On 5/21/15 12:35 PM, Richard L. Hess wrote:
> I did have a friend who has since passed who claimed he was sickened 
> by mold in the workplace. This is a story I haven't followed for a 
> while, and this is an old article.
> Be careful. Don't take chances.
I absolutely agree.  About 15 years ago I got sick from mold exposure 
when I rescued some audio equipment from a space which had water leaks 
and lots of visible mold growth.  I didn't realize that spending time in 
such a space was a really bad idea.  I didn't know how careful I needed 
to be when cleaning up the equipment, so I contaminated my workspace 
with lots of mold spores, which then started growing in my space.

I should have known.  I remember back when Vidipax was still in 
Manhattan, I was shown the completely bare room where they did moldy 
tape cleanup.  It had a floor drain, so they could wash the whole room 
down with bleach after they had done a batch of tapes.  Nothing that 
would support mold growth was left in the room.  For some reason the 
memory of that didn't set off alarm bells when I later encountered mold....

Now, if I choose to work on such equipment, I will only do it outdoors, 
while wearing proper protective equipment.  Direct sunlight does quite a 
nice job of killing mold spores.  Germicidal lamps also kill mold 
spores, so I use them inside when needed.  I have found non-toxic mold 
killing chemicals (although I've never tried using them on magnetic 
tape), so I'm not exposing myself to the dual risk of mold toxins and 
toxic chemicals.

My understanding is that the real danger is from the toxins produced by 
mold spores when they grow, not usually from the mold spores 
themselves.  Some varieties produce really nasty toxins, and others 
aren't so bad, but I have no way to tell which variety I'm dealing 
with.  Killing the mold spores prevents them from producing more toxins 
in my space, but of course killing the mold spores on a piece of 
equipment I'm working on does not eliminate the risk from the toxins 
that they've already produced.

Fortunately, my problem was spotted by my eye doctor.  She was treating 
me for an unrelated problem, and in the course of that took 
high-resolution scans of my retina.  According to her, exposure to mold 
toxins causes changes in the blood vessels inside the eye, and she had 
the high-tech equipment to spot that.  I was also having a variety of 
other problems, including fatigue and joint pain.  At one visit she 
looked at the latest pictures and asked if I had been exposed to mold.  
I was surprised that she had detected my mold exposure -- I had not 
mentioned it to her or complained to her of any of the symptoms.  Then 
she had me do a Visual Contrast Sensitivity test, which measured my 
ability to see very fine low-contrast detail, and I got a very low 
score.  This is apparently another consequence of exposure to mold toxins.

She prescribed the treatment described here:
Some of the material on the web about neurotoxins can seem a bit lunatic 
fringe, but this certainly cured me.  (And it only took one dose per 
day, not four as they recommend.)  Fatigue and joint pain are gone, and 
eyes have returned almost to normal.  However, I am now hyper-sensitive 
to mold, and on several occasions have refused to work in spaces I 
thought were contaminated, even though there was no visible mold.

-- John Chester