The Unpilled Podcast
Wed, Jul 26, 2023 9:05PM • 53:34
mold, mycotoxins, building, problem, people, moisture, inspection, food, years, test, moldy, dampness, smell, related illness, musty smell, vocs, home, water, toxins, big
Kashif Khan, Jason Earle
Kashif Khan 00:14
We have with us the Earl of Molds. That was straight improv. I just invented that on the fly.
Jason Earle 00:21
I love it.
Kashif Khan 00:21
Jason Earle. You can see if you’re watching today even see on the t shirt, you already know what we’re going to be talking about. So this whole issue that is very gray area for a lot of people, even people that think they understand it really don’t. Major threat that’s in a lot of homes. There’s a moldy basement, and maybe even moldy in your closet, who knows where it’s coming from could be in your washroom, and it’s making a lot of people sick. So we’re going to break down the threats. You know how pervasive it is what to do about it? What you need to know, Jason, thanks for joining us.
Jason Earle 00:55
So good to be here Kash.
Kashif Khan 00:57
So why do you understand mold? How did you even get here, man.
Jason Earle 01:02
Yeah, well, long and winding story, but I’ll try to keep it short. I think like most people that are doing good work in this space, they come to it from a personal experience. There’s no straight line, there’s no academic track for this. You know, there’s no, I mean, there’s mycologist, sure. But they understand mold in the lab, and they might understand mold in the field. But the the way, mold interacts with buildings, and then of course with the people who live in it.
That’s a multidisciplinary area that generally comes from experience and then people becoming passionate about a solving the problem and then there’s this pay it forward thing that comes and that’s exactly what happened with me. When I was about four years old, I suddenly lost about 30% of my body weight in a three week period, and I was having difficulty breathing.
So my parents, of course, took me to the pediatrician, who quickly looked at me and said, he needs to go to Children’s Hospital, you need to get him checked out. And based upon my family history and the symptoms that I was presenting with my, the initial diagnosis was cystic fibrosis. So needless to say, my parents were devastated by that. And it was particularly hard hitting for my father who lost four of his cousins to CF before the age of 14. So they spent the next six weeks crying while they waited for a second opinion.
And now when I tell that story, it hits me more squarely than ever, because I have a four year old little boy, you know, really just think if the agony of my parents must have been going through and just all the unknowns. So fortunately, evidenced by the fact that I stand here at 47 years old, I did not have cf I do not have CF. But what I had was asthma, compounded by pneumonia. And when they tested me for allergies, which was one of my formative memories, I still remember the smell in the room. I still remember the feeling and the voices, they wrap you up in a papoose or what I call a straight tack jacket for toddlers, which I could use right occasionally, you know, but they wrap you up in this thing with the exposed back and then test you for you know, two skin tests.
And my dad said I looked like a ladybug with just a big red swollen back with dots all over it and so the the shortlist was grass, we corn, eggs, dogs, cats, cotton, soybeans, and I grew up on a little nonworking farm essentially, in an animal adoption facility surrounded by grass, wheat, corn, eggs, dogs, cats, cotton, soybeans, my clothes were itchy, we had soybean fields to the right, corn fields across the street. We had dogs and cats and everything else, you know, so I was just a wash in these allergens, and essentially lived on inhalers. And, and strangely, even though a lot of those allergens were outdoor allergens, I did much better outside.
And I enjoy I spent a lot like many kids from the 70s and 80s spent more time outside than inside a little bit of a different difference in culture between the generations. But intuitively, I think my body knew the outside was was was preferable, even though I was still exposed to a lot of things that caused discomfort. Anyway, when I was about 12 years old, suddenly, my folks split up, and which was actually welcomed for everyone involved. But I moved out of the house and all my symptoms went away. Not immediately, but fast enough that in retrospect, you can see the correlation. And I didn’t think about it at all, at the time because my grandfather had grown out of his asthma. And actually the term for this is a spontaneous adolescent remission, which is a fancy fancy term for we have no idea.
So a couple years later, my mom passed away suddenly, actually to suicide, which is actually relevant for the conversation. And then a year later, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease. And so I got my second onslaught of antibiotics. My first one was with the pneumonia when I was four, which is also relevant to the conversation depending upon how deep we go and And then I was essentially, I missed so much school that I was essentially forced to drop out of high school. And I began working full time at the gas station where I met a guy who came to recruit me from wall to work on Wall Street at 16, which is another conversation for a different podcast.
And so I did that for about nine years and one day woke up and I wasn’t having fun with it anymore. Decided to go on walkabout and traveling alone for for a spell. I ended up in Hawaii. And I was reading the local newspapers. And there was a lot of news about the Hilton Kalia tower, which is the flagship Hilton’s flagship property in Oahu on Waikiki Beach. And it had been shut down for mold for about six months when I was there. I was actually in the shadow of that building, reading an article about a gentleman who worked there who had gotten sick from the he claimed the building and made him sick, I’d never heard of such a thing.
But he claimed that the mold had made him sick. And he developed adult onset asthma and all these allergies that he’d never had before. And so a light bulb went on, right? So I immediately thought, Geez, I wonder if we had a mold problem, I’d never put the pieces of the puzzle together. And so I called my father from a payphone which probably isn’t there anymore, and asked him if we had a mold problem. And he just laughed at me. He’s like, of course, we had mushrooms in the basement. Why do you ask? And so I said, Well, do you think that made me sick? You know, I think that was that was part of the problem. He goes, well couldn’t have helped. So typical 70s parent, you know, he’s because there was really nothing to do.
