A Comprehensive look at mold for Gourd Crafter's
What is mold? Can you say, "ANTHRAX"?
Remember the attacks on our Post Offices that killed several people
and made many more sick? Remember the expensive shutdown/cleanup
process these offices had to go through? Remember how this much
destruction came in a small envelope? Anthrax used in the Post Offices
was simply spores produced by the Anthrax mold, but is it the deadliest
mold? No, the reason Anthrax was used is because it produces spores
that properly developed are smaller than the spores produced by
most molds, and can be refined to a size so small, it will remain
afloat in the air for extended periods of time, making it a viable
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.
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.
cancer naturally fungalbionics) Over exposure to mold spores
can be very harmful, and there is evidence that they can even be
fatal. Anthrax is a mold spore. 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
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
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