Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Ozone for the Home - Part 1

OK, people of Boston, do you want to know about ozone? Well, ozone can be used for remediation along with air & water purification. However, it can also be dangerous to your health in the hands of a novice.

What is ozone?

Ozone gas is a molecule which consists of three oxygen molecules. It is naturally occurring in the earth's atmosphere at all levels and is essential to reef keeping. Ozone functions by sterilizing the water and relieving it of unwanted bacteria and microscopic organisms. Ozone is explosive and is harmful to animals and humans in large quantities.

Let's get right into it. One of my long time clients called me a few years ago after he met a salesman at the Boston Home Show selling $400.00 ozone units. These units are sold to be table-top units. He knows that we (Boston-Biosafety) use ozone as part of our arsenal. My client proceeded to recite the sales pitch he received from the salesman. The salesman even offered a free, 3 day in-home trial. I told my client to call the salesman back and get the "in home trial" so we could measure the ozone output. So, a few days later I was at his home with my ozone meter ready to see what $400.00 would buy.

The unit was JUNK. There were no detectable ozone levels outside a radius of a few feet. My ozone meter is very sensitive and had been recently calibrated. Now, let's go over why this is good and bad.

Why is it GOOD that the ozone unit did not produce a lot of ozone?

1. Well, ozone is an oxidizer and WILL irritate your lungs. In higher levels it will damage your lungs. So, the good news is, it won't damage your lungs.

Why is it BAD that the ozone unit did not produce a lot of ozone?

1. Ozone is only effective in higher concentrations. These units do not produce enough ozone to treat a normal size room. Will they remove some odors, yes...worth $400.00...NO.
2. Ozone dissipates quickly, so if the unit does not produce enough, the effective range is limited to the immediate area of the unit. What good is that?

Now, do they work? Depends on your definition of "work".

Worth $400.00? NO

This is not to say some of the units on the market are not good, but don't expect miracles. For the same amount of money, you can buy a very nice HEPA unit with a replacement filter. A good HEPA unit will remove irritants and mold spores from the air and trap them in the filter, Even if the table top ozone unit kills a mold spore, it's still floating in the air and can be an irritant. These ozone units will purify the air that passes through it, but not around it.

Which Ozone Units are Good?

* HVAC - Combination Ozone/UV units are excellent for in-duct HVAC systems. We have units that are over 6 years old in service without any reported problems.

* Hot Tubs - Ozone units are used in hot tubs. There is a lot of documentation touting the health benefits from bathing in ozonated water.

* Swimming Pools - We have converted many chlorine pools to ozone pools in the Boston area and New England. Once the pool is converted to an ozone system, all you have to worry about is the PH level.

* Commercial Laundries - Hotels all over Boston have benefited from converting to ozone.

* Commercial Kitchens - We have installed ozone systems in commercial kitchen in the Boston area. The use of ozonated water to clean fresh produce will kill the bacteria and molds, which extends the lifespan. A lot of our clients use the smaller units at home.


Table Top Units - So, to recap. Any small ozone unit you can buy cannot produce sufficient amounts of ozone to be useful. Any large unit will produce too much ozone and can be harmful to your health. Unless you have an ozone meter, how can you measure the amount of ozone?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Ozone for the Home - Part 2

As soon as we posted the Ozone for DIY'ers - Part 1 , we received email asking to talk more about the "scammers" out there selling products claiming to treat mold. A few emails asked for specific names of products. I don't want to list names, but I think you will see a pattern which will help you decide for yourself.

How can you tell if you may be dealing with a scammer?

Well, anyone promising you something too good to be true is a good sign.

Off the top off my head I can think of three questionable products out there. All three of these products are sold by individuals that seem to be involved with pyramid selling, like AMWAY (multi-level marketing). The salespeople will not only sell you a unit, but try to recruit you into selling them. Some just want to sell you a product.

Most of them will have business cards with a "code number" on it, or a website offshoot dedicated with their name at the end, example www.scammerozone.com/johndoe

Below is an edited copy of an email I received from one of these guys. He was trying to suck me in.

What bothers me most is that his emails were based on ways to make money off clients instead of helping them. Finding the cause of the mold spores is the real issue.

