When health issues exist it's important to consider the environment. Radon, asbestos, and lead are commonly considered. Mold and its contaminants are not. Pesticide use is also critical. Toxicologist Dr. Jack Thrasher offers these six questions for anyone attempting to correlate an illness with the environment.
1. Have you used a pesticide applicator to treat for any type of insects and/or spiders? Inside the home or outside the home?
2. Are you on a septic tank system and do you have sewage-type odors?
3. Has there been water damage? If so, where was the water damage? Molds will grow in wall cavities where moisture accumulates and stays. Other hidden places are back side of carpeting, attic and crawl space. Have these areas been tested?
4. Is there a possibility that you have a defective water heater or heating system in the home? There is a possibility of carbon monoxide.
5. Has your home been tested for molds as follows: wall cavities, attic, crawl space, carpet dust, bulk samples? If so, has the lab determined both genus and species of the molds?
6. Has your home been tested for bacteria at the same time that testing for molds was done? Many of the bacteria present in water-damaged homes and buildings are potential human pathogens. They also produce toxins, and their toxins interact with mold toxins, making both more toxic.
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