Why You Should Listen

In this episode, you will learn about the importance of Indoor Environmental Quality in recovering from chronic illness and optimizing health. 

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About My Guest

My guest for this episode is Michael Schrantz.  Michael Schrantz, CIEC, CMI, ABI, BPI-BA/EP is the Founder and operator of Environmental Analytics, LCC, a comprehensive indoor environmental quality consulting company that covers a wide range of environmental assessments for the residential, commercial, and medical sectors.  Mike has over 22 years of active indoor environmental quality & building science experience. He has been involved in over 4300 related projects expanding across the globe.  His work includes identification of harmful indoor environmental contaminants, publication of spore trap analysis and MSQ-PCR methods, the co-authoring of remediation and prevention protocols, and countless hours in consulting efforts for thousands of clients around the world.  He is a Council-certified Indoor Environmental Consultant (CIEC), a Council-certified Microbial Investigator (CMI), an Asbestos Building Inspector (ABI), and a Building Professional Institute-Building Analyst/Envelope Professional (BPI-BA/EP).  He is on the board of the International Society for Environmentally Acquired Illness (ISEAI).  He is on the Indoor Environmental Professionals Panel of SurvivingMold.com.  He works with clients dealing with Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), Lyme Disease, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS), Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).  He is the host of IEP Radio where he "connects the dots between your health and home". 

Key Takeaways

  • What is an IEP and the scope of their work?
  • What screening tests can be done before contacting an IEP?
  • What are the ERMI and HERTSMI-2?
  • Do the ERMI and HERTSMI-2 paint an accurate picture?
  • What is the best way to collect samples for the ERMI/HERTSMI-2?
  • Is there value in testing the environment for mycotoxins?
  • What does a "boots on the ground" inspection consist of?
  • What is the impact of outside mold levels on indoor mold testing interpretation?
  • Can personal belongings be salvaged?
  • Do remediations work or is moving a better option?
  • What is the contribution of an HVAC system or related ducting to poor indoor air quality?
  • Can fogging solutions or essential oils be appropriate tools?
  • What is the role of limbic system retraining in creating a better host-environment relationship?

Connect With My Guest

http://EnvironmentalAnalytics.net
http://IEPRadio.com

Related Resources

ISEAI
Development of an Environmental Relative Moldiness Index for US Homes

Interview Date

September 3, 2019

Transcript

Transcript Disclaimer: Transcripts are intended to provide optimized access to information contained in the podcast.  They are not a full replacement for the discussion.  Timestamps are provided to facilitate finding portions of the conversation.  Errors and omissions may be present as the transcript is not created by someone familiar with the topics being discussed.  Please Contact Me with any corrections.

[00:00:01] Intro: Welcome to BetterHealthGuy Blogcast, empowering your better health and now here’s your Scott, your Better Health Guy. The content of the show is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any illness or medical condition.

Nothing in today's discussion is meant to serve as medical advice or as information to facilitate self-treatment. As always, please discuss any potential health related decisions with your own personal medical authority.

[00:00:34] Scott: Hello everybody and welcome to Episode Number 104 of the BetterHealthGuy Blogcast series. Today's guest is Michael Schrantz and the topic of the show is Indoor Environmental Quality. Michael Schrantz is the founder and operator of Environmental Analytics, a comprehensive indoor environmental quality consulting company that covers a wide range of environmental assessments for the residential, commercial, and medical sectors. Mike has over 22 years of active indoor environmental quality and building science experience and has been involved in over 4,300 related projects expanding across the globe.

His work includes identification of harmful indoor environmental contaminants, publication of spore trap analysis and MSQ-PCR methods, the co-authoring of remediation and prevention protocols and countless hours in consulting efforts for thousands of clients around the world. He is a Council-Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant, a Council-Certified Microbial Investigator, an Asbestos Building Inspector, and a Building Professional Institute Building Analyst Envelope Professional.

He is on the board of the International Society for Environmentally Acquired Illness or ISEAI and is on the Indoor Environmental Professionals Panel at survivingmold.com. Mike works with clients dealing with chronic inflammatory response syndrome or CIRS, mast cell activation syndrome, Lyme disease, multiple chemical sensitivity, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or SIBO, pediatric acute onset neuropsychiatric syndrome or PANS, pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder associated with streptococcal infections or PANDAS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, and Alzheimer's disease. He is the host of IEP Radio where he connects the dots between your health and home.

Now my interview with Mike Schrantz.

The impact of mold exposure on our health cannot be understated. Identifying that there is a problem is the first step, but that isn't always as easy as it sounds. Today I'm honored to have Michael Schrantz on the show to share his experience as a respected indoor environmental professional with all of us. Thanks for being here today, Mike.

[00:02:58] Mike: Thank you Scott.

[00:02:59] Scott: So what drew you to the world of doing what you're doing today, supporting people with serious, complex chronic health challenges? Did you have some personal health journey that brought you towards the work that you're doing now?

[00:03:08] Mike: I don't know that my story was coming from a personal issue of health, but I can tell you it really for me is, I'm known as a very passionate person. I have the ability to connect well with people since I was a kid. For me where I got involved maybe a one minute journey is I started young working for an air conditioning company, learning about airflow when most kids, if they even had a job, were flipping burgers. Certainly I didn't know I'd be here today. But that's what I was learning. I kinda got exposed to different departments for that company. One, which was the indoor air quality department and found that we were solving people's problems. They had complaints and we would go out and figure it out. That really led me to being exposed to more complicated and complicated cases where I had a lot of satisfaction with helping people.

I mean, we could probably talk the whole podcast about it, which we won't. But I think for me what happened was, is early to mid-2000s, I started working with doctors such as Mary Ackerley and others across the coast where they were saying, okay, you seem to be able to handle these easy ones. Let's see how you do with these ones. We were going out there and we were helping many people. What ended up happening is it ended up being, hey, this is something that I can do. This is something I'm good at. It's a way for me to go to bed at night and say, Hey, I'm actually helping people, adding value to my service.

So really it really blossomed there. I had a lot of exposures. I published an article with the EPA and a few other people back I think in 2010 and really got an understanding about the higher levels of doing assessments that I do today and how it can help people with chronic illness.

[00:04:54] Scott: Those of us that benefit from your work are certainly happy that you weren't flipping hamburgers and were more interested in air conditioning systems. Talk to us about what an indoor environmental professional is for those people that don't know. What's the scope of what an IEP might do? Are you essentially a house doctor or maybe a house detective?

[00:05:13] Mike: Yeah, we talk about doctors treat the health of the person. We try to look at the health of the home. When we use the term indoor environmental professional admittedly, there isn't a sharp one definition fits all. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification or IICRC is an organization that I think really publicized the term. It's not patented. They don't own it. But they created this idea that this is a person who can come in a visually assess, take samples, send them off to a laboratory and interpret them and provide a protocol. I think if you add kind of my own version of that is an IEP today represents an ever widening body of knowledge, whether microbial, chemical and even EMF or Electromagnetic Field and their sources and or their origins. Where are these contaminants coming from? Because we've been tasked by many to find the source. Not just say, Hey, we've found it. That's half the battle. The other half is what do we do about it?

I feel there's also issues with IEP’s today. We don't want an IEP is to play doctor for the patient. So playing doctor of the home is one thing to try and diagnose it, but we have far too many. If I was to use the term IEP, there's other terms we could use where they go out in the field and they take a couple of samples or they do a visual assessment and they look at that client. Maybe somebody here who's listening who has a chronic illness and they say, you're fine, you don't have an issue. Then that gets into a whole other topic of it's inconsistent or they're having symptoms. So we have to be careful that our trade is really looking at the home and trying to find exposure in ways to either remediate it or improve that environment. I think today's with our focus on health and chronic illness, you're gonna find that it's a really challenging industry for IEPs like me. Because we're at the tip of the spear with a lot of the clinicians who you've even interviewed with trying to truly understand what is exposure and what can we do about it.

[00:07:14] Scott: I think it's really critical for people to understand that our internal health really can only be as good as our external environment. So if we're getting exposed to mold, electromagnetic fields, all of these things, that certainly is going to impact our health. I know in my journey with Lyme disease, I wish I had known about the mold contributor much, much earlier and the EMF contributor actually as well. because I think those things were huge, significant portions of my own health challenges and addressing them were also really critical in helping me to regain my health. So for people that don't think a whole lot about the external environment, I really urge people to consider mold, electromagnetic fields, those types of things because it does have an impact on our internal health as well. When most people are thinking about testing for mold, they really think about air samples. That's probably what people are most familiar with. So many inspectors, they'll use air samples. My observation is oftentimes air sample testing is used to show there's not an issue, not necessarily as the best tool for exploring if there is a potential issue. Particularly when someone has a health challenge like CIRS or chronic inflammatory response syndrome. So what are the potential downsides of air sampling as the primary tool for evaluating an environment? And then are there some cases where air sampling might actually be helpful?

[00:08:32] Mike: It's loaded in a great question there. I think to start with…when you said air sampling, the first thing I think of is to tell the audience there's much more than just sampling. But since we're on the topic of air sampling, we'll address that. First of all, common air sample methods, it's important that we identify what they are. Spore trap sampling is probably one of the most common. Actually not to plug IEP Radio, but there's a lot of information they can learn. Episode 2 actually talks a lot about the specifics of these types of samples and their limitations, but they're basically are looking for spores or fungal structures. Big spores that may be floating around in a sedentary environment, which should sound like an oxymoron because most things actually settle out in the environment, predominantly. Gravity wins usually inside of a home.