At the time, there was no knowledge about it, there was no guidance there was there were certainly no professional services related to either inspections or remediation, certainly no testing. And so awareness is very low. And listen, my parents both smoked indoors with an asthmatic kid, right. I mean, it’s not for lack of love. It was just, that’s the way we had smoked restaurants. And it was just, you know, just a time and a place, you know. So anyway, I immediately became fascinated with the idea that buildings can make you sick. Mold is fascinating. And I’m fascinated with mold, the more I look at it, the more more interesting it is, it really is. It’s a phenomenal, phenomenal group of organisms. In many, many, many, many ways. But the larger concept for me is that we’ve been living in buildings for a long time on this planet.
And, and there’s a blind spot here, we all know that if you lousy food, you’re gonna feel bad if you eat bad, if you drink bad water, you’re gonna feel bad, right? You’re gonna instance these things are well known. But air quality has, even though of the four basic human needs air, water, food and shelter, and he can live in that shelter for a while you can do food for a few, without, without, for a few weeks, you can do water or without water for a few days. But air you’ve got a few minutes. And yeah, that’s the thing we think about the least. And yet, it’s the thing that we, we need the most, quite frankly. And so that blind spot has fascinated me. I mean, it’s literally hiding right under the tip of your nose, you know, all the time.
And so I came back to New Jersey, armed with a lot of curiosity took a job working with a basement waterproofing company that happened to be doing mold treatments. Because there was no such thing as of truth mold remediation firm at the time. So this is 21 years ago, this is a long time ago. And and quickly saw that these guys were doing work that didn’t seem to be contributing to the health of the home, specifically using a lot of chemicals, instead of cleaning. And instead of proper mold removal. And even though there weren’t any written that weren’t a written regulations or standards at the time, there was some guidance by the EPA, which completely contradicted what they were doing.
So I ended up seeing that there was an opportunity in the marketplace to work on the inspection side of things to help protect consumers from the remediators really, to serve as the as a buffer to help them do the proper diagnostics, develop a work plan, and oversee the project and then and then do the testing at the end to give the people really set that that security. This happens in asbestos it happens in LED paint, but mold was so new at the time, that there wasn’t that kind of Chinese wall or that, that that that division between the two to two areas to reduce conflicts of interest. So I ended up starting an inspection company ended up getting one of the first mold sniffing dogs in the country. Her name was Oreo, and it was just crazy enough to be brilliant. And it was exactly what I expected. We ended up getting some major national press.
Specifically it started with a channel six Action News episode that that was trying to debunk us. They hit mold in the house. I didn’t know they were trying to debunk us. And we found it like three minutes. So instead of debunking us on our first on our TV debut, we got endorsed I hadn’t even yet really owned the company. And so suddenly we had a lot of doctors referring patients to us and some of those stories were so dramatic in terms of their healing in the in the in the recovery of these patients that we ended up on Good Morning America and Extreme Makeover Home Edition and you know countless newspapers and magazines they got boxes and boxes of books and magazines and all that stuff from from back then never paid for a single bit of PR or advertising for a long time.
And I tell you all that because that company became one a country got molded, which was a great business for US, but also a great in terms of our ability to make an impact. But over the years, there was this creeping feeling for me that I wasn’t really getting to the heart of the problem that I was I created a high end inspection service for people that are affluent, you know, the average inspections 1000 $1,500. And that’s to get started, that doesn’t include remediation or any of the post testing. So this means that this is cost prohibitive for the average person. mold inspections are more expensive than most rent, and some mortgages, right. And so so there’s a huge group a huge segment of the population. That’s completely unserved. You know, this isn’t healthy indoor air should never be cost prohibitive. And that’s always bothered me.
And so in an effort to make this more democratize, to healthy home, I began looking at the marketplace on the do it yourself side, in fact, quite frankly, through 100 got mold and all that press we had, we had a lot of people call us up and ask us. If, if if there was a test that we could recommend, I mean, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people. And I always say that if people if hundreds of people come and knock on your door and ask you for apple pies, you’d be a fool not to start making apple pies. And so so that’s basically what began the wheels in motion.
And as I looked at it in the marketplace, I saw stuff like Urmi, which is very popular amongst the functional practitioners, but wildly flawed is the petri dishes, which are also very popular because they’re inexpensive, but they’re prone to false positives in a very significant way. And then I started looking at the professional testing that we that that that’s offered, that we were offering, and realized that there was probably a way to make that user friendly. So I began those put those wheels in motion several years ago, to create an at home test kit, that would actually be something that my parents could afford.
Here, I created a company that my parents could not have afforded to hire, right. So so to bring that full circle, I had to democratize that and create a an at home product that would allow people to test their air without any of the concerns about conflicts of interest, without concerns about breaking the budget, you know, something that maybe they could use three or four times in a year for the cost of one professional inspection, without any of the headaches associated with trying to find and hire qualified professional.
And so they enter the Got Mold? Test Kit. So it’s a long and winding story how I got here, but ultimately, what it came down to is, you know, findings, looking at the pain that we went through me and my family, and and recognizing the in that overcoming created a way to make me useful to people that are suffering from this. And this is a problem that affects a huge segment of population. I mean, according to some estimates, 47% of the US, US housing stock has a mold or moisture problem of significance. So it’s a big problem.
Kashif Khan 12:40
You know, that’s the longest intro I ever heard, but it was also the most important. It was meant to be that way. Your story, man, I don’t know why there isn’t a book or movie yet. There needs to be because it’s so inspiring in terms of what you’ve been through what your family has been through, and how it got you here. And all the best stories of healing or to functional care to root cause medicine kind of come from these kinds of places where your journey got you there, which is why somebody eventually solved the problem.
