Hi there. My name is Kristina.Last April I had a miscarriage,I almost died. and one month later got bells palsy on the right side of my face. Noone could really figure it out. I had an mri done on my brain. There was some damage to one of my nerves...I have believed for awhile now that everything that has happened was do to mold. My family and i have lived here for 5 years and all this time our basement has been flooding evertime it rains. Nothing really drys out to well. We also have a rash that itchs like crazy and it will not go away. Every time I turn around my kids have flu and or cold like symptoms.High levels of bacteria have been found in my blood. I was put on meds and all these docters seem to believe that the meds I took will take care of it. Now after the meds...my legs arms and belly swell out pretty bad and you can feel and see the fluid. Went to the see many docters once again they have no idea what is going on. My short term memory is pretty bad.I get light headed often.It has been a year and I can not get pregnant..anyway I could keep going on and on with all of our symptoms...I just need help. I do not know where to go from here. Noone will listen and it is my health and the health of my family at risk....... Please if anyone is having some of the same problams or knows anything about toxic mold please contact me...Thank you very much
My family and i have lived here for 5 years and all this time our basement has been flooding evertime it rains. Nothing really drys out to well.
If the house is flooding repeatedly, then the mold won't disappear from the house. Ever. As long as you are living in a house full of mold you will continue to be sick. The first thing I suggest you do is move to somewhere where the basement doesn't flood, and the walls don't leak and an engineer has certified that there is no mold in the house. You have been hyper-sensitized because of the high concentrations of mold for such a long time. Until you get away from the high concentration of mold, there is no way your body can recover.
Move first. Then medical treatments and healing will have a chance.
Remediating mold is made out to be a huge complicated issue by the press, but there's one simple fact - mold cannot grow without water. The "germ" or "seed" or mold is called a spore, and they are all around us, all the time, inside and outside. The little buggers float on air, so there's no getting rid of all of them. And while sticking your head in a pile of dried leaves will leave you sneezing due to high concentrations of aspergillus mold, just hanging out in your house or taking a walk down the street shouldn't be a problem under normal circumstances.
To grow, those "benign" mold spores need water and a source of food - cellulose - such as leaves, wood, and it's favorite - drywall and plasterboard.
It needs very little food, so a damp basement cluttered with your typical stuff like old couches, rugs, cardboard boxes is a feast for mold! The water doesn't even need to be visible - you just need a high concentration of moisture in the air, though a true trickle or stream of water will make things even worse.
So what do you do? First, you need to stop the water from coming in, and that will involve hiring a team to waterproof your basement. Secondly, don't lay carpet down there, if you want to finish the floor, stick to tile. Gaseous water vapor will get in through the cement floor and cause some mold to grow in any carpeting. I've seen in a million times as a real estate agent . Next, if you must "finish" the basement, you MUST build the walls out at least 1 foot from the foundation. This way you can move freely behind the walls and stop any future leaks by observing them. When you build the walls, use metal studes, not wood studs or frames. Finally, if you ever notice any discoloration or smells coming up from the bottom of the drywall, rip it out and replace it.
What about old mold? Well, if you've had a leak and you can see the mold, you have to get rid of it, even if it means removing pieces of wood or drywall. A pile of mold, even when the leak is stopped, will cause problems because it is very concentrated. Furthermore, that mold will begin producing mycotoxins like crazy when the water source is elimanted - this is a survival defense. So a pile of mold can be really harmful.
Where to look for mold? Well, we know it's in your basement. What about other places? When I have inspected homes with my real estate buyers, I always make them look on the ceiling under the 2nd floor bathrooms, behind the refridgerator and around the windows. I have them smell carpets for mustiness and look for stains on 2nd floor ceiling to look for evidence of water intrusion.
And to keep the mold away? It's called maintenance! You must have painters regularly paint the house (have them inspect it every year) if wood. Go up and check the roof for loose shingles yourself and nail them down. Make sure the flashing around your chimney is intact.
Mold remediation can be costly if it's really bad. You can hire some experts who will don protective suits, or you can just pick up the local group of immigrants looking for work on the corner and they'll probably do it for nothing, although that might be morally and ethically dubious.
Another thing to do is to keep the basement dry is to use a dehumidifier down there. They are about $70 and they suck most of the moisture out of the air - you just run a hose from the collection tank down into a sink.
So step 1 - go down and clean out your basement. Move everything into the garage for a while. Pull up carpeting and throw it out. If finished, tear out the drywall and call in a waterproofing team. Install a sump pump that will automatically pump out the water if it begins to flood.
Unfortunately, I can speak to this. Long complicated story but it was confirmed by an environmental engineer that I've had mold in my apartment for about 6 years -- I only found out about 15 months ago. There are different types of mold and some are more toxic than others. FYI, mold remediation as a result of water damage is often covered by insurance so check your policy. You might have to pay for the initial air testing yourselves but if mold is found and your policy DOES cover remediation they will usually reimburse you for the testing.
aswander is giving you some good advice and one thing is for sure -- you HAVE to find out if you have mold and if you do, you CANNOT stay there! The only thing I might disagree with is having you try to move things around yourself (you can spread the spores and shouldn't be in contact with them.) I am having some central nervous system issues and was just diagnosed with MS. I'm still not convinced that the diagnosis is correct but even if it is, I've no doubt that what led me to the doctor were at least symptoms exacerbated by the mold.
