To get the full show notes for this episode, make sure to visit https://antiaginghacks.net/podcast/how-to-avoid-mold/
[Sponsor message: To get thicker, fuller and stronger hair, make sure to check out https://fullyvital.com]
Jason Earle is an indoor air quality crusader, he is founder & CEO of GOT MOLD?, and the creator of the GOT MOLD?® Test Kit.
To get Jason’s mold test kit, go to https://gotmold.com/antiaginghacks
2:25 Jason Earle’s Background
19:10 How Does Mold Impact Humans?
27:00 How Does Mold Start In A New Construction
37:05 If You Move Into A New Building, Can You Do Anything?
45:42 Wood Floors Or Cement Floors or Tile floors?
48:07 What About Moving Into An Old Home, Office Or Apartment Building?
54:30 How Bad Is The Mold In Your Basement?
1:00:25 How Fast Can Mold Grow In A House?
1:03:35 Where Should You Live If You Want To Avoid Mold?
1:10:20 How Jason Helps Individuals Find Mold At Home
To get the full show notes for this episode, make sure to visit https://antiaginghacks.net/podcast/how-to-avoid-mold/
Anti-Aging Hacks Podcast
Thu, Jul 27, 2023 12:10PM • 1:18:08
mold, building, people, vocs, crawlspace, years, air, put, carpet, good, test, moisture, smell, built, life, kit, materials, health, building materials, basement
Jason Earle, Faraz Khan
Faraz Khan 00:00
Hey, so this week’s episode is about mold, where mold comes from how it gets into your house, or apartment building, or even your office building, and what you can do to test for it without breaking the bank, and steps you can take to reduce the effects of mold inside your home so you can keep yourself and your family save as much as possible. This episode contains a lot of practical tips that anybody can follow quite simply, it’s a very important episode that I hope that you listen to. Hey my friend getting older sucks.
And the big question is this. How do you stay young for as long as possible and have beautiful skin and hair all day energy, create a healthy body and keep your mind sharp so you can feel confident and live your best life for much longer. On this podcast, I interview the world’s top experts in health, anti aging longevity and get them to share their secrets. Join me on this journey to bring you easy and practical tips that you can use to look and feel young for a long time. I am your host for Faraz Khan. Welcome to the anti aging hacks podcast. Are you looking to get thicker, fuller and stronger hair naturally without using any hormones or drugs.
After years of painstaking research, we’ve created 100% Natural Hair wellness system called fully vital. I’ve been using it to keep my hair thick and healthy. See how it works and how you can use it to get thicker and healthier hair as well at fullyvital.com and use code anti aging hacks for 15% off your purchase. Hello, and welcome back to the Anti Aging Hacks podcast today I’ve got a mold expert. His name is Jason Earle. And he’s a man on a mission.
He’s an adoring father of two young boys, incurable entrepreneur and indoor air quality Crusader. He is the founder and CEO of Got Mold? and the creator of the Got Mold? Test Kit the realization that has moldy childhood home was the underlying cause of its extreme allergies and asthma led him into the healthy home business in 2002, leaving behind a successful career on Wall Street.
Over the last two decades, Jason has personally performed countless sick building investigations, solving many medical mysteries along the way, helping 1000s of families recover their health and peace of mind. He has featured or appeared on Good Morning America, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, the Dr. Oz Show, Entrepreneur, Wired and more. With that said, Jason, welcome to the anti aging hack show.
Jason Earle 02:37
So good to be here. Thanks for having me, Faraz.
Faraz Khan 02:39
For sure. And you and I met a few months ago at a conference here in Austin. And I got to learn a little bit about your background. But for the listeners, tell us about your background and how you got into the mold business business of all things.
Jason Earle 02:52
Yeah, thank you for that. And it was a pleasure meeting you at the at the conference, I’m so glad we’re able to reconnect here today. So mold is a kind of a funny business, because there isn’t really an academic track for this. At least there wasn’t when I got started. So it’s sort of a multidisciplinary field, right? Because you have to understand a lot of our buildings, and then the human biology and how those things interact. And then of course, the microbial side of things. And so there’s no there’s no straight line to learn all about this.
And so as a result, most of the people that are doing great work in this space tend to come to it from a perspective of personal experience where they’ve kind of fumbled around and learned to either help themselves or someone that they love and care about navigate this subject because it is very confusing. And there’s a tremendous amount of misinformation on the internet, I would argue that probably 95% of what you read online is false. Because largely, it’s driven by people that either have a financial ulterior motive to sell you something that may or may not be an actual solution. Or, you know, there’s a lot of fear from both people that are selling stuff, but also people that are experiencing and have yet to find a resolution and so those tend to be the noisiest voices.
And so, so my story backing up began when I was a little kid, I was the almost four years old, living in a on a little hobby farm, essentially, in an animal rescue facility in central New Jersey right next to Princeton. And I had lost a lot of weight in a three week period, but 30% of my body weight and total according to my parents, and I was having difficulty breathing. So they took me to the pediatrician who said, you know, you really need to take him to Children’s Hospital, which is a renowned respiratory clinic in Philadelphia. And so they did and initial diagnosis based upon the symptoms that I was presenting with.
And the family history family history was that I had cystic fibrosis, which is a terminal illness. Certainly it was a death sentence back then it’s more treatable now. But it hit my dad particularly hard because he had four of his cousins died WCF before the age of 14, so this is something that that that was already on their radar, right? They already knew that this is a risk. And so it was their worst nightmare coming true. And I have a four year old boy and even telling that story now gives me a little misty eyed, you know, it could chokes me up a little bit because they cried for six weeks while they waited for a second opinion.
And thankfully, and evidenced by the fact that I stand here today, 47 years old, I did not have CF do not have CF. Rather, what I had was asthma, compounded by pneumonia, which was also my first big dose of antibiotics, which we can dig into later, it’s got some relevance. And, and I tested positive for every single thing that they tested me for for allergies. So it was one of my formative memories, were they they wrap you in a house as a toddler so they they wrap you in like a papoose or like a straitjacket for toddlers and a house to describe it with an open back. And I remember the smell, this is really like a very vivid memory for me, and I don’t recall anything prior.
And then they they draw a grid on your back and essentially tests you with all these antigens, and that my dad said, I looked like a ladybug, with just big red, swollen back and thoughts all over it. And I was I tested positive for grass, wheat, corn, eggs, dogs, cats, cotton, so my clothes are itchy. Soybeans, and I was surrounded by all those things in great abundance. You know, we lived on this little farm, surrounded by cornfields and soybean fields and dogs and cats and current grass and weed and corn and eggs and all that stuff. And so I essentially lived on inhalers until I was about 12. At which point my folks split up, and I moved out, and all my symptoms went away.
And it wasn’t instant. But it was fast enough now in retrospect, that somebody probably should have connected the dots but instead it was just chalked up to what they call spontaneous adolescent remission, which is a fancy medical word for we don’t know what the hell happened. And my grandfather had also had a similar remission of his asthma when he was a kid. And so we just chalked it up to that grandpa group Papa Grata his, his asthma and so the same thing happened to you. And so, so fast forward a little bit, I was dying, my mom died suddenly, this is also relevant for the story, she committed suicide when I was 14, in that same house, and and then I was diagnosed with Lyme disease a year later, which is a very common co infection or a so called a a overlapping, overlapping disease, mold illness and Lyme disease often, often occur simultaneously for reasons we can dig into, and that are still poorly understood.
But there’s enough out there that people are starting to starting to understand a little more about that. And then, I was essentially forced to drop out of high school because I missed so much school because of my mom’s death and Lyme disease, that I ended up working full time at the gas station in our by by the train station in our town where I met a guy who came to, recruited me to come work for him on Wall Street. So this is a story for another podcast. But I was 16. And he recruited me and I went to go work with him. And a year later, I was unknown, I unknowingly became the youngest licensed stock broker in history with a Guinness World Record.
Wow. And yeah, I’ve got the data on my wall here, but that in $1.50, oh, by a half a slice of pizza in New York City these days. So I did that for nine years and had a really nice career and, and enjoyed myself until until I didn’t and that was right when the.com bubble burst and and I quit a month before September 11, which was good timing. I commute through that building every day for for the better part of a decade. And I decide to go on a walk about and when traveling, and while I was away, I ended up in Hawaii, and I was on Oahu in the shadow literally of the Hilton Kalia tower, which is their flagship property, Hilton’s flagship property. And while on Waikiki Beach.