That’s right. Everybody else was doing it a different way. And somebody else had to have excruciating pain, to be forced to look for a different solution. And it kind of sounds like you have plenty of that. Right? So you’re a martyr for all of us. And I thank you for your work. And now here we are, all of a sudden, we have a test that allows us to know why we’re sick. So even given that so some people there’s a completely out awareness of most.
Yes, through the work of yourself and others, there’s more awareness. Now there’s a lot of environmental health doctors and functional medicine clinicians that are saying, Hey, you got to look at this. So what’s a some warning flag? Suppose somebody’s like, Oh, I gotta order this test. I think this sounds like me, what are they looking out for?
Jason Earle 13:57
So I always say if you see something, smell something or feel something, do something. So what does that look like? If you see something you’re always looking for moisture that at the core of it, people think about mold as the problem, or mold is a root cause but there’s actually a root cause of that which is dampness or moisture, right mold will not grow in the absence of dampness. It likes the same conditions we do in terms of temperature. It likes moisture to it likes a little more moisture than we do. So it likes to hang out near us and waiting for us to just fall out of balance, you know.
And so what we’re looking for is any signs of dampness or moisture and so that would be staining discoloration, peeling paint. Trim, pulling away is a dead giveaway. In many cases. You’re looking for rusty tack strips the corner under carpet, water bugs are also a big clue, obviously visible mold, but that’s not always so easy to detect because sometimes mold can be very, very subtle. Many of the early or the what they call primary colonizers that show up first. When there’s a dampness problem, are actually clear or colorless in terms of spores, or they’re very light yellow. So you need to have a flashlight that you can shine at at an angle, sort of, to reveal the texture of it.
And so you know, this is why a trained eye is often very helpful with these things. But we also made an e book, which we can talk about later, that helps people sort of do an inspection of their own home a visual inspection. So you’re looking for any signs of dampness, you’re looking for any, any any routes of moisture intrusion, quite frankly, you’re looking for building defects that could cause these problems as well, because it’s not just about finding it, it’s also about preventing it.
So if you see something, do something if you smell something, so one of the primary causes of mold related illness, contrary to popular opinion, it’s not mycotoxins, it’s actually the microbial smell the microbial within microbial VOCs. And so mold is a chemical factory when it’s growing, I mean, it’s producing. And by the way, one of the most popular microbial VOCs happens to be alcohol, right, which comes from fermentation. But we also know that molds produce actively growing molds produce group one carcinogens, like benzene and really nasty chemicals that look a lot like industrial solvents.
And we know that these things are bad to breathe in occupational workplaces, you probably wouldn’t want to hang out and breathe gasoline, but the actively growing mold produces very, very toxic chemicals. Like I said, this this musty smell, which has long been considered an aesthetic nuisance. Just a basement smell is actually neurotoxic. And we can dig into that a little bit more because there’s a strong correlation between exposure to the musty smell, and asthma rates doubles the risk of asthma in children. Studies have shown a direct correlation between the musty smell and depression.
And animal studies shows that they that fruit flies stop producing dopamine when they’re exposed to the smell. They develop locomotor disorder, mitochondrial disorders, all sorts of problems, they stop reproducing Parkinsonian like symptoms. So the musty smell is a big deal. But it’s also the first clue you get when mold is growing. So it’s a signal, I would argue it’s a pain signal from the building telling you that there’s something wrong in the building. And then and then it’s also at the same time a health hazard. So if you smell something, that’s your first clue, so trust your nose, and don’t just dismiss that that’s not a normal thing in a building. That is that is a clear sign that there’s an imbalance that there’s mold growth.
So if you see something, if you smell something, and then if you feel something, and feeling something, this is where I always encourage people to trust your senses, trust your intuition, we almost always know when something’s wrong. In us, certainly also around us, our buildings are an extension of our immune system. They’re like an echo scan, or an exoskeleton. And most people are in tune with that, whether they’re aware of it or not. And they know when there’s an imbalance, especially women, by the way, and especially pregnant women, they have an incredible sixth sense about these things.
And so when you start to notice that things feel better, when you leave the building, you might have an indoor air quality problem. It could be mold, or it could be VOCs, or a combination thereof. And most homes that I go into that have a mold problem also have a problem with VOCs, which is the the manmade chemicals that come from our building materials, and the finishes and furnishings and personal care products and cleaning products. All of these things build up in our indoor environment. And so it’s kind of a, you know, a potpourri of chemicals, both made me and microbial, that contribute to these things. But so so basically, that’s the idea is that keep your senses aware, see something smell something or feel something.
The feeling something is a little more nebulous, though, because some of these are going to be, you know, upper respiratory allergic type reactions. But many times it’s more, it’s on the squishier side. So you’re talking about headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, cognitive impairment. Also, inflammation is a huge part of mold and biotoxin related illness, where you start to see people that have, you know, they get puffy, they get the weight gain. And of course, you know, inflammation is a gateway to a whole host of other illnesses, right. And so, mold tends to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
And what we see also a lot is the mold tends to be the thing that brings out other latent symptom profiles. So you might have an autoimmune disease that you may not be aware of, but the mold exposure or the end, the VOC exposure, by the way, can bring these things up and throw your body out of equilibrium. And so sometimes, if you’ve had chronic exposure, you may not experience tremendous relief when you walk out of the building. Usually, acute exposure, acute symptoms they relieve more quickly, chronic exposure tends to lead to more chronic issues, which is one of the reasons why I always implore people to act quickly. If you have these concerns.
