I have never been exposed to cross contamination from mold, that I’m aware of, but apparently, environmental toxins can come into your home through unexpected ways. Yesterday, the doorbell rang and there was a knock at the door. Just like other on-line order shipments, two packages were dropped off and left on my front porch. Due to the following unfortunate mold situation of cross contamination from mold, I will not be revealing the shipping companies nor the type product I ordered.
One box was small, light and square shaped, the other was much larger rectangular box and significantly heavier. I noticed that the larger box was a little battered looking, as I assumed it would have encountered damage from being tossed around from shipping houses and transports to delivery vehicles… It was getting colder, so I quickly pulled the boxes inside the entry and closed the door. This crazy Texas weather in January, it was 80 degrees yesterday. Today? …I think it’s almost 34.
“No wonder almost everyone I know is sick,” I thought while reaching for my knife to cut open the packing tape.
Opening the larger package first, I confirmed my excited suspicions of its contents. As soon as I opened the first side of the box, a familiar smell became very prevalent. It reminded me of my grandmother’s barn in the late spring. I knew that smell, it was mold. Earthy, the kind that tickles your nose and back of the throat. I immediately closed the box, losing the desire to further my inspection of the delivery and tried to regain my senses. I noticed the onset of an instant pressure headache from temple to temple across my forehead. “Now what?” I asked myself.
Timidly, I reached for the smaller box, afraid of the same outcome. Questions were racing through my pounding head… “where did these packages really come from?” I thought. Thank God, the contents of the box was how I expected it.
I decided to set the larger, contaminated package on the back porch and try to contact someone knowledgeable in mold and figure out what to do.
I sat down at my computer to pull up the confirmation emails from the shipping company. Knowing very little about mold, I knew enough to know that it could make someone sick, but I had never experienced immediate symptoms like this! My throat had started burning and I could feel drainage down the back of my throat now.
Deciding to research it a little more before I called in my complaint, I called a local expert on the subject. Apparently in Texas, you have Licensed Mold Assessment Consultants (MAC) which oversee the work of the Mold Remediation Contractors (MRC).
I found out these important points about environmental toxins, mold, microbial or fungal growth that I think are extremely helpful to share. You can also find them on www.IAQRx.com
- Mold is everywhere, comes in all kids of colors and aids in the decomposition process of organic matter.
- There are 2 main categories of mold.
- All mold is allergenic and can cause basic allergic reactions.
- Only certain types of molds are actually considered toxic, because of their ability to create a tiny, extremely toxic, chemical in order to survive. Mycotoxin chemicals are extremely dangerous and can cause far worse health symptoms and conditions in animals and people. (including my immediate symptoms) Cross contamination from mold can also occur.
- Just because a mold can produce toxins, it doesn’t mean it is… Ohh, and there is separate testing for mycotoxins – in the home and in the person.
- The more toxic types of mold are more common where you have water damaged building materials.
- That mold can start growing in as little as 24-48 hours and with moisture of as little as 65% relative humidity.
- Mold spores can easily get airborne and can contaminate the HVAC system and the rest of your space, including your contents.
- Environmental doctors can help diagnose mold in the body and help you detox.
- Only someone licensed can test and confirm the presence of mold. No one else can call it mold or say it’s not.
- And ANY licensed remediation company must have a protocol from a MAC in order to remediate mold inside of a home, so call the licensed Assessor first.
- The MAC confirms and certifies the work of the remediators.
The company I called is FixAIRx, (pronounced “Fix-Air”) and they ended up being more than just a mold assessment company. They investigate and assess every aspect of indoor air quality and what makes people sick in their home. Their assessors were empathetic and incredibly knowledgeable about cross contamination from mold, chemical VOC’s and other contaminates. The education I gleamed far surpassed my expectation of how to properly handle my simple situation and gave me the confidence to handle or avoid much more complex and expensive problems in the future.
Since the call, I have started to think of my environment a little differently, with a new perspective. I thought about the friends I know, how everyone is sick and blames it on the flu or the weather… “Is it possible that our environments could actually be making us sick?” I thought. I guess it’s a larger possibility than I thought! I now plan on paying attention more to my environment and share this important message.
Through this unfortunate shipping experience, I found inspiration. It led me to find some amazing people who have created an organization with their knowledge and passion for helping their community. I feel the ladies at FixAIRx are pioneers in the indoor air quality field, especially in relation to mycotoxins. I admire and wish to help promote their mission, to share what they have learned about the different environmental toxins and collect case study data to aid ongoing medical research relating to the health repercussions from mold exposure in water damaged buildings.
I highly recommend you call them like I did if you have any questions about mold or air quality problems.
-by Heather L.