Then the second type of air sample is petri dish sampling. This is a lot of people know is something grows on some sort of a media or agur and it looks for viability. Some of the pitfalls or limitations with air sampling is for one, that type of sampling usually collects short-term samples so it could be in the order of minutes, seldom is it hours. You can imagine that if you're taking a snapshot of time or air that that might not represent your exposure from breakfast to dinner or from Monday to Friday or from winter to summer. It's just a snapshot so you could get a false negative pretty easy. I mentioned earlier that most things settle out and if you're collecting an air sample, you may still have an exposure in the home, but it's not well-represented in an air sample that perhaps you're collecting three feet off the ground. That's where one of the issues we run into.

Another big thing that is a real hot topic right now is a lot of people who are having chronic illness and their exposure is mold or microbial related, don't even realize that according to the studies that are out there, anywhere between say 300 and 500 fragments, we'll pick on mold for example, are present for every 1 mold spore. Now here's where it gets important. If you're sampling the air and you're using a spore trap that can't identify any of those fragments of which there are arguably way more present than a spore, you could get a false negative. You're like, well I didn't see a bunch of spores in the air, which you normally wouldn't see cause they're heavy and they will typically settle out, unless you have a really heavy exposure. If it's petri dish sampling, a lot of those fragments, many of them will not grow. It has to be a viable spore.

So air sampling is fraught with these limitations in that they won’t identify fragments, a majority of them. A lot of the things that they can identify, unless they are in a high enough concentration in the air, you won't pick them up necessarily or it won't be interpreted as an exposure to that IEP that's in your home. So it's fraught with limitations. And I think actually where IEPs go wrong is that they don't explain this. And there's other things that we can talk about with the pros and cons. I will talk about a pro in a moment. But I think it's not educating the public, the clients that, hey this can be a tool, but please understand that it doesn't identify fragments. Or if you're doing petri dish sampling, petri dish sampling does not identify non-viable or mold that does not grow that may in fact be present in your home.

You could have a mold source in your wall, say in the living room from an old water leak that occurred 5, 10 years ago, which has been decaying over time and communicating that is making its way into your living space. Then settle out on that petri dish. But it doesn't grow. It's there, but it doesn't grow. You think because there's nothing on your petri dish sample that you don't have a problem when in fact you do. Where can it be a pro, where can sampling be a proactive thing? Well, in my line of work, I actually do both when possible and when the budget is there. I will sample air and dust because I feel it gives us a better total picture of things that may be present in the environment. I also am careful to work with the client and maybe their clinician and say, is there a particular type of exposure that we're seeing here where you guys need to have a proof that it was an aerosolized exposure? Think about legal cases where someone wants to talk about exposure in a moldy home or you've heard about a couple of military bases making the news recently and they want to have that sort of proof. But in my line of work the bottom line is a lot of the sampling that I do for mold and/or bacteria ends up being dust because I feel it's a better representation of long-term exposure.

[00:13:07] Scott: Let's step back for just a second and say someone has something like chronic Lyme disease. They may be aware that mold could be a contributor. They understand the importance of exploring it. They're not quite ready to go get an IEP. What are some of the screening tests that someone could start with that they could do on their own to explore whether or not it makes sense to reach out to someone like yourself?

[00:13:27] Mike: Right. I mean, that's a fair but challenging question. It's true that they're screening tests do exist. You have a certainly a few labs that are out there and we can mention Mycometrics and EnviroBiomics even Immunolytics, which is more petri dish type sampling. You even have Forensic Analytical Laboratories in California and they are more for the professional. I think one of the challenge here is not that they're not useful. It's are they worth the cost? The concern I have is that many people that I work with who have used these kits are still left with questions. In fact, a lot of the virtual consultations I do with clients is reviewing the data because they've done the sampling now they don't really know how to interpret it.

I feel like at the end of the day, one of the things that clients can do if they're looking at a new home is they should hire if they can an IEP. I understand that the whole question was, is there a way to do it without. But an IEP can really offer a huge asset in the purchasing process or the renting process to screen out things that may be the person would not identify. So water damage underneath kitchen sinks and things like that or other plumbing sources. But the problem with the kits is people will follow the instructions and a lot of times we, what we have as an issue where we don't know where they collected the sample exactly. Could they have spike the sample and got a false positive? Could they have sampled dust in a home that really wasn't from that home? But it was from a house cleaner that used their own vacuum that was used in 50 other homes.
Now they're collecting a dust sample that doesn't really represent that house, which otherwise would have been a perfect or ideal house for them to purchase. They're freaking out. The anxiety levels go up and they realize, oh, well if I had known that that dust didn't really reflect this actual indoor environment maybe I would have purchased the home. I feel like if there is a, an opportunity to use a kit, it's when the person has the money to do it, which unfortunately, that's not the case for many people I work with. But if they have the money, I think what you do it when you're looking at homes, homes that you own or you’re purchasing that you start with a good visual assessment. I do think you should work with an IEP if you can, whether it's boots on the ground or virtually.

Then it's collecting samples through the guidance of an IEP. Basically somebody like myself or others in this field telling you if you're going to collect the dust sample, here's where you collect the dust here's where you can avoid getting false negatives or false positives.

[00:16:00] Scott: Fantastic. I think for people listening, the idea of having a virtual IEP evaluation is something that's really newer over the past couple of years and I'm sure we're going to talk a little bit more about that. But for people that don't live in an area where someone like Mike can actually come to your home, there are some options now using technology and such that can be very helpful. So we'll get into that a little bit more. Let's talk about, earlier you mentioned Mycometrics and EnviroBiomics. Maybe you can start by giving people kind of an overview of the ERMI and then talk a little about how in some cases, you gave an example of this already, but how a high score may not always be a bad thing. Or how a low score might not always be a good thing and may actually provide a false sense of security. Then how often would you speculate that when someone does an ERMI that it paints an accurate picture that moves the person in the right direction?

[00:16:61] Mike: Sure. Always complicated when we talk about ERMI, for those who don't know Environmental Relative Moldiness Index, created by the EPA in part with a couple of other organizations. Commercialized meaning made for use to the public in 2006. Basically looks at DNA of 36 molds technically and then uses that in the form, puts it on a graph. I think the intention of ERMI when it first came out was meant to really get an overview idea of exposure in low income housing or anywhere where people were getting sick and they wanted to have a way that was affordable and rapid. How can we test this home? I just want an overview.

I think the short version of that dramatic story is that eventually what we started to realize in the public was that it was really hard to get a good score. People were getting ERMI scores of say a 0. If we had a graph up right now to show the ERMI graph, you'd see that you'd have still a 50% chance of a mold burden. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't sleep at night if I had a chronic illness and I had a 50% chance of having a moldy home. Yet that score of 0, that is an ERMI score was 0, a fantastic score. It's really hard to achieve. I feel like a lot of people who collect these samples aren't even aware of how they should be interpreting that. I think the big part here is that they should be careful to interpret any of it. They should seek guidance from professionals like myself and others, which we can get into later, if that comes up.

But the original methodology, not a lot of us IEPs use it, which was the ERMI graph. So that may be a key piece of information here. When I collect an ERMI sample in the field I'm not looking at the ERMI graph, I'm actually looking at the physiology of the 36 molds and trying to compare that against data that I have to get an idea of is this normal? Is this baseline for this home? Is this what we call normal fungal ecology? The reason I do it that way is because I don't think an ERMI score paints a good enough picture or an accurate enough picture of what that home may be for the client. Especially if we're talking about that example of the house cleaner or the vacuum or it being tracked in on someone else's shoe.

You have people that may have a really beautiful home that they could purchase and they walked away because of a dust sample they didn't really understand. Which is why it's only one tool in the toolbox. We don't cover our eyes and say, well instead of us doing our jobs as an IEP, let's just do one dust sample and hope it tells us everything because it won't. But it's important I think right now to plug that. Where you started seeing these kits really come out and really a lot of people heard about them, you see them on the social media is because Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, who's a part of that Surviving Mold organization created his own interpretation, the scoring system of that same ERMI sample. He wasn't looking at the graph and we can perhaps talk more about that, Scott if you want.

But the bottom line is his scoring metric is not the same as the EPA method. I would argue that his method which may get a little bit complicated so I'll keep it simple, known as HERTSMI, I think is somewhat reflective of a moldy home when the scores are bad enough.

[00:20:16] Scott: We'll jump into the HERTSMI-2 in just a second. But when we talk about ERMI if people are interested in doing that, I've heard people side on the, let's do the vacuum canister sampling. I've heard people say the Swiffer cloth is better. Are there some sampling procedures that you recommend to get closer to an accurate representation?

[00:20:34] Mike: Definitely love the Swiffer cloth. I think that vacuum samples by virtue of how you would use them can be problematic. Swiffer samples allow you to collect dust off of the surfaces. You're not sampling off of floor, you're usually sampling off of non-porous surfaces. I feel it's a much better depiction of what may be going on in the home. An actual vacuum kit, I think where that's appropriate is when you have a client who has the say an expensive piece of furniture, so $10,000 piece of furniture from Europe. They're not willing to throw it away, but they want to get a general idea of whether or not that item is ‘contaminated’.

