mold illness

are you genetically susceptible to mold illness?

Focus On: Mold IllnessMold related sickness is making headlines more frequently today than ever before. From the nightmare of Hurricane Katrina, which left many of the affected homes in New Orleans mold-infested and uninhabitable, to Hollywood stars like Bianca Jagger and Ed McMahon losing their homes and health, awareness that mold can make you sick is increasing.

In order to grow, mold requires food (cellulose), moisture, and darkness (protection) and it finds all three in modern home construction. It thrives on the wood and paper products we build our houses with. Hidden leaks in dark places (under the sink, in the roof structure) create breeding grounds for mold which can go undetected for years. Today’s construction practices (ie, making homes as airtight as possible) have made indoor mold infestation a problem not only in humid environments where one would expect it, but in dry climates as well.

Mold sensitivity in humans may be due to an immune-mediated allergic reaction, but there may also be a genetic component that leaves a certain percentage of our population unable to pull mold toxins from the bloodstream out of their body. So the mold neurotoxins recirculate throughout the body over and over, causing neurological and other types of damage.

The physician at the forefront of the field of genetically susceptible mold illness is Ritchie J. Shoemaker, MD in Pocomoke, Maryland. He has devised a simple test that can be taken online called the Visual Contrast Sensitivity (VCS) test, for diagnosing damage from neurotoxins like mold. He has also mapped out the biotoxin pathway, with appropriate testing for each step along the way, to help diagnose and treat those suffering with mold illness. A key player in his arsenal against mold illness is cholestyramine, a cholesterol-lowering pharmaceutical which is not absorbed in the intestines and instead pulls toxins out of the body. A must-read for those who think they are suffering from toxic mold exposure is his book Mold Warriors, which outlines this groundbreaking approach.

As a physician, Shoemaker is unique in that he is able to grasp the connection between environmental destruction at the hands of humans and emerging neurotoxin-mediated illnesses that so many of his colleagues fail to (or refuse to) see. In his article “Fibromyalgia: The Anatomy of a Phantom Illness,” he writes:

What would happen if a group of disease-producers went through genetic changes because of a pollution-altered environment . . . and then manufactured chemically altered toxins that the body couldn’t eliminate?

According to the latest scientific research, many of today’s toxin-formers have never been observed in such numbers before.

These new toxin-producers include the following:

  • dinoflagellates, such as Pfiesteria, ciguatera and chattonella;
  • fungi, including stachybotrys and fusarium;
  • bacteria, such as pseudomonas fluorescens;
  • spirochetes, including Lyme disease-causing borrelia;
  • blue-green algae, such as rapidly reproducing microcystis and cylindrospermopsis.

These toxin-spawning pathogens are now causing chronic illness in an ever-growing population of sick patients. Armed with a large arsenal of disease-triggering poisons, the “toxin diseases” are all around us. Today they can be found in estuaries, oceans, rivers, closed-circulation buildings, chemically treated farmlands—and in millions of American backyards, where insecticide-sprays often trigger the growth of mutant fungi or bacteria…

…The bottom line here is simply that the ever-increasing use of chemicals in our contemporary lifestyle—along with changes in our physical landscape—has helped to create new “habitats” for toxin-linked microorganisms.”

Shoemaker’s theory gives new hope to millions around the world suffering from a vague but debilitating combination of symptoms. Planet Thrive offers a collection of top resources to help you reduce the risk of mold growth in your home, to recognize and avoid ongoing mold exposure, and to treat mold-related illness. Please explore the links and recommended resources below for a start.

photo: Hurricane Katrina Aftermath © Creative Commons

latest mold news | mold websites | support groups | treatment protocols | Ask Dr. William J. Rea | biotoxin illness forum | diet and nutrition | mercury poisoning | yeast killers, enzymes, probiotics | herbs | disability benefits | legal services | mold books | candida books | non-toxic home books | politics of healing books

Sinusitis WellnessRitchie J. Shoemaker, MD's ChronicNeurotoxins.comRitchie J. Shoemaker, MD's Surviving Mold

Ritchie J. Shoemaker, MD's Biotoxin IllnessWilliam J. Rea, MD's Environmental Health Center-Dallas (EHC-D)

Indoor Mold Articles by James L. Schaller, MDThe Center for School Mold HelpYahoo Support Group: SickBuildings

Mold Warriors by Ritchie J. Shoemaker, MDDesperation Medicine by Ritchie J. Shoemaker, M.D.Molds and Mycotoxins: Papers from an International Symposium, edited by Kaye H. Kilburn, M.D.

Black Mold Exposure MovieBlack Mold Exposure Movie interview

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posted on June 8, 2009 |


  • Ben

    February 27, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    Thanks for the great article about mold. I grew up in an old, drafty house and never really thought about mold too much. When I met my wife, I didn’t totally understand how sensitive to mold she and her mother are. As the years have gone by, I’ve come to appreciate her sensitivity.

    Our current home is much more conducive to mold unfortunately. We’ve both suffered from shortness of breath and are pretty sure it’s mold induced. Of course we clean it whenever we see it, but who knows what we’re missing.

    Thanks again for the links above. You’ve got a good website here.

    Thanks for the resources!

  • daliya robson

    September 14, 2011 at 11:00 am

    I discovered that photocatytic spray and a uv light can erradicate mold in a basement or on a wall or in closets till one can remediate permanently. Air purifers with carbon and hepa and uv also do the trick at least till you fix the source of the mold. if you want an explanation.

  • John Klingbeil

    January 16, 2017 at 3:05 am

    Thanks for sharing this informative article about mold illness. Black molds are very easily spread to various places. Blackish, brownish or green colored patches indicate black mold growth has begun. Mold becomes a big health problem when we fail to give it proper attention, therefore it is good to take proper step to get rid of the mold. There are various mold removal experts available, who inspect your home completely. For more information you can also visit over the web.

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