And if you’ve ever seen postcards of Waikiki Beach, there’s out there’s a there’s a hotel with a rainbow on it. And that’s the building. And, and I was reading a lot of local newspapers and a lot of time on my hands. And there are lots of stories about this building, which had been shut down for a big mold problem. Initially, they thought it was about a half million dollar problem. And then as it began opening the walls, as is typical with with hidden mold issues, especially if it’s caused by a building the fact that traps water in the walls.
It’s like Pandora’s box. And so went from 500,000 to 5 million to $55 million in total remediation costs. Yeah, it was insane. So it was really big news. It was actually international real estate news, right? Nobody who was in the real estate business was unaware of this at the time. But I happen to be there at essentially, you know, mold ground zero, right. And this is just right after September 11. So I don’t want to mix those those turns up, but the point is that I was there reading the stories about people who had been affected by it.
And one particular anecdote popped out and it was about a gentleman who had And in his 40s had been an employee there had been sick and he blamed the mold. And the thing that really jumped out was that he had developed adult onset asthma, and all of these allergies that he had never had before all these sensitivities, foods and things like that. And it was like a lightbulb moment for me, right? I immediately became curious. I thought, jeez, I wonder if I wonder if that was my problem at home, right? Because we knew nothing about mold. I mean, I was a 1970s kid, right? There was just, there was no awareness whatsoever.
So I called my dad from a payphone which probably isn’t there anymore, and said, Hey, do you think we had a mold problem? Old Trenton road? And he just laughed, he thought, you know, he’s, he goes, of course, we have mushrooms in the basement. Why do you ask? And I said, What do you think that was what made me sick, and he goes, Well, I couldn’t have helped, you know, to know, my dad has to love him. I mean, that’s the typical 1970s parent, you know. So. So I immediately became fascinated with the idea that the buildings that we live in work in can actually make you sick. And later, I became more fascinated with the idea that the buildings that we live in work in can actually heal you that they can actually contribute to wellness.
You know, it’s just like a vitamin deficiency can contribute to disease, and so, so So, so a well nourished body contributes to wellness, right, but we always think about the disease part instead of the wellness part. And, and so, so that began a mission 20 something years ago, now that I’m still very much on, and that curiosity and passion and enthusiasm for healthy buildings and for mold. I mean, honestly, mold is a fascinating subject. You know, it’s one of these things that the more you think the more you learn about it, the more amazing it is.
And, and people have have it wrong in the sense that they vilify mold, mold, not doing anything to you, it’s just doing its thing. The fact is that you create an environment that’s conducive to its growth and your house, that’s your problem. It’s not trying to attack you, this is not a personal thing. It just happens to be the we live in. And we should live in cohabitate on this planet, and a healthy balance with fungi. And, and when there’s an imbalance, fungi is very, very opportunistic, and will move very quickly. So anyway, I came back to New Jersey, armed with some curiosity, a lot of time on my hands a little bit of money, and decided to take a job working, I found an ad in the New York Times looking for a salesman for a basement waterproofing company that happened to be doing mold treatments.
And I was like, Oh, wow, I can, you know, earn while I learn a little bit here. And within, you know, weeks, I saw these guys were just a bunch of thugs, using chemicals instead of cleaning and leaving homes, often worse than then how they found them. And, you know, I came to this from a very personal perspective, right? I if I wanted to just make money, I’d still be on Wall Street. So I wanted to, to, to, to work towards, you know, what I now call benevolent capitalism, you know, doing well, by doing good while having a great time doing it. And that was my mission, I wasn’t interested in doing anything else.
And so, you know, shortly thereafter, I recognized that, as with all environmental hazards, lead, paint, asbestos, things like that, in the beginning, it’s a wild wild west situation, everyone’s out there, trying to make as much money cleaning this stuff up, it’s very, you know, it’s expensive, so it’s profitable. And put over time, what happens is regulations kick in, and when they do, they invariably say, You are either an inspector, or you are a mediator. And you need to be you need to be one or the other. And so licensing kicks in and things like that. And that’s because there’s a lot of room for abuse in these things.
If you have to test an environment to get paid, well, then you can skew those results to get paid. And so there’s there needs to be some sort of checks and balances in there. And so I recognized that because on Wall Street, I had done some environmental investing. And so I was aware that that was going to happen. At some point in the future, I didn’t realize how far in advance I didn’t realize how early I was, honestly, I thought, well, this is just a no brainer. It’s obvious, I mean, but it’s not so obvious until recently, honestly. And so I decided to start at night, I was doing a lot of research and I was taking classes wherever I could, and building science classes and stuff like that.
And doing a lot of self self learning a lot of you know autodidactic kind of stuff. I mean, I had the moisture control manual and the building science guidelines in my bathroom for like bathroom reading. You know, my girlfriend once was like, Why do you have these books in your bathroom? Like I’m a nerd. Nerd. Yeah. So so I decided to start doing inspections for free at night to help people out. Mostly like friends and family people I knew I’d lived in New Jersey pretty much my whole life. And and I didn’t have enough knowledge to really feel comfortable charging for people, charging people but over time, I started to really understand this a lot more and people started saying you know, I really should pay you for this.
And, and so I let them set the price and that became a Mold Inspection Company. And right around that time I heard about a guy who trained mold dogs, dogs specially trained to sniff out hidden mold in buildings and I thought, Man that is just crazy enough to be brilliant. Let me get down and check it out. And I went down to Florida, and met this guy named Bill wittstein, Florida cannon Academy and he trained dogs to find termites and bombs and drugs and you name it everything and so he just trained first mold dog and he introduced me to, to her Oreo.
This two year old little lanky, black lab had spent two times on doggy death row. And and he put her through 1000 hours of training. And I did not expect to come home with a mold dog but I did you bite her. Okay, water. 14,300 hours later, I was playing with it with a mole dog. So here I was the youngest licensed stockbroker in history with a mole dog and my parents, everyone else that I had lost my mind. Yeah. But before you knew it, man, people were like, Wow, he’s really onto something. Because within a few weeks of me being back in New Jersey, channel six Action News contacted us and they said, we heard about you and we want to come and do a piece. I was like, awesome. This is great. I didn’t even really set up a business. Yeah, this is amazing. And I didn’t realize it, but they were coming to debunk me.
They thought I was sneaky. They thought I was some sort of a charlatan. So what happened was I ended up they hit mold in the house. And instead of instead of us, instead of us. fumbling around, we actually found it like three minutes. And so instead of us getting debunked, they actually endorsed us. No way. Right. Yeah. So we got it, we ended up with this, this onslaught of local doctors and some, some consumers who have seen this, and they’ve been suspecting something was wrong. And so one particular case, this mother and daughter who had been gone through the mill, and the little girl had been hospitalized dozens of times.
And she always mom always suspected it was mold. We went in, found it got it remediated, she got better. We did it again, she got better. But she was so extreme in her in her disease that that became a Good Morning America episode. And then then we got invited to do Extreme Makeover Home Edition, which is what you what you mentioned in the introduction. And in this onslaught, this avalanche of of press came. And so that company, ultimately I was like a trial by fire thing, because at that point, I got so busy that I became, you know, I was doing four and five inspections a day, and we were just getting, we’re just swamped, I was so busy, I couldn’t even like hire someone.
And so I learned so much, mostly from the dogs, honestly, Oreo taught me where mold hides, it’s I learned about buildings through the through the perspective of a dog’s nose. It was it was absolutely the best thing I ever did. And so over time, that that, that that business was always very good domain, it also was very good to the people we served. But it always bothered me that the people who needed us the most are the ones who couldn’t afford it for us. And so and there were a lot of people outside of our coverage area that we couldn’t support. So people would often ask if there was a Mold Test Kit that we could recommend.
And so I I was unable to direct them to anything that I had confidence in. And so you know, people kept asking me that. And as you know, if 100 people a day, come up to your door, knock on your door and ask you for apple pie, you’d be a fool not to start making some apple pie. And so that’s exactly what we did. And we created in partnership with some of the best scientists in the industry. The Gottman test kit, which is at this point, the highest quality low cost, do it yourself at home kit on the market, which we launched last year. And it was really to answer this one concern, which is that my parents, my own parents could not have afforded to hire 100 got mold.
