Skin rash associated with building-related illness, possibly mold exposure (C) InspectAPediaDo I Need to See a Mold Doctor?

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Do I Need a Mold Doctor?

This article discusses the decision to consult a physician who has expertise in mold and mold related illness. We suggest a few questions to ask your doctor about the possibility of building-related illness, we include a list of physicians with expertise in mold and environmental medicine, and we provide a article series that can help you assess the risk of mold related illness in a building.

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Do I Need to see a Mold Doctor?

Stachybotrys spores (left) and structure (right)Mold "mildew," moisture, in your house or office, building-related illness, involves your physician, medical treatment, sick building investigators, possibly professional cleaning companies, steps to reduce the future creation of mold or other indoor irritants, and possibly the special products to help clean buildings and air.

Bottom line: start by discussing your health and environmental concerns with your personal physician.

Quoting from the Center for Environmental Medicine (Portland OR) - The decision you and your doctor make about your treatment will grow out of the careful assessment of your particular needs, adequate laboratory testing, frank discussions, and your expectations. You will need to consider your responsibilities and commitment as well as the benefits you will achieve. The content found on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure. It does not provide or constitute professional advice or consultation.

When should you consult with physicians and knowledgeable indoor environment experts? If you suspect that your building is making you sick, particularly if you are someone at extra risk, such as asthmatic, allergic to mold, undergoing cancer treatment, immuno-suppressed, immunocompromised, immune impaired, elderly, or infant, it is certainly smart to consult with a physician who is experienced in mold related illness or an expert in environmental medicine.

We have encountered clients living in very moldy, high-risk environments who suffer respiratory or other illnesses, and who, on consult with their physician, were given palliative care but for whom the question of an environmental contributor to their complaint was never raised. Remember to ask your doctor, allergist, pulmonologist, or G.P. if s/he thinks that your living or work environment could be a cause or contributor to your complaints.

A simple clue that suggests that one may be suffering from building related illness is the abatement of symptoms when the person with the complaint spends time out of the building. However the converse - when symptoms do not abate - does not rule out a building as a contributor to the complaints.

Some mold-related illness symptoms are slow to diminish, and more than one building can contribute to complaints. Proving with scientific accuracy that a substance in a building has actually caused or aggravated a specific illness is a difficult and costly procedure.

A common approach taken by building diagnosticians who are considering whether or not mold in a building is (or could be) making someone sick is simply to look for substances which are believed likely to cause or aggravate illnesses and complaints. If such materials are present at significant levels they should be removed.

Some People Should Stay Away From Even Small Mold Cleanup Operations

Moldy ceiling (C) Daniel FriedmanIf you are sick, asthmatic, immune-impaired, suffer from COPD or other respiratory illness, before attempting any mold cleanup yourself you should see your family doctor, allergist, pulmonologist, medical toxicologist, or other appropriate specialist to discuss the chances that the environment might cause or contribute to or aggravate your illness. If you suspect that your illness is caused by or aggravated by conditions in your building you should discuss that with your physician.

Our field investigation photo (left) shows multiple genera/species of more than "cosmetic" mold that was found throughout a large basement ceiling. Unlike the mold case depicted in our page top photo, this area and possibly this entire home are likely to be a health hazard to almost anyone.

And if you are yourself or if people with these characteristics are present: elderly, immune impaired, infant, asthmatic, suffer from COPD or other respiratory or immune disorders or any illness that could be aggravated by exposure to respiratory irritants, VOC's, allergens, mycotoxins, etc., you should be wary of allowing any handling moldy or dusty materials without first checking with your doctor. Medical relocation of certain high-risk building occupants may be needed before moldy materials are disturbed.

MOLD / ENVIRONMENTAL EXPERT, HIRE ? contains more discussion of evaluating mold risk in buildings for sensitive individuals or people at extra risk of mold related illness.

Mold Sickness References - mold related illness articles you'll want to review

  • ACCEPTABLE MOLD LEVEL - given that a target of "zero mold indoors" is nonsensical, just how much indoor mold should we accept?
  • MOLD APPEARANCE - WHAT MOLD LOOKS LIKE and MOLD APPEARANCE - STUFF THAT IS NOT MOLD - how to recognize mold and how to avoid wasting money testing or cleaning up stuff that is not mold; what does cosmetic mold look like and can we reliably identify it without testing?
  • Mold Atlas of Common Indoor Clinical Mold, Pathogens, Allergens, & Other Particles - Medical Health Effects of Mold: Allergenicity, Toxicity, Pathogenicity, Other
  • MOLD / ENVIRONMENTAL EXPERT, HIRE ? - how to decide when the mold risk in a building justifies bringing in an expert to inspect, test for mold, write a mold remediation plan, or perform a post-cleanup mold clearance inspection and test.
  • MOLD EXPOSURE, FOOD HAZARDS - a history of foodborne mold related illness, definitions of mycotoxins, aflatoxins, etc., moldy food advice
  • MOLD EXPOSURE STANDARDS - world standards for mold exposure levels - and discussion of the difficulty of quantitative mold standards
  • MOLD RELATED ILLNESS GUIDE - Mold-Related Illness: sickness and health risks or complaints caused, or suspected to be caused or aggravated by indoor airborne mold, by physical contact, or other means of mold exposure
  • MOLD RELATED ILLNESS SYMPTOMS - a long list of all of the known, suspected, or simply documented health complaints voiced by people who have been or are suspected to have been exposed to problematic mold
  • MOLD ODORS, MUSTY SMELLS - if you smell mold, there's mold
  • MOLD PREVENTION GUIDE - how to prevent mold growth or re-growth in a building
  • World Health Organization Mold Bulletin - an excellent description of causes of mold related illness
  • Guidance for Clinicians on the Recognition and Management of Health Effects Related to Mold Exposure and Moisture Indoors, [on file as /mold/Mold_Guide_UConn.pdf] - Eileen Storey, MD MPH, Kenneth H. Dangman, MD PhD MPH, Paula Schenck MPH, Robert L DeBernardo MD MPH, Chin S Yang PhD, Anne Bracker CIH MPH, Michael J Hodgson MD MPH, University of Connecticut Health Center, Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Center for Indoor Environments and Health, 266 Farmington Ave., Farmington CT 06030-6210, 30 September 2004. [We have edited this file to remove blank pages in order to speed its load-time and to add a link back to this website.] This document was designed to help the healthcare provider address patients with illnesses related to mold in the indoor environment by providing background understanding of how mold may be affecting patients. The guidance was published in 2004, with support from a grant by the U.S. EPA, by the Center for Indoor Environments and Health, or CIEH at the University of Connecticut Health Center. " -- original source: (1.13MB PDF file, slow load


Continue reading at MOLD DOCTORS - ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE - directory, or select a topic from the More Reading links or topic ARTICLE INDEX shown below.

Or see MOLD / ENVIRONMENTAL EXPERT, HIRE ? - when to hire a mold investigator or mold test consultant

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MOLD DOCTOR NEEDED ? at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

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