208: Surprising Sources Of Mold You Haven't Thought Of w/ Brian Karr

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Mold and mycotoxins can have a huge impact on your health if left unchecked. You may know of the common sources of mold (like damp basements), but mold can also be found in really unexpected places!

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My guest today is Brian Karr, a second generation indoor environmental consultant who specializes in working with hypersensitive individuals with complex medical conditions.

He helps them to understand if mold, mycotoxins, or other indoor pathogens exist in their homes (which may be contributing to their health conditions), and how to remedy those issues.

Brian has become a go-to mold and biotoxin resource for many medical practitioners across the country, and has helped over 3,000 hypersensitive individuals nationwide to create healthier living environments that have allowed their doctors to help them get better.

Join us as we discuss some sources of mold that may surprise you!

Has mold affected your health? Tell me about it in the comments!

In this episode:

  • Why are some people affected by mold, while others aren't?
  • How do you know if you have mold in your home?
  • Can mold grow on stone and concrete?
  • Does Brian use ERMI testing?
  • Considerations for household appliances that use water (e.g. dishwashers and washing machines)
  • How do you get rid of mold?


“Air testing in the middle of the room is the worst way to figure out if you have a mold problem in your house.” [5:22]

“The big secret really to finding hidden mold in your house is to not actually look for mold. It's to understand that mold is created as a result of water being somewhere…The key is really to look for signs of water damage in your home because mold is microscopic.” [6:28]


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Healthy Skin Show ep. 134: Dealing with Mold & Opening Detox Pathways w/ Toréa Rodriguez, FDN-P

Healthy Skin Show ep. 164: Mold Illness vs. Mold Allergy w/ Dr. Kasey Holland

Healthy Skin Show ep. 166: Mold + Histamine Connection w/ Dr. Jill Crista

208: Surprising Sources Of Mold You Haven't Thought Of w/ Brian Karr FULL TRANSCRIPT

Jennifer: Hi, Brian. Thank you so much for joining us here on The Healthy Skin Show.

Brian: Hey, thanks for having me. I'm excited. I love skin. Skin's great.

Jennifer: It is. But you know what? You're the first person to come on the show to talk about mold, but you're not a health professional. You're like somebody out there actually searching it out and seeing how it shows up in structures and things like that, which is much different than somebody who's running labs and whatnot, because this is more on the practical side of things. And before we started, I was telling you how I live in a house where every time it rains, because I'm up in the Philadelphia area and we have wet basements and some basements in my community actually flood when we have heavy rain storms. So there's a huge potential for mold.

Jennifer: But there's a lot of people that don't seem to get really sick because we hear about all these people who are so sick with mold illness and yet there's people like myself, at least I don't think I am that impacted by mold. I think my audience understands the severity of mold issues and we can go into more detail on this, but can we start off on why is it that some people seem to have issues with mold and then other people don't seem to be as impacted by it?

Brian: Yeah. I mean, it comes up all the time, because I'll go into a house and typically what's happening is that one or two of the people are reacting. The other people aren't at all, right? So that's a small sample set of what you're describing, like the neighborhood, right? Some people might feel it, some people don't. And usually women start showing signs first before men do. There's some physiological reasons for that. Just in terms of mold toxins, when you hear toxic mold, there's literally this chemical toxin that they create. It stores in our fat cells and women physiologically have more fat than men do, so they can build it up quicker. There's also a hormone piece to it, so which leans more towards women sometimes getting impacted, but getting beyond the male, female thing and just thinking big picture, there's three big things that determine how someone is going to react to something.

Brian: One is their genetic makeup, right? So basically, 25% of the population, you got dealt the crap card and you're going to react worse than other people. Sucks, but that's just what it is. Right? So that's just a genetic thing. The second piece is your previous exposures. So if you were exposed as a younger person before your immune system was completely developed, and when I say younger person, and I just learned this a year ago, I used to think younger meant under 10 years old or something, right? A young kid. Your immune system can be developing all the way up until you're close to 20 years old. So if you get hit with extreme exposures or prolonged exposure or something like that, it actually rewrites the way that your immune system reacts to things. And it's almost like you're rewriting your DNA in a point to where it's like, “Okay, now I overreact. I'm hypersensitive now,” where maybe you weren't born that way.