We don't score it, we don't do a HERTSMI score or an ERMI score on it. But we look at that and say is the fact that this particular piece of furniture have a thousand cell equivalence of Stachybotrys chartarum. A lot of people know the black mold toxic Stachybotrys gets a lot of media attention, unfortunately. Is that normal for that piece of furniture. But holistically, if you're going to do a kit sample you're going to find that 95% of the time we're recommending Swiffer. We can talk a little bit more about that if you'd like in terms of how and where and to collect that sample.

[00:21:49]Scott: Well, the, where would be interesting. So that's one of the things that I've seen as well as, sometimes people will do it and not show a whole lot. But not realize that they're sampling surfaces that have been regularly or recently cleaned. So my understanding is that you need to have at least a month or so since you've cleaned a surface or maybe use the top of doors or ceiling fans. What do you recommend from that perspective?

[00:22:09] Mike: Yeah, when there's time. The general rule of thumb is 4 to 6 weeks after the house has been cleaned. We want that house to have a buildup of dust. If you clean the house on Monday and sampled on Tuesday, you're not going to get enough dust. You literally will not have enough dust that the lab can't even analyze the sample because they need. technically the recommendation is 5mg. There are labs that will do it with less than 5mg of dust. The point is we also want your home to build up and communicate with itself. So if you give your house 4 to 6 weeks, that's basically a month of letting things that may be hidden in wall cavities or floors or crawl spaces to communicate, to come into the living spaces for you to pick up.

A few other tips on, on how to sample. Again, this is very crude and please understand that each home may be different. But prefer to collect samples at least three feet off the floor. I prefer collecting dust from low impact areas. Those are areas that you don't touch on a regular basis. Examples would be tops of picture frames, shelves and entertainment centers. I prefer collecting my dust in terms of quantity, trying to get somewhere between 15 to 20 square feet. Literally picture what a square foot looks like, you don't have to bring a tape measure out. But the original methodology from the EPA was to sample 18 square feet.

So I tried to honor that part of the methodology and say if I'm going to sample 3 feet or higher off the floor and I'm going to sample low impact areas, I want to add up to as close as I can to 18 square feet, which means that most of my clients will do a dry run. They'll literally walk through the home and go there's a square foot right there, there's a couple there. There's a half over there. It seems animated, but that's literally how simple it can be. Avoid if possible, this is just me really old dust. I don't want you to sample a surface that has 6 months, 12 months worth of dust build up. Because the older the dust gets, one of the concerns we have is when you get the results back from that, are you really looking at an actively communicating source? Or are you looking up a build up of over time that may not even have come from inside of the home?

How many social parties did you have with friends and family who have moldy basements? You see it gets complicated. So try to avoid the old dust, 4 to 6 weeks after you've cleaned the house top to bottom and then sample from low impact areas would be the top 3 things I can tell you guys right now, which would be a great way to minimize false positives and false negatives.

[00:24:45] Scott: Those are fantastic. Thank you. So let's talk a little about the HERTSMI-2. So for people that don't know, the HERTSMI-2 can be calculated from the full ERMI or it can be ordered separately. So when you order it separately, you're looking at just 5 specific molds. If you look at survivingmold.com, it will suggest that if your score is 10 or below, that there's a low likelihood of that environment continuing to be a contributor to chronic inflammatory response syndrome. There's this kind of borderline range of 11 to 15 where maybe 50% of people will still have an issue in that environment. Then if it's greater than 15, that's probably not an ideal environment if someone's dealing with a mold associated illness. So it sounds like you do find that the HERTSMI-2, score does seem to somewhat give a good indication of whether or not that environment might be a contributor to a person's illness. Is that correct?

[00:25:36] Mike: Yeah. it's always with limitations. I think the easy answer here is when someone has a HERTSMI score and let's say it's 16 or greater, the higher that number gets the less debate you'll find because the numbers of the mold have to be so high for that score to be that high. That's just not normal, you start creeping away. The problem is always in the gray area. You mentioned this whole 11 to 15 which is kind of a really a borderline gray area or even certain scores of 16. So for the professional out there working, we find ourselves saying, okay, fine, they have a HERTSMI score of a 16. Are there any hydrophilic molds? Molds that love water like Stachybotrys or Chaetomium. Those are 2 of the 5 molds on that panel.

Or are they just dry loving molds? Those are the 2 Aspergillus molds that are on the HERTSMI panel and the Wallemia. They don't need a lot of moisture to grow. Does that paint a picture? If we find a high count of Stachybotrys in the home, let's say it's scored a 10, of those 16 points, 10 of them came from Stachybotrys. Chances are that home probably experienced and ongoing long term water event where there was a lot of water and moisture.

But at the end of the day, what happens with the client who does their own kit Scott and they get a questionable gray area? I think what you should do to the client is tell them this is a gray area. This is an 11 to a 15 or higher and I need to call an IEP to get through the minutia to weed out whether or not this really indicates a problem in this home. Or is it more likely that somebody track this in from the outside?

[00:27:14] Scott: So if someone's exploring this for the very first time, do you recommend jumping to the HERTSMI-2 and only ordering those 5? Or do you think you get more insight from doing the full ERMI where you can see some other things that are not part of the HERTSMI-2 and also still be able to calculate that score?

[00:27:31] Mike: Yeah, that's definitely an easy one for me. ERMI for sure when the budget allows. There's 31 other molds on there that may paint a picture. Of those 31 molds, there's a handful say 8 to 12 of those species that are actually really good indications of outdoor communication. In other words, even if you had a water leak in the home, we would not expect those molds to be elevated. They help paint a picture to the IEP of saying what's going on here? Is it possible that that Aspergillus penicillioides, which is considered to be a water damaged building mold, is it likely that it could have come from the outside? So when there's budget and you have the money and you are going to do one or the other, meaning HERTSMI or ERMI, I would definitely do the ERMI.

[00:28:10] Scott: So let's talk a little bit about testing for mycotoxins. We talk a lot about testing for specific molds, but molds in an environment do produce mycotoxins. So we're not really getting into the discussion here around urine mycotoxin testing. That's a whole separate discussion. But what about testing for mycotoxins in the environment itself? Tools like the EMMA or other ways to explore the mycotoxins and what does that potentially tell you relative to doing testing for mold?

[00:28:35] Mike: Yeah, rght. Well, I can only speak my personal experience. It's a great question and another difficult one. On one hand, we love data, so more data than merrier. You never know what you may learn from any sort of collection, including the EMMA analysis which I believe Realtime Labs in Texas provides. What we are wanting is a baseline of mycotoxins in the indoor and outdoor environments and we really don't have that information yet. Not to the degree that it is common knowledge and we are applying it in the field.

I've collected mycotoxins years ago. Before Dr. Jack Thrasher passed away, I actually worked with him and Dr. Michael Gray in Benson, Arizona trying to collect mycotoxins and figure out is this an indication of exposure? The problem we were finding, Scott, in the end was we're breathing in right now as we speak, mycotoxins and mold fragments and mold structures. It's a normal part of an outdoor environment. Without it, we would not be here as a species. What I am finding is that it may be a useful tool for a clinician. If Dr. Gray was to call me up right now and say, Mike, I got a client here, a patient here and they're looking like they're having a mycotoxin exposure, I'd like you to go out there and do a dust sample to pick up evidence of that. I'd be a steward of that request.

The problem is if you were to ask me, Mike, can you help try and hunt down and locate a source? I personally wouldn't use mycotoxins for it because I don't have enough information. I think this is arguably what should be the consensus for many IEPs is we really don't know enough about what's normal background levels of mycotoxins indoors. Yet we're having clients spend *drum roll* hundreds of dollars on the sample. I'm not seeing the utility behind it.

[00:30:16] Scott: Perfect. Yeah, that's really, really helpful. Let's talk then a little bit about if someone is beyond the self-exploration or maybe they just want to jump right into working with someone like yourself as an IEP. What does a boots on the ground inspection look like? Are you doing DNA testing, fungal cultures when you go out and work at somebody's home? What's that process like?

[00:30:40] Mike: The Mike Schrantz experience. I'm gonna disclaim myself by saying IEP Radio has a bunch of great resources free, I might add, that people can learn more about inspections. I think episode 9 is a really great one for everybody. If I'm not able to address their questions as they're having them listening to this. But when I do boots on the ground, I start with the important basics. Interview the client about their concerns and know the history of the home and why am I here? Would be the, a natural first question to ask. A visual assessment, signs of water staining, damage or certainly mold growth, odors. Do I smell anything? Is there a crawl space? Looking at the exterior drainage.

Does there appear to be a drainage issue? Water's coming towards the home that could be an issue. Do they have a crawlspace or a basement? I don't think those were deal breakers, but they are challenging to work with. The air conditioning, the heating and air conditioning system, especially if they have an air conditioning system. Is there a potential growth inside of the evaporative coil or if they have ductwork, if it's a forced air conditioning system, it will have ductwork.

Is that ductwork located in a moldy environment such as a crawl space? Those are concerns. We have and their climate.

An assessment that I do in Arizona, which is a relatively dry state, is going to be way different, I shouldn't say way different. I'm going to have additional concerns than if I'm doing it in Florida. Aside the hurricane that those guys are dealing with right now, it's more humid, it's hot and there's going to be other reservoirs of potential microbial growth. I think these visual historical observations can sometimes help justify action, whether or not it's remediation or improvements. Say there is obvious drainage issues or even cleaning without sampling. You can see my focus is let's get into the house first. Let's get boots on the ground. Let's look low-level or high level. Do we see anything that's obvious?

