Can my home be cross contaminated with mold from another house?

Yes it can in my opinion! My home was cross contaminated from my workplace. I unwittingly brought mold and mycotoxins into my home via my clothes, shoes, purses and even my hair.

There are so many schools of thought on this and opinions from those who have experienced mold exposure and having to leave their home/work environment, from those who do remediation, from doctors and scientists who specialize in mold and their mycotoxins, and from those who have no understanding of mold at all.

What I believe is that when you leave your home that is contaminated with mold and their toxins (mycotoxins) and take your belongings with you, you are without realizing it cross contaminating your new environment. The mold spores and mycotoxins get spread through the air as clothing and furniture are brushed against other things  in moving them from place to place. The fan on your computer puts air out and dust that came from your contaminated environment.

Some believe that you only need to leave your paper, cloth furniture, clothing or porous items behind. Others believe you need to also not take your computer, refrigerator or other electronics that may have dust in them from the previous home or office. There are those that believe if a piece of wood furniture has a hard seal on it, it can be saved by wiping down with ammonia and possibly spraying more sealer over the wood surfaces. Others have had success in keeping their clothing by washing them in ammonia which Dr. William Croft believes can kill the mycotoxins.

I learned about the ammonia and clothing long after I had gotten rid of mine. Although for my own piece of mind, I don’t think I would have kept my clothes and taken a chance that it would work for me. After going through all that I have and still deal with today as a result of my mold exposure, the thought of doing something and risking that  the mold/mycotoxins are not being completing killed off is not something I want to do.  Risking a re-exposure and worsening of my conditions is just a risk I cannot personally take. Not only have I had to throw away clothes from my home that I had either worn to work or washed with the work clothes or stored with the clothes, I have had to throw away clothes after exposures in defense doctor appointments.

This question has been posed in search engines that have led others to my blog.  To those  who follow my blog and who have experienced mold exposure and cross contamination, I would love to hear your responses to this question.

DISCLAIMER:  I am not a doctor, mold remediation specialist or expert in the area of mold and mycotoxins.  Anything I say is just my opinion based on my own experiences.

49 responses to “Can my home be cross contaminated with mold from another house?

  1. In my 4 almost 5 years now since my toxic mold exposure, I have noted that there are as many varied symptoms to mold exposure as there are mold survivors. We all react differently to what we get re-exposed to. Then you must add the fact that there really is no way to “measure” what we are being re-exposed to through cross-contamination or new exposures because unless we run around with the proper mold testing equipment with us at all times, we can not measure our exposures when they happen with any accuracy. It is then very hard to say specifically what or how much of “what” we are reacting to sometimes. Therefore we need to be as hyper-vigilant as we can in keeping from being re-exposed.

    Right after my exposure, I washed all my clothes in amonia at Dr. Croft’s instructions. Months later after my exposure, when I was getting sicker and sicker in my home, that had once been the one safe place that I did not get symptoms, I was forced to make the decision to part with all we owned. So when I began emptying clothes out of dresser drawers that had not been opened in months, imagine my shock to feel my skin begin to itch as I could litterally feel the mold spores land on my arms from off those clothes shut up in drawers for months. Then it hit me, all of the insides of my drawers and the insides of the dresser were bare wood and even though I had been washing my clothes for months and months in amonia obviously either the amonia was not working or the clothes were getting cross contaminated after being washed from the inside of the dresser.

    Loosing all you own is tragic, and most people who lose all they own are not faced with a choice, a fire happens, a flood, or a tornado and all they own is gone in a heartbeat. Loosing all you own due to toxic mold is like having to set the match yourself!! It is one of the most agonizing things about being mold survivor I have experienced. To this day, it haunts me and it is the things like Christmas ornaments my kids made in school that I had kept on our tree each year, or their baby books and other things that were priceless to my heart that I continue to grieve over. It hurts just as much today as it did 5 years ago when I parted with those precious mementos but given the choice again I’d still do the same and part with them to have a chance to heal and live!

    Ask yourself this question…if you had terminal cancer in a leg and the doctor told you that you can either keep the leg and die or amputate it and live…what would you do? That’s the situation you face as a mold survivor…..keep your belongings and lose your health, maybe even your life, or amputate and live!

    • Trish – You hit the nail on the head! I have always said it is my things or my health. I have also likened that if you have a fire or a theft, your things are gone but not by your own hands. Having to watch as things are being pulled from your closet and bagged up, your childhood toys, and yes the Christmas ornaments being tossed in the garbage is like setting the fire yourself. It is painful and the grief still rears its ugly head when I least expect it. It usually happens when I remember a special item and then remember that it was thrown away.

      Thank you so much for stating it all so well. AMPUTE AND LIVE! I like those words.

