Mold, the Buzz word of the 21st century. It is so common, and mold related, sick building related issues seem to be more and
more a common occurance these days, yet it seems to be the realtively new kid on the block. That being the case, it also seems to be the most
under studied, under researched, and under estimated of health issues out there today.
The medical profession as a whole does not look at mold as being a hazardous or life threatening issue, but for the most part mold related
illnesses they see either go entirely undetected and are seen as bacterial infection or viral issues, as of yet, mold has not been, and is not
seen as a major issue. However in todays indoor environment, older buildings developing leaks, careless construction corner cutting, and lack of
general public knowledge has left mold out of the equation. As a result, multiple people are being diagnosed with MS or cystic fibrosis when in
many cases these are the result of exposure to massive doses of Mold spores.
If you feel you have been exposed to an abnormal level of mold, you should get a second opinion preferably from an occupational health or
environmental health physician. Let them know where & how you think you may have been over exposed. There is a whole array of testing that is
entirely different from standard type testing, which is absolutely required in order to diagnose mold exposure and mycotoxins.
Gourd crafters do not need to be afraid of mold on your gourds, what you do need to do is handle your gourds with common sense and care.
Always wear a mask, gloves, and goggles when cleaning the mold off your gourds, and always wrap the gourd with at least a wet towel and gently
saturate the mold on the surface before handling the gourd and cleaning it. With common sense you should be able to enjoy gourding for a long
time without adverse effects from mold.
When cutting and sanding your gourds, always wear your NIOSH N95 mask, and always have ventilation or an exhaust hood or fan nearby, (and
running of course). When wood burning your gourds, make sure you have adequate ventilation also, burning gourds put off fumes that can also be
dangerous, although I don't believe there have been any studies done on the hazards of gourd pyrography, don't take the chance. When you can't
breathe, it is too late. (what would that illness bee called? Gourdopyrocosis?).
Those who have mold in your homes or work place cannot as easily take precautions. You can't just take a wall outside and soak it down with an
antifungal agent. You can't wash it clean in a bucket, sick building syndrome is not a fun thing, and remediation can be very costly, and in some
cases total destruction of the building may be necessary.
Lack of awareness of this issue has caused insurance companies billions of dollars because mold got out of hand and by the time it was
discovered massive damage has been done, and all too often numerous people have suffered serious illness. Many people have been tested with
problems, and no apparent cause is ever found, many times they are told it is physcosematic, or all in their heads, when in reality they are
Our economy and our insurance and business health would be much better if those who are trying to hold on to their money would expend it in
public awareness and change in construction proceedures and early detection programs. In my honest opinion, the mold issue has some people acting
like the monkey with his hand caught in the cookie jar because he won't let go of a cookie now.
For those who think molds are just another allergan, remember the Anthrax attacks. People died, yet anthrax is not the most deadly or
mycotoxic mold out there. We have all probably breathed in Anthrax spores, but molds are not meant to be inhaled in massive quantities. Massive
doses of mold spores can be debilitating, they can effect your central nervous system leaving you uncoordinated, they can cause brain damage,
organ destruction, cancer, and a whole host of issues far beyond what doctors expect them to cause like typical hay fever symptoms.
I know this is a gourd site, and my purpose here was not to scare the gourd art out of you, on the contrary I wanted to educate gourd crafters
to the dangers so they can do their craft safely. In order to expose to the gourd crafters the real dangers and need for precautions, it was
necessary to tap the well of information which is the strongest in the sick building arena. Now as gourd crafters, we can know more about what is
out there, and what you will be up against when dealing with your physician.
We hope you have found this site resourceful and educational, and please watch the two part video at: Policy Holders of America on the school teacher Teresa