Right. And so here I am starting a company to help families navigate the situation. And the very same thing that my family went through. And yet, I made it cost it was cost prohibitive. And by the way, this is the industry why it wasn’t my company, it was so expensive, it’s too expensive for most people to get mold testing done. It’s the average inspections $1,500. And so so the Mold Test Kit is something that my parents could have been would have probably purchased. And so So anyway, that that’s what it comes down to is my mission in life, turns out is to help democratize the healthy home to make not only the tools available, but also the knowledge. So this is one of the reasons why I’m so excited to be here with you today.
Faraz Khan 19:08
Yeah, beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I honestly haven’t had that much experience with mold. I didn’t really bother to research that much about it in the past because I wasn’t affected by it. So I thought and then recently, I’ve had a friend that I see quite regularly and he’s gone through like you said mold and Lyme together for a number of years. And he’s been it’s been very, very challenging for just to hear him talk about it and all the research he had to do in health and wellness and all the biohacking that he had to do just to come to a place now where he feels healthy.
And still he’s sometimes he worries about his health because he’s like, what if it goes back to where it was? And so I didn’t know that mold was a pernicious problem or it could be for people. So why it’s or let me ask you this, how does mold impact the human organism? So you said it’s all running the environmental law? stuff, forest trees everywhere there’s mold in the in the air. So why does it go bad? And what are the symptoms of it when it goes bad?
Jason Earle 20:08
Well, I mean, this is a, there’s a big answer. And there’s a bunch of smaller answers. And so I’ll kind of try to, I’ll try not to go on and on about this. But basically, mold is essentially the precursor to decay. It’s the beginning of decay, and so on. And it’s simplest, it’s the simplest way to explain this is that decay is something that we we have a visceral repulsion to, right? Think about feces or vomit or or dead animal in the street, when you walk past it, this is a really powerful thing, right? That people get sick, or they, you know, nauseous, nauseous, and visceral repulsion is the best way I can say. And so so we are, I think, evolutionarily tuned into that. And so and what does our body do, when we get exposed to these kinds of things, it tends to shut things down, right? To protect it, right?
And so that’s what Sinusitis is your sinuses closed down asthma, right, that kind of thing. So in its simplest form, I like to think that this is an evolutionary reaction or evolutionary response to reduce exposure to something that’s, that’s, that’s causing you a problem. And so inflammation, you know, allergic reactions, these are the body’s in a disproportionate way of managing exposures that it doesn’t understand. So in a scientific manner, something that that’s well evidenced in literature, mold effects you through at least four different pathways.
So the allergic pathway, so upper respiratory dermis, skin reactions, hives, things like that, which, of course, also lent leads into inflammatory stuff. So like, asthma is both inflammatory and allergic, right. And so, so inflammatory pathways are abundant when it comes to mold exposure. And so that and that lends itself into leads itself into chronic illnesses of other sorts, right. And so you tend to see, things come up and surface like autoimmune diseases. And, you know, inflammation will also do things like create create, you know, other sort of nebulous symptoms, like headaches and, and fatigue, and difficulty concentrating, and some of the neurological stuff. And, of course, it leads to, you know, you’ve got all sorts of other tangential stuff that comes off of that.
So inflammation is the genesis of much disease. And so mold, mold tends to trigger a lot of that. And it also tends to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. So we already have a very high toxin load in our world, you know, they say, 60 80,000 new chemicals get released every year into our environment that we get exposed to and about only about 1500 are tested. This isn’t an incredible onslaught of toxicity. And, and so and we’re living in buildings that are largely chemical, you know, between the building materials and the furniture that we bring in, and the personal care products and cleaning products, and you name it.
And probably in proper ventilation, these things build up in our buildings. And so we get, we get loaded down with these things. And the mold tends to be the thing that comes in and kind of like, it tips the balance, and causes this sort of health crisis. And so that and that’s generally through an inflammatory pathway. And then you’ve also got the toxic pathway. So that is, you know, all of you, by the way, mold can affect you in all of these ways, at the same time, so you can have an allergic response and inflammatory response and a toxic toxin overload. And then there’s this fourth one that’s a little more nebulous. And that is where you end up with sort of more of an adrenal type of response.
And so this is like a fight or flight type of thing. And so these are, this is typically found in people that have end up with chemical sensitivities. So they become sensitive to fragrances and things like that. And their body tends to really overreact and they end up with panic and anxiety and emotional dysregulation. And that’s not well understood. And in the, in the in the typical sort of allopathic model, but it’s well understood by anyone who’s gone through it. And so but again, these things are rarely rarely happened individual on their own, and usually it’s, it’s a combination of these things, which is what makes it so overwhelming.
So you can have the allergic in that toxic an inflammatory response, and this adrenal sort of fight or flight thing, and it’s just so overwhelming. And, and so the other thing and going back to that, that whole thing, we’re mold, what it tends to do is bring out a latent symptom profile that may not have been visible or known to you prior and so we we tend to see things like fibromyalgia come up, you know, chronic fatigue syndrome, or M E, you know, and, and this is this is this is extremely common to see that that someone comes and you know, they’ve got all sorts of crazy stuff going on, and they can pin the the genesis of it on a water damage event, you know, or a basement apart meant that they lived in, you know, for too long, despite the warnings, despite the smells and the feelings and the, you know, the Avid visible evidence, you know, they just kind of am, well, you know, I can’t afford anything better, and so they just dismiss it.
But then that load becomes overwhelming that their body just goes up, you got to make a change here, you know. And so my experience has been that most people know when something is wrong, they don’t listen, they don’t listen to the signals. Yeah, more than for whatever reason. So the bottom line is a mold affects you in many, many different ways. It affects everybody differently. And that’s actually one of the reasons why there’s no regulations around tolerable levels are acceptable levels, because it’s a lot like, you know, peanuts, in the sense that some people love peanuts and can eat a lot of them. I mean, I can eat a half a jar of peanut butter at a sitting.
And, you know, shouldn’t do that, but I can often do, but and there are some people that can’t wouldn’t even be able to be next to me or, or, or let me breathe on them without an anaphylactic reaction after I had my fever. And so, you know, there’s this wide spectrum and mold tends to have something very, that has a sort of a similar spectrum in the sense of, you know, the sensitivities. And there are some people who can live in a black cave and seem to have no no material health problems. But what’s funny is that when you get those people into a healthy environment, suddenly they start saying, Wow, I’m really sleeping through the night. I’m not as I’m not as pissed off at the world, you know, my skin, I had this crazy skin issue that’s not here anymore.
And you realize that the person who was unaffected by that moldy building was affected their idea of their baseline health had gone so low, that they thought that that was normal, right. And once absent that chronic exposure, suddenly they reorder, and they and they reach equilibrium. And suddenly, these things start falling away, and they go home, wow, I’ve got energy, and I can think straight and, you know, I’m not fatigued. So the plant, you know, I can’t even get out of bed. And so so it affects everybody differently. But I’ve never seen a situation where he gives up, if you expose someone long enough that they’re not significantly affected, it will, it will eventually give it enough time, it will break anybody down.
Faraz Khan 27:00
Okay, got it. Good to know. Thank you. So let’s now understand you mentioned buildings and how mold is in buildings, and presumably homes or buildings as well. So it’s in there. Let’s say that some family is moving into a brand new home just just built, let’s say today completed, or a brand new apartment building, if that’s what they’re doing. So how does the problem of mold even start? When there was nothing to begin with? Is it the rainwater that’s coming in seeping through? Is it a leak in some kind of behind the wall somewhere? That starts at all but like, How does it start? And how does it spread? And how quickly does it spread?
Jason Earle 27:34
Well, so new construction, there’s a whole bunch of issues with new construction. Number one, is that buildings are built outside. Right, they’re not built inside, unless you’re unless you’re doing a prefab and you’re building in a factory and then assembling an on site, which is, by the way, good strategy if you’re if you’ve got the budget and the concern about this, right. So building indoors in the moving outdoors is actually better than building it outside and things on weather.
And then when you finally get a sunny day, and you’re ready to go, you know, put up the siding and put on the roof and stuff will stuff still wet, and are right there rules around this that are poorly enforced about, you know, testing the materials, but you only need to test a few of them and find a dry spot to give you the green light to close things up and you close up stuff that’s gotten wet and hasn’t been cleaned, then you’re going to end up with a high fungal load in the buildings in the building structure, you know. And then, and so once the building has been built, let’s say it has taken on water, which is kind of inevitable in most climates. And let’s say it was not properly dried, and clean before it was closed up, by the way, which is no building, no building that’s built, no builder ever stops and addresses these things. Okay, once you’ve closed everything up, there’s a few different things.