I am a mold inspector. biocide applicator but I want to introduce you to something that can add a lot of revenue to your business. This is state of the art technology and should go with every inspection and remediation. We are in positions to benefit greatly while providing the customer something that they can't get from every other remediator and or CBA or inspector. If you are serious about growing your business rapidly (though I am sure you have plenty of works ) give me a call, I would like to talk to you about this. I am not interested in selling you anything. I want to sell you on the technology and we will both benefit greatly. Imagine being able to tell the customer that you can offer them something that will kill 99.7% of all mold, bacteria, and fungus on all the surfaces in their house but it isn't a biocide.

Indoor air quality isn't good quality without this, no matter how good a remediator you are.

After I replied, no thank you - Next Email from Art F.

I am an independant XXXquest representitive and the point is we are the best in air purification so while you scrub the air and kill the surface , you can offer a unit to your customer as a garauntee that should spores be present in their homes ever again they will not be able to colonize. HEPA units for home use are worthless, I plan on getting into remediation but I sell these units after a sanitization because if there is something in the wall growing that I don't know about this unit will neutralize the mycotoxins. It does have a low level ozone output but it uses a jacked up version of photo catalytic oxidation to purify the entire air space. It is RCI radiant catalytic Ionization. The technology is certified by the space foundation as the only space certified air unit in the world. It has a dc ionizer , rf ionizer and I can't remember the other one put reduces 99.7% of all particulates in the air and the ozone can be turned up to 300mgh for odor problems. Essentially it replicates the way nature purifys itself but 40% faster than ozone alone. It is what NASA uses to purify the air on the space station and what the pentagon used on 9-11. Plus the chinese cdc has found the technology as effective in cleaning the air in a building during a biological weapon attack. It has been tested on the avain flu by Kansas state University and killed 199,000 infected cells in under 12 hours. They also tested in on EColi, strep and several others including the common cold. Air purifyers as a whole don't work. I know air changers fall into a different category, I have a 700cfm unit but this is for everyday use. You can rub an onion on your hand and put it in front of the machine for 90 sec and the smell is completely gone. A lrge ammount of NORMI members and others in the mold business have found this to be a lucrative income in addition to an already great business. Basically it uses a UVX light which is both UVB and UVC wrapped in a honeycomb matrix made up of Titainium Dioxid, silver, copper , and Rhobidium and it creates Suer oxides both hydro peroxides and p[eroxides that attack microbes in your whole air space. The difference is when the super oxides are already there and something isd introduced into the environment the problem is quickly attacked and dealt with minus having to wait for air to be filtered like other systems which is impossible. XXXquest was featured 2x this yr in success from home magazines as one of the greatest home business opportunities in existence and by Healthier you magazing for their superior technology. They have no competition because no other system can even come close to qualify.

I could write a few pages, picking apart these emails, but I wasted enough space just posting the emails. (BTW, I left the spelling mistakes in his emails on purpose.)

Here is the scoop. If you have mold in your house, it is the because something happened to let it grow. Even if you kill the spores in the air, you still have mold somewhere producing these spores.

Just let it be known that there are people out there that make claims that don't add up.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Fungal Etiology of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Courtesy of David A. Holland, M.D.

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, although distinguished by well-known characteristics, are collectively known as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). IBD is characterized by a host of symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal cramps, rectal bleeding, weight loss, fever, and a host of extra-intestinal symptoms, including disorders of the eyes, liver, gallbladder, muscles and joints, kidneys, and skin.1

The treatments usually focus on relief of symptoms with anti-inflammatory drugs or surgery (i.e. removal of the affected part of the intestines).

The cause of IBD remains "unknown."

Some have implicated a viral etiology to IBD. In the medical journal The Lancet,2 Dr. Wakefield and colleagues found that three of four offspring in mothers that had measles during pregnancy developed severe Crohn’s later in life. Of note is that recurrent antibiotic-resistant pneumonia preceded the Crohn’s in every case.

