Mark Levy, founder of The Mold Guy, a professional mold inspection service, inspects and tests for molds, allergens and other microbial contaminants in homes and workplaces. Levy offers environmental inspections to identify mold and moisture problems which may be contaminating the home or work environment and in some cases, making people sick. “Most people are not aware that mold in their home can cause unexplained health problems in sensitive individuals,” Levy says.
While most types of mold that are routinely encountered are not hazardous to healthy individuals (such as small amounts of mildew), too much exposure to mold may cause or worsen conditions such as asthma, hay fever, or other allergies. Symptoms of overexposure are cough, congestion, runny nose, eye irritation, and aggravation of asthma. For those with a compromised immune system, there can be more serious effects from mold exposure.
Levy says, “When you look at the traditional medical community most doctors don’t recognize what mold exposure can do to health, but there are specialized doctors called Environmental Doctors who are aware of the connection between their patient’s home environment and their health issues.”
Customer Lanaea B. says, “We had health problems for months and the doctors couldn’t determine what was wrong with us. As a last resort we figured we’d do a mold test on our house and called Mark Levy…he found traces of 3 different molds (one of which was toxic black mold) in our house. I had no idea there were so many kinds of mold that could cause extreme health problems. He even called us when he got the results to warn us not to re-enter the house.”
Levy explains that all molds need water to grow. Mold can grow almost anywhere there is water damage, high humidity, or dampness. Removing the source of moisture is critical to stopping the growth and expansion of mold, but once the mold has begun it must be properly cleaned by a professional or else individual’s trying to use the DIY (do-it-yourself) method risk compromising their health, the health of their family and pets and potentially spreading mold contamination from one part of the house into the whole house.
“There are certain molds that have the ability to be opportunistic (meaning they can move through the air and live in the dust)…when we see any one of four indicator molds which show likelihood of water damage and water problems in a home, we then look at the levels, but we always recommend proper removal,” Levy adds.
Levy’s true passion lies in helping educate the public about the health dangers of mold exposure and in working with those who have become sick due to the environmental issues (such as mold) in their home or workplace. Levy works closely with environmental doctors who benefit from the laboratory testing and reports he provides about their patient’s home environment. For Levy, finding a mold problem so that it can be corrected and those with mold-related health problems can finally get the answers to their health issues is the driving force behind his business.
Customer Sabine French tells how toxic mold exposure stole her life and forced her to leave her home. She says, “I’m 50 years old and never had an issue until 18 months ago…I’d moved into a nice house in an older neighborhood and within a day of moving in I started having allergy reactions and I thought it was strange because I’m not someone who has seasonal allergies.” Soon it spread; she had a rash on her face, in the corner of her eyes. She went to an opthomologist who said she was clearly having an allergic reaction and wanted to give her medicine, but not to identify the real problem.
It grew worse very quickly. “Suddenly, I was having bloody noses, lung issues, rashes, swelling of my ears, fevers, exhaustion; I was not feeling like myself. I went to see my doctor and at the time I was thinking it might be off-gassing from a mattress, I was researching anything I could get my hands on and seeing my doctor, but we didn’t know what was going on.” Her doctor suggested it might be mold exposure.
“It turns out that there was a terrible mold issue in the crawl space near the bedroom and bathroom in the house I’d just leased. I had to move out. I was made homeless by mold, staying with friends, traveling around. “In the end, they attempted to treat it, but by then so much mold and moisture had been sucked up into the walls that when I tried moving back into the house it still made me sick.”
French’s mold experience didn’t stop there. She tried living in different houses, even different areas of the country, but now that she was sensitized to mold she couldn’t stay long in any home with mold issues. This made things difficult when she discovered “over 70% of homes have indoor air quality issues, including mold.”
French is thankful that she discovered two naturopathic doctors who have worked closely with her to treat her mold allergy, they recommended she have mold inspector Mark Levy inspect any home she lives in to avoid re-exposure. “I admire that Mark Levy eats, breathes and sleeps mold. He attends the conferences on indoor air quality, he’s really aware of how environmental issues can affect health. I invested in his services, but really I invested in my own health and getting better.”
Levy is a Certified Microbial Investigator, Indoor Environmentalist, Residential Mold Assessor and Mold Remediation specialist. He also holds certifications with the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). For more information about Mark Levy and his company “The Mold Guy” visit: http://www.greenmoldtesting.com.