First of all, low quality construction is very common, you know, the artisan is dead. And so leaks happen very quickly in these buildings, because they’re built with cheaper, faster materials, and they’re built without a lot of care for best practices. I’ve seen so many situations where in windows are installed upside down, you know, just really dumb stuff, no flashing whatsoever. And these things don’t show up until there’s a really significant problem. And oftentimes, you know, you know, the leak can happen in a wall for you know, weeks or months or even years before there’s a visible manifestation.
Meanwhile, it’s off gassing the microbial gases that cause a lot of illness. And so, and contributing and also adding to this is a really important point, we talked about mold, but really I’m in the healthy building business, okay. And people call us for mold because that’s the hot button and because it’s got a distinctive smell and because it’s you know, it’s popular in the news.
But what’s what’s a what’s a real problem these days in modern construction and modern life again, going back to the chemicals is the VOCs volatile organic compounds and VOCs are just to define that for your audience are chemicals that, that at one temperature are liquid or even solid. And then and then when you raise the temperature, they they become gases. And so the most common one or the most popular one is alcohol. Right? So when temperatures liquid and then evaporates, and that becomes a gas. And an alcohol is a good example, because alcohol is also it’s an industrial solvent, but it’s also a microbial gas, it’s also microbial, right, we make this through fermentation.
And so, microbial gases are called M VOCs, microbial VOCs. And so, so when mold grows, it produces those VOCs. But But backing up to where I was going with this other piece, which is a blind spot, is that buildings in modern buildings are loaded with these compounds, and many of them are group one carcinogens. So for example, when you move into a new house or an apartment, a lot of people immediately they smell that new house smell. And they feel like I’ve arrived, you know, like, I’ve worked so hard for this my whole life, and it feels so good to walk in, and have that smell, I remember my first apartment, they just painted the walls, and I was like, this is awesome. And now I know that that that that smell, to me now doesn’t smell awesome. It smells like cancer. It smells like brain fog.
To me. It smells like emotional dysregulation is most like sleep disturbance or, or, or the inability to, to, to, to get out of bed, you know, fatigue. And so it’s really interesting, quick statistic on this, from 2000, from 1965 or so until about 2014 respiratory illness in the United States up 165%. Okay, this is basically, you know, in my lifetime, and, and death associated with respiratory illness is up 30%, that same period. And this is during a time of great medical innovation, right, where we’re seeing, you know, cancers getting eradicated and all sorts of diseases being you know, dealt with and in a much better way, with lower lower cases of morbidity. And this is pre COVID.
This is pre COVID. Yeah, yeah. And so And what’s also interesting about this is that during that same period, smoking, which is long been considered to be the leading cause of respiratory illness is down roughly 80% In that same period. And so you have to ask yourself, what is going on? And to me, it’s very clear, it’s the buildings are built out very tight since 1965. When, when, during that there was an energy crisis, right when the oil was became, you know, embargo. Yeah, we had all sorts of problems in the in the, in the late 60s and 70s.
And, so, so buildings became tighter, to continue to keep them comfortable to for energy efficiency. And so what that means is no air exchange, we also really launched this huge production of it, which is interesting, considering we had an oil issue, this huge production of, of petroleum based building products. And so, you know, the paints, and asphalt shingles and all that stuff really just like took over completely. And so our building materials got cheaper and faster, and lower quality and also more toxic, and are building material companies are not building material companies, they are chemical companies that make building materials, right?
This is like big food. Pharma. Same thing is a blind spot. But but are building material companies or chemical companies that make building materials and they have a innocent until proven guilty model, which is they’ve make it and if if they can, if you can prove it’s wrong, then sue me and then we’ll we’ll you know, we’ll talk about that later. And that’s asbestos and it’s all these other things where the damage is done long before anybody even blinks an eye. And so VOCs are a huge part of this. So moving into a new building. In fact, if anyone’s building a building or renovating a building, it’s very important to choose your materials in such a way that a they are molded. They are impervious to mold, so they don’t support fungal growth, which means regular sheetrock is bad stuff.
There’s alternatives. There’s paperless wallboard, there’s, there’s magnesium board, there’s all sorts of stuff like that you don’t need to use paper base wallboard, which is mold food, we build buildings out of mold food. One of my mentors says that we build self composting homes, just add water, you know, and we’ll take care of the rest. That’s right. Yeah. And it wasn’t even the dumbest of the three little pigs didn’t build this house out a paper. And we do that every single day at scale. And then we go in our bricks better. Bricks are better. So that’s what we did.
So we went from building out of bricks, stone plaster, you know, and even like slate roofs and you know, by the way, you go up into an attic that’s got a slate roof and you can see daylight what rains water doesn’t get in but if it does get into the wind blows and it dries out, no we there’s air exchange and there was something called drying potential so buildings that get wet could dry buildings. Now once it gets on the walls, we’ve got builders, we’ve got all sorts of layers on the outside, a lot of times they’ve got builders paper, or even, or, or Vapor retarders, or vapor barriers in really extreme climates.
And so basically, we wrap our buildings in a plastic bag, essentially. And then when water gets in the walls, it soaks into the insulation, which is like a sponge. And it sits against sheet rock, which is a perfect growth medium. I mean, this is like designed by mold, right? Like, like mold, you know, like the courting of The Last of Us where a quarter steps have taken over. Right? You know, the show on HBO? You know, I wonder mold colluded and got into the minds of the Building Material makers, contractor trades, because we now build perfect mold factories. And then we and then on top of it, we go in and we paint the surfaces with toxic chemicals.
And then we say why is everybody sick? Why is one out? Why are one out of three adult women going to get cancer in their lifetime. And I’m not talking about skin cancer, that’s not including skin cancer, and one out of two males our age it right now, our will is predicted to have a cancer and and in our lifetime. That’s insane. That is insane. It’s insane. Never happened before. It’s never happened before. And this is this is because we spend 90% of our time indoors. And and so this is you know, going going to the longevity thing.
We have disconnected ourselves from nature. We put rubber on the bottom of our feet. You know, we want to make sure we don’t have any dirt on our vegetables and our you know even though it comes from the dirt, we make sure we don’t have any dirt or anything like that. But the word human comes from humus which is soil, you know, in fact, almost all of the microbes that digest our food for us, our soil microbes, we are walking composters, we’re not doing the work. You know, we’re getting the benefits of this beautiful, beautiful symphony symphony of microbes that are doing this work for us. But yet we disconnect ourselves from it.
Faraz Khan 37:04
Let me ask you this, Jason. So a modern home that’s just been built for you, right? You’re moving into community as a family, or even as an individual, like, you can’t change any of this stuff. It’s already been done. It’s already been painted. It’s the you know, it’s the food drywall is food for the mold. I get it. What can you do as soon as you move in? To reduce this? Can you like just air it out for three days? Is there ways to limit mitigate the damage as much as possible? And still enjoy the new home? Or like are you doomed?
Jason Earle 37:35
Well, okay, so there’s, there’s a few things there too. So number one, is, unfortunately, these things take five in some cases, as long as 10 years off gas, it’s a really long process. And so, but there are things you can do. So when you have an air quality problem, and this is regardless of the type, so it doesn’t matter whether it’s mold, or VOCs, which are the big ones, you have three things you can do, you can either fix the source, or remove the source. So in the case, like where you got painted walls and floor finishes and stuff like that, you’re not removing the source, right? I mean, this is just not realistic. You’re not gonna take all the sheetrock out all the hardwood floors, or the carpet. And by the carpets of major problem.
Everyone’s smelled that new carpet. It’s just like, Oh, unbelievable, right? Like the fact that that’s even illegal is appalling. And so and by the way, if you get the government wants to really reduce health care costs and balance our budget and all that stuff, first thing you got to do is ban carcinogenic chemicals and building materials used indoors. I mean, coming to me a break, you know, like it’s a dumb thing. Why we’re allowed indoors indoors, I’m saying indoor building materials are used indoors in residential or even any building really we should not be there should be an absolute immediate moratorium on any carcinogenic chemicals being used in in buildings. It doesn’t make sense. It’s just on its face. No one can disagree with this. Yeah, so carp
Faraz Khan 38:57
I agree with you. 100% Carpets are bad short term and long term.