    • Patricia, you are so right: it’s like lighting the match yourself. However, yes, it is easier if you know that getting rid of things can make a difference. I am going through this exact scenario at them moment. I’ve found that the clothes bought in the last year are fine, but everything else, especially my pjs are ruined. I’ve not tried the ammonia, I have been using the sun. But as for my furnishings, I’ve not bought a single thing with me. I have the fortunate situation where I can keep them somewhere else; but the unfortunate situation of asking myself: do I want to keep them indefinitely? I feel better already. And I’m glad it’s made a difference for you. You are lucky! Thank you for sharing.

    • I have irreplaceable art work and antique heirloom furniture in a moldy house. I worry about cross contamination but it feels like death itself to part with these things. My original watercolors are in frames, so are some other works, can I just reframe them? As for the antique furniture…. one is a solid wood rare heirloom rocker, passed down 4 generations. Also we have a set of quilts that are heirloom 4 generations as well. The quilts have to be handwashed. The other antique furniture are wood with cloth seats. Can I wipe everything down with ammonia and then recover the seats with a different fabric and stuffing?
      There is not much I can’t part with, but as an artist, my work is like my children… I created them and brought them into life, so I can’t just toss them to the road. And the heirlooms are the very little I own from a dear great grrandmother than passed when I was 12.
      Mom wanted me to get quality pictures done of the artwork and have a ceremonial burial of them. I just want to get them reframed. They were professionally framed long before the mold problem. What about non-framed oil paintings? Can I just rub ammonia on them then frame them? I can pitch almost everything, clothes, kick knacks, books…they can all be bought again, but the heirlooms and my creations cannot. I can never go back and be the person I was when I created these things. It was a different time, and I was a different person.
      what do I do?

      • Joanne

        I apologize for the delay in responding. I am dealing with the death of my father at the moment. Please send me an email through the contact button at the top of the page. I will contact you as soon as I am able. I know how hard it is to give up “things”.

  2. Oh, Kathryn, it’s awful. I hate it. I hate it. There is this one desk: it’s a copy of an antique writer’s desk, and I can’t bare to part with it. I am looking at putting some things into a storage shed. I’m so happy to share with you that I’ve made an improvement, and I’m not having the mould reactions that I was before. But I am having to go back to the old house 2 nights a week, and when I’m there it smells exactly like a mouldy orange. It’s quite strange, and the symptoms hit me really quickly. Even in my safe room, I can smell it. (Not so safe after all! So, yes, absolutely contamination is part and parcel of being chemically sensitive to mould.) I have a few sets of clothes that I have kept there. But all the furniture is still there and it’s a matter of sorting it out. I do have a favourite charity that I can give my things to, so I know that I’ll be helping others. I’ve been using ethanol to wipe things down as that is the only chemical I can handle (it’s a low concentration mixed with other things but not ammonia). My method: if I can smell it, I ditch it. And besides, I’m so tired of washing clothing, I’m over it. And any fabric based furniture, I wouldn’t even bother trying to keep. Even my air filters are up for sale. The one thing that has bothered me is that the humidity in the house was so high that photos inside their frames have stuck to the glass! I have all my photos in a box, waiting to be scanned onto my PC, then I’ll throw the out. All this is waiting at ‘The House of Mouldy Horrors’! The promise of good, or at least improved, health is something I would pay anything for. So if I have to part with the table that I love so much, I could do it in a heart beat (and $800 😉 )

    It’s a tricky life!

  3. We ask everyone entering our home to take their shoes off! The allergens drug inside are amazing. Also, I use an air filter that kicks up into a higher speed when someone walks into the room! I love that filter.

    I’m allergic to mold but since I live in Reno, which is very dry my problems only kick up during the winter if folks keeps their windows shut tight and have many house plants.

    I do have a question about the ammonia. Is this the best way to clean clothes that were exposed? Just from how I get sick, I can guarantee a relative’s house is full of mold and when I leave I’m never sure how to wash our clothes. I’d love any advice!

    Thanks again Kathryn for another great post!

    • That is what Dr. Croft recommends. He developed the urine tricothecene test. He also took one of my shirts and cut it in half. He tested one side for mycotoxins and found them. He then washed the other half of the shirt in ammonia and retested and they were gone. I have used some in my clothes when I was excreting the mycotoxins into them so that I wouldn’t reinfect myself. I haven’t done it in a very long time.

      • Wow. Absolutely fascinating. Remember as a child my mom using Pinesol sometimes when she washed our clothes. Now I think I may understand why.

        Thank you for your incredibly speedy response!