Insurance or not, it's worth the price of air testing. Make sure the engineer is qualified and explain the problem so he/she knows what to test for. They take a sample of the air outside and then, taking in several other factors, compare it to air samples in various places in your home. If the results are positive you will need to get both the structural portion taken care of and they will also do "contents" -- those mold spores are very fussy! In my case it might be residual spores that have been hanging out for years after my celing was replaced from a flood OR there might still be mold in the structure.
Thank you very much for all of your help...I really did not know where to go with all of this. Someone is coming here on Wed to test the air in our house and to take some samples. Thanks again to all of you..I will keep you posted...
Get Dr. Ritchie Shoemakers book called Mold Warriors.
I also agree that you need to get you and your family out of that house asap.
I lived in a house with mold for I dont know how long, and have been out for almost 2 years now. I`am still suffering..Mostly neurological symptoms..Looks like MS, but I have something that Ive yet to get diagnosed since most doctors dont believe in mold illness. Severe facial and head pain. I think its facial neuropathy. I`am still looking for a believing neruologist in my area. If anyone knows of anyone in New England, please let me know.
Thanks again for all the help from everyone. Well we did have the house tested and here are a few of the results...
basement: Aspergillus and penicillium~51,300 spores
Total spores 155,800
1st floor has a total of 2,800 spores
For those of you that might not know...When the number of spores hits 1000 or more they start to get worried. So needless to say we have figured out why we have all been really sick. Our landlord is not in to much of a hurry and said and I quote,"I did not know it was that bad". To us that means he knew the mold has been here and did nothing at all about it....Anyway, For those of you that have been having health issues do to mold I wish you the very best and hope you all feel better soon. I can not wait to feel better..I know it is going to be a long road but at least that is a start...
klj, glad you updated. That's awful but the good news is that knowing there's likely a reason you haven't felt well, there's hope for that you WILL be on the road to feeling better soon!
Whether or not you intend to pursue it, you may have a foundation for a lawsuit on your hands so make sure you write everything down; the history, doctor's visits and bills, what was said and by whom and the date, etc. While I don't think it's so easy to prove illness causation, from my research, having prior knowledge and not acting upon it may be reason itself. If it's something you'd even think about, wouldn't hurt to consult an attorney if you want more than your out-of-pocket costs reimbursed! I also think that you have the right to have your living costs covered until this is taken care of -- you should NOT be living there.
My tests just came back as well -- the high spore count in the air is now okay but when they opened up the ceiling they DID find very high levels so much more needs to be done in my apartment. This was a result of a poorly handled roof leak about 7 years ago and I absolutely have no doubt this has caused me health problems. The presence of high spores has been known for over a year and if I ever pursued anything, that would be the reason. Prior knowledge = negligence. I'm not an expert I do know a little bit about this from all the reserach I did on my own situation so if you need any more guidance, please post.
Thank you very much! I wish you the best of luck as well.We are moving in a few weeks..Thank goodness. we really have not been staying there.I talked with a lawyer and they said our landlord has to put us up in a hotel till we find a new place or until the problam is fixed. Can you believe he moved new people in next door about a week ago? I know the tenents that just moved out were starting to get sick so I know it is there as well...Hello their side of the basement is only seperated by a small bit of sheetrock... He is crazy!!!!! Keep me posted on your situation as well..Goodluck..klj700
Wow, he is crazy AND negligent! I pray that he is obligated to disclose this information by virtue of what has come before. Truly horrible. I am awaiting the results of my new air testing today -- hopefully it will be okay and I can get my celing repaired! (Not to mention, breathe a sigh of relief!) I'm glad (and also interested) to hear you contacted a lawyer. I've been advised to do the same -- I have mixed feelings about it but know at the end of the day, I have to protect myself so I'm at least going to set up a consultation. I'd be interested to hear your future developments on health and law as well!
Hope you are better now that you are out of your apartment. Everyone has given good advice. I have much of the same problems but unfortunately own the house and insurance won't pay. Remediation of the basement was over $30,000 (all of the equity loan) and now found out the garage window under the bedroom is rotten and that's where the musty smell has been coming from lately.
Don't know how to pay for it as I am afraid to have a carpenter put in a new window -- they don't treat if mold is found. There were also high penecillium spores in my bedroom and the remediators just HEPA vac'd and fogged the room - they did not do the negative air machine etc. that they did in the basement as no actual mold was found -- just high spore level which if it was not taken care of would have turned into mold. Hopefully, when the garage window is taken care of that will be the end of my problems as I have high levels of mold mycotoxins in my blood. I had no idea I was being exposed for about 10 years -- probably since moving into the house. Wasn't informed about water intrusion. A neighbor told me that they took the sump pump out before they put the house up for sale and then the former owner died so here I am -- just about pennyless at 69 years of age all because of mold. There were wood partitions in the basement and I was too dumb to have them removed when first moved in and found out about the water. I put in a sump pump but the water still hit the wood. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Hindsight is everything I guess.