Jason Earle 39:01
The carpets are bad short term and long term. Because when they first put them in, they off gas. And when you keep them there for a long time they they harbor allergens. So they are literally a sponge, you can never clean carpet properly. And if you try to shampoo it, you’re actually introducing moisture into the into it, which exacerbates it. And also oftentimes any chemicals to clean by the way. And there’s no such thing as chemicals being used to clean because it leaves behind a residue, clean, does not leave a residue clean, doesn’t have a smell, you know, these are the things that these are false narratives that the cleaning industry has has pushed on us. And so carpet in general is bad news.
By the way, I happen to have carpet in this room, in my basement, in my kid’s room, you know, like this is we buy these houses, they have a legacy we don’t all have huge budgets. And so sometimes you have to make the most of it. So going back to the three things you can do with an air quality problem, you can remove the source, or you can dilute which means to bring in fresh air from outside. And so that’s difficult if you live in a place where you know like that basically sounds like opening windows. And that’s the that is an answer. In Some cases, but if it’s too hot, too cold or too humid outside, that’s not really a proper solution.
But there is equipment you can put in for that. And I’ll circle back to that. And the third thing you can do is you can filter the air. And so that means, you know, getting physically getting filters that will actually remove these pollutants. HEPA filters only take up particles, carbon takes out gases. So the solution for an air quality problem and modern buildings has to have both you have to have a HEPA filter to take out the particles, you have to have a carbon to take up the gases. And the carbon has to be replaced on a regular basis because it gets saturated very quickly.
Faraz Khan 40:35
Are those many, there are many companies selling those types of filters. And there are…
Jason Earle 40:40
okay, yep, there’s a there’s a IQ err is probably the most well known. And they’ve got probably the highest quality product. I don’t really love the company these days because of management. But I love the product, I healthpro Plus is the unit and also jasper and a few others. Air doctor is great. mattify also mattify air. So these are all very good companies. Awesome.
Faraz Khan 41:00
So going back to what you said about opening windows and you were going to come back to it. Is it a matter of opening a window for 20 minutes a day? Or are we talking six hours a day?
Jason Earle 41:09
As much as possible for two reasons. First of all, you want to dilute the air from outside and but also you want to bring the outside in a big thing that we do in our culture. Again, going back to the humaneness in humans and the fact that we’ve disconnected ourselves from our true heritage, which is that we are of the Earth, your earthlings, right? That’s right, we are literally so we we somehow or another separate ourselves from nature is probably the original sin is to think that we’re somehow different or above it.
And the the the the tool that’s used for, for proper ventilation for buildings that have an air quality problem that cannot be easily remediated with a source cannot be removed, is something called an energy recovery ventilator. There’s also another version of it called a heat recovery ventilator. And they have nuances between the two. But essentially what they both do is exhaust stale air, or, or toxic air and then bring in fresh air. Now you think, Well, I can just do that myself, you know, with a with a ventilator, but you can’t, because what you’re doing is blowing out all your energy, you’re blowing out your heat, or you’re blowing out your air conditioning, when you do that, and you’re bringing in air that’s unconditioned. And what these units do is they have a way to a heat exchanger.
And they’re able to transfer the energy from the air going out into the air coming in and also filter it and also deal with, with the using, like desiccant wheels and things like that, to be able to capture the moisture, and manage the humidity. So if it’s you can do this in really humid climates, down in your neck of the woods, I’ve consulted with a few people that have put your Garvey’s in, in their in their buildings. And the idea is that you’re getting air exchange, you’re turning it over so that you’re you’re able to, you know, at least dilute the fresh with fresh air. And so my suggestion would be if someone moves into a house, and you’ve got that new house smell, especially if you have any sort of sensitivities.
And by the way, a lot of people can develop sensitivities from these things, you know, like, Don’t think because you haven’t gotten sick from it that you won’t. These are cumulative things we breathe 13 to 15 times a minute, which means 20,000 times a day, you have to think about every single breath as a dose, and understand that air is never neutral. It’s either life giving and detoxifying and supporting longevity and a robust, high quality of life, or it makes you sick, there is no neutral. And it’s a really important point, people think that there’s some sort of like, you know, some zone in the middle where they can just ignore stuff. And it’s not true. This takes a proactive mindset. And so you’ve got the removal source, which is ideal, but not always possible or, or or practical.
You’ve got dilution, which usually, ideally require some sort of mechanical system so that you’re not having to think about it, opening your Windows is not, it’s not a sustainable long term strategy for this, especially if you’re talking about five or 10 years. And then also in the officer, you’re not getting the air manually going out a lot of times Eric comes in but doesn’t necessarily go out at the same rate. Even though technically speaking, if air comes in, it should leave. But you’re actually oftentimes just having pockets of the stuff lingering in other areas of the building.
So you’re only addressing the room that you’re in with the window or the door. And then and then you’ve got the and then you got filtration. And so my suggestion would be for people is to a stop bringing that stuff into the house. So become very aware of the materials and the building and the products, cleaning products, personal care products, building materials, especially if you’re doing a renovation, choose no VOC paints choose impermanent you know, inert materials. insulation, the pink and yellow stuff has formaldehyde in it.
Another group one carcinogen, right, we line our buildings with formaldehyde infused fluffy stuff. That’s crazy. And meanwhile in the next I have right right next, right next to that stuff at the building is the white stuff that doesn’t have formaldehyde and yet because it’s cheaper, and that’s what these guys are used to doing. They grab that, right. And so you need to be, you need to be your own best advocate just like with healthcare, you need to, you need to become educated on these things, it’s your personal responsibility.
And then so the first thing we’ll do is stop bringing that stuff in. And then you want to install ventilation, which is through the ARV, or HRV. And then you want to get air filters, and you want to put those in built in the rooms that you spend the most time in. So this is going to be your bedrooms first. And then offices if you work at home. And obviously, your kids remember priority. basements are also a big deal because they have other dynamics. And so basements tend to be you know, tend to get kind of stale and moldy. And, of course, any any any common living space.
Faraz Khan 45:39
Thank you great tips, let me ask you this. So we said carpets are bad. What about wood floors, or cement floors, which is better out of those two?
Jason Earle 45:49
Depends on whether the wood floors have been prefinished. If they’ve been finished with a polyurethane that is off gassing, what you want to do is again, choose either materials that have been, excuse me, that had been accredited by or certified by the green guard, which is a really good resource greenguard.org. And so, and you also want to you want to, you just want to research that, that, if it’s been finished with what, again, no VOC, and if it’s if it’s not been finished, then you want to make sure that you only finish it with with the material that that that will not contribute adversely to your quality.
And then the way it’s installed is also really important, because you can, there are adhesives that can be pretty nasty. And, and underlayments that tend to be kind of nasty. And so again, you need to shop for both adhesives and underlayments that don’t have these, these these, these chemical components. And so my I love hardwood, I think it’s I think it’s great to score. So I also like to see that it’s taken from a sustainable place. You know, so you don’t want to, you don’t want to be using, you know, rare, rare stuff, I think you want to use things that are sustainable for the planet. As a side note, and then concrete is great.
And, for different reasons. But concrete can also, again, I would finish it with something that’s, that’s, that’s no or low VOC. And then also what’s nice about concrete, and is that you can you can do all sorts of fun stuff with it in terms of adding textures to it and, and you can also install radiant, radiant heat into it, which is also nice. But so it just depends on the application, it depends on on the style you’re going for. But in all cases, there are very there are things that you can choose that will that will help make it more sustainable. And
Faraz Khan 47:35
I forgot to ask you about tile as well, which is a common thing used for floors is tile better or worse than wood floors concrete?
Jason Earle 47:43
Same kind of thing. You know, their their tile at least doesn’t have its own generally speaking doesn’t have any sort of, it tends to be inert. But it’s installed with things that can be pretty, pretty noxious, right? mastics and things like that. So you want to look for mastics and adhesives that don’t have a high voc profile.
Faraz Khan 48:05
Kinda Yeah. And like from a homeowner standpoint, or somebody that’s trying to build a home, it’s very interesting because the wood brings a sense of warmth to the house carpet even more so because it’s you feel good. When your feet are on carpet, it feels really amazing. Oh, you’re about to jump into bed, it feels very relaxing. Wood less so. But still warmth. Concrete is just stone cold, just cold, right? It’s just didn’t feel like a home. It feels like an industrial building. What am I doing there? So it’s it’s how comfortable you feel.