      • Realize this is a year old post, Kathryn, as are the other good comments from others on this thread…but just wanted to say VERY helpful for me right now, as I work thru my situation. My workplace, as I’ve mentioned, in CA, is where my enemy (mycotoxins) lurks . When I finally (after an 11 month hide & seek game I’d been playing) learned I’d been sitting right on top of the mess (it is coming from carpet that’s on top of a wet foundation, we now know), nothing could have stunned me more…as I had been so certain it was from the HVAC system. Anyway, I took my office apart, throwing things (the pics of my kids was the hardest) away last week. I suppose my boss & co-workers (different city entirely) believe me to be completely off my rocker, as I advised them I would not take the furniture into another suite in the bldg., as I believe the bottom of it will drag mycotoxin spores through the bldg & make others sick. But my boss is sympathetic to my “perceived sensitivity to mold” & said just throw it away & buy new furniture for your new office, elsewhere on another floor of the bldg. Now I’m down to a metal file cabinet & the computer/printer/accessories. I will do the ammonia wipedown, bag them, and move them first to a little closet which has cement floors, open the bags up, wipe the items down again and then go in there now & then over the coming weeks. If I experience no ill effects, then I am probably OK to use them in my new office. I had books up on shelves which I suppose I have to throw away today, just in case, as well as not taking a chance with my favorite red wool jacket I keep on the back of my door. I am tempted to try the ammonia washing as you suggest & your doc tested with the 50/50% wash (great idea). By the way, how does one test an item for having mycotoxins on it, without bringing the expensive air testing guys back in? I am SO grateful for your website – it really helps to not feel like we are the only ones, when 95% of the people around you believe it’s all some neurosis & in your head! I have not shown my employer my trichothecene levels yet, nor the bills for the environmental doc., lab tests and treatments…that is going to be the next chapter in this moldy saga…
        it was nobody’s fault, no one was messy or sloppy, or avoided repairs & mtnc., it just happened, unfortunately.

      • Susan, it is very difficult to test items for mycotoxins. I have never had any items tested other than the shirt that Dr. Croft tested for me. I am glad you have found my blog to be helpful. I am so sorry for what you are going through and wish you the best in the next chapter.

  4. Patricia, I totally agree about lighting the match ourselves.
    It’s also difficult because it is not one single event for most of us. It’s not like we get rid of our stuff and then it is over. In my case, first I got rid of my books at work and I thought that was enough, then I realized I had to get rid of all paper at work. Then I realized I couldn’t go into my office at work at all. Then I realized my clothes at home were cross-contaminated… I had new losses over a series of months… I am so ready for it to be over and to be healthy again.

    • Anne

      I brought it home from work too. The losses continued for a while. I got re-exposed at a doctor’s office and had to throw more away. Thank you for commenting.

    • Patricia Lush

      Anne, I completely understand! My personal possessions were just the first of what was lost. I think the message that we as mold survivors want to impart the most is that toxic mold exposure involves more than just loss of health and that this is what makes the experience ever so much more traumatic than the average health problem that the average person will experience. So the person exposed needs to understand that mold exposure is going to challenge them to survive unlike other illnesses. For instance, a person with cancer will have the love and support of family and friends to do what needs to be done to heal, where a mold survivor might not due to the vast ignorance that exists currently about toxic mold. A mold survivor may have to face all that comes …loss of health, possessions, job…ect…with little support or even alone….but to find health again we have to do what needs to be done, even if our personal support group thinks we’re nuts for doing this. This is one reason why what Kathy is doing here for all of us with her blog is so important for those who have no personal support group behind them as they find their own healing paths. I personally had no support group 5 years ago when I found Kathy on the Internet. She has at times been my only support besides my husband since that time. She has also directed me to key people, such as Dr. William Croft, and given me many resources of information about mold exposure that she had to seek and find on her own back when she first got sick. You have come to a good place here on Kathy’s blog and I hope you continue to post and share here in the future!

  5. Thank you for making me feel welcome, Patricia.
    Thank you for this space and sharing your story, Kathy.

    • Anne

      Let me welcome you to the family. As Patricia says, please feel free to comment on posts. As soon as my webpage is up and running there will be a section for contacting me and may provide ways for questions to be asked that I might post on.

  6. Patricia Lush

    Anne it is my heartfelt wish that besides feeling welcome that you also feel that your posts are needed by all of us and that what you are experiencing matters here!

  7. Yes, I think I’m dealing with that right now. The nightmare began for my family when my husband and I moved into our brand new home in March of 2010. We were so thrilled to be in our new place and brought our baby home that October. Our daughter had allergy symptoms the past two fall and winter seasons. A runny nose that wouldn’t stop, then a cough at night, to bloody noses and random vomiting. I became pregnant with our second child in September and I began experiencing awful dizziness, nausea, and painful stomach cramping all in addition to allergy symptoms. Finally I sent my husband into the crawl space where there was mold. We had a mold company in to inspect on Valentine’s Day this year. He confirmed that there was mold and also suspected toxic mold. I left with my daughter that evening to stay with a relative. The air sample results revealed aspergillis, penicillium, and stacybotrys among others. Now we are in litigation with the builder while our house justs sits there. At this point I do not even know if I want it back. I am afraid that we might have cross contaminated where we are staying. How do I know? My face burns when I am there but that could be anything now as I can’t stand fragrances or cleaner smells. How would I fix it if it were cross contaminated? I’m due to have the baby in less than a month. I don’t want him in an affected home or car. This mold experience is the worst. I appreciate any pointers you could send my way.

