Are You Susceptible To Mold Illness? The Master of Disaster - Coastal Alabama & Mississippi

Are You Susceptible To Mold Illness? The Master of Disaster - Coastal Alabama & Mississippi

Mold Illness and Your Health - ServiceMaster, Mobile, AL


How susceptible are you to mold? Some food for thought. ServiceMaster Advanced Mobile, AL (251) 653-9333. Although this article contains some information regarding our industry, it contains a ton of useful information for the consumer to consider as well. 



How Many Remediation Customers are

Susceptible to Mold Illness?

It's important restorers understand the health

consequences some customers face in their homes.

April 27, 2016

One of the biggest challenges faced by people sick from mold is the fact that doctors,

friends, and other family members dismiss their symptoms simply because they,

personally, do not get sick when exposed to mold.

Many victims of mold sickness are labeled as hypochondriacs and are accused of not

being sick at all.

This is tragic because many people that get sick have no control over their sickness

because their bodies have a genetic pre-disposition to mold illness.

The purpose of this article is to explain why contractors, particularly mold remediation

professionals, should know why some of their customers get sick from mold and other’s

do not.

There is actually a scientific reason, and understanding of that science will not only help

you serve your customers more effectively, but also increase sales by addressing the

needs of mold sensitized individuals.

Lessons Learned From Interviews With Mold Sensitized Individuals

In 2015, Wonder Makers Environmental, a company based in Michigan, launched a new

website with the mission of educating consumers, contractors, and health professionals

on the health concerns caused by mold. The website’s goal is to be the ultimate resource

of mold information and contains many articles written by the CEO, Michael Pinto.

Since launching the website, numerous mold sensitized individuals have been

interviewed and many lessons can be learned from these interviews.

1. In general, there is a lack of appreciation among the medical community of the

impact mold can have on certain individuals.

2. The symptoms from mold sickness are broad, leading to multiple misdiagnoses of

patients by many doctors.

3. It is quite common for mold sensitized individuals to seek help from multiple

medical practitioners and still not get healthy.

4. Eventually, the individual learns mold has been the cause of the sickness.

5. Mold sensitized individuals frequently are forced to seek alternative shelters

because traditional remediation approaches are not adequate to address their

sensitivities, even assuming that the current standard of care is followed.

Anecdotal Data Versus Scientific Data On Mold Illness

For more than a decade, people have tried to use the courts to sue for compensation from

sicknesses caused by mold. During the early stages of these legal battles, the court system

tended to side with the defendants citing a lack of scientific evidence that mold actually

makes people sick.

Despite the lack of scientific evidence, anecdotal data from thousands of contractors

working with occupants of water-damaged buildings documented the health challenges

many faced.

In the 1980s, the World Health Organization, coined the term “Sick Building Syndrome”,

which people believed was caused by poor indoor air quality caused by water damage to

the buildings.

According to Erik Johnson, a mold expert and survivor, it was not until the 1990s, that

the World Health Organization, acknowledged “Sick Building Syndrome” could be

caused by toxic mold.

The medical community is beginning to acknowledge the health impact that waterdamaged

buildings can have. This recognition was made very public in 2015 with the

release of the MOLDY documentary which featured health professionals and people who

have suffered mental and physical health issues after moving into moldy houses.

In a presentation at the PLR Expo in Toronto, Canada, in November, 2015, CEO of

Wonder Makers Environmental, Michael Pinto presented “13 Future Trends in the

Restoration Industry“ and has since also written an update to several of his points.

One of the most notable trends he cites is a “A Tighter Connection Between Medicine

and Environment.”

Pinto cites new diagnosing techniques to identify an illness called Chronic Inflammatory

Response Syndrome (CIRS), which legitimizes the tie between water-damaged buildings

(WDB) and sickness. He also cited research that has identified a genetic component to

this condition, a screening test (VCS), and most importantly, a treatment regimen.