You really want to tune in on those things and and move quickly because mold growth only takes 24 to 48 hours to grow and you have a moisture problem which is really important for everyone to listen. This is not something that occurs over weeks and months and years. This is something that if something gets wet and stays wet, and As little as 24 hours, mold can begin to grow at 48 hours, it’s almost a guarantee. It’s 72 hours, the mold remediation industry standard says that anything what this porous, stays wet, has to be removed and treated as if it’s moldy, whether it’s visible or not.
Kashif Khan 20:12
So I get what you’re saying about this attention and mycotoxins because that’s what functional medicine talks about. And I get that there’s so much more. Why does functional medicine focus there? And you know, what is going on where that’s the thing that they want to treat?
Jason Earle 20:31
Very good question. And this is, you know, it’s good news, bad news, right? We finally have doctors looking at this stuff, or functional practitioners looking at this stuff. This is the good news. The bad news is, is that there’s still it’s still a materialist, it’s still it’s still a focus on, can we test it? Can we it’s got to be observable and replicatable. Right. And so the problem is that if there’s not a test for it, if there’s not a test on the body, there’s a test for the building. But there they’re kind of it depends on how you test and quite frankly, there’s there’s lots of holes in the current voc testing for homes.
The body, there’s no testing that I’m aware of. Now, there are some evidence that there that we could develop a test. And we’re looking hard at that. Because urine actually concentrates VOCs in the body as it as it expels them. So theoretically, you could actually develop a test for voc exposure, but that’s not currently available. And and so in essence, it’s too nebulous for modern medicine, even the advanced thinkers that that occupy the functional space. For the people who are outside thinking outside the allopathic box. There’s just no track that that you can put the people are experiencing illness. Let’s take a test.
Well, there isn’t one and then let’s detox you, what are we detoxing? And then how do I know if you’re detoxing and then you know, so what they do is they do this mycotoxin test and here’s the big problem with it, is that everybody has mycotoxins. Everybody, and it’s because it’s not coming from your building air. mycotoxins actually don’t become airborne easily. They have to have the they have to travel on a I’m talking about traditional secondary metabolites. I’m talking about mycotoxins proper, not other mold related toxins.
For example, the VOCs, the musty smell. The woman who’s doing all that wonderful researcher name is Dr. Joan Bennett, at Rutgers University, she’s actually lobbying to have microbial VOCs and the musty smell called Vola toxins. Because they are in fact, toxins. They’re neurotoxins. And they also can, can can can cause liver issues because of course, that’s where VOCs get processed, just like when we drink alcohol, that’s where they get prostate get process. Right. So, but proper mycotoxins that are used in the chemical warfare that occurs on a microbiological level, because that’s what’s happening here. mycotoxins are produced by molds to protect the surface that they’re growing on, because they don’t want anything else to eat their food.
And so even the molds that do produce those toxins, check this out, only about a dozen of these molds, out of the 140,000 species known and identified, only about a dozen of them produced mycotoxins really worth talking about. And so if we have all these people experiencing mold related illness, to suggest that only 12 species are causing all of it out of the 140,000 known and identified out of the roughly 1000 or so, the commonly proliferate and water damaged buildings. It doesn’t seem to make sense, right? I’ve been in so many buildings, 1000s and 1000s, and 1000s of buildings, where there’s been significant mold growth, but I haven’t been able to identify the toxin producing molds in my in my assessment, but yet mold related illness was still very present.
And so my experience has been in my in my my strong and deepest belief is that most mold related illness comes from the musty smell. And I know that because I’ve I’ve done enough testing to see that when, when the spore counts are normal, the whole throughout the entire process, because if mold buried in a wall of spore counts are normal, people are not getting sick from that the spores actually travel with some of the mycotoxins and you have to breathe a lot of that to get to get the mycotoxins through inhalation. Food. On the other hand, this is this is what’s fascinating.
The United Nations used to say that 25% of foodstuffs, which is a technical term for foodstuffs is are contaminated with mycotoxins and a group of food scientists came out and said, Where’d you get those numbers? And they went, did their own study. And they looked at at a major sources of food production. I mean, we know that Ukraine is the breadbasket of of Europe, right? And so they went to these places where there’s lots of exports, they tested all the foods that especially specifically grains and, and, and nuts and things like that, and they tested them before export, and he found that the numbers are much lower, actually only around 10% were contaminated with mycotoxins amongst the ones that they amongst the test that they performed before export, but at the port of destination, they found between 60 and 80% don’t have those foods, same foods were contaminated with toxins.
And so you know that you have to imagine they’re traveling across the ocean in an unconditioned container for 30 days, they may or may not have been dried properly, you know, I mean, who knows what whether they take on. And so, you know, what we have is a food system between the imported grains and the conventional foods, which are also handled irresponsibly, and oftentimes stored irresponsibly, and the conventional meats because these animals are fed contaminated grains, right, we feed animals who they shouldn’t eat like cows corn, right?
And corn is a is a very, very good substrate to grow some of the nastiest, most toxigenic molds, fusarium, for example. And you know, the the molds that these that these, the toxins that are produced off of moldy corn are nasty. And so they end up in our pork and our chicken in our and in our, in our beef. And so it’s grains. It’s also nuts and seeds. It’s also dried fruits, spices, and the tricky stuff is like tomato sauce. What do they take the nasty tomatoes that aren’t pretty enough to sell at the store? And they throw them in a pile? Well, why are they not pretty?
They’re moldy. So you throw them in a bucket and they let him sit for a couple days, then they process them into tomato sauce, right. And same thing with applesauce. And so we’ve got this, this food, this food chain, or this food supply chain that’s got all sorts of contamination in it. And then people get testing for testing done for mycotoxins because not feeling well and they finally know how micro toxins, but then they’re told to go check their building.