    • First let me tell you how sorry I am for you. Dr. Croft who has tested for mycotoxins through urine has stated that within 2-12 weeks I believe after leaving the moldy environment the sensitivities can begin. Even if you remediate your home it may be safe for someone else to move into but not necessarily you because that is where you became sensitized. You can try and do petri test plates in your car to see if there is mold there. If you brought anything with you, you may have cross contaminated your new environment. It is very difficult for me to be able to tell you for sure. Mold exposures are a very difficult thing to deal with because they not only cost us our health but they cost us the loss of our belongings. Please comment back with questions. If I dont have answers, I can talk to many of my other mold-survivor friends and see if they have any insight for you. There are also mold-survivors following here who might have answers as well.

      DISCLAIMER: I am not a mold remediator or an expert on mold. I can only talk from my own experiences.

      • My daughter and I did have the urine mycotoxin screen. We both tested positive for ochratoxin and tricothecene. My level was 17 for the tricothecenes. I felt like we were getting better, my dayghter’s symptoms including the stuffy nose were all cleared up. Then a couple of weeks ago we all got a cold. Now her runny nose is back non-stop and she starts coughing at night from about 1 am on. I too have this horrible dry cough. We just purchased a new organic cotton and natural latex bed…she also coughs some during the day. This morning she coughed so hard in the car that she vomited. With everything we’ve been through I can’t help but think it’s related to the mold or cross contamination? Our house was “remediated” but they did a terrible job. It is still not ready for us to move back into. I am supposed to have the baby any day now. If this environment/bed/who knows what is causing this severe cough in my two year old I am very frightened for the baby. Worried sick.

      • Melissa

        I am so absolutely sorry for what you and your daughter are going through. You had a very high level of tricothecenes. When I am in a reaction I also cough to the point of vomiting (sorry folks). Despite your best efforts to remediate, the place may still not be safe for you. I purchased an organic cotton mattress (no natural latex) and after weeks of airing it out in the hot sun, still had to send it back. Every time I put my face near it, I would get my mold reaction. For me I think I may have actually been reacting to mold in the organic cotton. The hard side with this illness is that there are so darn many variables. So are you in the same place? Did you keep your things?

        Remember, I am not an expert on the subject or in mold remediation. I can only speak for what I have been through.

  8. Hi there, I’m horrified by and grateful for this honest blog. I am sick with ME/CFS and I can’t quite accept it, convinced to my husband’s frustration, that mold somehow plays a part. Can you please tell me how you know if there is mold in your house (we can’t see any except in the corners of the window frames when you open the windows) and how you can be tested for mold exposure? Thank you!

    • Let me thank you for following me and commenting. I am so sorry for what you are going through. It is difficult to accept and deal with the wrath of mold and its toxins. The cheapest way to test for mold is to buy a home test kit from someplace like Home Depot or Lowes. They are fairly inexpensive. You can expose the agar plates to the air in your house then seal them up and wait. If mold starts to grow on the plate you can send the kit in and have it analyzed for a fee of around $50.00 I think. You could also hire a reliable remediation company to come in and air test your house with machines and do an inspection.

      First I was tested with a RAST allergy blood test which revealed high levels of IGE to many molds indicating a severe allergy. Later an Elisa test was done to test not only IGE but IGG, IGA and IGM to check for exposure to molds. Lastly I had tests done using urine for tricothecene mycotoxins (this isn’t being done by the same person at this time). I also had a test done similar to what is done at realtime lab for tricothecene mycotoxins using mucous from my sinuses and testing tissue from one of my ovaries removed during a hysterectomy. If you have more questions, please comment back here.

      I hope to have my website up within the next couple of weeks where I will be able to receive emails.

