The Spore Report: Beware of Molds

May 14, 2010
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

Fungi on the appleThe most ancient of toxins may be the next asbestos.

White, orange, green, black and blue: Molds can produce mycotoxins that lurk both indoors and out. But since Americans spend 90% of their time in enclosed spaces—at home, school, and work—indoor fungal contamination can be a killer, literally!

Mycotoxins—like Alternaria, Aspergillus, Chaetomium, Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Stachybotrys—can lead to such diverse symptoms as allergies, asthma, cancer, bleeding lungs, chronic bronchitis, chronic fatigue, depression, eye irritation, fibromyalgia, headache, hoarseness, inflammation of the ear, learning disabilities, lupus, memory loss, multiple chemical sensitivity, nosebleeds, rheumatoid arthritis, skin problems, wheezing, and even death.

Fungal sporesDorr Dearborn, MD, PhD, at Rainbow Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, has linked Stachybotrys (a toxic black mold) to pulmonary hemorrhaging and mortality in infants. This mycotoxin can also cause brain and nasal inflammation, even neurotoxicity.

Unlike many of the newer toxins, molds and mildew have been around since time immemorial—anywhere water stands for long periods. Once molds are disturbed, their spores become airborne, getting into noses, mouths, and lungs.

Dr. Ann Louise’s Take:

What I find most disturbing about airborne mycotoxins is that it’s impossible to know how much damage they’re doing to your health until it’s too late. For many sensitive or immunosuppressed individuals, molds—alone—are the leading cause of environmental illness. Infants and children, seniors, and anyone with respiratory conditions like asthma or emphysema are also vulnerable to molds.

Food Bacteria - Jam Cultures

One Cornell-trained physician developed multiple chemical sensitivities from mold growing unnoticed behind a fish tank, for instance. She and her entire family—even their dog—were later diagnosed with Addison’s disease and suffered a range of other health problems that continue today.

Use Your Senses
Wherever it’s damp and dark, you can expect to find mold, so your sense of smell may be your first clue to detecting molds. Besides the distinct musty scent of mildew, dirt and sulfur smells are highly suspect.

Also look for water marks in the basement or on walls and the ceiling—and fix leaks promptly. Make sure clothes dryers are properly vented outdoors, and run bathroom fans whenever you bathe or shower. Never install carpeting in bathrooms, basements, or any areas that tend to get damp.

Carpeting, drywall, fabric, leather, paper (like books), or any other absorbent material will grow mold if soaked. It can grow behind wallpaper, in low-quality insulation, and even on firewood. Molds interact with common chemical compounds like formaldehydes in fabrics and furnishings

Fight Mold Where It Lives
While these objects will probably need to be thrown out, you can clean glass, tile, and many other nonporous substances with diluted bleach solutions. Mix 1/2 cup Clorox bleach in 1 gallon water to clean moldy spots, then rinse with water, and dry. Wear protective gloves and, if you have allergies or breathing problems, a face mask.

Shower curtain liners harbor mold, as does grout (so look for a special grout cleaner). Even cold-water pipes can produce mold in warm bathrooms and kitchens, so check them and clean whenever needed. Believe it or not, wooden cooking utensils—like cutting boards and spoons—can accumulate molds as well as bacteria.

Watch what you eat as well! I recommend that anyone exposed to mold avoid all grains (especially corn), as they tend to be contaminated by mycotoxins during storage, for a couple of months.

Use air conditioning and dehumidifiers to keep your home dry as the humidity rises. Just be sure to clean the filters regularly and often, as even dead mold can cause allergies and sensitivities. Don’t over water your houseplants. Keep leaves, mulch, and compost away from doors and windows, where airborne molds can easily enter your home.

For truly clean indoor air, I recommend the Healthway Air Purifier with airborne infection control (Uni Key Health 800-888-4353 to order). This air purifier uses a newer technology HEPA-type air filtration that traps 94 to 100% of microorganisms (like fungi, molds, and even certain bacteria)—plus 99+% of viruses.

By contrast, air filters using HEPA and ultraviolet (UV) claim only 0.1 to 0.3 micron particle capture, so are not as effective. With its unique technology and listed by the FDA as a Class II Medical Device, the Healthway Air Purifier can provide the safest breathing air possible.

How to Stay Young and Healthy in a Toxic World

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Gail

    Sadly..your timing on this is uncanny..ever so sadly.
    I say that because I am in TN and we are in the midst of recovering from the worst natural catastrophe of the century – a horrific flood (that much of the country is not even aware of) – that is the worst disaster this state has ever seen and might be considered the worst flood this country has ever seen, as some have reported.

    I listen to talk radio and they were also talking about molds and how the loss of lives due to molds cannot even be counted or considered as often, it will go unnoticed, undetected, or just be considered something else as the cause of death.

    I’m not from TN, so this is the first flood I’ve ever experienced, but as I wait on hundreds of customers everyday, their stories, their lives, and the affects of it are in my face every day.

    And then there’s mold…

  2. Kai

    Anne—we hear alot about cleaning mold from the outside surfaces but how do we clean it from the internal body. WHat supplements are good for ridding our bodies of mold?



  4. KatieMac

    Also, a product called Orange TKO will eliminate mold. I buy it on the internet, just google it… It is sold in barrels for professional remediation. I use it diluted per their booklet to clean in all kinds of ways – wood floors, in my steamer for carpets, added to laundry – kills fleas when you bathe to dog, is good for you to inhale. I actually learned about it on Doug Kaufman’s show Know the Cause and have been using it for years…..

    I had a moldy smell in a closet – put a little on a paper towel in a bowl and left it in the closet – odor gone and I assume also the mold. Used it in an old car I bought and an old dresser I refinished… took up spilled oil in my garage… etc…

  5. Gail

    Thank you ladies!
    Can’t get the show, but will get it via the website. In fact, I just viewed one of ‘our own’ Ann Louise! Woohoo!

    It’s awesome and will share as well as the info about Orange TKO for so many people here.


  6. administrator

    To kill mold, Dr. ALG suggests that you consider Y-C Cleanse, Olive Leaf Extract – 15 – 20%, and even caprylic acid at 100 mg several times per day. Probiotics are great – but sometimes not enough for a stubborn infection. We personally think Thymex with one of the herbals would be the best bet. Avoid moldy foods – no grains (especially corn) and cheeses, most teas, and high copper foods like chocolate, soy, and excessive nuts.

  7. mold inspections Manhattan

    Fungus on food which leads to molds There are various health problems that arise from the molds and therefore it is essential to be clean and hygienic when with storing foods.

  8. Grime Solvers tile & grout cleaning

    To ameliorate mold and mildew on any hard surface consider hiring a professional company that specializes in restoration cleaning of tile & grout, concrete, etc. Look for companies that utilize a truck mount system which uses high water pressure and high heat which will kill bacteria and mold.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This