Mold has a primary role in our environment, and its job is to break down and recycle organic matter. This is how fallen trees and other organic matter get reabsorbed into the environment.

All of the plants, flowers, and trees have an immune system that allows them to resist or repel mold until they die, or they lose the requirements to maintain their health and immune system.

We as humans are also organic matter, and we have the same abilities to fight off mold and fungus if the conditions are right. We maintain the requirements in our diet and lives to bolster our immune system and ward off the advancement of mold in our communities and lives.

When discussing mold with my patients, I often refer to this as a war.  The enemy is always waiting for an opportunity to attack when the conditions are right. The famous proverb, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend," is essential to help us overcome the advancement of mold in our homes and workplace. Mold requires three things to thrive–water, darkness, and organic matter to feed on. So, its enemies who are my friends are going to be a dry environment, light, specifically sunlight, and lack of access to organic matter.

It doesn't matter where you are in the world; if a mold spore has the opportunity to grow, it will.  It needs three elements to flourish. When these are prevalent, mold will start to grow and keep growing; it is an advanced outpost to continue bombarding you with toxins and spores. You could be exposed to a penthouse on 5th avenue or the back alleys in a city to all corners of this country. The drier climates in our country limit the amount of mold growth, but I have found it to be very prevalent in many of my patients from these regions. The war with mold will be an ongoing event as long as we need water, and there are dark places for it to hide.

So how did we get to where we are today with headlines on news channels discussing university dorms and hospital wings being shut down due to mold infestation causing sickness in students and hospital staff? While researching these water-damaged buildings (WDB), I learned about Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) and Sick Home Syndrome (SHS), not from health and medical journals but from architectural journals. These architects were discussing how we need to change our building methods and materials to limit these buildings and homes from becoming overtaken with mold. Your likelihood of getting sick from mold depends on several things first the amount of exposure at one time, or over a long period, it is wearing you down. Second, it depends on your constitution and the ability to fight off infections. Your constitution can diminish due to stress, poor diet, other diseases, and many more things we will discuss further.

So how did these issues get so bad in our modern world? With all the advancements we have in our technology and society? After reading these architectural journals and seeing what they described as a leading cause and how it wasn't as present as it was before or in other countries utilizing other forms of building materials. Drywall, also known as sheetrock, was invented in 1916 and was considered by many to be substandard and wasn't readily accepted most people preferred the lathe and plaster walls. These walls could still have issues with mold, but they would have to be saturated with water significantly for long periods. In Europe, the wood and stone walls have stood the test of time and offer lasting solutions; however, it was costly to build in that manner.

beautiful view interior old abandoned building

After WWII, the soldiers returning home were getting married and needing homes to start their families. With this boom in the housing market and requiring to provide relatively cost-effective homes, the builders were starting to use sheetrock as a replacement, and it was not only cheaper but much more efficient in building houses quicker. The old joke about drywall is as long as it stays dry, you have a wall. By the 1970s, drywall had become the industry standard for building residential and commercial spaces. The rough paper surface hidden inside the walls is the perfect breeding ground for mold, unlike the wooden boards found in the lathe. Mold growth is like starting a fire. If I hold a match to a stick, it probably won't start a fire. With the right kindling, you can set a tree on fire. This rough paper is the perfect kindling for mold to set up a hidden location in your home to attack you without your even knowing you are in a war.

Another advancement in our technologies that may be helping mold thrive is how well we can seal our homes today for the efficiency of heating and air conditioning. The downside to this is that our homes and buildings don't breathe in the fresh air and dry out, decreasing mold growth.

For the last 100 years, sheetrock's material used in construction has become prevalent; during the previous 60 years, it has been the go-to building source in the US. How many homes have mold spores and toxins in them right now? I jokingly refer to mold spores as the Everlasting Gobstoppers from Willy Wonka as they seem to last forever. An example of this is when scientists found and activated mold spores from fossils 1000s of years old. A point of perspective that the spore in our homes will outlast us. Over the years, how many spores have been tracked in your home by friends, family, and pets. They are left to wait for the opportunity to attack. How many people are bringing their spores to work with them on their clothes and shoes? What if it is you, who is this source of contamination? Many of you don't think mold is even in your house because you have no black spots on walls or ceilings, and your basement doesn't smell musty.

Sometimes mold is closer than you think it. Mold commonly is found in the fancy sippy cups that kids are drinking out of and causing a lot of health issues. Mold is also being found even in adult sippy cups such as the stainless-steel tumblers that have become increasingly popular over the last few years. While they are being washed thoroughly in dishwashers, the hidden health assassins are hiding under the rubber rings on the lids, pull off the rings and look at the cap to see if any mold was present, then pull the rubber ring through a paper towel to see if it was attached to the seal. If you have any of these sippy cups–kid or adult version–please pull off these rings when you wash them and be diligent.

