Shedding light on deadly mold

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    The article on mold by Rick Wallace begs to be answered. The mold situation is far too serious to be dealt with without being familiar with all pertinent data.

    His concern that the toxic mold’s effect on human health spells added problems to the real estate market and increased related paperwork is understandable. But trying to allay people’s fears with misinformation is ill-conceived and, ultimately, counterproductive. The statement that there are no blood tests available to determine the presence of mold in one’s system is incorrect, as Dr. Gary Ordog, medical director of the Department of Medical Toxicology, can tell you, ditto Dr. Eckardt Johanning, director of Occupational and Environmental Health Center in Albany, among others. My toxicological tests showed the presence of the same molds found in the walls of my home. And the last tests done a couple of months ago still show the presence of Stachybotris atra in my system. Those predisposed to doubt these molds can seriously damage one’s health, just consider the reports that the military used Stachybotris three decades ago in the manufacture of lethal chemical weapons.

    Dr. Jay Portnoy’s reported statement that “we just don’t know for sure if there is long term health damage from mold exposure,” flies in the fact of facts as anyone interested in the matter can easily ascertain by consulting physicians such as Dr. Ordog, Dr. Johanning, et al., who specialize in this field.

    Yes, molds have been with us since time immemorial but the reason we see more of these molds lately is the result of the kind of building material we use. Drywalls, for instance, are especially hospitable to the spread of these highly toxic molds.

    What we should be aware of is that the most critical aspect is the length of the victim’s exposure to these molds. In other words, the longer you remain in a building infested by toxic molds,

    In my own case, digestive problems resulted in a cirrhotic liver that finally crashed and a liver transplant was viewed as the only means of saving my life. By that time, however, I was in such poor physical shape, surgery of this kind was out of the question. I owe my life, such as it is today, to the strictest, punishing diet while I wait for a suitable liver.

    Most of my doctors couldn’t figure out how or why my liver deteriorated so rapidly. But the EPA knew. As soon as they heard bout my case, they urged me to immediately move out and leave everything behind. They warned me that these toxins could kill me. As one of the EPA experts explained it to me: Eating poisonous mushrooms destroys your liver. Mold, belonging to the mushroom family, has the same effect when ingested. Inhaling the spores has the same effect except it takes longer before the damage is felt.

    Until the mold invaded my home, I couldn’t have been healthier. To go from a health conscious, energetic, athletic person weighing 112 to a 90-pound skeleton on the verge of death within a year of exposure told me something had to be wrong in my environment. It wasn’t until EPA entered the picture that I realized what it was.

    All I can do is hope that through my example, you will be more aware, cautious and demand that the government takes a stand on the issue and protects us.

    Erna Segal