The sampling that I then utilize depends on what questions are left that we feel we can answer. If I am dealing with a CIRS patient and we've ruled out that there isn't any obvious low hanging fruit that should obviously be remediated, then we're probably gonna look at this idea of collecting dust samples. It probably is going to be multiple ERMI samples, including an outdoor control sample that I will utilize. Where I will modify that approach, Scott, and go beyond an ERMI or even into bacteria sampling, is when a clinician has input. Meaning I have a client who has Aspergillosis, it's a lung disease and we know that some species of Aspergillus ay be causing this.

So maybe it's important to look for viable species of Aspergillus molds. Then I would modify my assessment to include that type of sampling because we may be able to kill two birds with one stone, excuse the expression, and try to help answer the medical questions that they have.

[00:33:31] Scott: You mentioned the outdoor control sample. Often times I'll see people that have high levels of mold in their interior environment, but that outdoor sample also shows high levels of mold. Then they assume that that means that the indoor environment is because of the outdoor environment. What does that outdoor control sample tell you? Is it the case that the mix of molds outside is, my understanding generally different from inside or the balance is often different? What does that control sample tell you when you're interpreting your internal samples?

[00:34:05] Mike: No, it's fantastic. Well there are certainly multiple ways that many IEPs will try and interpret samples. A big part of that is with outdoor control samples. We know that the origin of all molds at one point in their life cycle, at least the molds we're talking about is outdoors. Before it grew on that wall where you had a mold problem, it came from somewhere and eventually the answer to that as it came from outside, if you rewind the clock.

I'll break it down like this perhaps. On the 101 level of understanding we use outdoor control samples to compare against typically air samples collected inside. As an IEP we would call that normal fungal ecology. Meaning if we don't see a problem, we're not calling it mold free, we're calling it normal fungal ecology. What we would expect to have in this home without an indoor mold problem. On the 202 level of understanding that we know, however, that all samples are limited. And that sometimes a simple comparison between indoor and outdoor samples can produce a false negative or even perhaps a false positive.

So in your example, it kind of depends on what's going on outside. If I take an indoor sample and let's not get into the judgment of its pros and cons, but let's just say I take an indoor air sample, then I do an outdoor, a control sample. It's an air and it's in the winter time in Colorado where there's snow, I'm probably not going to have a lot of mold in the air floating around. Yet that indoor sample may have some concentration that gives the interpreter the impression that they have a mold problem, when in fact they do not. It's just that the outdoors not well-represented.

I use an outdoor control sample, Scott, with the same concern of it's limited. This is going to give me an idea of what order of magnitude I might expect to find these species or genera of mold in the home. But the IEP and the client needs to be aware of that if it's in the middle of the winter time, as one example, that that outdoor sample may have little value. It's just going to confirm you have little outdoor accounts and it doesn't necessarily mean they have an indoor problem.

I think other things that IEPs will use in this example is they'll compare to other control locations. Like if the client is worried about their master bathroom because they had a water leak there, they'll certainly sample that area. But they may sample the living room on the other side of the house and see if there is a spike in the master sample indicating that there's a problem. It's complicated but there's more than one technique.

[00:36:25] Scott: Aren't there some molds that we see in water damaged buildings that are less common in the outdoor samples? So for example, Stachybotrys, do you find that in high levels in the outdoor sample as well or is that more commonly kind of only the internal sample?

[00:36:40] Mike: Yeah, talking about it from, not that that's what you were asking, from a health perspective is tricky because again, I don't play doctor. But I can't talk about it from the environmental perspective. Stachybotrys, I find it in the outdoor control sample all the time. Usually it's in lower single digits. But it's present. I think some molds are more reliable. Take that HERTSMI sample we were talking about earlier where Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker took a look at five molds that he felt really represented a wide spread of water activity ranges. You have Wallemia sebi and Aspergillus penicillioides that do not require a lot of moisture to grow but are known to love to grow on cellulose based materials, which we have a lot of in our homes.

And then you have things like Stachybotrys chartarum and Chaetomium globosum which are hydrophilic, meaning they need a lot of water and time to grow. So that if you find them inside the home and elevation, your question about quantity, when we see what we see inside that it may be a better indicator. The type of mold that you can use, that helped me determine, oh wow, there's something going on are going to be players like Chaetomium and Stachybotrys and certain species of Aspergillus and Penicillium.

But the truth is that it really depends on the climate. There are certain molds, Aspergillus penicillioides is a really good indicator mold in certain climates, like even Arizona, maybe even a coastal California. But in tropical climates, Aspergillus penicillioides is not the best water damage indicator mold because it's so commonly present outside.

So you see, it really depends on the outdoor climate and where that home lives to know whether or not one species of mold may be a better indicator of an indoor problem. Which brings us right back to how important it is to work with an IEP with that knowledge; or else you're going to find yourself running in circles trying to figure out your own dust sample.

[00:38:28] Scott: So when you get back different results from testing that you've done from the environment, what are the ones, what are the molds that kind of concern you the most? Versus those that maybe from a health perspective are less significant? Is there a hierarchy of those that you say, oh my goodness, this is a potentially significant issue that could be a contributor to someone's health challenge?

[00:38:47] Mike: Maybe when we're working on like the dust sample, we'll pick on the ERMI panel of 36 molds just to help with the conversation. Chaetomium globosum and Stachybotrys chartarum they are hydrophilic. So even though I know they're outside, if I find them in any real quantity beyond single digit inside, it becomes a pretty reliable mold for me to say there's a problem in the house. It's just now a matter of finding out where it's at. Other molds a lot of the Aspergillus molds and Penicillium molds on the group 1 panel. If anyone's ever seen an ERMI that it's broken down into two groups, group one is 26 molds of water damage indicator molds. The remaining 10 are common outdoor molds that you'll typically find inside.

Is it a perfect list? Let me go ahead and answer that. No, but a lot of those species if they're on any real quantity they can be just as reliable as Stachybotrys. So one of the things I'll do, Scott, maybe after the interview is I'll send you a link to the actual original study that showed what these levels were normally, what background levels of these molds they found in the study. That is a useful tool to use as an IEP to say, well, wow, this is the mount I found in the sample and this is background, this is 10 fold higher. This is an indication of a possible problem we need to inspect. Now we need to go what's called mold hunting and see where the molds coming from.

[00:40:09] Scott: Awesome. Yeah, that'd be great. I can have that to the show notes for sure. When we talk about exploring an indoor environment that potentially has water damage, we talk a lot about mold and mycotoxins. But we know that there's other things as well, like the Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds or MVOCs, there can be bacteria like Mycoplasma or Chlamydia that are at higher levels. There's protozoa, there's endotoxins, lipopolysaccharides or LPS. How many of those other things are important in testing the environment? Or do we primarily use the exploration for mold as an indicator of the likelihood that all of those other things in the soup are also present?

[00:40:50] Mike: Yeah, mold usually ends up being a surrogate for the other ones. It's a good indicator for other microorganisms that we certainly do discuss. For example, today there's a renewed focus on bacteria gram positive, gram negative and whether or not those organisms may be worth the cost to sample. The idea being that such sampling would identify something that say a mold ERMI sample would miss. Commercially speaking, this is the issue. Many of those other known microbials that you mentioned, including the protozoa, some bacteria in many other parts of these microbials, the Beta Glucans, the cell wall components, the mannans and fungal and bacterial, the hemolysins are not available to sample. So costs would be absorbent.

The question with most IEPs is as can I sample a particular contaminant or get data that will really represent the total exposure from a microbial standpoint. I think today's answer is potentially yes. I think an ERMI panel does a really good job, but we are starting to learn and we're actually, we've been doing our own research in house where we're looking at other types of organisms around positive bacteria to see in short, when an ERMI sample looked good, did the bacteria sample look bad? This answer may change in a year, Scott, but for now, I think ERMI if you're doing the DNA testing is going to be your main go-to. I think where you may do other samples like petri dish that sort of thing are going to be when it helps answer a question more specific to the complaint like I'm worried about a pathogenic disease, something that can grow on my lungs and I need to look for the viability of that species. So I want you to do petri dish samples. In another year if we talk again, my answer may change, but that's where we're at today.

[00:42:39] Scott: Yeah, it's really interesting to me that we see people with chronic Lyme and other conditions that have ongoing issues with Mycoplasma or Chlamydia pneumonia for example. Those are fairly common issues, but if you're getting exposed to them on an ongoing basis from your environment, it seems to me then that there's more of a difficulty in getting rid of them from your system. So I think it's going to be interesting over time to see if we learn that water damaged buildings actually are contributing more to our health challenges beyond just the mold and mycotoxin issue. Which I think ultimately the answer is they are. We just don't necessarily have the perfect ways to identify that yet.

Let's talk a little bit about personal belongings and I realized that that may be falling a little bit more into what some of the remediators might talk about. But I know you've got some experience here as well. One of the kind of emotional stress kinds of challenges with, oh, I need to do something to improve my environment is do I have to get rid of everything that I have? What are your thoughts on what makes sense from a getting rid of certain things to keeping others; in terms of not either recontaminating a new environment or not maintaining an ongoing source of exposure in an environment that you have cleaned up or have remediated otherwise?

[00:43:53] Mike: Yeah, you hit the nail on the head with the emotional impact. I think it's always challenging to tell somebody to throw away all or a significant amount of their contents. It's what made their house a home. Again, the details matter. Most items may have to be dealt with on a case by case basis, so it's really problematic.