      • Thank you for your redponse. No, we are not back in our home. We did keep some clothes and that’s about it. I have washed them several times. What is hard is trying to figure out if a “reaction” is due to mold/mycotoxins or other chemicals.
        I worry that we had already contaminated our cars too. So just getting in and out of them and being in our relative’s home where we are staying could have cross contaminated the place? If so is it harmful to anyone besides me?
        I bought new all organic, cotton and wool bedding for the bed. I must say that the store/place where they are made did not provoke any kind of reaction what so ever. Which usually is not the case when I go into stores for the most part these days. I also found out that the box springs of the bed are covered in dacron/rayon. My husband put the box springs out of the house last night. And no coughing! My daughter coughed a little in the morning but was able to skip the coughing fit she had been having in the middle of the night. I don’t plan to move back into the home. We are going to stage it and get it on the market once the hygienist says its ok. The spore count is low now so after the remediators clean up better after themselves this time there shouldn’t be any reason not to list the home. At what point do you have to throw away your belongings? The original mold spore count upon discovery and air testing was highest in my daughter’s room at 1060 spores/M3. Outside measured at 901spores/M3. Is this really high?? There was 1 spore of stachy found in my daughter’s room as well. No where else in the home and none of the mold really looks “suspect” stachy according to the mold pros. But where could I have come up with such a high level of tricothecene? I’m a stay at home mom. This has to be one of the most miserable things.

      • For some it is difficult to distinguish between a chemical reaction and a mold reaction. While mine have some of the same components, my mold reaction has very distinctive traits that lets me know there is mold. Many that I have talked with have told me that washing their clothes didn’t make them safe for them but each of us is so individual which also makes this illness all the more difficult to deal with because what may work for one may not work for another.

        Whether cross contamination is harmful to anyone else probably depends on their sensitivity to molds and mycotoxins. Your daughter could be reacting to the chemicals in the box springs and it may or may not have flame retardant on it as well.

        As to what point to throw away your belongings, it is a decision you will have to make. For me, I didn’t want to bring anything into my new surroundings. I did keep three pieces of solid wood that had a good seal on them and my husband resealed them in a safe sealer. Nothing else other than dishes came with me. The only way to truly know if you can tolerate something is to live safely without it for a while and then introduce it and see how you do. However, doing this brings a risk of cross contamination. I cannot tell anyone what to do only what I have done. Another follower on this blog, Patricia, has done as I have done and just purged our things and started over.

        Stachy is not the only mold that produces tricothecenes.

        Yes it is miserable, but know that you will come through this. I am here for support. You can also contact me through my website. Commenting here, allows others to respond as well.

      • I did this late last night. I hope it makes sense to you.

      • So both you and Patricia had experienced the mold toxicity from a workplace or another place other than home and just that managed to cross contaminate your living space to the point that you had to move and destroy all of your belongings? So far any mention of doing this myself has everyone thinking I’m crazy. My husband hasn’t been careful about cross contaminstion as he has no effects from the belongings. Does this sensitivity ever go away? At this point I would say that the reactions I experience bother me, make me irritable but don’t give me migraines or make me feel ill for days. My cheeks seem to flush with a quarter sized rosey spot on each cheek when I am having a reaction. The doctor we have been seeing seems to be more concerned with insurance billing and fees than genuinely helping us. We just took a follow up mycotoxin screen but I have to wait another 2 weeks to get he results because I had to have an “appointment”. Though it will likely just be over the phone anyway due to baby coming soon. My husband isn’t going to part with his belongings, he won’t even thin his tshirt drawer. How am I ever going to get past this? The doctor said if you react to an item to discard it-but he doesn’t react. He goes in our house then jumps in his car like its no big deal. He’s angry at me when I suggest any precautions.

      • Melissa – I am so sorry. I can’t tell you if the reaction will ever go away. For me I still react to it but I want some kind of reaction to avoid backsliding. I want to know if I am around mold and be able to get away as soon as possible. Mycotoxin damage is cumulative. I do not want to place any more burden on my body than has already been placed on it. While I still react, unless it is a very contaminated space or thing, it doesn’t send me into tremors but still makes me ill.

        Not all doctors understand molds or mycotoxins. My ENT has learned along with me through this journey and now “gets it”. My husband built me a safe house (I am very lucky for sure) and I lived in it by myself. He continued living in a separate house (not the one I lived in while working at the school but one that I had taken all my belongings to). He kept his clothes, the car, and his truck. He was in an out of too many places and it just wasn’t going to work. To come into my home he wore a tyvek suit.

        I understand your husband’s anger. It is very difficult if you are not the one ill or reacting to the mold or mycotoxins to suddenly just let go of everything. I am not saying it was easy for me but I had to choose my life over my things. I hope he is able to come around and understand. This is such a difficult thing to wrap one’s head around. I wrote a post about the methoselioma and how they talked about families of someone who worked in asbestos and that the asbestos could also make family members sick via transportation to the home on clothes. I am not sure which post it was but will try to find it and reblog it. I think mycotoxins and cross contamination may eventually be understood but it may be a while as it took so long for asbestos and lung cancer to be understood.

      • Melissa,
        Since I have experienced the “indifference” to my mold allergies from family and friends that you seem to be experiencing from your husband at this time, I felt the need to encourage you if possible.

        First, let me give you a brief explanation of how I got exposed to clarify so you can understand how I came to part with all my belongings.