Exposure to mycotoxins and spores end up accumulating on your clothes, and these spores end up in your washing machine in a perfect environment for growth in a dark wet place. Top-load washers are not as prevalent to allow growth as front loaders are.  The front-loading washing machines enable moisture to build up un the door seal baffling.  Combined with the cool darkness, it has plenty of time to grow between washes. Now, all future washes will be spreading the mold spores into your clothing and allowing you to be the carrier of these spores to other environments.

An experiment in Switzerland using a faraday cage (used to block all radio and electromagnetic waves) over a culture of mold to measure its natural development and growth in a contained environment. The mold was checked daily and measured, and levels of mycotoxins were produced daily. Then they removed the cage, and all of the previously blocked electromagnetic fields and radiation were now allowed to contaminate these cultures. Amazingly, the mold increased its biotoxin production by an increase of 60,000%. The mold, which was trying to protect itself from this environment, not only increased biotoxins, but these toxins were much more virulent, viscous, and much more poisonous.

We know that in the last 20 years, the measured density of electromagnetic field exposure has significantly increased. If you measured the amount of cell phone radiation in a cubic inch of air, it is now several million times higher than it was just ten years ago. Here are some numbers to put things into perspective: as of 2015, there were 308,000 wireless antennas on cell towers and buildings. That's double the 2002 number. 5G would require exponentially more towers, smaller ones, placed much closer together. Each emitting burst of radiofrequency radiation (RFR)–granted, at levels much lower than that of today's 4G cell towers–will be much harder to avoid because these towers will be ubiquitous. If we could see the RFR, it would look like a Los Angeles smog that's everywhere, all the time. If we could see the RFR, it would look like a Los Angeles smog that's everywhere, all the time.

Mold has had decades to infiltrate our communities, public buildings, churches our homes, and now we are seeing how the RFR and EMF are causing them to become more dangerous as they adapt to their environment. Scientists have long assumed that fungi and mold exist mainly to decompose matter into chemicals that other organisms can then use. Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have found evidence that fungi possess a previously undiscovered talent with profound implications. Types of mold use radioactivity as an energy source for making food and spurring their growth. This understanding helped me see why my patients who have exposure to radon (a radioactive gas that comes from the breakdown of uranium) have such an issue with mold. I recommended many of my patients with chronic mold issues have their homes tested for radon. They are often surprised that it shows up positive and is a provocative agent to mold.

All of the factors have led mold to be a significant contender for the underlying cause of so many of today's chronic sicknesses. Unfortunately, the progress of technology and all the wonders that it offers are unlikely to go away, and mold will continue to be a problem for our society and general wellness.

brunette sneezing into tissue

Mold Uses a Three-Pronged Attack

First, it can lead to an allergic mechanism that comes from the inhalation of mold spores. Leading to a-topic asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA), and allergic fungal sinusitis. 5% of individuals will have an allergic reaction to mold.

Second, toxicities are based on the level of exposure; constant exposure to a toxic source will increase the likelihood of toxicity and poisoning from mold.

Third is infections; they are usually seen on the skin or affect the lungs and can become systemic. Diseases that affect the central nervous system, bones, joints, or lymph nodes are usually less frequent. Those who are immunocompromised are more likely to see abscesses or disease in any organ as an opportunistic infection.

Mold is also a great pretender overlooked in a society where health care focused on symptomology and not the underlying functional cause of the disease has led to an epidemic of ongoing chronic sickness and disease. Many of these go undiagnosed and allowing the mold infestations to be overlooked and lead to more and more people being exposed to the mold toxins.

When mold is present it can appear to look like many other usual suspects:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Allergy
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Somatization
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • And many more
worker plastering gypsum board wall

By now, you are wondering how you protect yourself. Water is always an issue when fighting mold, and it is just as crucial with humidity. Keep your humidity levels low, especially under 50%. Dehumidifiers and air conditioners help remove water from the air depriving mold of this vital resource. This concept is especially crucial during the humid and rainy seasons, depending on the region of the country you inhabit. Areas in the home with a higher incidence of moisture in the kitchen and bathrooms make sure to keep these adequately ventilated with exhaust fans. Certain paints can have mold inhibitors added that could be used in these areas for added shielding from moisture if you need to replace drywall, I recommend that you pre-paint the drywall on both sides to seal the paper from mold before having it hung. Use mold-killing cleaners to stop the spread in bathrooms. Bathrooms are not the right place for carpet due to the level of moisture that can accumulate. From steam and water dripping off your body when stepping out of the shower. If there is flooding or any form of water damage, you must remove and replace all carpets and padding immediately and call in reinforcements in the way of a disaster relief team.

How to Fight and Win the War

While remediation and removal of toxic mold can be quite costly and frustrating, it is nothing compared to the cost of what it can do to you mentally, emotionally, and financially robbing your future. Removing mold from your life entirely and is a bit more complicated than remediating your home. If you are either suffering from mold allergies, toxicities, or infections and are frustrated with your lack of progress, you need a doctor that understands that you are at war and who you are fighting. Through laboratory tests and SRT (Somatic Resonance Testing), I can work with your body to help you overcome these underlying infections.

Dr. Kison Frank, DC