Here's some general rules of thumb though. Non-porous items with topical contamination meaning something it's not growing on the dining table are easy to wipe and remove and clean off. Non-porous items with growth you may be able to restore. I've seen plenty of dressers that have gotten wet from a flood. The legs of the dresser were at a little bit of microbial growth. The homeowners sanded it down, restored it, we're off to the races. It wasn't a complete throwaway. Porous items with topical contamination, not growth, usually the recommendation at this point is washed per manufacturer's instructions. Or to be honest with you, if you're a Seven Generations type individual, that's fine too.

It's when you get into the issue of porous with growth. So the t-shirt, the linens, the sofa, basically, it's hard to remove. If discarding the item is financially and emotionally not easy then it's easier to sometimes store these items, especially if they're smaller in plastic sealed containers, like those plastic bins with a little rubber gasket on the lids. We usually will have people try and clean them off per normal manufacturer instructions and then store them so that they're not technically throwing them away. I want to give the audience just a bit of extra information here. This is not just a bar napkin idea that I'm telling you. We've looked at contents.

I've reached out to a guy by the name of Ralph Moon, a PhD and he's got this huge background. But he did a study back in, I think it was 2004, where he looked at fabrics that were contaminated and there was clothing that had growth on it. It was growing into it and there was stuff that just had topical stuff that's settled out. The conclusion of that study was that the stuff that had just settled out on the clothing, they did different types of cleaning anywhere from normal laundry into dry cleaning. They found that it was pretty effective at removing these ‘contaminants’ that were there previously.

It was when there was mold growth, there was hyphal fragments that were kind of intermingling with the fabrics of the cloth that after washing techniques, they still found that that item still had that hyphae or those roots there. So they deemed that item as contaminated cause it wasn't able to be restored to a pre loss state. As a matter of fact, I’ve actually been talking with Ralph Moon recently trying to get him on a podcast in the future to kind of really get into the weeds of this topic.

The short takeaway for the people listening on items is if it's a porous item and you suspect any sense of growth or contamination, we're not telling you to throw that item out. I wouldn't want to do that. But what you need to look at is, is there a way that you can store it in a plastic sealed container or maybe a vacuum sealed bag. You don't want to store them in your moldy shed if you live in North Carolina in humid state.

But imagine if you could store them in your home. They're not being exposed to the home. You're not being exposed to them and keep them out of the way until you start to see recovery in your own health. Because in reality, that's what we're doing now is we tell these clients to store these items away and then when they see recovery, when they're starting to get better, then you slowly reintroduce those items back into your living space. Because if you don't do it that way, you're always gonna wonder the one day that you had a bad symptom or a bad if it was that t shirt that you should have thrown out.

By the same token, we're not saying throw away all your wardrobe and spend $10,000 $20,000 on a new wardrobe. We’re just saying buckle up, bite down, and store those items in sealed containers away from you too so you're not sleeping right next to them and clean your home. Which again this is complicated. There's multiple steps. Then once you see yourself getting better, slowly reintroduce those contents one at a time to see if there's any negative effects. If there is, then you can deal with the content at that time. I would strongly advise you at that point in your story to reach out to one of us IEPs so we can walk you through the details and help you make these very important and stressful decisions.

[00:48:13] Scott: Yeah, that makes total sense. Very good advice. Let's talk a little about remediation. So how does one maximize the chances of a successful remediation? How do we find remediators that understand mold to the level that someone with CIRS needs?

[00:48:27] Mike: Yeah. So education is key, right? Part of that education involves, you know, knowing what to expect from a qualified remediation company. As you might imagine, the world of remediation is a whole other topic that we could discuss for hours. Certainly finding a remediator that follows industry accepted best practice is important. A good example of that as the IICRC S520 which I mentioned earlier, and that's actually a, this document right here. I happen to have right into my desk.

I think demonstrating that they have that and that they're using that. But I think having a knowledgeable third party IEP in the process to oversee that is important. So if you're gonna hire a mold remediation company to do some work that maybe it's obvious that you have a third party, they don't have to be boots on the ground. You don't have to spend thousands of dollars. But you can have them be there kind of virtually or via email to check in and guide you and the remediation company through the process.

Where can you go to try and find people? It's tough. The supply does not meet the demand unfortunately. But you can go on ISEAI, which we'll probably talk about in a little bit here. ISEAI.org has a get help page and you can see if there's a remediation company in your area. You can go to survivingmold.com, see if you have any references there. The American Council for Accredited Certification, the acronym is acac.org if you go to their find certificants, you can find people that carry various levels of mold remediation certificates. Certifications that you can use to think of it as kind of like a gain entry into your house. It's not a guarantee that they're going to do good work for you, but it shows that they demonstrate at least us a minimum body of knowledge.

The final thing I'll tell people. Again on IEP Radio there's a four part series on mold remediation, Scott, because it's that important and it comes up all the time. You really want to work with a remediation company who is willing to write out their protocol step by step for you. So when you ask them for a bid a lot of times companies will not give you what they're doing in what order. They'll just say, I'm going to bill you for a Tyvek suit, an air filtration device, some chemicals, some plastic to set up containment. It really doesn't give the home owner or occupant an idea of how they are actually going to execute the work.

What I would highly recommend, it has been the most helpful for me helping people and other IEPs like me, it's the same story, is if you can get the remediation company to say step 1, set up containment. Step 2 this, step 3, step 4, step 5, and literally list what their protocol is from start to finish. Then you can reach out to somebody you trust, it doesn't have to be me, but somebody you trust to review those steps and make sure that they're not doing something that will cause failure.
Most remediation companies do not fail at physically removing microbial growth that's there. Most companies I work with fail because of the cleaning. They do not clean the containment area or the home good enough. When a separate, party comes in there to test it, it fails. What do you need? You need somebody who can oversee this for you and make sure that you're not just getting lip service from the company who wants your business.

[00:51:45] Scott: So what's been your experience on the success of a remediation versus someone needing to move to a new environment? I heard some doctors that say 50 to 70% of buildings potentially have an issue. So it may be better to attempt to remediate. Then I've heard others suggests that remediations are generally not very successful in their more sick or sensitive populations. What's been your observation?

[00:52:08] Mike: Honestly, boiled down to budget for a lot of people. If it costs $20,000 to remediate a problem, whether or it's successful or not, and the people only have $5,000 to work with, that kind of answers the question about whether they're staying or going in reality. But I also think if the money's there, it depends on what you, and I mean by successful. If you mean by the numbers, meaning through testing success is going to be determined by the IEP and the test they perform. If it's spore trap sampling, we already know and have gathered from our talk today that there's limitations and so maybe it's successful in the eyes of the spore trap, but that test is inherently limited. Really, maybe it's not that successful.

If you're doing QPCR testing that's that ERMI dust Swiffer cloth we were talking about earlier, that's more expensive and you may not even have enough dust in the containment. I think success can be defined in terms of environmentally when you do testing does it pass, does it fail? Does it meet that criteria? But I feel sheepish saying that because I really feel the true test is occupant health and recovery. Everyone asks us what's the secret? It's like, well, you have to tell us it's your recovery. How are you doing today? Because there's no secret level that we know. It's not like I can say 14 spores of Stachybotrys is good but 15 spores and your arm's going to fall off. It's more of an issue of do we really feel this company did a good job cleaning?

In my experience where I'm involved, we've been through some fails. We've spent out of pocket thousands of dollars trying to figure things out. But I've never met a job that we couldn't finish and complete. I don't see things that are red flag. It's just an issue of cost. If someone has a kitchen sink leak and it's gonna cost them $10,000, I work with companies that will write protocol that I can look up and review in advance. That if it fails my testing criteria, they will go back and reclean, reassess and pay for the retesting for free. That's important. To be able to identify that with the company up front to say, listen, you're wanting me to pay a lot of money here. What is the expectation in terms of what I should expect from you guys?

IEP Radio episode 15 talks about post remediation testing. I think it's a great thing to listen to. It's a little bit over an hour. Which can help the people listening here understand I'm getting ready to go into a remediation project. What should I expect? What should my expectations be and how can I maximize success?

[00:54:38] Scott: Let's talk a little bit now about the HVAC or heating and air conditioning system. Those seem to be a common source of mold exposure. Are there ways to improve the potential exposure from an HVAC system and can ducting, including, I know a lot of times there's flex ducting, can those things be adequately cleaned if that is a source of mold exposure?

[00:54:57] Mike: Yeah, absolutely. We've seen and continue to see HVAC systems, especially around the evaporative coil, the drain pan, even the surfaces around the evaporative coil itself contained in microbial build up due to long term conducive conditions. You have essentially all the right ingredients in the air conditioning system. In more humid climates the volume of moisture present is often higher than say in a dryer state like Arizona and thus the evaporative coil is working harder to retain moisture.

So some steps to help minimize the germination or amplification of microbial growth in those areas are ensure the drain pan coil and the coil housing are inspected every year. Typically at the beginning and end of the summer season when you would be using that system. Ensure effective drainage of the condensation from the drain pan itself, that you have no standing water. There are some air conditioning systems where we've opened them up and due to how it was installed, the drain pan wasn't really angled correctly or pitched correctly and there was a quarter inch or more of standing water. Then a biofilm formed in that drain pan, which is in your air stream. That's the air you are breathing is going right through that.