Brian: And then the third thing is other health conditions that you're dealing with that might also be taxing your immune system. So if you have Lyme disease or auto-immune diseases or a whole bunch of other things, it lowers your immune system and makes you more susceptible. Those are just three basic reasons. But the other reason that I think that it happens is perception. Mold impacts you in so many different ways to so many different people. There's not one blanket test that you could run and say, “I have a mold problem.” Or there's not one specific symptom that comes up and says, “Oh, this is mold.” Right?

Brian: It's super complicated, and the symptoms can reflect so many other types of health conditions that you don't even know that mold is really causing it. So a lot of times there are people walking around and they have chronic fatigue or they have skin problems or they have whatever's going on, no one's actually figured out that mold is what's causing that, but it can be, right? So part of it is that people just don't know. You may be walking around and not feeling super great, but you just don't know what's causing it necessarily.

Jennifer: So let's talk about that for a second. How would you know that you have mold? Because I'm going to say, first of all, most people don't realize that you don't have to see mold to have a mold problem. Most people don't realize that their exposure could come somewhere other than their home, and a lot of times when I ask, “Do you have mold or do you think you have mold in your home?” And they're like, “Well, my home does not smell moldy, and we just bought this house a year or two ago and the mold inspector told us that it was clear. They did an air inspection or something like that.” Is that enough to say that you don't have a mold problem?

Brian: No. And it's so funny because you literally brought up the biggest myths that come up. All of the things that you just said, and I do a webinar that I do frequently where I literally call out. One of the things I'm talking about, this is the reason why most mold inspectors are actually making you more sick, and it's because they're giving you this false sense of security because they're falling into these myths that then make them tell you that there's no way that you have a mold problem when it's completely not true. Right? So one thing you mentioned was air testing comes up and it shows up that it's fine. Air testing in the middle of the room is the worst way to figure out if you have a mold problem in your house. It's the most unreliable type of test to figure it out for a lot of reasons.

Brian: But one, just easy one to talk about is that whatever's floating around in the air, it pops up in the air, it settles back down on the floor. Pops up in the air, settles back down. So if you're taking an air sample for five minutes, who knows what's floating around the air at that point in time? 10 minutes later, if I came in the room, I jumped on the bed and sat on a chair and move some stuff around, you will get a different result. Right? It's just so variable. There's a lot of other reasons that I can maybe dive into more, but it's just not the best way to do it. Air samples are really great to find a hidden mold. And that goes to the next thing that you mentioned. “I don't see anything. I don't smell anything. So why do I have a mold issue?”

Brian: Most times when we're in a house, we're not seeing physical mold. Of all the things that we find, let's say we find 10 potential problems in a house, maybe one or two of them actually look like visible mold. And the other eight or nine of them are things where if you just looked at it, there isn't any visible mold. So the big secret really to finding hidden mold in your house is to not actually look for mold. It's to understand that mold is created as a result of water being somewhere. So think of watering a seed and something grows, right? So if there's no water, then mold isn't going to grow inside any of your structural areas. So then the key is really to look for signs of water damage in your home because mold is microscopic. So if you're only looking for that, even if there's some growth in places, you might not see it, but water damage, anyone can see. You just have to know what it looks like, right?

Brian: So if you have a bubbling paint or cracking or chipping somewhere or buckling floor cabinet or something like that, those are all signs of water intrusion that could have caused that to happen, which means you can have mold hiding behind those different areas that aren't visible to your eye. And that's really a lot of the way that people get impacted. Because as homes are older and things happen, there are leaks that happen in homes and people don't necessarily treat them the right way and then the home ends up building up this history of things that didn't get treated right. And all of a sudden, there's a little source of mold growth over here, and then there's one over here, and there's one over here, and you walk in the house… And those could have happened 10 years ago, but they still impact the space because the mold doesn't just disappear when the water goes away. It stays there.

Brian: All those things add up. People walk into a house that looks pretty good. Visibly, they painted everything and they refaced it and everything. And you walk in and it doesn't smell because there's not mold growing right now, but that doesn't mean that the byproducts aren't still in play, and then after a month or a couple of months, all of a sudden, people start feeling sick in those situations and it's because of the history.

Jennifer: Can I ask you then? So in my instance, so I know every single time we get heavy rain, we get water on the floor. It comes in through, I think one of the stone walls. Probably there's a crack in the foundation I would assume, and it's seeping in the stonewall and coming in on just the concrete and then it'll dry up or the cement floor, whatever it is. Can you have a problem with…? I mean, I imagine wood, yes, absolutely. But could cement or concrete structures also be a problem if they're constantly getting wet like that?