This is important because antibiotics are known to increase the risk of fungal infection.3 Another study highlights this fact: an eight-year-old girl who was treated with antibiotics for recurrent upper respiratory tract infections developed intestinal candidiasis, an overgrowth of the yeast Candida albicans, in the gut.4

Other scientists have found carbohydrates to be a possible culprit. Two of three worldwide studies found the average intake of carbohydrates (including bread, potatoes, and refined sugars) to be much greater in those who developed IBD than in those who did not.4 Why would carbohydrates be implicated as a cause? Could it be that they are commonly contaminated with fungal toxins, according to a 2002 JAMA article and numerous agricultural publications, including the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology? 6, 7

In her book, "Breaking the Vicious Cycle," Elaine Gottschall describes the cycle of intestinal mucosal injury, impaired digestion, malabsorption, bacterial overgrowth, and increase in bacterial by-products and mucous production, which lead back to intestinal mucosal injury. We all know that antibiotics can alter the normal intestinal flora or bacteria. These bacteria usually keep in check the relatively small amount of existing yeast in the intestines.

However, when antibiotics are taken for various purposes--and you can bet those kids in Dr. Wakefield’s study were given plenty of antibiotics--the normal, protective bacteria are eliminated, and yeast growth goes unchecked. The resulting effects range from "mild diarrhea to severe colitis, or systemic fungal or bacterial dissemination."8 In Chapter 2 of our book, "The Fungus Link," you read about the link between arthritis and fungus.

When fungi become systemic from gut inflammation and the overuse of antibiotics, you can see how the whole body--again, the eyes, liver, gallbladder, muscles and joints, kidneys, and skin--becomes involved in inflammatory bowel disease.

Scientists have directly implicated yeast and fungal toxins, called mycotoxins, in the cause of Crohn’s disease.

Former World Health Organization expert Dr. A.V. Costantini has found that people with Crohn’s often have aflatoxin, a mycotoxin made by Aspergillus molds, in their blood. Barclay found that disease activity in patients with Crohn’s was lower while they followed a yeast-free diet, specifically avoiding baker’s and brewer’s yeasts.9

Some feel that the yeast, Candida albicans, may be the cause of Celiac disease, also known as Sprue, or gluten-sensitive enteropathy.10 Celiac disease, doctors presume, is caused by a reaction to a protein particle called gluten that exists in certain grains.

This allergic-type reaction leads to inflammation and often severe symptoms in not only the intestines but also the entire body.

Conventional treatment therefore involves suppressing the inflammation and symptoms with anti-inflammatory medications. It also requires the avoidance of these particular grains. Ironically, corn is a grain that does not contain gluten. It therefore falls in the "okay to eat" list offered by conventional practitioners and dieticians. Little do most practitioners know that corn is universally contaminated with mycotoxins.

So, over-consuming corn, as so many Celiac patients do since they have few other choices of grains in their diet, is likely to propagate the illness. Many people have successfully treated (dare we say cured?) their Celiac disease by not only avoiding grains altogether--especially corn--but also including antifungal medications in their treatment regimen. Such antifungals may include the natural, coconut-derived fatty acid known as Caprylic acid (available over the counter), or stronger, prescriptive antifungals. These stronger medicines might consist of a combination of nystatin (a broad spectrum gut antifungal) and either itraconazole (Sporanox®) or fluconazole (Diflucan®).

Chapter 13 of "Principles and Practice of Clinical Mycology" deals entirely with fungal infections in the gut. They describe how Blastomyces dermatitidis, a fungus, can produce "granulomatous" lesions in the intestines.

Not surprisingly, this same type of lesion has also been seen in patients with Crohn’s disease. Another fungus called Histoplasma produces intestinal disease with symptoms such as diarrhea, weight loss, fever, and abdominal pain--sound familiar? The common lesions seen in the gut with this infection were "masses or ulcers mimicking inflammatory bowel disease or carcinoma." The authors concluded that histoplasmosis should be a "serious consideration" in an immunocompromised patient with signs and symptoms of IBD.11

Back to the big word "immunocompromised," which means the immune system has been compromised, or weakened. We strongly disagree that you must have cancer or AIDS or be on chemotherapy to have a weakened immune system. Just smell the air on your way to work or look at our standard American diet (SAD), or even look at the number of antibiotics we consume from childhood on. Could these be impeding our immune systems? Most antibiotics are mycotoxins--fungal derivatives.