        My first exposure began in 1998 at a church I attended. But until the floor in the kitchen rotted through and was removed in 2008, I was unaware of the mold exposure, and up to that point did not connect all my symptoms from 1998 to 2008 with the mold.

        My second exposure began in 2007 when I went back to work full time and I did not know that I was being exposed there until the same week the rotted floor was removed at church.

        The mold exposure at the church was so huge….a 25 by 25 foot area of solid toxic mold all over the crawl space under that floor laying exposed while a 150 people were attending church….which translates into billions of billions of mold spores in the air inside that church building and this in turn made my histamine levels go so high in my body that it literally put me into shock….anaphalaxis shock to be exact. When that happened my body then reacted to any other mold exposures in like fashion….meaning that I then began reacting at work to the mold I did not know was there as well.

        All total, I had 3 anaphalaxis reactions in that one week and was in the ER twice, which resulted in my doctors forbidding me to re-enter either building until I was tested and confirmed allergic to mold and that the buildings were tested and cleared of toxic mold spores.

        From August 2008 I have never re-entered either building again. And other than one other anaphalaxis reaction I had in Dec of 2008 in my car due to cross contamination, I have not had any more anaphalaxis reactions.

        This is because once I removed myself from the source of my exposures and got rid of all my belongings that were cross contaminated, plus due to ending up jobless and homeless, we ended leaving our home state of IL, and at the advice of my allergist and primary care physician we moved to the southwestern part of the US where my body got a big rest from my allergies of tree and grass pollens on top of mold pollens and began to heal at least that part of my symptoms. We stayed there a year, then moved to TX. After that, my histamine levels continued to come down to normal levels so much so that the threat of anaphalaxis seems to be no longer an issue for me now for the past 4 years.

        So to reiterate abit for clarity…I was not exposed at my home, but due to my husband and I being in the church 3 times a week we both brought home a lot of mold spores on our clothes and on our shoes. This got in our cars, and all over our furniture….anything that is pourous and over the years, those spores began to grow and propogate and multiply in our home. Then I went to work in another moldy building so I went from staying home full time to working full time and bringing all that mold to my home as well. So that is how I cross contaminiated my home.

        One of the most hurtful, cruel experiences of my mold exposure was that when I showed my Pastor my biopsy results from Dr. Croft and my allergy tests from my allergists, was that he responded that it was all in my head and proceeded to try and convince my husband right in front of me that I was crazy. This is the complicated and very lengthy part of my story, so I will try to just hit the high points and hope you can make sence of it all in regard to what it might explain about your own situation.

        This pastor knew full well he had mold, that it was a serious health threat, but most of all a threat to his “life’s work and ministry” if he lost all his buildings to mold or if due to believing me that they came to believe that the mold was a serious health risk so much that they would not attend church in a moldy building….so he needed to make everyone doubt me. He was in denial or at the worst did not care about his people as long as he was not getting sick himself.

        Now to the next problem you are having in regard to your husband’s reactions to all of this. I am no expert in psychology, and that is my disclaimer here…. but it could be possible that your husband is in a state of denial about the mold. It could be out of fear for you and your children in regard to your health and that his anger is more at the situation than it is towards you personally, or it could because of what it would mean financially to him to accept the truth that your belongings need to be gotten rid of. Men tend to put their identities in what they own and their jobs….it is not as easy for them to part with either as it feels like failure to them.

        There is much written on the internet about what dangers toxic mold represents to children, especially infants…do all you can to educate yourself and your husband in this area for now….it is your biggest threat and what you both need to be most concerned about more than what to do with your belongings for now. Perhaps the contaminated belongings can go into storage temporarily so that your husband can have time to digest this all and come to a place of agreement with you on what is safe for you all to do at some point in the future when you are both more emotionally able to cope with making those decisions together.

        Your situation is not hopeless…complicated and difficult yes…. but certainly not hopeless! Again just take it a day at a time and don’t let fear and worry get ahold of your mind about tomorrow. 90% of what I feared about all my tomorrows 5 years ago never happened and I find I am a lot happier with having less and being able to live such an uncomplicated and stress free life right now. Not to mention I am much healthier because I was forced to make some life style changes because of my mold exposure that I would not of otherwise made.

        You have come to a good place here with Kathy and the rest of us where you will find friendship and support whenever you have need of it.

      • Well said Patricia. My daughter and I were talking just a few days ago about how long I had been in this “safe” place. She thought it was 6 years and I had to tell her it will be ten years this coming December.

        What you said about researching is exactly what I did. I read everything I could find on mold. I read other saying bleach was okay to get rid of it only to learn that was wrong. But there is a good bit of information out there as well. I wish I had all the papers that I had printed about molds and their toxic effects for my attorney when I went to court. All of those papers are either in a storage box with my court papers or they have since been lost or destroyed with lots of other papers that I couldn’t keep.

