DR CAMERON JONES for doing a great job. I suggest it to my friend.
Very informative episodes! This guy is the real deal. Definitely looking forward to more episodes, keep up the good work!