But also I think health is a higher priority than how comfortable you feel. So you got to make those decisions for yourself. But you’ve given us a lot of great tips. Now let’s talk about moving from a new build a new building completely, that doesn’t have any problems to maybe a building that’s 1015 20 years old, maybe 30 years old. What can you expect if you’re moving into an apartment complex that’s 30 years old, or you’re working in an office building that’s also pretty old, and you have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes?
Jason Earle 48:58
Yes, so I think anybody you’ve got buildings that are that are old, they end up with like they have a legacy. And so that legacy is going to be a hodgepodge of, of allergens and pollutants that have accumulated in the building, because people have cleaned using chemicals, and they’ve dealt with chemicals, and they and people have come in there and brought their own their own debris and chemicals as well. And so buildings that had been around for a while, you know, they tend to have their own signatures kind of scent, and things like that.
And, you know, if you smell it, there’s something there, right, those are almost all VOCs. And so most odors are in fact, I don’t think there’s an exception that there’s a voc component to odors. And so, so you and that doesn’t mean that all VOCs by the way are bad because that’s not true. It’s just that the large amounts and most of them that are that are that are that are that are coming from building materials are not are not good. They’re not things you would want to put in your kids Cheerios, you know, yeah,
Faraz Khan 49:54
I’m getting some you breathe in VOCs and understand that there’s something wrong. There’s a musty smell or something. How do you tell
Jason Earle 50:00
Well, yeah, I mean, you know, your nose is the dead giveaway. And some people end up you know, feelings, you know, it’s just like going to the gas station you smell that smell that’s VOCs you know you like it’s a new buildings, walk into the mall, walk into the back into the fragrance, walk into that walk into the mall, walk into Nordstroms, you know, sounds pretty good, or walk into Walmart VOCs, you know, seriously that you walk into the grocery store or you it’s, you’ll notice now that I’ve said it every time you take that smell, take a whiff, and you’re in a in a in a in a building, and you start to smell good.
Recognize that that might be a conditioned response. Wow, this is not necessarily because it is good. You know, we have we conditioned ourselves to believe the things are good. Like the like the Nordstrom is like the like the perfume area, I would argue that that you want to talk about longevity, I would argue that those people probably are not going to enjoy longevity. You know, that is a that is a potpourri of of nasty stuff. And, and so yeah, no, I, you know, I try I’m constantly trying to convince Sarah to take a closer look at her personal care products, because, you know, they they allow all sorts of stuff in there, the regulations around that are very, very loose.
Faraz Khan 51:11
And like, people that are painters, oh, my goodness, man, they don’t care. They’re in there. The fumes are coming off the fresh paint, it’s wet, it’s coming off, and they’re just doing their business. I’m like, oh, boy, sorry, I cut you off. See, we’re talking about existing buildings that are 30 years old.
Jason Earle 51:27
And by the way, those people actually enjoy that you get a buzz off of that stuff. Don’t make no mistake. I mean, this is this is there’s there’s another side to that too, which is that there’s a little bit of a, you know, a little bit of a mind altering. Yeah. So were we just talking about older buildings? Yeah. Okay, so So those old buildings tend to have this incredible legacy, especially if there’s carpet and things like that, right. I mean, literally, a carpet is essentially a forensic accumulation of everything that’s occurred in that building, you can never really clean a carpet. You know, there’s been studies on this, and the amount of effort it takes to actually clean a carpet is well beyond the efforts that anyone ever puts into it.
And so, you know, there is a that’s one of the reasons that’s one of the ways that people solve crimes, or the or law enforcement solves crimes, carpets is a treasure trove of clues. Oh, wow. Yeah, DNA and everything else. So so, you know, in those cases, again, you know, your air filtration is your best friend. You know, these are things that, you know, in, in, you know, in, in sort of what, what can you This is like, the AAA, serenity prayer, you know, grant me the serenity to accept the things, I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.
So old buildings are a lot like that, you know, you have to just say, Well, what can I What can I, what can I change, if I’m in control of this, I’m going to put in air purifiers, I’m going to put in energy recovery ventilators, I’m going to rip out the carpet, I’m going to HEPA vacuum and wipe down everything, I’m going to be vigilant about not bringing anything new, if I’m not able to do any of that stuff, I’m going to want to have a lot of fresh air brought in, I’m gonna, you know, I’m gonna open the windows, I’m gonna clean my personal space, I’m gonna bring in an air purifier and put it locally near me.
You know, I’m gonna, you know, spend as much time as I can outside, especially on lunch breaks and stuff like that. And so yeah, I mean, this is that is a challenge is one of the reasons why, why post COVID There’s such a great opportunity to, to invest in your health, because you can actually control these things more, you know, this is one of the things that again, going back to the Serenity Prayer, you know, we have very little control over over most things in our life, you know, if we’re honest enough and humble enough to admit that, and yet of all the things that we can control, indoor air quality is actually one of them in our own homes.
And we can control an awful lot, you know, you can control a lot about the air you breathe, the water you drink in the food you eat. And I argue that because you can, you should, since there’s so little else you can control. And that changes the trajectory of your life in a remarkable way. But to ignore those things, is to essentially allow is really to turn over your life and health to to the big food companies and chemical makers that make the building materials and you you’re turning over your decision, your health to these nameless, faceless corporations that have a profit motive.
Faraz Khan 54:15
And that they don’t care about you at all. Not at all. You’re just…
Jason Earle 54:18
The bottom line quarterly quarterly quarterly earnings.
Faraz Khan 54:20
It’s what they’re doing. Okay, so talking about older homes, let’s say that a family has an opportunity or even using individual buying your first home, you maybe you want to live in your downtown, you there is no new builds available. They’re all older homes, so you just got to go buy one. And if you do, then just use all the techniques that Jason’s sharing with us, for people that have or let’s say, let’s continue on that thread. If you choose to live in the suburbs, where you’re available to get a new build, then you can actually have some controls in place. You can say well, I want these kinds of materials, no VOCs none of that stuff.
I don’t want to use carpet. I don’t want carpet, I want tile or wood. wood floors that are pretty finished with, with with the right things, right materials. And so you could have some control there. If if you were living, let’s say, if you were living in an older home that has a basement, that maybe you don’t go down, it’s not even built, but it’s just the basement that’s kind of you could go down as a crawlspace. But it’s pretty musty. And there’s, you know, you can definitely smell that and that everything’s right out down there. Is is staying away from the basement enough for you to be safe, or is that going to seep up into your house?
Jason Earle 55:32
That’s a really good question. So the short answer on that is that about 75% of your indoor air during the winter comes from your basement or crawlspace. Because we close up our doors and that same can be said during the summer warmer air conditioning. So so a sick building a sick basement or crawlspace is a sick building, air rises through a structure, right because warm air rises from like the first floor to the second floor and second floor to the attic. And when it does that it pulls air from other spaces. The other thing is a lot of times HVAC systems are routed through crawl spaces and basements oftentimes even housed in there so that you get the air handler in the spaces and the even in dirt crawl spaces.
And you see this all the time. It is like be it defies logic, why you would take a unit that’s that is to heat and cool your air and put it into the hottest or coldest place, it has to work twice as hard. And also it’s not a sealed unit, you know, these ducts are not sealed ducts leak up to 50% of their air. So incredibly inefficient, modern, forced air heating for forced cooling. And so then they leak the supply vents leak to out. So a HVAC system blows air into into the ducts. And the seams leak air out.
So will the air will blow into wall cavities and but it on the return vents that come down into the air handler. They leak inward. And so you’re pulling air in from wall cavities, basement crawlspace out of sight out of mind, remember the building was built in the weather outside, right and that got wet during construction 99% of them. And so as a result, you’re pulling in all that stuff and redistributing it through through your HVAC system. And so you know, crawlspace is really bad crawl spaces, especially dirt crawl spaces are a building defect period, there are a building defect,
Faraz Khan 57:26
would you go as far as say that never buy a house that has a unfinished basement or crawlspace in there,
Jason Earle 57:32
I’d say a crawlspace especially a dirt crawlspace now I would say Never say never because there’s a lot of buildings that you can go in there and you can you can you can fix that. And and so the way you fix that is you have to pour a slab or or install a really thick poly vapor barrier with taped seams, you close the crawlspace up to the outside Believe it or not. So you block the vents This is very counterintuitive and most people actually have they like they think the vents allow ventilation but it does is it lets warm moist air come in and then you get condensation inside the crawlspace.