        I will try and see if I can retrace some of the information that I found useful. When I do, I will post it here on the site. I just spent an hour and a half doing an online course to be able to do presentation on google hangout on air. I hope to in a few months time be able to either do a hangout discussion on air or do a reading on air that everyone will have access to. Please continue to comment here and feel free to email as I mentioned in an earlier comment via my website contact section.

  9. Hello Melissa,
    This is Patricia, Kathy mentioned me to you in her last post. It has been 4 years since my husband and I had to get rid of all of our furnishings and personal belongings due to cross contamination from Toxic mold exposures in our church and at my work place. I also cross contaminated my car and this resulted in my going into anaphalaxis shock while driving my car. A year after all of this happened, my husband was laid off and we ended up also losing our home and being homeless for awhile. But still as bad as this sounds, I can not imagine having to deal with toxic mold when my children were still at home. You see, I am 58 and so my husband and I just had to worry about ourselves. My heart really breaks for you! Especially in light of you expecting a baby soon as well! My best advice to you is to learn all you can about toxic mold because it is true, knowledge is power. Then from that position of power, do whatever you decide is best for your family and don’t look back for awhile, just keep putting one foot in front of the other one and take it a day at a time. Don’t dwell on the losses or let all the losses over shadow the wonderful blessing that a new baby brings! My husband likes to say “he has never saw a hearse pulling a UHaul to the cemetery” whenever we look back at the losses….things are just things….but kids and babies are the most priceless gift God gives us!!

    • Patricia – I was hoping that you would hop in here and comment. Thank you so very much. I love the saying about the hearse pulling a UHaul to the cemetery. That is a very good way of thinking about the losses. And I, too, was fortunate in that my girls were already out of high school when the craziness began.

      • Thank you both for the encouragement. I think the bed will have to go back. What a pain. I have no idea what we can sleep on. There is another natural bedding store I will try there. But if it is the organic cotton am I just left with having to hope that the chemicals bug me less? So frustrating.

      • There are no 2 of us alike Melissa in how we react to things after our exposures from what I have noted the past 5 years. While some things work well for all of us like reducing our exposures to things we react to, in my case I do not seem to have the extreme problems with MCS that others do. That is not to say I am not MCS, just not as much.

        My point being, when it comes to reducing our exposures to specific things, that seems to be on a case to case basis. What works for me might not work for you, so with that in mind, an air mattress has worked well for me, but some of us here who sleep on them have had to lay theirs out in the sun for days and let it gas off before using. To date, I have never had to let one gas off before using it. Yet I can be just as sensitive to certain other chemicals as Kathy is for instance….the key is to get so familiar with all of your symptoms and stay tuned in so vigilantly that you can hear what your body is telling you in time to avert a crisis!

        For example, if I start coughing and have my throat filling up suddenly with phlegm, I immediately know there is mold where I am and the quicker I get symptoms usually indicates the degree of the exposure and I know if I don’t get out of the area and use my inhaler asap, I am going to be in a crisis situation sooner or later.

        On the other hand if it is a rainy day, I will slowly fill up the more I am outside in the rain and it has nothing to do with mold, but with the humidity and this is not usually a situation that turns into a crisis for me but more of an minor situation that needs to be addressed with simply going back inside where it is less humid. This takes time and paying attention to your body’s signals.

        I wish we could just give you definitive answers and lists of dos and don’ts but we can’t. If you like to learn and research things, then this journey won’t be such a challenge for you. If however, learning and research is not your thing, as with all things we don’t like to do, recognize this is the first obstacle you need to overcome….but as with all lessons in life you will benefit greatly from learning it as quickly as you can.

      • We were using an air mattress. That bothered me too. The chemical smell was awful. And it is really bad to breath the polyurethane fumes. As far as research I have lived and breathed researching mold for 4 months. I’ve talked to a toxicologist, seen an environmental medicine doc and spent 30 hours in a classroom learning to be a healthy homes volunteer so I might help others see this monster before it destroys their life as it is doing to mine. I feel that even after searching out all of the resources above I still can’t find any help. My daughter keeps saying she doesn’t feel good. Her eyes and nose are runny and she coughs. No one seems concerned. I wish I had never made my husband go into the crawlspace. Maybe just living with the mold would have been easier since then I was only affected at home. Now I feel it almost everywhere.

      • Melissa – I had to air my mattress out for a long time in the heat before I could tolerate it. I am learning that I need to have another one aired out as a back up plan because after using daily, they don’t last much more than a year for me. Before I was able to tolerate the air mattress I slept on a metal cot with cotton blankets folded up on it as a mattress. I know others who have bought used box springs minus the fabric and covered them in blankets. The list goes on an on about what we can and cannot tolerate. Sadly as Patricia talks about there is no one size fits all answer. We all share our information in hopes that what we do may help someone. I have had different ideas suggested to me. Some I knew I would never be able to do and others I tried (some with success and others will failure).