Fortunately there are some other proactive things you can do. The newer air conditioning systems come with an economizer feature, so about 60 seconds to 120 seconds after the AC has shut off. So if you have your thermostat set at 78 degrees, it gets to 78 degrees. You're condensing it outside, which is pumping all that freon that makes your air cold, shuts off and the blower will still run for 60 to 120 seconds. That kind of essentially is helping blow out the evaporative coil housing a little bit. It's not an end all here. But if you have an older system, here's my point, you want to reach out to your local air conditioning company and ask them, do you have the ability to add an economizer on my system fans so that it will run 60 to 120 seconds after the AC cuts off?

That's one way to minimize having super wet conditions inside of the evaporative coil. Another concern, which I know is not directly part of the HVAC but can be in line with it, are humidifiers. In line humidifiers the way that they're designed, they'll hook up to your ductwork and spray water essentially into the airstream so that you have moist air. Typically that's a product that's used in the dry winter season. Add that to the HVAC company's inspection checklist. Make sure that they can remove that humidifier or more specifically, they can replace the filter if there is one.

Some of these humidifiers have a wicking filter where the design is that water literally wicks down it and then there's a fan that blows air through that filter. Virtually every wicking filter I've seen in every air conditioning system is never checked and they're always moldy.

[00:57:52] Scott: So is the ductwork itself generally not a significant concern then, or are there cases where that is a source of mold that needs to be cleaned and then can it easily be cleaned or is that sometimes challenging?

[00:58:01] Mike: Yeah, it's certainly challenging. I guess when we say is it a problem, it depends on where. I mean, if there's some sort of a catastrophic event in the ductwork where there's just moisture laden air getting into the duct work long term, you'll typically see a homogeneous problem. You'll see mold, spotty mold growing in different areas. More times than not, however, what I see is if you have any microbial growth accumulating, it's really near on duct work, but really near within a few feet of the evaporative coil itself. The idea to replace versus clean; even the S520 which I mentioned earlier, talks about replacement if there's growth.

So the argument is if there's growth on it, you replace. But most of the time when we get complaints from people about their duct work, it's not because they see anything. It's because they read something online that said that mold could be on there, but when they have it inspected, there's nothing obvious. There's no evidence of colonization or growth. In those cases, I really don't have a problem. Again, the details matter, but I don't have a problem if they want to clean the ductwork. There's just a few precautions that they would want to take to minimize cross contaminating their home. For example, if they hire a duct cleaning company.

Don't have that company bring in their equipment that they've used on God knows how many other homes. Have them install it outside and run hoses into the home to clean. That way if there's any particulates, contaminants that could become airborne, that go through their system, it gets blown outside and not in your living room.

[00:59:30] Scott: Yeah, that's a great recommendation. Let's talk a little bit about air filtration. There's lots of different things people can install. Not that it's the solution for a mold problem. I really feel like you still have to address the issue and remove the material that is water damaged. But any specific recommendations of for air filters or air exchange systems that you've seen help people in terms of improving the environment once they've actually still addressed the core issue itself?

[00:59:55] Mike: Yeah, from a data standpoint which were usually always data driven, we don't have any sort of study that would be really useful here right now. What I can tell you is this, you're absolutely right. Source removal is key. If you know there's a source, remove it. But if we're getting into how to create or maintain a sanctuary and we were talking about this thing about air filtration and another term is air purification.

We prefer air filtration, the ability to physically remove particulate from the air because it's a safer, better understood technology. How much, what kinds, it depends. I've seen $200 Honeywell units that you can buy at Walmart work in homes the same, at least from a symptomatic or anecdotal standpoint as a $1,000 unit work and in a bedroom. I would advise that people that are considering buying these portable air filtration products that they use one per room. I know the marketing can be deceiving. This unit is good for up to 800 square feet. or 1,000 square feet.

I would argue based off of what metric? it's certainly not somebody with CIRS. Typically it involves a metric that utilizes a perfect box, which you do not live in, in perfect mixing, which does not occur in the home. So I would argue one unit per room. What I would caution the audience is on purification units and we won't name anything specific or any units that claim to manipulate the environment. It's not that they may not work. In fact, anecdotally we've heard people that swear by them. They've literally used them after a month they've come back and say, wow, these units are amazing. I turn it on, I feel great.

But we've equally heard the opposite. So if you're looking for a safer way to start, go with filtration. When you hear things like purification, what I'm talking about are things like UV light, ozone, any sort of PCO technology, anything that uses like hydroxyl radicals. Again, I don't want to take away if you already have one of those units or you're considering buying one, you can take that. But what happens is when people consult with us, they always want to simplify their story and what's going on in their very complicated life.

So it's my job to help remove as many variables. One of the variables that we're just not sure about are purification units. Maybe in a year that will change. I can tell you, we already have on the books on IEP Radio to try and interview a couple of the big names that everybody is aware of to get down to, let's just get down to the facts here real quick. Did you mention air exchange also mechanical?

[01:02:24] Scott: Yeah, absolutely.

[01:02:27] Mike: That goes back when I was 16 years old. I was learning about mechanical ventilation and something that my great uncle who was my mentor, had a $2.3 million R&D patent on. I'm a big believer of mechanical ventilation. I think mechanical ventilation takes care of the smallest contaminants through purging or dilution of the air in the home.

I think your filtration takes care of like the medium sized particulates that are still a light enough to stay airborne, but not so heavy that they fall out on the ground. I think the final circle is routine cleaning. So when you're trying to create the optimal sanctuary in your home, other than removing sources of contaminants that you're aware of. Cleaning the house on a regular basis, buying either inline or portable air filtration devices and considering mechanical ventilation, which is where we were bringing in fresh air from the outside.

We have to be careful to make sure that we're dehumidifying it and filtering it first and then injecting it into the home, whether using the existing duct work that's already there or literally running new duct work that's dedicated for that system. I think that is a great idea when you have the physical space and the budget.

[01:03:37] Scott: Perfect. I hear people commonly talk about solutions like ozone machines. I hear fogging, essential oil diffusion, those types of things. As we talked about, I'm always a little hesitant to use tools like that when you haven't removed the source of the cancer or the water intrusion or where the mold is actually growing. But I'm curious from your perspective, where you've done before and after testing, do you see ozone, fogging, essential oils, those types of things? Do you see those as things that seem to be working or not working?

[01:04:10] Mike: Yeah. Not enough evidence to say that they are working causing a lot more issues of figuring out whether they are and we've been successful without them. I know the background of essential oils and I understand. I think it's like anything like a cup of water's good, but if you drink 10 gallons, that's too much. It's like dose and duration and all that. There are companies, I'm trying to find the PC way to say this, that promote killing mold or destroying mold versus physical removal.

We're having a lot of struggle with those companies because a lot of the science and research that's behind things like chronic inflammatory response syndrome is about the inflammatory response to a foreign agent that your body's exposed to.

It's not about killing it, killing it doesn't really solve the problem according to the research that's out there. So if that's the case than killing it is not key in that way. That respect beyond the obvious exposure concerns with ozone when we're saying that that's not a solution right now. Even the S520 document that I mentioned earlier, that I showed the audience, does not recommend using things to fog, to kill or what not, only to physically remove. Things like misting systems, which is another topic. As the audience, I would stay away from things that are being promoted to you to kill. If you have an example where there is a wall that may have contamination in it and the claim is that a product can be fogged and it can take care of your problem, I would ask that person to give you the science on how they know that and have them tie that into your illness.

What you're probably going to find is they don't have it. I'd stick with the tried and true methods when you can, like things like physical removal. When you need help, when it gets frustrating, reach out to an IEP. Let us consult with you. We can really help guide you and save you thousands of dollars and make really good financial decisions that can avoid you spending thousands of dollars on other products that are not showing efficacy. They're not showing the work really well.

[01:06:10] Scott: My understanding is when you use something that's killing, that's threatening the molds, it may not immediately kill them. So they're also releasing more mycotoxins as a protective mechanism. So when we do some of those things, I wonder if we're actually increasing the mycotoxins in the environment. In which case then we need to do even more cleaning to deal with that fact. What are your thoughts on that?

[01:06:33] Mike: You're hired. We know qualitatively that mold is organic. I know we've been picking on mold, you could say bacteria, things like that. But molds organic and it decays just like all of us do eventually.

It breaks down and it fragments. It's funny, one of the well-known things about mold is right before it dies, it can sporulate. So you start to wonder things like what Scott just mentioned is, am I creating a more complicated problem? Whereas I put something into the environment which aggravated or stressed this mold out, causing it to either break down in fragments. Now you have a bunch of other little small pieces that were otherwise relatively contained, I might add. Or are you causing the molds to sporulate because it's sensing that it's in an environment, it's not going to survive it. One of the most basic survival instincts is to sporulate to regain population. Are we creating matters worse?

The introduction of mycotoxins that's another thing that's a little bit less understood. Is it possible that mycotoxins from mycotoxin producing molds are created during stressful conditions? What we know in smaller studies that mycotoxins appear to be generated when the mold senses a threat or has competition from other microorganisms. This is to Scott's point, it's complicated, which is why just because somebody says it will do something doesn't mean they're considering the full consequence of that. I find that less is more; physical removal, good old fashioned cleaning of surfaces and the air using really simple, a lot of times household products have been the most successful for me as an IEP that does not sell the products.

[01:08:12] Scott: What are a few of the things that people can do to improve their indoor air quality if they're on a budget and they need something that they can do today?