And so actually what you do is you clean it you get the water problem fixed so if there’s any puddling or whatever you get all the moisture you get the rector water or even the foundation you close those vents up you line it with plastic or and or put a slab down and then you heat and cool that crawlspace once it’s been clean and dry and once it’s clean and dry, then you heat and cool that crawlspace just like you do the rest of your house and that also will improve if you’ve got the HVAC system in the crawlspace it will make that system work so much more efficiently.
And then also because you’re heating and cooling that space what you’re doing is because he and cooling both dehumidify heating a space actually lowers the relative humidity and air conditioning is a dehumidification system. So both of those things will essentially be diluting the diluting the humidity with low humidity new air and also reducing the potential of condensation to form down there.
So your your there’s a bunch of different dynamics there that make that so basically you’re bringing the crawlspace into the building envelope and same thing with with attics, although that’s much more complicated. Attics, people often put their HVAC system in the attic. And that form you know, especially during human months or in places like down in Texas. Oh my god. I mean, they get so much condensation mold on those units unbelievable. And why they do that I still It blows my mind. I mean it’s job security for us. But it’s terrible.
Faraz Khan 59:28
Where should somebody let’s say I have the option to build a new home. And let’s say I’m picking a prefab home even where should I put the HVAC unit so there’s no or as little damage as possible to me and my family
Jason Earle 59:41
in a condition space. And they can do so yeah, whatever. So it could be in a closet on your you know, basements fine, but you’ve got it have that basement be heated and cooled.
Faraz Khan 59:51
It’s got to be finished for the most part.
Jason Earle 59:54
It doesn’t necessarily have to be what you what you want to make sure of is that it doesn’t have any air infiltrating from outside which is the Most important thing, you can heat and cool an unfinished basement just fine. And I in fact, I encourage people to do so. But you want to make sure in all cases that the anything that you’re bringing, that has to be clean and dry, clean and dry, clean and dry, this is the Healthy Home mantra clean and dry. Yeah, cause mold. This is a good mold. 101 piece, mold growth happens very quickly, when there’s a moisture problem. So within 24 to 48 hours, mold can begin to grow, okay.
And then within 72 hours, according to the industry standard, anything that’s gotten wet and stayed wet, should be treated if it’s moldy, even if it’s not visible. So what does that mean. And in essence, if you have a water damage issue, and you’ve got to you got 24 to 48 hours to get to it. So you can actually deal with it yourself before getting in the insurance companies involved. And you can do that for free or for cheap. In fact, insurance companies, if you do get in touch with them within the first 24 to 48 hours, water damage, mitigation is almost always covered. And almost always to almost replacement costs of the building, it’s for all you have to do is pay the deductible.
And so you know, this is a this is a this is I strongly encourage people to respond very quickly to water damage issues, although you got to be careful about getting insurance involved, because they can, they can, they can deny your claim and then still consider that a claim. And then if you fought to have the same kinds of claims, within five years, they’ll drop you. So you go into like an assigned risk program, you know, you got the insurance industry. But the but the what soon as you hit the 72 hour mark, then it becomes a mold issue. And it’s a whole different industry standard that dictates what has to be done.
And suddenly now, most insurance does not pay for mold. They may may pay for five or $10,000. But it has to be part of a covered claim. And even then there’s they still often kick that and push back on that. And then and so you you at that 72 hour mark, suddenly you have that mold remediation contractors come in and the price just went up tenfold. So now it’s a cash pay, it’s 10 times more expensive. And now it is extremely disruptive to your life.
Now you got to have them guys and Moon suits with the tents and the ventilation and they’re tearing everything out and are perfect remediation. Perfect remediation takes a month, between all the setup and the planning and then the remediation itself and the testing on both ends. And so you’ve just really set yourself up. But because you waited a couple of days, you really threw a monkey wrench in the works. And so I encourage people to to move quickly on these things.
Faraz Khan 1:02:25
It’s very interesting. You bring that up, because I have personal experience with this. Me and a buddy many, many years ago in Denver, Colorado, we decided to remodel a house, we bought a house. We thought him and I could demolish all of the interior by ourselves. No big deal. It’s not a problem. We started demolition. And a couple of weeks into it. We’re like, you know what, this doesn’t look right. There’s all like Black Soot falling on our we’re wearing hazmat suits broke while we’re doing this. But still, I was like this doesn’t seem right. So we got to mold testing company. And sure enough, there was mold in the building.
And so they covered it up with all that plastic or whatever. And they were just blowing wind, wind into it. And there’s like all these air purifiers going on. And it cost us a lot of money. A lot of money, there was a project manager that was overseeing the project that cost us 10 grand just to oversee it, not even the remediation portion. So I have personal experience and I don’t want to go through that ever again. In my life. It was very painful, and also very costly. So very good to hear. Now let me ask you a couple of quick things. I want to get to your god mold and what you do and how you help people real quick. So the thing is, there’s different areas of the country and the world. Some have less moisture, some have more. I’ve lived in Denver super dry.
Now I live in Austin, there is moisture in the air Houston is even worse, right? La not so bad. It’s actually by the ocean, but it doesn’t seem like the humidity is that high. So how do you make sense of this as a person that’s trying to avoid mold? You just completely avoid the cities with moisture you move inland to a very, very dry heat kind of place like Scott’s or Arizona or maybe Denver or what do you do if you have the choice?
Jason Earle 1:04:06
You know, there’s a whole community of people that call themselves mold avoiders. And it’s and it’s, it’s, it’s, you know, it sounds like what it is it’s an extreme view. And as with most extreme views, I would I would question some of the thought process on underlying it. And so just a couple of fun facts we live on planet fungi 30% of the Earth’s biomass is fungi 30% So of all of all the stuff that is living our was living 30% of its its its fungi now that includes macro fungi, right so mushroom soup, of course but but it’s a big part of our planet. In fact, it’s so abundant that planet fungi or I should say Kingdom fungi right which again includes macro and micro fungi, produces 50 Mega tons of spores every year, which is the equivalent of ready for this 500,000 Whales, okay, he’s okay. So so so it is nature’s largest or the world’s largest producer of, of biological particulate.
And so it’s so abundant that they find spore clouds 13.7 miles above the earth’s surface with weather balloons. So suffice to say, you’re not going to avoid mold spores. And in fact, mold spores in small amounts are really good for you, unless you’ve got a very severe allergy, or you’ve got a compromised immune system that lends itself to fungal infections, which is, you know, high risk with certain populations. But most of us actually do well to have a certain amount of mold in your environment. Because it’s like a hormetic stressor, your lungs are this naked interface to the world.
And every time you take a breath, you’re getting millions of little data points. If you take a breath right now, if everyone listening to the show takes a big deep breath, I’m here to tell you that you’re breathing in hundreds, if not 1000s, of different mold spores. And the more diverse that population is, the more different kinds you have in that breath, the better. The data on this is really very strong that houses or buildings that have a high microbial diversity, which means that they haven’t been sanitizing and over over HEPA vacuuming and over HEPA filtering stuff, right?
So they’ve got they’ve got a very healthy microbiome, my robust microbe microbiome have much lower cases of asthma, allergies, and autoimmune disease, so more microbes and more types of microbes, but none growing in your house. See, this is the key, right? Yeah, so and then the opposite is also true, where you got these buildings that are hyper sanitized, and you know, the HEPA vacuum, the you test the air, and there’s nothing, you know, this is an artificial environment, this is not again, you know, human humans. And so those those buildings have a markedly higher incidence, or production tours, proclivity towards higher cases of asthma, allergies, and autoimmune disease. And in fact, they’re even saying Autism NOW.
So the, the reality is, is that we need these, we need these things in our, in our world, in fact, fungi, I mean, listening without mold, we’d be in big trouble. You know, the reason we have oil, and coal is because for a while on this planet, we didn’t have fungi. And so when trees died, they didn’t get decomposed. And so we, you know, imagine if these things weren’t decomposing, we just have dead plants all over the place just laying there, right, it would be a big mess. So this is a normal part of a healthy environment. And much of our immune system is driven by fungi.
And, you know, in and around us, you know, it’s just like nesting nesting ecologies, you know, that we’ve gotten a microbiome around us in this building, we’ve got a microbiome on us and in us. And as soon as we think that we need to eradicate this stuff is when we go off the rails, what we need is a coordination of these things. And we need to control the environment in our building, specifically around moisture control. Mold is not the problem. And this is a really important point, this is a good way to kind of wrap it up. Mold is not the problem.