Pinto also believed the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI) demonstrates

the important ties between medicine and the environment. ERMI is a scientific test that

analyzes dust samples for 36 mold species. This test provides base information to identify

CIRS because 26 of the mold species are considered to be water damage indicators.

This test is important because one sample can be analyzed to identify the extent of water

damage in the building that could make someone susceptible to CIRS sick. Importantly,

this test provides an ERMI score, i.e. a HERTSMI-2 score that can be given to physicians

and will help them assess whether a building will make their patient sick.

Because of growing medical awareness and the fact that there are now medical tests and

drugs to diagnose and treat mold illness, Pinto believes one of the other outcomes of this

acknowledgement will be a more active justice system where plaintiffs will now be able

to get compensation because they now have science to back up their claims.

25% of the Population is Susceptible to Mold Illness

The most interesting aspect of the research on the effect that Sick Building Syndrome has

on patients pertains to genetics.

One of the biggest problems with mold sickness is that it impacts everyone differently.

Some may experience minor allergies, and other health conditions like asthma and

chronic sinusitis, while other mold sensitized patients may suffer severe illnesses.

One physician documented the health symptoms of 227 patients who lived in waterdamaged

buildings during a three year period and found 98% of his patients had one of

the gene types where their immune systems were not able to effectively deal with

contaminants from water-damaged buildings.

As stated by Pinto:

“In layman’s terms, two different genes have been isolated, which keep some people’s

immune systems from functioning properly when they have been exposed to contaminants

from water-damaged buildings. Instead of properly identifying and eliminating the

foreign invader, those body defense mechanisms increase the problem. When viewed with

a basic understanding of genetic distributions, this research made it clear that up to a

quarter of the population (25%) is at increased risk from exposure to water-damaged


This research is very significant because it demonstrates that up to 25% of the population

has a genetic pre-disposition that makes them more susceptible to mold illness and the

condition known as Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS).

Because of this research, the scientific community and legal system is now taking much

greater notice because diagnostic tests, lab tests and treatment tools are being developed

to help these patients. In short, the data is no longer anecdotal, but based on objective


What Is Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS)?

According to Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, CIRS is:

“An acute and chronic, systemic inflammatory response syndrome acquired following

exposure to the interior environment of a water-damaged building with resident toxigenic

organisms, including, but not limited to fungi, bacteria, actinomycetes and mycobacteria

as well as inflammagens such as endotoxins, beta glucans, hemolysins, proteinases,

mannans, c-type lectins and possibly spirocyclic drimanes, plus volatile organic


Listed below are the 37 symptoms associated with CIRS.

1. Fatigue

2. Weakness

3. Aches

4. Muscle Cramps

5. Unusual Pain

6. Ice Pick Pain

7. Headache

8. Light Sensitivity

9. Red Eyes

10. Blurred Vision

11. Tearing

12. Sinus Problems

13. Cough

14. Shortness of Breath

15. Abdominal Pain

16. Diarrhea

17. Joint Pain

18. Morning Stiffness

19. Memory Issues

20. Focus/Concentration Issues

21. Word Recollection Issues

22. Decreased Learning of New Knowledge

23. Confusion

24. Disorientation

25. Skin Sensitivity

26. Mood Swings

27. Appetite Swings

28. Sweats (especially night sweats)

29. Temperature Regulation or Dysregulation Problems

30. Excessive Thirst

31. Increased Urination

32. Static Shocks

33. Numbness

34. Tingling

35. Vertigo

36. Metallic Taste

37. Tremors

For 75% of the population, when exposed to biotoxins caused by mold, the individuals’

immune system responds by binding with the invading poison that allows its cells to filter

the biotoxins through the liver, kidneys, and other organs.

