A Comprehensive look at Mold
What is mold? Mold is natures recycler, it is a decomposition machine, it is an army that stakes its territory on it's host,
and will use it's own form of chemical warfare against neighboring molds. This happens in the woods on dead tree branches, it can also
happen inside your lungs and body.
When we talk about mold we encountered in our home to people, more often than not people get a disgusted look or shrug their
shoulders like we keep a dirty house, or everyone has mold, so what is the problem. The problem is, and I hope these people learn this before
they have a problem themselves, our house is clean, and mold does not always grow on the visible surface of a wall. Our mold encounter was very
discreet, it was not visible until it had already reached a toxic level. Mold was growing between the siding on the house and the interior
drywall. It's mycotoxins and spores were passing through the breathing space and into our living quarters, silent, invisible, and deadly. When
our family experienced the flu, ear infections, and fevers for 2 months without signs of recovery, we knew there had to be a problem deeper than
the typical winter flu season.
Some of the most common household molds are Stachybotris and Aspergillus, although there are many more, these two alone are a
couple of the worst molds you can experience. Stachybotris is capable of producing over 200 of the deadliest mycotoxins known to man, and there
are no known antidotes. Molds are most commonly referred to by doctors as causing allergy type symptoms, but don't be fooled, mold can and has
been tied to lupus, MS, brain damage, neurological damage, cancer, blindness, and many, many other problems. Molds have grown into a dangerous
problem for modern man in American over the past two decades, although most people are still unaware of it, and is probably greatly due to our
housing improvements. Centralized heating and airconditioning, thermal windows, Tyvec wrapping, all things designed to keep the hot & cold
out, while trapping the moisture and indoor air in. Little mention is given to mold in the news, probably due to insurance issues that have
risen, or a host of other diplomatic nuances, very few people know that the governors mansion in Louisiana is undergoing a $500,000 mold
remediation process while the Governor is living off site, and this is just one of hundreds, if not thousands of mold remediation processes going
on in houses and buildings across this country right now. A friend of ours had a water leak while they were gone on vacation, it made the woman
of the house deathly ill, and her house was uninhabitable for 6 months while a $70,000 remediation was done on their home. So, when we talk of
mold on these following pages, please take it seriously, take it to heart, we don't play with molds. Learn from hearing before you learn from
experience. Mold you see is a Biochemical weapons laboratory whose design is to decompose biological matter, including your body.
Gourd Growing, curing, and cleaning can be safe and fun however some precautions should be taken. In this section, we hope to
provide information on Molds and safety precautions everyone should use in working with gourds.
Molds play a crucial role in the environment in breaking down and decomposition of organic matter. Mold is basically
everywhere, in the air, in the garden soil, and yes, even in your home. Mold becomes a problem in humid and damp conditions provide a growing
medium for the molds.
While this is a gourd crafters website, gourds and mold go together. The greatest wealth of information on Molds in generally
related to sick building syndrome, or mold in housing and work places, for this reason and the fact that mold was found in our own home and needs
to be delt with, a large portion of this section of our site will deal with mold as it relates to homes. Mold is mold, and its growth, handling,
and problems are the same whether it is in the home or on your gourds. There is also the danger of cross contamination with mold, if you are in
the habit of bringing several dry moldy gourds into your home on a regular basis to clean them, you are releasing possibly millions of spores
into your home each time. Over a period of a few years, even if you don't have mold growing, you could develop a "sick building" environment due
to careless handling of gourds. Our intention here is to give gourd crafters enough information about molds to understand the way they live and
work, so you can handle the mold on your gourds with an understanding, and thereby know a better way to help prevent issues later, in both your
home, and your health.
According to the CDC: Molds themselves are not dangerous, and are not considered toxic by the CDC in that the mold itself
is not what you need to be concerned with. In fact the antibiotic penicillin is derived from the mold fungus penicillium, which is also the
source of those blue streaks in Roquefort cheese. (The scientific name is penicillium roque fordi). It is the Mold Spores, (but not all mold
spores) that are toxigenic, this means they in themselves are not toxic, but when conditions are right they can produce toxins. Most molds cause
an allergenic reaction similar to hay fever, but some can cause more serious problems.
Rebuttal: (Be sure to visit our dichotomy
page) Ever eat a poisonous mushroom? The name of the game is food for that mushroom because in nature the animal which nibbles on
them dies and is consumed by the mycelium (root-like) under the ground which grow up into the hapless and now dead creature.
(Healing cancer naturally fungalbionics) Over exposure to
mold spores can be very harmful, and there is evidence that they can even be fatal. The spores can be release by a simple breeze, stirring it up,
or by natural means. Considering the dangers involved in the toxins produced by mold spores, this by association makes mold dangerous. it is my
honest opinion that the CDC saying molds themselves are not harmful is just a way of understating the dangers and brushing it under a carpet,
(which molds like by the way).
While we are not experts in the field of molds, there is much that can be learned about them, and much that isn't known about
specific molds due to a lack of research, however we hope to shed a little light on the topic on how to handle molds, how to help prevent mold
growth, and how to make your gourd crafting a little safer. Doctors are apparently not experts in the fields of molds either. Most of the medical
profession do not know how to treat mold exposure, many times steroids or antibiotics are given, and in many cases these only seem to feed the
problem, as if throwing fuel on a fire.
Much of what we have learned about molds came from our own local health department Mold Specialist, who came out to inspect
our house and tell us what we needed to do to get rid of the mold, what to be aware of, and how to prevent it's growth. We have also had mold
experience and did much research a few years ago when our daughter suffered from Histoplasmosis which broke out at our local high school when a
landscaping project in the school courtyard unexpectedly stirred up the mold Histplama Capsulatum and spores entered the school through the
ventilation system. Histoplasmosis occurs naturally in the dirt, and feeds on the waste of blackbirds like Starlings, and can not only cause a
host of problems from hay fever symptoms to rashes, varying degrees of flu-like symptoms, and can cause problems later in life like Ocular histo,
(blindness cause by exposure years earlier), and other major problems.
In essence, molds are common and normal in the world and are a part of normal everyday life, however in environments that
spark run away growth of molds, and exposure to concentrated levels of mold spores can become a serious health issue.
This should not stop anyone from enjoying the wonderful world of gourd crafting, but it should be taken seriously and
preventative measures should always be adhered to. If you cut one gourd open that has too much mold can cause problems, and no one is really sure
just how long those problems can be or how serious they could become.
The CDC states that there is no proof that Stachybotrys causes acute idiopathic pulmonary
hemorrhage among infants, however once again, there is no proof it doesn't. In one instance where many children developed this problem a few
years ago, Stachybotrys was found in every instance. The problem is, there just isn't a lot of research that has been done to prove or disprove
the effects molds can have on humans, so be prudent and play it safe.
We will make our best efforts to add to this portion of our web site at least every few days until we are satisfied that we
have covered the topic well, so check back often.
- Dan & Carmella Dunkin