Mold is a symptom of a problem. Mold is a symptom of a moisture problem. In all cases, if you have a moisture problem, a mold problem, you have a moisture problem. In all cases, if you have a moisture problem, you’re gonna end up with a mold problem. So the key to this is being vigilant about preventing moisture problems, and then responding to them quickly, when you do. And if you do that, then you’re way ahead of the game. And then when it comes to the awareness around VOCs, and all that other stuff, that’s more tricky, because it’s so embedded in our culture, it’s so embedded in everything we do the new car, smell the new house smell the perfumes and cleaning products, you know, people still think lemon fresh pledge is going to do a better job somehow, you know, like, because it smells good.
Or when you know, these, this is these are false narratives we bought, because that was sold to us. And so we need to become informed consumers and raise our awareness and recognize that this is, you know, there’s this there’s a simpler, easy way. It’s just I shouldn’t say it’s easy. It’s this, there’s a simpler way. That’s not so easy, because you have to become educated and you have to be discerning. I’m not suggesting anyone be afraid of these things. On the contrary, I think fear is the enemy.
I think fear actually contributes to the diseases that these things cause. But I do think you have to become discerning so you simply can be well informed and make better decisions for you and your loved ones. So you go nope, that’s just not for me. It’s not that I’m scared of it. Right? Mold is not trying to hurt you, people. I’m here to tell you mold is not trying to hurt you. If he wanted to kill you, you’d be dead already. Mold is much smarter than us. And it’s much more focused and it’s got a lot more time. In fact, I would argue that when you get that musty smell, it’s a signal from the building telling you that there’s something wrong it’s actually a benevolent thing, right?
You’re being told in a very gentle way that there’s something that needs to be attended to much like a pain signal in your body. Right? So there if you if you shift your perspective, and recognize that we’re guests Here, this is planet fungi. And our job is to make sure that our environment is good for us, but not good for that so that we can keep it in our yard. You know, it’s supposed to be doing it. If it’s breaking down leaves and twigs in your yard, it’s doing its job if it’s doing it in your living room, not so much. Yeah.
Faraz Khan 1:10:14
Well, that’s a beautiful way to wrap that up. So let me get to yourself, your company, tell us about God mold. How do you help people diagnose more problems from their home, or even an even, like, take next steps to remediate them?
Jason Earle 1:10:27
Sure. So thank you for that so at Gotmold.com, we offer the highest quality at home Do It Yourself test kit available, it uses a technology known as spore traps, which are the industry sort of go to testing method used by professionals worldwide. And essentially, what what what happens is when you want to have your house tested for mold now, before they got Mold Test Kit, rather, you’d hire a professional, it could cost you 1000, to start and the sky’s the limit. And after they do their inspection, they’re going to generally bring out a tripod with a with the air sampling pump, calibrated scientific device, you know, that interfaces with these air sampling cassettes, and these cassettes, capture the airborne particles, spores, pollen, things like that. And then that gets analyzed at a lab.
And it always requires an outdoor air sample. And then the indoor samples are compared to it because again, mold spores are should be coming from outside. And we want to know what’s normal in that environment. And so that’s known as the spore trap methodology. So the problem with that is that you have to find someone who you trust, and you have to be able to afford that. And there’s lots of conflicts of interest. And there’s lots of people that will use that data kind of against you in the sales. And you know, to sell you remediation that you may or may not need.
And so when I was the motivation behind the test kit was to create a device that would allow people to safely test their air using the same devices, because it’s a simple device, but without any concerns about those conflicts of interest and things like that. And so instead of that, that $1,000 calibrated air sampling pump, what we did is we created one that’s that looks like this. And so this costs a lot less than 1000 bucks, it comes with every one of our test kits, it interfaces with these cassettes, I just dropped on the ground. These are this is a spore trap.
So the air gets drawn in through through this, this inlet. It gets pulled through. And then and it’s it’s a built in five minute timer. So it’s a very quick test, you do an outside air sample, as I mentioned, and then a sample in the rooms that you’re concerned about. You put the samples back into a prepaid mailer, which goes to our lab partner, which is euro friends, the number one lab in the world. And then they do the analysis. And within three business days, you get a nice color coded report that explains in green, yellow, orange, or red, very simple, intuitive.
And with an intuitive interpretation, that degree of concern was found. And then there’s also the raw lab data that ships with which is organized in a very easy to understand way, which classifies water damage type molds, as well as common dominant background molds. And it’s very easy to understand even the lay person. And then our third page has resources for people to take next steps, including links to the Trade Association, which trains and certifies mold inspectors as well as another one that trains and certifies mold, mold remediators. And then we also have an ebook that we give out. And so and I’ll get into that in a second.
But essentially, with Got Mold?, our mission is to empower people with the tools and knowledge they need to make better decisions about their they breed. So in most cases, I would say we were probably more of an education company that happens to sell a test kit, instead of a test a company that uses content as a marketing tool. Because I believe that there’s so much misinformation out there, that if we can help clear the air no pun intended on on a lot of this confusion, then, then then people can do a lot on their own. They don’t you know, I’m not saying that our test does not replace a professional and never will and and it couldn’t.
But it’s not necessarily the best first step for most people. So what we want to do is create a very cost effective first step to give people the knowledge they need, or the data that they need to determine whether or not an additional step is necessary, which may or may include hiring a qualified inspector and we so we educate people about how to find a qualified inspector and you know what questions to ask and you know, how to avoid the conflicts of interest and also how to hire or mediator and so we do a lot of that in in the eBook, as well as on our website on our Learning Center, which I highly encourage people to check out.
And so actually for your listeners, what we did was we created a welcome page. And so it’s located at gotmold.com/antiaginghacks, which we can put in the show notes right. And so I said the at that page, you’ll find a link to download the ebook, which is how to find mold your home and it’s filled with inspection checklists and FAQs. If you follow that book around, take that book and follow these directions that go around your house, you will learn more about your house than you than then than you ever imagined.
And that’s what a good inspector does, as it comes in, they come in, look at, look at places in your building that you just walk past all day, every day, just like a doctor giving you a physical, you know, you may not notice that, that mole on your back that’s a little wonky, you need someone else to maybe take a look occasionally, you know, and so the same thing goes with with an inspector, but if you use our ebook, you can, you can do a lot of that yourself. And so there’s, there’s a sort of a guided tour of your own home available for you. And at gotmold.com/antiaginghacks. And then also there’s a 10% discount code there, which is anti aging hacks, which people can use to get a test kit or, or refills.
And by the way, I should mention that too. So when you buy a test kit, we have one, two, and three room kits, all lab fees, and shipping are included. Our three room kits $299. All in so there’s nothing else you need to purchase or pay for. So it’s very affordable. Yeah. And then once you have the pot, once you have a kit, you send them the cassettes, you still have this. And so what you get to do is you get to keep this, you pop the batteries out so that you can use them for something else. And we include batteries with the kit by the way, but you’re probably not using for something else. And then when you’re ready, if you want to retest again, you can buy refills, and they’re $50 less. So a three room refills only $249 less than $100 a sample. And, again, all lab fees and shipping are always included. So there’s no there’s nothing else to purchase or pay for.
Faraz Khan 1:16:26
Yeah. Jason, thank you for providing the service man, the questions you’ve answered, the things you brought up today I haven’t even thought of in a long time. And I think people, individuals, families, this is the age of us taking power back power and not just listening to whatever the new says, or some health experts say you’ve got to figure out health on your own. There’s, we already know there’s no one diet for everybody. There isn’t one health protocol that works for everybody. So we’ve all got to become detectives and get to learn more about our health and become more discerning as we move forward in this new world. So thank you for doing what you go to gotmold.com/antiaginghacks, get that 10% off, get the ebook, more importantly, learn about what’s going on in your home.
And if it makes sense for you to order the kit, so you can be sure you have a safe home, it’s safe for your kid to say for yourself. There’s nothing lingering that’s going to cause you long term damage as we move along. Because if we want to live a long, healthy life, you’ve got to be healthy now to live that long life. So with that said, Jason, thank you very much for coming on the show. Really appreciate it man.
Jason Earle 1:17:32
Thank you for Faraz.
Faraz Khan 1:17:34
This podcast is for general information purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Opinions of guests are their own and this podcast is not endorsed or accept responsibility for statements made by guests. Please seek the advice of your health professional for any health or medical conditions.