[01:08:22] Mike: It's keeping the house clean if there's clutter in the house. Some people live really clean, simple lives, other people have lots of personal items. Not to pick on these people. I certainly understand the stress, but it looks a little bit more hoarderish. I've been at homes where you can't walk down the hallway. There's boxes on either side. Decluttering the house is big because there's a lot of surface area. With that surface area, things can settle, dust can build up and that's an exposure.

Beyond that, it's just being aware. Can they educate themselves? Whether it's listening to a podcast that you've done, whether it's going on IEP Radio, whether it's going on survivingmold.com or iseai.org and learning about what to look for in their home that may be a clear indication that they need to address it. Address it may be to your point about budget, it may be, well, I can't fix this where I'm renting, my health is more important, Scott, so I need to move and this is going to help me do that. You can use some of the portable devices that we were talking about, the air filtration, that will probably help.

But at the end of the day, if I'm again giving you all my truth, a lot of clients that are in these, I have no money and I'm renting situations which are usually the worst people to work with because they're the hardest to help because they're in a tough situation. Usually they can save a lot of money by reaching out to professionals like me. I'm not trying to promote my service. I'm saying other professionals like me who can consult with them and prioritize what they should do. Because eventually they're going to get to the question of what's more important, my health or my home? They're gonna need to decide because if they ever want to get better and they're not getting better and they're not doing anything different and they're still living in a contaminated home, they're going to have to do something or they'll just be repeating the same cycle for years and that's a problem.

[01:10:14] Scott: You work with so many people that, this next question really is beyond your IEP scope. But I'm interested in what your observations been. What do you see as the role of the limbic system in terms of limbic system retraining? Things like Annie Hopper's work with DNRS or the Amygdala Retraining system. Can the environment, in some cases be remediated, but the brain still perceiving a threat that maybe isn't really there anymore and needs to be then rebooted to recognize that the environment is actually once again safe for that person?

[01:10:45] Mike: The human condition…. A quick story on this one. In the last 9 to 12 months, I started noticing Annie Hopper's name DNRS, the work that she's doing on the limbic system coming up more and more. I didn't have a clue who this person was or the process. I recently interviewed her because what I had found was that it seemed, if people were to ask me, Mike, what's the biggest thing that you can do to help somebody with their illness? The biggest thing that I've seen that had the most improvement, and again, it's symptomatically, but it's what we have to work with right now is DNRS or retraining of the brain where there's impairment.

I think that the issue is, is that people who are sick feel alone and I don't blame them. When you hear their stories and the people in their friends and family who don't know how to cope with that they usually leave them alone. They're in the darkness. Part of that problem is it manifests even further where they go online and they become their own Google experts and start researching stuff and hearing things from people who they trust and start to create an impossible world that they have to live in a bubble. That's not the case. You don't live in a bubble right now. In fact, we need these exposures for our immune systems to stay strong.

So I think that if I was offering my unqualified advice on Annie Hopper's work or any sort of limbic system retraining, I know that Annie Hopper is not the only game in town, I would strongly advise everyone listening to do it. It's not a cost commitment. It's relatively inexpensive, about the same cost as an ERMI sample. I think if you buy the DVDs at something like $300 today. It's the time commitment.

But most of you guys and girls who have been dealing with your chronic illness have been dealing with it for years. I had the pleasure of meeting her earlier this year in May and the number one thing that has had the most improvement in people's life to where they are up and around their doing things is limbic system retraining. I absolutely think it plays a huge role in exposure. You taking the training and getting better is not going to remove your illness. It doesn't mean that you don't have a moldy home all of a sudden.

But it changes literally the way that your body and mind perceives it to where we rate things 1 out of 10, 1 you're feeling really lousy, 10 you're feeling perfect. You may go from a level 2 or 3 to a level 7 or 8 just by the limbic system retraining. Those aren't my words. Those are words with about of about 50 or 60 clients I've worked with now who have already gone through her course.

[01:13:22] Scott: It's interesting that that's the conclusion or the place that you've come to because it's consistent with my observation as well. If there's any one thing that I've seen help people the most, the DNRS work has certainly been it. I think that if you talk to Annie even Annie would say that it's based on a platform of environmental awareness. So if you said to Annie, well, I'm living in a moldy house, I'm not going to do anything about my moldy house. I'm just going to do DNRS and hope that I get better. She would say, no, you still need to fix your moldy house. That's not what she's saying.

But once you've addressed the threat or you're in the process of addressing the threat, it really gets the brain to better recognize that that threat is no longer as significant as it might've been before. I'm a huge fan of it as well. I did it an hour plus a day for almost seven months last year. I know that it's a time commitment. But I feel like if people knew ahead of time the potential benefit they would get from it, they would all be willing to do it. Unfortunately, since there are no guarantees, I think that's the biggest challenge with that system, is the hour a day is a large commitment for people. But I'm very much in alignment with your comments on that.

Is there recognition globally around the impact of building standards in terms of creating healthy buildings? Are there government agencies working to solve the mold crisis by creating better building practices?

[01:14:45] Mike: From my point of view, there's multiple industries that market creating a healthier indoor environment. But I think like many things, the issue is no, we don't have a consensus around the globe. The communication between these industries are fragmented and the definitions even of what's healthy vary. What one industry thinks is a safe building practice may be horrible for somebody with a chemical or microbial sensitivity. A couple observations you have. The World Health Organization comes out with an over 200 page document in 2009 titled Dampness and Mold. The whole document really addresses microbial exposures in dampness. Section 3 really gets into the building aspect, things to look for.

In 2010, the same organization, World Health Organization, created another document called Select Pollutants. Again, the narrative here is that it was more of a chemical focus. So you have these large huge organizations, World Health Organization, recognized everywhere that create these documents as kind of like a yellow red flag saying hello people, we need to pay more attention to this.

You also have other organizations like the International Code Council, which is like a leader in code creation and trends for building. You'll have locals like states and codes and other amendments that are applied to these broader codes to fit the local area. But beyond this awareness and community effort to create a structurally sound and safe building, most of our codes and building practices are limited to minimums or criteria; that when related to health and exposure is oftentimes more dealing with an exposure that's acute. Like we don't want this house to catch fire. So let's put in a fire retardant material, not considering whether or not that retardant may be an SVOC, a semi volatile organic compound or VOC causing a long term exposure.

That's the irony is we have people or groups of people making assumptions that certain building products do not cause significant exposures because the material safety data sheet or safety data sheet suggest exposure does not exist. But what within these documents is qualified to say this chemical or concentration of chemicals are safe for you or someone else? I mean, some of the chemicals used in some building materials are measured with a criteria that is more appropriate for an industrial exposure, not long term months, years.

So you have these lower doses of exposures, longer term that really nobody understands. When you ask is there an effort governmentally? There is not that I'm aware of that really takes the different parts of our industry and tries to say, hey, this is great, but this building industry you're promoting green. But green doesn't always equal a good indoor air quality. You guys need to talk with the medical community and so forth and so on.

What I will tell you on one last point is again, on IEP Radio, episode 9, I bring up a document, which is why I bring it up now, the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice. It was an article 2017 called Cross Section of Legislative Approaches to Reducing Indoor Dampness and Mold written by Jennifer Major and General Boese. That document is great because this, this lady Jennifer brought it to Congress and said, you have a bunch of these issues in moldy homes and you need to do things about it. Here's what certain states are already doing trying to bring awareness.

What we need more our ambassadors like you and me and a bunch of other people that do certainly more than I do to bring awareness to these people that could enforce policies. But that's going to be hard until we can show consensus about chronic exposure and illness. It's really easy to show that we don't want houses to catch fire. It's a lot harder to show that the building materials that we use in houses today will cause an issue 20, 30 years down the road.

[01:18:46] Scott: Where do you think the biggest breakthroughs are needed in terms of improving the current state of environmental illness? Do we need better environmental testing? Do we need better remediation solutions? What are some of the breakthroughs that you're seeing on the horizon and where do we need better tools?

[01:19:01] Mike: I think education is key, A to Z. I think where we're lacking is a lot of people in the industry, whether professional, the patients all that just don't have enough information. They should, but there's so much out there. Breakthroughs in my own eyes there's a couple. Surviving Mold right now is working on a new way of testing patients using GENIE, looking at gene expression. Up-Regulation down-regulation, there may be some promise there. It's getting really forensic. It's really just starting. So we're learning more. That's more of a medical thing.

But right now, one of the good things about that, Scott, is that I can have a doctor who maybe they do believe. As you know, there's different protocols and treatment plans. But if you're somebody who's following the Shoemaker protocol, I've had a doctor that says, I did a GENIE on a client and it's looking like there is a gram negative bacteria exposure. Can you focus on that when you go out to the home? And we have, so there's that. Another breakthrough I think is just in the educational front. ISEAI switching to another organization is really making leaps and bounds to create training modules and curriculums to help educate clinicians and IEPs, like myself to explain to them why the old ways of sampling the homes may not be enough to define what really is in the home.

Even myself. I've literally had the pleasure right now I'm working with a professor at one of the well-known universities here in Arizona and the colleague of mine, Larry Schwartz. We're literally looking at creating a track program, if not a master level degree program for IEPs, like us because right now there is no such thing. If you asked us where do we get our training and our knowledge certainly there's some basic fundamentals, but it's reading books and it's getting educated and it's on the job experience. We need to take those experiences and those books and put them into a curriculum that IEPs can learn so that we don't have as many horrible stories about jobs that have gone wrong.

