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.
DIY Mould Remediation of Paper Documents
In Australia, we're currently suffering from torrential rain all along the east coast, affecting Queensland and New South Wales and potentially moving towards Victoria. Regardless of where you're living, unexpected water damage and mould may be a new problem for you to begin dealing with. This live stream and podcast will focus on how to deal with mould and water damage affecting paper documents. We can all imagine sodden books and libraries underwater, but I'll leave that problem for the archivists. This show segment will focus exclusively on how you can deal with mould contamination of paper documents. To do this, I’ll review a recent paper that came out that looked at how to sterilize paper during a crisis. The authors compared two types of sterilization methods called (1) gamma sterilization which uses radiation to perform cold sterilization and (2) dry heat sterilization. Why this paper is interesting is that all of us have access to dry heat using a convection drying oven.
The scientists performed several types of tests looking at the efficiency of gamma radiation versus dry heat. They discovered that gamma radiation inactivated 100% of the test organisms, including fungi and gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria but what about the efficacy of dry heat? The scientists looked at three temperatures: 100, 150, and 200 degrees Celsius for 15, 30 or 60 minutes. They also looked at the impact of two different sterilization techniques on the structural integrity of the paper using scanning electron microscopy. When we focus only on fungi, (because bacteria are easier to kill) it was shown that a conservative temperature of 100 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes achieved a 97.1% inactivation. This also had the lowest comparative impact on the paper structure.
Obviously, other methods of water damage restoration indoors such as increasing ventilation to provide additional air circulation or the use of a dehumidifier are also valuable methods of dealing with water damage.
The take-home message from this paper is that a convection oven can effectively disinfect and nearly sterilize water-damaged papers using a conservative time and temperature of 100 degrees Celcius for 15minutes.
I hope this information helps any persons dealing with mould contamination of paper documents.
Alshammari, F.H., Hussein, HA.A. Sterilization of paper during crisis. AMB Expr 12, 13 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13568-022-01345-6
One Family's Experience With Building Related Illness
Many people ask me the question: can you really get sick from spending time inside a water-damaged property? Or another related question: Does mould really make people sick? Sometimes I even get questions along the lines of: I can understand why people might not like the smell of mould or even its visual presence, but surely, a little bit of mould can't hurt you?
If you've ever been part of these conversations, and want definitive proof that mould can in fact, cause serious problems for occupants then this live stream and podcast is for you. A paper came out at the end of 2021 in the Journal of Hygiene and Infection Control, discussing the situation for a family of five, who developed severe health problems after spending six years inside a water damaged home. Your first reaction might be: why did they stay six years? For many people, this is unavoidable and for this family, it was because it was a new home construction. They battled on trying the get the builder to fix the problems. This case study deep dives into something called building-related illness and explores its relationship with sick building syndrome.
The paper is important because it includes an evaluation of the home from an Occupational Hygiene viewpoint as well as the Environmental Medicine perspective. This case study highlights many of the building-specific factors that contributed to water damage and mould as well as the complaint pattern and medical symptoms that were experienced by the children, the mother and the father.
The outcome of this case study revealed that until the family changed their place of residence unwanted health complaints persisted. But once they left the father's health symptoms improved after two weeks. The three children took six months to recover and the mother's symptoms went away after 18 months.
This paper highlights that long term exposure to mould was the cause of building-related illness. Use this paper to support your position especially if you're ever needing to prove the health hazards from mould inside buildings
Kramer A, Wichelhaus TA, Kempf V, Hogardt M, Zacharowski K. Building-related illness (BRI) in all family members caused by mold infestation after dampness damage of the building. GMS Hyg Infect Control. 2021 Dec 7;16:Doc32. doi: 10.3205/dgkh000403. PMID: 34956824; PMCID: PMC8662741.
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/
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!