But meanwhile, more likely, they have to go check their pantry. And I’m not saying that mold related illness is not real. I’m not saying the mycotoxin related illness isn’t real. I’m just saying that the primary route of exposure to mycotoxins is food.
Kashif Khan 26:49
That is mind blowing stuff, man, because that’s the opposite of what the world is saying.
Jason Earle 26:52
It really is. It really is. This is this is counter to what almost everyone is saying. And I can I can show it to you in the literature. Tim, by the way, almost everything we know about mold, detoxification in terms of binders and all that stuff comes from veterinary medicine, because that’s how they’re cleaning their pigs and their cows. They give them the binders they pass them through. So we don’t actually have studies on very few studies on how these things work with humans because you can’t study mycotoxins on people, right, you can only capture you can only get to them after the fact.
And so you know, you’re not going to give someone a mycotoxin and then test later that was unethical. And so, you know, at the end of the day, what we have here is a situation where by the way, all of the all of all of the animal exposures are through food. In fact, the whole stachybotrys was detected I mean first discovered rather, stachybotrys the famous black mold that produces Tricopter seeds is the one that’s really made mold famous. In I’ve been I have actually been exposed to huge amounts of it where I leaned over once and took a big breath, a bit of big inhalation and actually got a bloody nose.
But I was in a, I had a faceful of it, right, I was in a room with a lot of it, I should have been wearing protection. But generally speaking, that stuff is not does not become airborne in huge quantities. And you have to have a lot of it there in order for you to have that kind of exposure. But stachybotrys was originally discovered in the 1930s a bunch of Ukrainian horses fell ill after eating moldy hay. And they were bleeding out of their out of their orifices.
And it was pretty dramatic. And that group of scientists isolated this, this strange mold that was growing on their hay and then was able to extract this thing and they actually coined the term stachybotrys toxicosis you know, say that 10 times fast and and but that was a long time ago and so but keep in mind again that exposure was was from from from food.
And it was not from inhalation. I’m not saying you can’t get exposed to these things through air. I’m just saying it’s a lot harder. You have to have a really moldy environment very high spore counts, right? Lots of visible mold in most cases. Otherwise what’s happening is you’re probably getting exposed to the chronically to this other metabolites. You know, mold is like I said, a chemical factory and by the way, a lot is not known.
You know, this is an emerging field and so one thing I can tell you for sure is that mold and dampness indoors in general leads to leads to leads to disease. And so whether you want to pin the tail on this donkey or that donkey or if you want to know this toxin and that toxin, it’s kind of an academic exercise. The bottom line is that this is all comes down to mold. Mold is a moisture problem. moisture problems are the enemy of buildings, moisture problems are the enemy of health.
Kashif Khan 29:37
If you want to keep diving deeper with your prescription for life with the Unpilled podcast, make sure to subscribe on Apple podcast, Spotify and YouTube. I’ve also written my first book, The DNA Way unlock the secrets of your genes to reverse disease slow aging and achieve optimal wellness. Take a look and enjoy guys.
So what’s the first action someone takes like? Back to Basics. Okay, today, I went downstairs and there’s a leak in my basement, minor leak, I fix it up clean up the pool, I’m not going to wipe the drywall they’re like, what’s the first step? Am I just going to assume that there’s mold and I got to deal with it, or what can I do to stop it in its tracks.
Jason Earle 30:16
The first step is always stop the water, right. And so going back to that timeframe, if you can get some more mold, get some rather moisture, within the first 24 hours, you’re gonna save yourself a whole lot of money, and time and aggravation. So specifically speaking to, tothe US listeners, you know, when I don’t know how Canadian insurance works, but the when, when you’re dealing with when you have a leak of any sort or water event of any sort. That 24 to 48 hour period, that first 48 hours is is crucial, because you’re going to a be able to stop the moisture problem from from turning into a mold problem.
But also, because insurance will cover water damage to almost the replacement cost of the building, right, it’s a real water damage is is has got a lot of room. And there’s really no you don’t need special you want water damage mitigation specialists. But it’s the protocols are much less onerous. And so you pay your insurance deductible. Essentially, once you get to the 72 hour mark. If insurance if it’s something that insurance would cover. Now, it’s a mold problem, and now require specialized expertise. Now you need the guys in the moon suits. And guess what insurance doesn’t pay for mold. Yeah, it pays for Water Damage.
And as soon as you crest into that 72 hour mark, you’ve just gone 10 times the cost. And now it’s a cash pay. Now also your house is going to be ripped apart. And a perfect mold remediation project from beginning to end takes about a month between finding getting the inspection done getting the reports, getting the contractors lined up doing the work, getting all the appropriate inspections done at the end, and then rebuilding stuff, it’s a really incredibly disruptive thing to happen in the middle of your life, people often have to move out.
And often like I said, because it’s a cash pay, it can destroy people financially. But if you got to it in that first 24 to 48 hours, hey, you could do it yourself, if you felt so inclined, as long as there’s not a preexisting mold issue there, which you would make airborne by ripping stuff out, right. Or you can get the insurance to come over and extract everything, get it dry, and save yourself just an incredible amount of disturbance. Many people will wait until their insurance adjuster gets back and they’ll wait for all these things, wait for their dad to call them back or wait for their buddy who’s a home inspector, you’re getting in trouble, you’re gonna be in big trouble there, you have to act quickly on these things.