In contrast, 25% of the population who have the genetic susceptibility to mold illness get

sick because their body’s immune system does not bind to the biotoxin, meaning it is not

eliminated and therefore continues to circulate, causing the many symptoms, documented


The “C” in CIRS refers to the term “Chronic” because individuals exposed to poisons

from mold are unable to eliminate the toxins from their body, resulting in on-going and

escalating sickness, particularly if the person is continually exposed to mold. This is the

primary reason that the first priority of medical practitioners treating mold sensitized

patients is to begin the detox process which also must coincide with movement away

from the building that is constantly exposing the person to the toxins.

The “I” in CIRS refers to the term “Inflammatory” because the constant exposure to the

toxins creates a cycle of sickness, meaning the individual’s immune system is constantly

trying to fight the toxins, leading to inflammation.

The “R” in CIRS refers to “Response” because the human body is designed to respond to

invading toxins. In the case of patients suffering from mold sickness, the immune system

is constantly trying to fight the toxins causing a stress on the complete immune system of

the individual, which in turn leads to other health conditions.

As stated by Pinto, the “S” in CIRS refers to “Syndrome” because:

“The symptoms are a result of many factors, including external exposures and internal

responses. The contaminants from water-damaged buildings should trigger the activation

of an immune response, but some people’s genetic structure does not allow the proper

recognition of the biotoxin. Since this combination of circumstances inhibits the

clearance of the poison from the body, these harmful substances continue to circulate and

create continual damage. With such individuals there is no linear dose/response

relationship, meaning that even trivial exposures can create severe problems.”

Is CIRS Life Threatening?

The major problem that individuals with CIRS face is their bodies immune systems

become severely compromised and weakened from the vicious cycle of invading poison,

immune response, and inflammation.

The end result is many of their bodies systems are damaged, leading to a wide range of

health conditions, some life threatening.

For this reason, many mold survivors have reported that they have abandoned the primary

residence that initially made them sick; instead, seeking shelter wherever they can find it,

especially very dry areas, with dessert like conditions where moisture is limited. These

drastic measures were taken by these individuals because their bodies have become so

sensitized to mold that even minor exposure triggers severe reactions.

Fortunately, the continued research on mold sickness is creating hope because treatments

been have developed that help individuals detox and eliminate the poisons, followed by

rebuilding the immune system so that it regains strength.

How Can This Knowledge Help Your Business?

At PLR Expo in 2015, Michael Pinto asked the audience of about 400 contractors if they

had heard of Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome? Very few raised their hand.

Honestly, I was a bit surprised. Keep in mind, one of the trends that Pinto identified was

“Growing Public Awareness.” If consumers are getting more educated, you should also.

One of the goals of this article is to explain why some of your customers are sick from

mold and others are not. Now you know the answer: 25% of the population has a genetic

pre-disposition to mold illness and may suffer from CIRS.

Learn about CIRS and know the symptoms. In fact, when you meet with a prospective

client who has health issues that could possibly be caused by mold, ask them how many

of the 37 symptoms of CIRS they have.

If you suspect they have CIRS, ask them to consult with a physician who can verify the

diagnosis and prescribe a treatment plan.

The next step is to work with your customer to properly remediate their home. It is no

longer just a matter of dealing with mold in just one part of the home when you are

dealing with a mold sensitized customer. You need to understand the big picture,

meaning you need to work on a plan that addresses spore deposition throughout the home

and also understand that the HVAC system could also be contaminated.

Addressing The Needs Of Mold Sensitized Individuals Will Increase Your Bottom


Recently, one of my clients began working on a mold project that was referred to them by

Wonder Makers Environmental. The mold sensitized homeowner was no longer living in

her home because her health kept getting worse as she suffered from CIRS and was

advised to move out until her home was properly remediated.

Wonder Makers referred this homeowner to a contractor who understood how to deal

with mold sensitized individuals. The mold remediator’s work plan addressed the source

of contamination, i.e. the moisture source. Once this problem was fixed, the scope of

work addressed the areas of the home that had mold growth. The work plan had three


1. Use proper standard of care, containment, negative air, air scrubbers, etc. to

remove porous mold contaminated content. The contractor also implemented

their mold prevention system backing it up with a 25 year guarantee.