Brian: Yeah. So there's a couple things that can happen with that. One, another misconception is that mold can't grow on stone or concrete and it's just not true. So there are times where I walk into a basement. You have your foundation walls, whether cements, brick, stone, whatever it was built out of and there's actually mold growing on the foundation and I could take a surface test of it and it's there. So that's one piece. So you could have a sources actually on those. And again, mold doesn't always look the same. It's not always this disastrous black thing. When you do the deep dive on the internet and see all the walls that are black, it's not always that. It could be different colors, it could be really subtle, but it could still be there. So that's one way it happens.

Brian: The other way that it happens is when you have constant moisture coming into your basement like that, it raises the humidity in the basement. And then there are certain molds that just need humidity to get around 60% to grow all over the surfaces throughout the basement. So you could have mold growing on the framing, which is underneath the floor of the stairs above simply because of the humidity got increased from a water issue that was coming in from the foundation from the outside. That's one way that it happens, and then another big thing that happens is maybe because of the humidity increasing in the space, a lot of people have their furnace or their air conditioning unit in the basement. That's where they stay. So what happens is if you get a moisture issue or a mold issue that starts building up in the basement, those mechanical units for the furnace or the air conditioning unit, they can pull air in from the surrounding space that they live in because they're not airtight sealed.

Brian: So what happens if you end up with a mold problem in the basement, it starts to penetrate and peek into the air conditioning system or the ventilation, can impact that and then start spreading throughout the house. And now you start feeling the reactions everywhere and not just closer to the basement, basically. There's a lot of different ways it can happen.

Jennifer: Oh goodness.

Brian: I'm sorry for dropping that on you.

Jennifer: So what if somebody constantly runs a dehumidifier in their basement. Is that a red flag? The dehumidifier say fills up with water every single day. Would that be a red flag that there's probably a lot of humidity in the basement that could fuel this?

Brian: Well, what is telling you is that there's a lot of moisture getting in there, right? So the dehumidifier is trying to counteract it and maybe it's managing the humidity piece, right? Maybe it's stopping it for the humidity fills. It may not be stopping the issue directly on the foundation walls or around those areas. So you might get more of a source issue there. It could help manage the humidity throughout the space. The bigger challenge on all this stuff, and this isn't just drainage from the outside, but this is if I have a leak under the sink, or if I have something going on somewhere else. It's about stopping the water intrusion.

Brian: If we try to do band-aids on things and we don't actually fix the source of where the water's coming from, then you're always going to be fighting this never-ending battle with it versus actually fixing the problem. So let's say you really do have a drainage foundation issue. The waterproofing around your home is probably deteriorated over time because it will happen, right? It doesn't stay functioning forever. I mean, it's going to break down. That's probably what's happened. There's always a path now for water to get it. And until that gets fixed, then you're always going to have to be trying to fight it on the other side and it's just a constant battle like that.

Jennifer: So it sounds like this is really… To me, this looks like a two-pronged piece. You have to A, figure out where the water's coming from and address that, but then simultaneously address what is there growing now. Correct?

Brian: Yeah. Yeah. And the way that we do is we come in and we basically figure out where all these hidden areas are. So we address it backwards. So we're going through and we're seeing, “All right, is there water damage here? Is there water damage here? Let's test in this wall, let's test in the ceiling where we see a little stain or some cracking, or let's test in the basement where we see some of these things we're talking about.” And we basically validate if there's a mold problem there. And then we talk about how it would need to be properly remediated. If it's a wall, you might have to remove the wall and clean the structural components that are back there, because mold grows behind there. Once you do some of that stuff, now it's open.

Brian: Now when you're trying to figure out, “Well, where did the water come from?” A lot of times if I'm just looking at the wall behind me, I don't know, is it from up above? Is it from down below? Where exactly is it coming from? When you open it, you can now start seeing where is it darker? Where's the staining at? And you can start pinpointing it. So you're absolutely right. You have to fix the source coming in. Sometimes you back into it, on where it's coming from because you don't always know where it's coming from, but at the end, both of those pieces definitely have to be addressed.