And so drying things out dehumidifying try to avoid fans, believe it or not, because you could potentially be blowing stuff all over the place, you’re better off being proactive about just drying things, removing water damaged materials carefully, as quickly as you can, and then follow your nose. Right. So if you smell it, you probably already have it. And if at that point, you smell it, you might be well advised to not start moving things around. Because mold is designed to become airborne. And so some of the nastiest exposures to people get really sick from is when they move stuff that they didn’t know was moldy. And they get a big faithful of it.
So if you’re going to do that work, I also encourage people to use proper protective equipment, right? So we all know, we all have a lot of n95 masks from our recent they seem to be, you know, in everybody’s everybody’s Georgia these days. So these are very useful for this probably better for this than for viruses, quite frankly. So if you’re in that situation, you know, maybe you caught it a few days late and you’re starting to smell the smell. What have you found whether it’s supplementation or otherwise, like, what should you be doing to mitigate the not the house damage, but the human damage.
So you want to get as much of it seems crazy to just go right to but rest is important. You want to make sure that you’re detoxing through saunas, exercise, drinking good, clean, pure water, doing anything you can to support your liver. So, you know, there’s lots of liver supplements, liver support supplements, it’s very helpful. You want to eliminate the things that will slow you down like sugars and grains. They also happen to carry a lot of mycotoxins with them.
And so you want it you want to have a really clean diet. I often tell people, especially if they’ve got the mycotoxin results. And they because listen, if you’ve got a mold problem, your house likely going to make you sick, but just because you have mycotoxins in your in your in your in your lab doesn’t mean that you’re getting it from your building. And just because you’ve got mold related illness doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve got moldy pantry either, right?
So these things are kind of separate issues. And no one’s really clear that these…the microtoxins are actually causing a lot of the disease that’s being being talked about, quite frankly. But we do know that they’re not good to have in our body. And so we want to clear those out anyway. So my suggestion is to, to adopt almost like a keto diet anyway, even if it’s cyclical, because the primary violators of this are sugars and grains, right, anything processed. And so you really want to go on a whole foods diet, where you’re primarily going local, seasonal, organic. And so that means the animals that you’re eating are local, seasonal, organic, right.
And so they’re braised humanely. So they’re actually eating what they’re supposed to be eating. The what I’m saying is that you want to enable your body to detoxify naturally. So the first step in detoxing is to stop toxin, right. And so the analogy that I make a lot is that your body is like a juggler, or your immune system rather, is like a juggler. And it’s, it can juggle 1000s of balls. At the same time. It’s amazing, really the complexity of the capacity of the juggler, that is your immune system. But mold is like a guy across the room throwing baseballs at the judge, you know, he’s gonna have to make a decision here, right? Is he going to keep juggling all these processes?
Or is he going to defend himself from the onslaught, and I’m here to tell you that that’s what mold does is it stops all these other processes, because it needs to defend itself from this, this evolutionary threat, you know, we’ve grown up with this stuff, we’ve evolved to know that this is not good in our, in our homes, it’s the beginning of decay, right. And so when our building is decaying, I would argue that mold is probably trying to get us to move out so they can take over the rest of the building. And so you know, we need to listen to that signal.
And, and really make sure that we’re going to take care of that quickly and focus on that get rid of that guy throwing baseballs at at at your immune system, and and fix that mold problem. And then also do the things that need to be done to enable your body to find equilibrium. And also, the other thing is, and this is a very important point, this is something that’s kind of against swishy is that there’s so much fear around mold. And we know that fear weakens your immune system, right? We know the anger and fear or both, or both, can both make you sick.
And I would argue that, that when people greet mold with that kind of fear that they’re actually working against themselves. Mold is not something to be afraid of, it’s something to be aware of, and then to be discerning, just like you wouldn’t be free afraid of a pop tart, if you don’t eat sugar, you know, you just don’t eat it, right, you just do, you just it doesn’t end up in your cart. And if someone put it in your cart, you would simply take it out, right.
And so old needs to be treated in this this the same way. It’s not trying to kill you, if mold wanted to kill you, you’d be dead already. It’s smarter than you. It’s got more time on its hands. It’s got it’s got better weapons, but it’s not here to kill you it just wants to eat, it just wants to do its thing. And you’ve created an environment conducive to its growth in your building, you’ve invited the vampire into your home.
Now it’s time to eliminate the circumstances and make a move out. But the key to this whole thing is I think dealing with this in a in a in a very calm manner. So that your body again, can find that equilibrium, because what I find is that most people don’t need to go through formal detox protocols. If they can remove the the primary violators first, get rid of the things that are considered obstructing that process, which is mostly bad diet.
And then the body will do its thing, it takes time. It’s not something that you’re going to do instantly. And it doesn’t by doing that you don’t have the downsides that often come with taking binders and things which can also pull out things that we want. Right. So we know that binders are kind of a double edged sword. Does that make sense?
Kashif Khan 38:48
It does. And I look at you now seemingly very healthy. Obviously, obviously, you know, cognitive function is through the roof. You know, you do not seem like someone who’s had a history of health issues. Quite the opposite. And so, you know, what I what I see is that anyone who’s stuck, healing is a very, there’s a very clear path to healing. Right? And, and it’s not a it’s not a it’s not damage done. It’s more like you’re stuck in the wrong state.
And eventually, one day you can sound like this guy. Right? And firing on all cylinders. So that’s the good news is that because this is a big problem, and a lot of people do feel stuck, especially if they can’t move they can’t afford the fix are people that are just hearing now like, oh, that’s why I feel like this. They didn’t even know what was going on. You know? So that’s why the testing is so important. Absolutely. But the good news is when you figure it out, and if you do feel like this, and if you are stuck, and you do get a test done, or you find like oh, that’s what it was all along. There’s a very clear path to healing.