2. Create a work plan to address the spore contamination in the HVAC system by

sub-contracting the clean up with a reputable firm

3. Address the spore deposition in the home by setting up a clean room where

contents could be cleaned with an effective solution, like Mold-B-Gone, and

HEPA vacuumed could be stored. It should be noted, the use of chemicals to

clean the contents is not necessary, though this contractor chose to use this

chemical because the ingredients are all natural, EPA approved, and on the FDA

Gras list.

The total price tag for this project was more than $20,000.

The customer is happy because the fungal ecology of her home is at normal levels and

she can live in her home again.

How many customers can you help if you simply ask the right questions?

How might your business grow if you position it as the expert on CIRS and begin

educating consumers?

How many jobs will you win from competitors if your education efforts build more trust

with customers?

Bottom line, there is a need for contractors that understand the needs of individuals

adversely affected by mold. The science of mold is advancing. The fact that up to 25%

of the population could be genetically pre-disposed to mold illness, means that

contractors that want to grow their businesses exponentially should begin preparing

themselves to service this market demand. How prepared are you?


Mold Overview - Types of Mold Explained - ServiceMaster ADVANCED - Mobile, AL

We are the original ServiceMaster Restore disaster restoration company operating in Mobile and Baldwin County in South Alabama, serving the area for over 30 years. We have handled some of the largest fire damage, water damage and mold remediation cleanup jobs ever performed on the Gulf Coast and we would be honored to serve you. (251) 653-9333, (251) 928-1028 and (866) 653-9333. 


Below is an article posted on LinkedIn by Mr. Sanjay Gupta. it is an overview and gives the reader some basic information. Another great site is There is a link to his site included below.


Mold Facts and Information

Originally published on June 5, 2015.  by Sanjay Gupta 

The purpose of this article is to answer the following questions about mold:

1. What causes mold growth?
2. What are the most common types and species of mold?
3. Why should I be concerned about mold?
4. How can I detect mold?

What Causes Mold Growth?


Mold is a fungus, as are mushrooms and yeast, and has a biological purpose in our eco-system: to consumes dead organic material. Understanding it’s biological importance is essential to understanding why it poses health hazards.

Problems occur with mold when it begins growing in an enclosed environment such as a home. Mold found inside homes and buildings originates from the outside. Mold spores enter buildings and homes through open doorways, windows, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Spores in the air outside also attach themselves to clothing, animals, shoes, bags and more!

The key ingredient mold needs to thrive and grow is moisture and a food source.

Sources of Moisture

Since mold is everywhere, it will only start growing when the spores settle on surfaces with excess moisture. The key to preventing mold growth is to control moisture. Maintaining an interior humidity level of between 30 to 40% will prevent mold growth.

Listed below are the most common sources of moisture. If you suspect mold growth, before the mold can be cleaned and removed, the sources of the moisture issues must be addressed first.

1. Flooding.
2. Backed-up sewers.
3. Leaky roofs and/or water leaks.
4. Humidifier which is not regularly cleaned and disinfected.
5. Damp basements or crawl spaces.
6. House plants and their debris.
7. Steam from cooking and showers.
8. Wet clothes hung to dry indoors.
9. Inadequate air exchange.
10. Excessive humidity.
11. Condensation, which is especially a problem during the winter, on poorly insulated surfaces.

Sources of Food

Mold is like a parasite because it will only grow if there is an ample mold source. Under the right conditions of temperature and moisture, mold will continue to feed. The problem with mold lies in the fact that most homes and buildings are made from dead organic material, which is the type of food that mold thrives on. Food sources for mold include the following:

1. Wood & wood products.
2. Paper and other paper products like cardboard and wallpaper
3. Leather.
4. Fabric and upholstery
5. Grout.
6. Painted walls.
7. Cement
8. Plaster (drywall).
9. Ceiling tiles
10. Insulation materials.
11. Carpet.