Jennifer: I mean, these are the practical questions that a lot of times I've asked other doctors and they're like, “Well, that's really for someone who really deals with this.” It's hard to find out some of these very, just basic questions if you don't know, because I mean, there's plenty of practitioners that deal with mold in their practice, but they're not a specialist like you are. You go into a home and you're actually seeking out mold. I also mentioned too that you don't have to get mold. You may have mold in your work. I've had some clients where they worked in a really moldy hospital where they knew that there was a lot of mold problems, but you can also have mold in your car. Correct?

Brian: Yeah. I mean, mold, it cross contaminates, it moves to different places. A lot of times, if you have a significant mold issue, let's say in your house, you put stuff from your house in your car, right? I mean, here's a bigger example for me. So I go into really bad houses all the time. Right? So my body actually thinks that I just live in a really terrible moldy house, and in turn, I have three mold toxins in my body. I've developed skin issues. I've developed gut issues all as a result of the exposure that I'm now constantly trying to detox out because they've been building out forever. So I get flare ups and different things. But my car, because constantly bringing my equipment into these houses and then bringing it back out, even though I'm cleaning everything to try to avoid as much as I can before I go into new places, there's stuff in my car now. Right? So I'm getting rid of my car because how am I getting away from the exposure?

Brian: All the doctors that really specialize in this, the mold literate doctors, the ones that get it, they're all going to say the same thing. They're going to say, “I can put you on a treatment protocol and it'll be X effective.” But the real thing is you have to get out of the exposure first if you want any of this stuff to work. The car can be part of it, different things can be part of it, and it's tough. The way that I look at it, I don't want people to feel like you have to do everything at once. Where do you spend the most time? You spend the most time in your house usually. Let's focus there first. Let's get that into a good place. The nice thing about where we are now is a lot of us are working remote.

Brian: Maybe we can be out of some of those situations and work places and not be exposed as often. And if you're not as exposed as often, is giving your immune system a little time to rebalance and work on the detox and path that their doctors will put them. On over time, they'll get a little stronger. There'll be able to hopefully handle some of the smaller, shorter term exposures that come up and continue to build back.

Jennifer: I wanted to ask you, so when I'm assessing a client, I do think about where they live. Right? So if someone is in the Houston area, I will ask because of the hurricanes. I will ask, “How's your home? What happened in the past? Was there flooding?” I've worked with some clients whose homes were flooded. The same goes for Florida because of the hurricanes that have hit there. Recently, I've noticed an interesting pattern in folks who were in Los Angeles, where a lot of people have very moldy bathrooms. And I think of LA as being very dry, but it seems to be more of a pattern that maybe there is issues with… Are there certain cities or areas that you find that people assume that there really shouldn't be mold, but maybe there is?

Brian: Yeah. There's two really good questions in that. The last one is something where people think, “If I moved to the desert where there's no humidity and there's no water, I'm going to go live in Arizona or Vegas or something, that I'm going to have no mold problems. This is it. We're going to move there and everything's going to be fixed.” The reality is honestly, 90% of your mold problems in a house has nothing to do with where you live. It has to do with what's happening inside of your house. Have you had water leaks? Is the air conditioning system functioning properly? Is it leaking? Did you have an issue under your sink where you just thought, “Oh, it's normal. Sinks leak. I'm not going to handle it.” When the reality is that's causing a problem? Has there been a previous flood that impacted that space? Maybe you had a slab leak, maybe the owner or two owners before you had a slab leak and never told you about it and it's still in the house. There's so many things that can interact with that stuff.

Brian: Where you live, while it may… I'm not going to say it can't have an impact. It could, if things aren't managed properly, but the reality is most of it has nothing to do with where you live, and it has to do with how water issues have been handled in your particular home over time, which leads you to LA, which I… I'm in Orange County now, but I lived in LA for eight years. Everything is so old and so not taken care of. Landlords, they don't want to take care of this stuff, right? Their business is, “I'm going to turn cashflow off of this apartment unit and I need to keep costs down as much as I can in order to make my profit numbers that I'm trying to do on the year.” If you come in and you're like, “Oh, hey, I had this leak and I need remediation,” that costs $3000, $4000 or $5,000, they literally have lost their profit margin on your unit for probably two to three years.

