Unfortunately, the reality is that half of the buildings we live in are water- damaged, causing mold and mold illnesses to the ones which are more prone to it. Considering the fact that most of us spend a lot of time indoors, in our offices, or at home, we should all learn how to reduce this harmful influence.
Namely, mold toxicity is classified in the large category of biotoxin illnesses and is otherwise known as Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS).
Ritchie Shoemaker, MD, the author of 8 books on the theme, including Surviving Mold: Life in the Era of Dangerous Buildings, defines CIRS as follows:
Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) is “an acute and chronic, systemic inflammatory response acquired following exposure to the interior environment of a water-damaged building with resident toxigenic organisms, including, but not limited to fungi, bacteria, actinomycetes, and mycobacterium as well as inflammagens . . . . “
Dr. Shoemaker also comments that: “24 percent of people cannot make adequate antibody responses, and they’re the ones that comprise over 95 percent of people who have an illness from water-damaged buildings.”
Hence, we will now explain the role of DNA and its impact on the susceptibility to mold illness.
As stated by Dr. Shoemaker as well, around 24 percent of the population is genetically susceptible to mold toxicity, as they have an immune response gene (HLA-DR).
Therefore, people with these genes have an increased risk of mold illness. This subgroup includes 95% of the cases of mold illness.
Also, there is 2 percent who are especially prone to it and have a “sicker quicker” variation of these genes. What’s more, if you are not vulnerable to mold illness, it still does not mean that you have zero chances to suffer from it.
In the case of mold vulnerability, people cannot recognize specific toxins as toxins, like mold, and they get recirculated in the body. Consequently, toxins lead to a continuing inflammatory response.
Mold illness from water-damaged buildings is a severe health issue, as it is a state of chronic inflammation due to a weakened immune system, and it does not heal on its own, provoking various illnesses if left untreated. The illness is built into the DNA and as soon as it is activated, the symptoms and the inflammatory response may last too long.
The diagnosis of CIRS is established if the patient meets all the criteria above:
- Abnormalities documented by Visual Contrast Sensitivity (VCS) tests.
- A genetic predisposition to biotoxin-related illness, on the basis of an identification of an HLA susceptible haplotype.
- History, symptoms, and signs of biotoxin exposure. The history should involve exposure to toxin-producing molds as documented by the EPA-approved ERMI testing. Also, in the case of microcystin, ciguatera, etc., the history involves likely exposure or laboratory evidence of exposure.
- Biomarkers consistent with the vascular, neuroimmune, and endocrine abnormalities specific to CIRS. In the case of consistent biotoxin exposure, an abnormal VCS test, or a susceptible genotype, you will probably show the laboratory abnormalities seen in CIRS.
Hence, if you suspect that you are exposed to mold and experience some symptoms, you should do the following:
- Learn and research everything about mold illness.
- Test the presence of mold in the home. You can find an environmental professional to inspect the home or your office, or do an ERMI test. The cost of this test is $325 and you can do it by yourself, and if it is positive, you should hire a professional to solve the problem.
- You can work with a clinician trained in the Shoemaker Protocol, and examine your susceptibility to mold illness.