Jason Earle 39:59
No doubt about and I’ll tell you what this is about the being stuck thing, this is a really big part of mold sickness, the thing that happens a lot is that people get stuck. And then because they’re stuck, they actually end up spending more time indoors, we already spent 90% of our time indoors, you know, but then after spending more time indoors in the very building that’s making them sick in the first place.
So you see a lot of people sort of wallowing in, in on social media, you know, mired in this whole thing. And yet, they’re, they’re stuck in the very thing that’s causing them the disease, dis ease. And so, you know, so So, fascinatingly, in 2008, Brown University did a study with 6000 participants, and they, they, they polled them on the conditions of their building, whether they had mold or not, as well as a quality of life survey. So essentially how you feeling about your life, and they found a very strong correlation between mold and dampness indoors and depression.
Now, of course, you know, I brought that up, I bring that up for two reasons. First of all, that’s getting stuck right now, they weren’t aware of what they couldn’t tell from the study, because it was, it was just the first part of the study, whether or not there was a chemical link between the mold exposure and the depression, or whether this was a circumstantial thing. In other words, was this something where people were feeling disempowered, which is pretty depressing, because they’ve got a mold problem, and they can’t fix it. They either don’t have the budget, or they’re not.
They’re not they’re not a decision maker. Or they’re fighting against someone who is a decision maker, that’s, you know, that’s vetoing the this action, which is very common husband and wives fight about this all the time, landlords and tenants, right? I mean, mold is a subject of great controversy in so many ways. And so whether or not it’s something that needs to be remediated or not, is a primary cause of conflict, and when it comes to mold, and so, so they weren’t able to pin the tail on the donkey, so to speak, and say what caused it.
But again, coming back to, you know, my own mother committed suicide in that moldy house, and I can’t help but think that that wasn’t that that wasn’t, there wasn’t a relationship there. Right. And then also, you know, this subsequent study that was done with by Dr. Joan Bennett with the fruit flies, where she found that they stopped producing dopamine, they chemically became depressed by being exposed to the musty smell. So so we know that there’s their mental health and musty smells mental health and mold exposure is a is an is a Venn diagram, right?
There’s an overlap there. And some of it may be predisposition, but some of it may very well be causal. And no one knows, right? It could be the just the straw that breaks the camel’s back, it could be a combination of all those things, right circumstantial and chemical and everything else.
And so that’s why, you know, also you could argue that mold perpetuates poverty cycles, because these people can’t, who are living in in the projects are living in poor areas, they, they’re not taking care of their building, either their landlord, they can’t, those kids are living in moldy buildings, they’re going to small, the schools, they can’t learn there, they have asthma attacks, by the way, Bronx has five times the asthma is the national average, you know, for example, and, you know, that’s a combination of a lot of things, but a lot of it has to do with building conditions and the high allergen load from from pests and things like that.
And so these kids can’t learn. And as a result, they end up in lives of crime, the parents can’t keep a decent job, because their kids are going to the ER. And, you know, you’ve got this perpetuation in poverty. So this impacts our society in such huge ways. It’s incredible. I would argue that it’s also health care expenses.
And so you know, it has a huge impact on our economy has a huge impact on our on our on our, on our socio economic stratification, if you will, keeps the poor poor. And also, it’s the great equalizer rich people who go through this get crushed, right, it takes them from all the way up here. I mean, it takes you right down to the bottom of the rung of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It is truly the great equalizer. You know.
Kashif Khan 43:49
Have you Have you found anything? Going back to the building side? Where the structure itself could be more resilient and mold? Sort of mold free?
Jason Earle 44:02
Yes, yes. In fact, that’s one of my big initiatives. As as as got mold influence increases is to raise awareness around building materials, first of all, aside from mold, are building material companies or chemical companies. Okay. So just make let’s get clear, our building materials are made by chemical companies, right? Which is and they operate under an innocent until proven guilty philosophy, which is why asbestos and all these other all these other hazards have made their way into our into our world in abundance.
They knew there was a problem with their with those things rather. But they perpetuated anyway. In the 60s, roughly, you know, when as we started, you know, well, first of all, and then, right after World War Two, we had to build more houses for the baby boomers, right? Because we have this so so and they’re all the petroleum A chemistry was was being explored. And so we went from building houses out of stone, brick, plaster, old growth, timber, slate roofs, cedar, things like that, that are that are that are relatively impervious to moisture. And that when they get wet, they dry out to buildings that were that are essentially made of paper mache.
You know, sheet rock is very, very mold friendly material. In fact, I would argue that it’s better than a petri dish, it’s got a sandwich in the middle holds moisture, and it’s paper on both sides, which supports fungal growth. And, and we also stuff our walls full of fluffy insulation, which is like a sponge, and then we wrap it up in plastic, so that when water gets in the walls, it has nowhere to go except for it to essentially decay, get moldy and rot. And, you know, we use this young lumber that’s loaded with sugars, the supports all sorts of funky growth.
And so, and then on top of that, we paint the surfaces with toxic chemicals, you know, and then lock up our buildings with no air exchange to keep them nice and cool and nice and warm, you know. And so essentially, we’ve built, you know, we got 114 million single family homes in United States, and I’d argue probably 60 to 75% of them are sick buildings. And, and we’re susceptible to becoming very sick the moment a moisture problem develops, and also quality of construction has gone down dramatically.