Brian: So they're not doing it, right? They're covering stuff up. They're patching over it. This happened to me in four apartments I lived in. You move into apartment that's really old. It was built in the '70s and the '60s and the whatever. It's had all these problems, it's been owned by landlords for X amount of time. They clearly are not going to handle things properly. You're literally walking into this historical disaster, but they painted everything so it looks nice and you get exposed. So that's why things in those older buildings, like you're talking about LA, it's a big problem. But then when you talk about Houston, even Jersey from Hurricane Sandy, you talk about Florida, so that's a whole nother thing, right? Any building that has been impacted a major water event like that.

Brian: We did an entire fundraiser thing called After the Storm that was specific for the Houston staff to try to help people understand how to navigate post flood and what you do and things like that, but the thing is that there are these companies that we call storm chasers and they're remediation companies, basically. They're not really remediation companies, but they come in and they say, “Okay…” They find a natural disaster, follow it, and they know that there's going to be hundreds and thousands of homes that need quick water drying and things just to get out of the house, and they're like, “We'll handle. We'll work with your insurance and everything.” And they go to the insurance and they're not fighting your insurance to make sure things are handled properly. They're figuring out the maximum money they can get from your insurance, taking all of it, doing a crap job of cleaning stuff up in your house, and then you think that everything was remediated properly.

Brian: Your insurance claim is now gone because it's been claimed. So you can't ever go back and actually get it done the right way through insurance, and they literally are screwing people and putting them in terrible situations and just patching stuff and not doing anything, and you end up with all these homes that were impacted by these hurricanes. Literally, I'm telling you for 50 years from now, there's going to be massive, massive epidemic of sick auto-immune, all these different types of issues that are resonating from these types of large historical things like this.

Jennifer: I was going to say too even in Texas, where they had that freeze up and we saw video upon video, upon video of people's pipes in their ceilings burst, and they have water pouring through the ceilings once everything stopped being frozen. I would imagine, I don't even know where you begin to clean up that kind of damage.

Brian: Yeah. I did a really long thing on this to try to help outline it, but the point of it, in quick summary is you have to understand every document, everything. Look where it went. Understanding where the water went is so helpful when you're then trying to figure out, “How am I going to handle and clean and remediate and fix everything?” Because a lot of times, the further away you get from the source, say the piper's from the ceiling. Let's say it hits the kitchen floor or something and spreads horizontally like it will. Maybe it impacted a bedroom on the other side. Maybe it went somewhere else, but it didn't really go over there that bad. So when it dries up, it doesn't really leave any visible clue that it was over there.

Brian: So then you think, “Well, I just have to fix the ceiling where the water hit and maybe the floor and that's where you're at because that's visibly what you remember because it was so bad, but water moves and travels in lots of different ways. The really important part of that is to map out where the moisture went. Always look a room beyond. When I'm doing testing when there's flood issues, I'm actually testing walls in the room next to wherever the room was impacted. Even if there's no signs of anything. I'm like, “We're doing a test on this wall, this wall, on this wall. We have to make sure that it didn't get over here.” And that's how you try to map all that out and hopefully avoid those types of things. But yeah, it was brutal. All of that was brutal.

Jennifer: Yeah. Now do you use ERMI testing? The E-R-M-I test as part of what you recommend people actually look for if they're going to look for mold?

Brian: Yeah. We use it for a particular reason when we're in homes, but it's also a really good screening test for homeowners to do on their own. It's super easy to do. The lab literally mails you what is essentially a sterilized Swiffer pad, and then you go around and collect dust from throughout your house. And it's a dust analysis. Remember I was talking about air samples and why it pops up in the air and then it settles down and pops up, that's part of the reason why our samples aren't great. Dust is everything has settled down onto the surfaces and stays there. You could find dust reservoirs that are years old, if you haven't cleaned under certain areas. And it gives you such a historic view of what's been moving through a house, what's getting re-suspended into your breathing zone and what you're being exposed to.

Brian: So ERMI is are really good just screening tests. If you're like, “Yeah, I don't know. I might be feeling off, or my doctor thinks something is going on in here. I don't think there's a problem, but you know what? Let's try to find out.” You can do an ERMI test on your own really easily and when the results come back, it's not the easiest thing for people to read, but when it's not good, it's very clear that it's not good. So you can be like, “Oh, okay, there's something going on. This is telling me I need to do further investigation. I have to find out where it's coming from.” And that's what our goal is. When we go in, we have two goals. One is where are the sources? Where is it hiding? Where are the factories that are creating this problem in the first place, right?