Mycotoxins are commonly found in our grain food supply. Mycotoxins can suppress our normal immune function. Therefore, anyone who has taken an antibiotic or consumes grains or sugar qualifies as a potentially immunocompromised person.
We’ve seen thus far that, in just about every case of inflammatory bowel disease, conventional treatment involves the use of anti-inflammatories. Well, researchers at the Washington University in St. Louis took a bold step and did a study where they offered patients with Crohn’s disease an immune stimulant instead.12 They used a medicine called Leukine--a naturally-occuring molecule called Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony Stimulating Factor (GM-CSF).

And though they faced harsh criticism from scientists at other universities for doing this, they obtained amazing results: of the initial 15 patients in the study, 12 did "significantly" better overall, while eight went into complete remission! Every one of the half a million patients with Crohn’s disease in America should know about this study.
But they shouldn’t feel they need to rush in to their doctor’s office to get this expensive shot (it costs around $300 per milliliter--that’s $1,500 per teaspoon).
Rather, they should learn from this study: by giving an immune booster, these doctors were able to put 53 percent of the cases into total remission. That almost implies that an infection is at the root of the disease, and that by assisting the body’s immune system the medication helped the body overcome the "infection," or the disease.

Typically, an anti-inflammatory medicine merely controls the symptoms of the disease--it doesn’t cure it. That’s because it rarely addresses the true cause of the disease. In other words, if the wrong diet is constantly consumed, or if damage (i.e. yeast overgrowth) is never reversed from previous antibiotic use, a cure can almost never be achieved. In this case, we feel that the "infection" in the intestines of Crohn’s patients is caused by fungi and their mycotoxins.
Incidentally, you can boost your immune system much less expensively and without a prescription by taking beta-glucans (see seagateproducts.com or nsc24.com). Using probiotics--Lactobacillus acidophilus, etc. (see natren.com)--is also extremely vital in reversing antibiotic damage, since these good bacteria can keep yeast and fungi from re-establishing themselves in the intestines.

Anyone who has been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease knows the misery these diseases can cause. Given the alternatives for treatment--more immune-suppressing drugs and surgery--we think it would be worth a trial on a program that includes a low-carb diet and antifungal medications or supplements. A 1944 Johns Hopkins Clinical Mycology book stressed the importance of following a low-carb diet while treating yeasts.13 If a fungus or mycotoxin is truly involved, all of these approaches will do more than just suppress the symptoms of or "manage" the disease--they can actually cure it.

Journal of Musculoskeletal Medicine. Nov. 1996. Pp 28-34.
Wakefield. The Lancet. 1996. 348:315-317.
Baldwin, Richard S. The Fungus Fighters: Two Women Scientists and Their Discovery Cornell University Press. Ithaca and London. 1981.
Ruiz-Sanchez, et al. Intestinal candidiasis. A clinical report and comments about this opportunistic pathogen. Mycopathologia. 2002;156(1):9-11.
Heaton, K. W. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. Allan, R.N., Keighley, M.R.B., Alexander-Williams, J., and Hawkins, C.F. [Eds.]. Churchill Livingstone, New York. 1990
Etzel, R. Mycotoxins. Journal of the American Medical Association. 287(4). Jan 23/30, 2002.
Council for Agricultural Science and Technology. Mycotoxins: Risks in Plant, Animal and Human Sytems. Economic and Health Risks. Task Force Report Number 139. Jan 2003. CAST. Ames, IA.
Saadia, Roger and Lipman, Jeffrey. "Antibiotics and the gut". European Journal of Surgery. 1996. Suppl. 576:39-41.
Barclay, G. R., et. al. (Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology. 1992. 27:196-200.
Nieuwenhuizen, W., et al. Is Candida albicans a trigger in the onset of celiac disease? Lancet. 2003 June 21;361(9375):2152-2154.
Kibbler, C. C., et. al [Ed.]. Principles and Practice of Clinical Mycology 1996. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., West Sussex, England
Hesman, T. WU Researchers have developed controversial Crohn’s treatment. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Nov 8, 2002. http://aisweb.wustl.edu/alumni/atwu.nsf/srohns.
Conant, et al. Manual of Clinical Mycology. WB Saunders, Philadelphia. 1944.