Right. So we used to have the artisans, we used to have people that had that were, that were trained for, you know, as a apprentice for sometimes, you know, 10 years before they were able to lay a brick, you know, like these kinds of trainings are gone. Now, people pick the pickup day laborer at the bench down the street, right at the bus stop, and then you just kind of just hope it works well. And so, you know, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen Windows installed upside down. And I mean, really insane things that I think probably would not have happened 100 years ago.
You know, when people actually had more pride in their work and when building wasn’t necessarily purely profit motive, profit motive driven. And so, so building materials that don’t support fungal growth are harder to find, but I’m talking to a lot of builders recently that are interested in this space. You can get paperless wallboard, for example, you can get wallboard is made from magnesium oxide, which doesn’t support fungal growth, you can also get no VOC materials, which is very important for anyone who’s interested in having a healthy home. When you’re renovating or when you’re building choose always choose voc free materials if you can.
And so one of the ways to do that is to go to green guard.org is a great resource for people who are interested in in making better choices. Because it’s a hidden stuff to like, you know, the VOCs are hidden and things like adhesives and carpets awful. Especially new carpet. insulation, the pink and yellow stuff has formaldehyde in it, that’s a group one carcinogen, right? Why is it that we’re putting group one carcinogens in our walls? Right, it doesn’t make sense. And so you know, over time, my my one of my goals is to have is to is to effect some legislation to ban those chemicals from modern buildings.
I mean, if we want to reduce our health care expenses, and we want to reduce chronic illness, and we want to extend our IP and increase our GDP, and productivity and all these things, best way to do that is get the cancer causing materials out of our buildings, this is an obvious this is like a like on its face, an obvious thing to do, you know, and nobody could argue with it, except for the chemical companies that are making our building materials. And they have a big lobby right there. They’re powerful, just like pharma and big food. So those are the guys that we got to be aware of. And then again, not be afraid, same kind of thing.
But be discerning, you know, there are materials out there that you can use, the problem is is finding contractors that will use them. That’s that that is a major problem. A lot of contractors, if you share with them, the materials you want to use, they they’re not comfortable, they will only use stuff that they’re they’re used to. So be discerning about that to only work with contractors that have a healthy prospective, that want to build a healthy building that are willing to use mold resistant materials, moisture resistant, more importantly, and no and low VOC materials.
Kashif Khan 49:05
So I would urge everyone to start by understanding your environment, like let’s get a test out. In fact, you were kind enough to extend a discount code, which we’ll share with everybody listening. As much as you know, the URL of mold would appreciate the extra margin, use the discount code or onto the website, we’ll get to that. So yeah, so we’re gonna share that with everybody. But I would recommend everyone start there, like get a test because you even don’t even know if you’re here listening. You know, either you are sick or you’re worried about not getting sick.
So this could be the thing. This could be the thing that the doctor just couldn’t figure out, you know, because you’re not asking the right questions or even if they are they’re looking at it for the wrong perspective as we delve into today. You know, often it’s misunderstood. It’s a very, there’s subject matter experts and everything including Waldo here you will, right so And that in depth knowledge you have allows us to understand this better. So as we’re going to share this code, I would urge everyone to get tested.
From there, understand what’s going on in your home, what is it made out of? Right now you understand the structure that you’re in, from a different perspective. It’s not just a roof over your head, it is potentially, you know, propagating disease if it wasn’t built properly, right? If it was if the via the wrong filler or wrong, paint wrong, whatever on carpet. So start thinking about that in the investment you might make into a vacation might be into swapping out your insulation, right. That’s a that’s a long term vacation for you add years to your life as opposed to a weekend. Yeah. So yeah.
So I hope this conversation inspires that type of thought. And I want to thank you for your time, because you so much knowledge, you took a topic that I thought we’d be done in about two minutes. And we went almost an hour, I feel like we’re only just scratching the surface. Indeed, you know? And where do people find I know you have a ton of other information. So we’ll get we’ll share the discount codes, people can order the tests and get a deal. But where else can they follow you and find info?
Jason Earle 51:09
Well, one of the things that we did for your listeners just to make it a little easier to to get to us and also to get to the discount code as we created a welcome page for for you on our website. So those we’ve got a got mold.com/unfilled. And there, you’ll find a link to our ebook, How To find mold, which is 40 something pages of inspection checklists, and FAQs and great resources for people that are early in their mold awareness journey. People People send us lots of unsolicited positive feedback about that, if you follow that book around your house, take the book and follow follow the instructions and do an inspection of your house, you will get a better grip on your building than you’ve ever had before.
And again, I look at the building as an extension of your immune system, right. So you develop an intimacy with your building if sick buildings make sick people and when a building heals, so to the people. And so so there’s a there’s a real symbiotic relationship you have with the structure, this is not the static box, you just store stuff in and live in. Right? This is really something you have to recognize is that microbiome, right? We have one around us on us and in us and the one that’s around us is also very important. So the how to find mold will give you a better grip on on how to navigate that.
Also, there you’ll see the coupon code, which is unfilled 10, which gives you a 10% discount for anyone who’s, who’s listening. And also, if anyone wants to get in touch with me at gotmold.com. On the bottom of the homepage, there’s a contact form. I don’t answer all of those, but I do see all of those questions. The other thing to do is we post an asked me anything on Instagram, as well as Facebook, so people who want to ask questions, if you want to help other people ask them there so that I can answer them there. And that way other people can get the benefit of your inquiry. That’s that’s one of the one of the best ways.
Kashif Khan 53:01
Awesome, man, thank you so much for taking the time to be really eye opening. I’m going to order a couple of tests and check things out. And hopefully one day my brain works like yours.
Jason Earle 53:13
I think you’re doing okay, Khashif. Thank you for having me.
Kashif Khan 53:16