Brian: When you drive by a factory, smoke comes out of the top, right? It's not the factory that we're breathing. It's the smoke the factory creates that we're breathing. Same thing with mold. You may have a mold colony, which is the equivalent of your factory. It's not that that colony directly is what's causing your problem, but it's the spores and the byproducts and the toxins it creates. So the way to stop this air pollution is you have to shut the factory down first. So you have to figure out where all of those are. That's where a really deep dive inspection. We spend probably four or five, six hours in a house, just trying to figure that piece of it out. And then the second piece is the dust collection, like the ERMI and that tells you what's moving throughout the space.

Jennifer: So this is making me wonder about appliances that use water. So dishwashers, washing machines, what if you have…? I think it's common knowledge. Everyone knows darn front loaders of the washing machines are really bad. They are notorious for getting mold. So if they have mold in them, is that essentially…? I mean, you wash your clothes, but could you end up with clothes, if they're being washed in a moldy environment that's still have mold in them? And would the same be true if say you have a dishwasher that's moldy? Is your stuff really getting clean, or should you be concerned about that?

Brian: I'd be concerned about it. I mean, when I see those front loaders, like you described and I show people and literally, anyone could go search on the internet, “Front-load washing machine mold,” and they open up the rubber gasket and it's just covered in there. And yeah, you're washing your clothes in that, right? So it's not that mold growing on your stuff, but the fragments and the different things that break off the corners, they get into the fibers of the clothing. So you can end up having that there, right? Now with dishes and stuff, hopefully it's a little better, because they're more solid. It's ceramic dishes, things like that. So you're not getting stuff wedged in it as much. Is it ideal to be washing it in moldy water? No, you want to make sure you're not doing that, but washing machines, big, refrigerators with ice makers, really big like water dispensers and ice makers.

Brian: Anyone listening to this, if you have refrigerator that has a water dispenser thing in it, go look up into it where the ice comes out of, and half of you, people that are listening right now are going to find mold growing on that. And then you start thinking, “This is where my water is coming from. This is where my ice is coming from.” I didn't even know this trick until I saw somebody else do it just randomly and I was like, “Whoa, wait a second. I need to go look at this.” Because I'm always so worried about the structural components in the house that I wasn't at the time. I wasn't really looking at the appliances very closely as a few years ago. And then I go look in mine and it is covered.

Brian: I'm like, “Shut up.” I'm like, “Shut up right now.” I cleaned it the best that I could. I'm renting. So I can't just get a new fridge, and then I got a Berkey water filter and ever since then, I don't use anything that comes out of any rubber line, any water thing for that I'm drinking or anything like that and I use Berkey filters for everything.

Jennifer: Yeah. That makes me feel better. I use Berkey too. Okay. Well, that's a good random thing I had no idea it was going to come out of this. A friend of mine had brought this to my attention the other day because she had mold mycotoxin test done on herself and it came back with this random thing that probably is not from the house. And she's like, “Well, our dishwasher, we realized had some leaks someplace and we realized the dishwasher was really moldy.” So they recently got rid of the dishwasher and that. As you were talking, I was like, “What about appliances?”

Jennifer: This is a good question. One last, I think this is another really good question too, if someone has had an exposure to mold, I don't want to be the person to say this because I think it's a pretty extensive problem and it can be really upsetting. For example, I spoke with someone last week, they had their stuff in a storage unit and 15% to 25% percent of the items were covered in mold. Can you just clean it off of your furniture and your books and lamp shades and stuff. Are you looking at having to really get rid of those items?

Brian: So there's things to think about. One is what's your health situation? Now I will tell anyone, if you have mold growing on stuff, you should get rid of it. I really think that's true. I don't think that you should be cleaning it, but some people, they assess themselves. They're like, “Mold doesn't affect me. Whatever. Blah, blah, blah.” And if you feel like that's not an issue and you feel fine and that's what you want to do, I'm not going to tell someone not to do that. But when you're talking about the types of things that can't be cleaned versus can be cleaned, basically anything that is porous. So you mentioned lampshades, books, mattresses, couch cushions, down comforters, pillows, that kind of stuff, clothing that's really cushioned that you can't just put in a washing machine, all that stuff can't really be cleaned because it gets into the cushions and you can't get it out. Anything that is any porous or semi porous or I'll say porous material-

Jennifer: So that would include wood or the fake pressed wood furniture?