What Are The Most Common Types and Species of Mold?


Not all molds are the same; consequently, it is important to understand that identifying the types and species of mold is important because it helps you and the mold remediation professionals assess the potential health hazards that the growth poses.

Types of Mold

Of the 100,000 types of mold that have been identified, the three most common types have been identified as:

1. Allergenic Molds.
2. Pathogenic Molds.
3. Toxigenic Molds.

Allergenic Molds


Allergenic molds are not usually life-threatening but do cause health concerns for individuals with allergies or asthma. Children and the elderly are most likely to experience health issues if there are allergenic molds present in the property.


Pathogenic Molds


Pathogenic molds are of particular concern if your immune system is weak or compromised because these can cause infections. This type of mold can cause hypersensitivity pneumonitis, an acute response resembling bacterial pneumonia. An example is Aspergillus fumigatus, which can grow in the lungs of immune-compromised individuals.

Toxigenic Molds (aka “toxic molds”)


Toxigenic molds are the worse types of molds because they produce mycotoxins that will make anyone exposed to them sick. Mycotoxins are chemical toxins present within or on the surface of the mold spore, which can be inhaled, ingested, or touched. An example of this is an aflatoxin, one of the most potent carcinogens known to mankind. Aflatoxins grow on peanuts and grains, and on some other foods.

Species of Mold

Mold inspectors and indoor air quality professionals use various methods to identify the mold species.

Testing could be done with a tape or swab sample on visible mold.

Air quality samples may also be recommended because air borne mold spores are not visible to the eye. Air quality samples are advantageous because they can identify the concentration of indoor spores.

Once samples are taken, they should be sent to accredited laboratories to analyze them to determine the exact species of mold.

The five most prevalent species of mold are:

1. Alternaria.
2. Aspergillus.
3. Cladosporium.
4. Penicillium.
5. Stachybotrys.

Alternaria Mold


Alternaria mold is commonly found in your nose, mouth and upper respiratory tract and can cause allergic responses. 

Aspergillus Mold


Aspergillus mold is usually found in warm, extremely damp climates, and a common occupant of house dust. This mold produces mycotoxins which is a poisonous chemical compound. This mold variety can cause lung infections including aspergillosis.

Cladosporium Mold


 Cladosporium mold is a very common outdoor fungus that can find its way indoors and grow on textiles, wood and other damp, porous materials. This mold triggers hay fever and asthma symptoms.

Penicillium Mold


Penicillium mold is a very common species found on wallpaper, decaying fabrics, carpet, and fiberglass duct insulation. It is known for causing allergies and asthma. Some species produce mycotoxins, one being the common antibiotic penicillin. 

Stachybotrys Mold


Stachybotrys mold is extremely toxic “black mold” that produces mycotoxins that can cause serious breathing difficulties and bleeding of the lungs. This mold can be found on wood or paper.

We are the original ServiceMaster Clean (janitorial) & ServiceMaster Restore (disaster restoration) company operating in Mobile and Baldwin County in South Alabama, serving the area for over 30 years. We have handled some of the largest janitorial, fire damage, water damage and mold remediation cleanup jobs ever performed on the Gulf Coast and we would be honored to serve you. (251) 344-5105, (251) 653-9333, (251) 928-1028 and (866) 653-9333. 



Our web site is loaded with informative articles and videos on mold remediation. Please view our site at: It will give you a good idea of our standards. Also, please check the EPA guide on mold: You will find that we absolutely adhere to the guidelines in this publication.

When you call us, we will assess your issue, direct you to an independent testing company if necessary, and immediately contain the affected area if necessary. We only know one way to do the job - the right way. 

Make sure you call, or tell your insurance company to call ServiceMaster ADVANCED Cleaning, Enterprise number 7027, The Master of Disaster (251) 653-9333. In Baldwin County, (251) 928-1028. "We would be honored to serve you."