        Another follower of this blog and with a blog of her own, Miche, is a mold survivor and hopefully she will pop in and share some information as well. I do feel for you and your family more than I can say in words.

        What most don’t realize or many doctors don’t even realize is that once we remove ourselves from the mold and start to get some of the toxins out of our body, the true damage and chemical sensitivities can show up any time from two to twelve weeks later.

        Are you in the US? If so what state?

      • Melissa,
        You are so right in your assessment of the conventional medical community as a whole not being able to help us. I believe it comes from ignorance more than anything, they mean well, but as Kathy said in one of her above posts, toxic mold is the 21st century’s asbestos. 40 years ago, I did not think twice about asbestos and would have most likely scoffed that it could hurt you, but now we all know better. Ignorance in the doctor’s office about toxic mold is just something most of us have experienced as well.

        I remember my own ignorance in the early weeks after I got exposed and was so sick, it’s only by the grace of God that between my ignorance and the ignorance of one particular allergist I was sent to see of how to test someone as allergic as I am to certain species of toxic mold that I am even still alive. That is why I try to stress so strongly that you have to research and educate yourself so much, as ignorance in the medical community almost killed me 4 times in the first 6 months! That is not an exaggeration, I am most serious! After 2 narrow escapes in the ER, I learned to carry my medical records and biopsy results because ER doctors would not believe me that I was having anaphalaxis, and instead treated me for panic and anxiety attacks!

        You sound like a very giving caring person! May I say thank you for your efforts to educate the public about toxic mold!! I was not aware that there was such a class, but it is certainly needed!

        Just as food for thought in regard to your daughters current symptoms, mold exposure can also cause damage in the digestive tract which can possibly manifest as food allergies. There is much they are still learning about this, but it is due they believe to the fact that much of our grain is stored on the ground and gets moldy. The FDA allows the grain we eat to be 2% full of mold. Also there is now the GMO grains to be considered in food allergies. Kathy and I both have very restricted diets now that we have been exposed to toxic mold.

        I am totally grain free and dairy free and believe it is in part due to the mold in grain that I can no longer eat it. Food allergies can produce the symptoms you are describing in your daughter. As I said, just food for thought.

        I also have had much better results with the homeopathic, holistic, alternative medical community in my healing and as a result have not seen a conventional medical doctor since my last required WorkComp visit 4 years ago. Massage and Aromatherapy also was a huge help in getting me back in better health in the first year after I got exposed. I believe Kathy does acupuncture.

        I know it feels like you will never feel better again, but your body needs to have time to heal and then it will quit reacting so much and making you feel like there is no safe place for you to be. Many of us have found most of all that the state of mind we are in plays the biggest factor in our health and healing on a day to day basis. Staying positive and hopeful is the best medicine of all!

        Sending love and hugs to you…..we do understand how you are feeling right now dear girl!!

      • Thanks again Ladies. The baby is here now he’s doing great. My husband went and exchanged the bed and box springs. The store owner said it could have been a glue used in the last box springs or some synthetic material on the first mattress that we reacted to. I agree that maybe it could have been the organic cotton on that bed as well. So far this bed is great, it’s been only one night but I’m still in here resting and don’t seem bothered by it. I have added probiotics to our diet. I will try again with the milk, I have never eliminated grains from her diet. I only buy organic grains and dairy so GMO is less of a concern but I have also read about mold in our foods. I stopped giving her dried fruit and took up canning last year. I will see how far I get trying to eliminate grains.

      • Congratulations upon the birth of your son!! It is so good to hear that you have a bed now to rest on, as us “mother hens” here have all been concerned about how difficult things have been for you and your family recently!

        It takes a while to get the grain out of the digestive track, so give it at least a 30 day try and see how it goes. This way if you should decide to reintroduce grains after that time frame, if there is an allergy, reintroducing things one at a time makes it easy to identify specifically what the problem is.

      • Melissa – I will find my post about the mold-free diet. I have been away from the computer and am inundated with emails and paperwork. I also promised to look up something from a previous post. I have all my posts copied and printed and can also find them by category. I will make this a priority tomorrow unless I can get to it tonight.

        I am so glad that you and the baby are doing well and that you seem to have found a mattress.

        I take probiotics as well. When you eliminate, try to eliminate one thing at a time and then reintroduce them one at a time to see how she does.

      • Melissa – I have just reblogged the post about the Mold-Free diet. Now I am going to read through the comments and find the other post that I promised to share.

      • Patricia – it is so true how this illness is so different amongst us. Your mold reaction is different than my mold reaction.

    • Yes, I live in WA.

  10. Wow… Something to think about.

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