Brian: So kind of. So there's three categories. There's porous, semi porous, and then solid. So porous is your fabrics, linens, plush stuff, things like that. Semi porous is this middle range. This is where woods come into play. Things like that. But there's different types of woods. So if you have mold growing in compressed wood, so like plywood, MDF, things that are used to build a lot of the cheaper furniture that we can get like Target and stuff like that, if you got mold growing on that stuff, it's in the layers of the wood. You can't really surface clean it and get it out. Right? You could try to surface clean it and will look at it and will be like, “Oh, there's nothing else there. We're cool,” but the problem is that gets into it. You cut the surface off. I use this Titanic analogy all the time. It wasn't the tip of the iceberg that sunk the boat. Right? They actually navigated around it. They got around that. It was everything that was under that they couldn't see.

Brian: You easily could have chopped the tip of the iceberg off and they still couldn't navigate it the same way, and they still would've taken down the most unsinkable ship. And that's what happens, right? What you're seeing is usually a smaller piece of it and it grows into stuff. But more solid wood things can be cleaned when you're talking physical growth. When you're talking about things like are they cross-contaminated? Meaning there's not growth on them, but maybe they were in a room where you're concerned or something like that, then the restrictions lift a little bit in terms of what you can try to clean and what not to clean. I would say, and this is just me personally and just because I know this stuff so much and I'm actually dealing with the health effects of it myself, anything that has physical growth on it, it's gone as far as I'm concerned. And that's just my thought on it.

Jennifer: Okay. Well, I appreciate it. That's really helpful because these are actual real life situations that I have been presented with in practice. So I know that there are actual questions and concerns that my listeners actually have. And I'll be excited to hear what people think of this and any questions, that way I can have you come back and we can talk about this even more because I know that there is so much to this. I've actually learned quite a lot from following you on Instagram. You have a great Instagram account with a lot of great information, and I know too… Do you want to share with everyone how they can get in touch with you and especially for those who have concerns about what we've discussed and they're dealing with whether it's rashes or auto-immune issues or anything else, this information's really helpful for a large group of people.

Brian: Yeah, definitely. Thank you. I'm so my Instagram account is moldfinders, is the Instagram account. So anyone could go there. I try to give as much as I can in different places. And then we also have some like we can do inspections for people directly. We have a course that we can do that helps people. But the freebies with all kinds of info is the Instagram account @moldfinders. I have a podcast called Mold Finders Radio. 80 plus episodes with all kinds of deep dives into so many questions people have. So there's a lot there. Then other things that we have, we have a program called Mold Finders Method. It's a way for people… It's like a do-it-yourself, how to find hidden mold in your own home program.

Brian: There's a webinar attached to it that teaches the core concepts. So the myths about mold are one of the things that are in there that we talked about earlier and some other things, and then there's actually a… It's a program we literally go through and tell in every room, “This is where you look, and this is what you look for and if you see this, this is a problem and this is how you would test it, and this is how you would remediate it, and this is how you would do all of those things.” So it's literally consulting with me without directly consulting with me, basically.

Jennifer: That's awesome.

Brian: Yeah. So that's called moldfinders:METHOD. It's moldfindersmethod.com. And then my company for in-person inspections, we're called We Inspect. That's the company that actually comes out. Our website is yesweinspect.com and we help people all over the country. So we're national. So we can go anywhere.

Jennifer: Perfect. Well, thank you so much, Brian. I really appreciate your time. This was incredibly informative, shocking. I'm going to have to go look up into my refrigerator now. Oh my gosh. But you know what? It's important because we take for granted, like you said, you don't smell it. You don't see it. You don't think anything's there, but if you're constantly… I mean, fortunately, I don't drink from the water out of my fridge because I use a Berkey, but a lot of people do think that because they're drinking out of the fridge, it's “filtered.” We'll put that in air quotes. So it's better for them, but they might not realize until they look that there's actually mold up there. So thank you so much for just bringing this to our attention, because it is a huge concern, it's a huge problem, and yeah, you're a wealth of knowledge. I really appreciate your time.

Brian: Oh, I appreciate it. Anytime that you want, if your followers have questions, your listeners have questions, we can do just a Q&A swap on Instagram or something. Or whatever works, I'd be more than happy to share more.

Jennifer: Perfect. Thanks so much.

Brian: Awesome. Thanks. Bye-bye.

“Air testing in the middle of the room is the worst way to figure out if you have a mold problem in your house.”