[01:21:00] Scott: Absolutely. If people would like to work with you, how do they go about doing that? What are the states that you physically service? If someone lives in a location that you don't support, how can they find IEPs? Are there resources where they can go and get a list of IEPs? Why is it still so difficult to find good resources in the IEP arena?

[01:21:20] Mike: Maybe I’ll address the first parts. Working with me if you'd like, best way to do that is to go on environmentalanalytics.net. You go to the contact page, you'll see that there's a form you can fill out. It's pretty easy. Just submit that and it'll help us see how we can help you. If we can't, we'll do our best to get you to some local resources. That kind of helps you out with that question. I am global with virtual consultations. Right now I typically stick to the landlock states. I do travel quite a bit. I've been off the mainland but with a young family and all that, that's a limitation. If you're in an area or another country where you want those boots on the ground, which we would prefer.

Honestly, the best way to start again, I think the best reference or resource for you is either going to be ISEAI.org the get help page. You may have somebody right next to you that you're not aware of. If that doesn't work, try acac.org click on the find certificates button and work your way through that process. If all else fails, just reach out to us. We've helped a number of people who didn't work with us through some contract, who we were still able to help guide them in the right direction. We're happy to do that for you. As it relates to why is it so darn hard to find IEPs with my sort of background, I think it's because we just weren't given kind of a template of what to do.

The old school way of thinking came from an industry that really was more acute or pathogenic. People were testing petri dishes because people had lung disease and the exposures were more obvious. What's happened is, is I think we've learned more about our bodies and we're realizing that, oh wow everyone gets the concept that if you walked into a moldy basement with mold everywhere, that there's going to be an exposure and no one really had to evolve with that understanding. We kinda got that. But what happened was we started looking at things that don't present themselves so obviously.

In terms of short term exposure, it's more long term, or maybe it's an air sample that doesn't capture and exposure. The resources that we have today to help us analyze those environments are really expensive for one. And also not well understood. So you have an IEP that's like, you're wanting me to charge my clients two or three times more than I normally am for my demographic and I don't even really know how to interpret this. I don't feel comfortable is the conclusion with that. So you have these IEPs that are kind of stuck with whatever it is that they've learned.

I think that's where it goes back to, you asked me earlier about things that we're seeing on the horizon. I think the thing I'm most excited about right now is this potential university track of education that we can give. If it takes off here in the next year or two, it could be applied to any university and in the next 5 or 10 years we will be having a different discussion. I think we won't have an issue of supply anymore.

[01:24:20] Scott: Talk to us for those people interested in the idea of the virtual consult. What can you do in a virtual consultation? Do you still guide them through doing some testing and then get together and then some of the decisions and recommendations are based on testing? What's actually done in that virtual consult?

[01:24:38] Mike: I always stress that boots on the ground are always preferred. But virtual consults are something that I do many of where people either don't have local resources or they're just looking for a second opinion of something that was already done at their house. They had an inspector come out to their home. Or if they just really want to pick my brain and get the education, the fundamentals. I'm sure many of you listening right now trying to follow me who talks at an incredibly fast rate can be challenging. So they kind of want to get into the specifics of their home. What I do is really address the fundamentals. I can certainly can help people like take photos or we can walk around with a camera, that kind of thing and look for things.

But that's not really my selling point with virtual consults. I know there are other IEPs that do that. I'm not really known for that. Where I come into play is I try to take a look at your house from a 30,000 foot perspective. I try to connect the dots and then we zoom in as far as we can. Where I can't help you. I'm looking for local resources that I can instruct you on how to work with them to get the answers. One example of a billion is if we realize through all of this consult that Oh wow, there's a couple areas in the home that we're concerned about. There's been a water damage. But the homeowner doesn't want to spend thousands of dollars remediating and unless they have some additional evidence that there is a problem

Now that we've figured that out during our consult, I can try and help find a local resource in your area that may not be a Mike Schrantz or a Larry Schwartz or a number of other professionals who I trust and feel really understand this world of chronic illness. Have them come out and do a cavity sample of that wall to help determine whether or not it does make sense to remediate that source. We talk about source removal is key. So really fundamentals, high level, medium level stuff.

The way that they can get ahold of us again is to go to environmentalanalytics.net. Go to the contact us page and it'll go from there.

[01:26:30] Scott: So as we start wrapping up, I want to give a little more information for the ISEAI resource for people. If there's practitioners or IEPs listening, it's a great organization to connect with. Mike, I know you're on the board, the International Society for Environmentally Acquired Illness or ISEAI pronounced ISEAI.org. Why don't you tell us a little bit about ISEAI.org and why people hopefully will reach out and connect with us there?

[01:26:54] Mike: Yeah, great intro. ISEAI just kind of took chronic illness in the community, working within it to a whole other level of trying to find a way to connect us all together. I love ISEAI because its reach is wide. You could have Lyme, PANS, PANDAS, SIBO, CIRS, the list goes on even Alzheimer's. What you have are clinicians, a lot of clinicians. There are some IEPs, I know I'm one of them. What I see is 95% clinicians working together in a list serve where they're having the types of conversations that weren't happening before. They're sharing data, they're sharing experiences. We know that those sorts of engagements is how we learn more and we create new trends and we identify new things.

It's nonprofit. They're not selling you something as it were. It's something that if you become a member for relatively cheap amount of money, you get access to an incredible wealth of resources. I love it because as an IEP, speaking to IEPs, if you want to learn more about chronic illness certainly there's free stuff you can learn on ISEAI without becoming a member. But to dive into and get the database to get all that information, I would recommend you become a full member. You'll have to go through an application process, that sort of thing to learn more.

I think what I also love about ISEAI is what we mentioned earlier, they're looking at these training modules. It's not just about sharing information, but it's filtering out the good stuff that falls through and say we need this to be taught to the masses and how can we do that? ISEAI is an incredible organization that has such a brain trust of people with collective interests to help cure or treat chronic illness no matter what it is. It's not a place where people will feel…. I think the reality that I'm trying to step around, Scott, is that for the longest time, what I have seen in my experience, a lot of people are afraid to speak out and ask questions.

As a professional, at the levels we operate, you're afraid to ask ‘a stupid question’. This community does not promote that. They promote a warm family embrace. Definitely check it out. I know Scott will have the information in the notes. But ISEAI.org is a great place to get started if you want to learn more, whether you are a patient or you're a practitioner.

[01:29:17] Scott: Absolutely. Let's talk a little about IEPRadio.com, that's your podcast that you started, I don't know within the last year or so. You can tell us a little more about that. But I know what the focus on the indoor environment and bringing us really a depth of resources and conversation and other resources that can really help shed some light on the environment and how to improve it to support ongoing improvement with our health. So tell us a little bit about what you're doing at IEPRadio.com.

[01:29:44] Mike: Sure. In terms of timeframe, it's really new. I opened the doors, so to speak, in May of this year. It's not even quite a year yet. We've been through a lot. IEP Radio is definitely an extension of my passion, to want to truly help for the sake of helping. In fact, you'll notice if you go on IEP Radio that Environmental Analytics is not in there at all. I really go out of my way because I want people to have a true place that they feel comfortable. They can just look at educational resources and don't have that fear of wanting to be marketed. Cause that's not how I operate if people don't know that.

I've worked with over 4,300 clients, I've probably spoken with thousands more in various capacities trying to help. There's a real shortage of education regarding these complicated topics of environmentally acquired illness and the work that IEPs, remediation companies, and even many of the contractors perform. Even the basics, people don't know where to go.

So IEP Radio is my way of offering free education, free references, which is huge. You always hear people saying, what's the study to back that up. I literally have a references page you can go to. IEP Radio covers a broad spectrum of illnesses. What I love about IEP Radio and as I'm falling more in love with this, is that it truly is selfless. I should say it is selfish. It's selfish because I want to help. I'm passionate. I want to help people.

A lot of the topics that you brought up today, Scott, the remediation, this limitations on sampling, those were core topics that were so hot, hence why you probably brought them up that we've already covered those ones. We talk about a range of things, even chemical sampling. What I do at IEP Radio is I try to go to the source. For example, if we want to talk about a particular air purification unit, I don't want to go to a distributor. I want to go to the scientists that helped create it and have been working on that.

I'm hopeful that for people who are wanting help with the fundamentals, you want to know more about sampling some of the limitations so that you can be empowered with knowledge go to IEPRadio.com. You want to learn more about mold remediation from the basics all the way through to clearance testing, go to IEPRadio.com. You want to learn more about chronic illness. Are you with a spouse right now who doesn't believe you? You guys have second opinions. I'm sure Scott can relate to that in terms of the people that he's worked with.

Go to IEP Radio. We get into the weeds, the stuff, the discussion points that most people are afraid to bring up. I hope that it will be a way to educate you and/or your family and friends so that you can get back on the track or road recovery.

[01:32:20] Scott: The last question that I ask is the same of every guest and that's what are some of the key things that you do on a daily basis in support of your own health?

[01:32:28] Mike: That's fair. Try to turn it off. I'm so passionate. I think as an IEP for me one of my struggles is just to remember that there's other things around us that are so beautiful. My family being one of them. I have a 2 year old and a 4 year old, both boys. My four year old's active and spirited like me. So you can imagine how that goes. But spending time with family, being able to appreciate how lucky I am when there are people listening that aren't so lucky. In terms of health and diet, thank God I have a wife who cares about both. I really am mindful with good diet and eating. I grew up in the generation of McDonald's. I'm not gonna lie to you, sometimes I'm a Big Mac sounds appealing, but for the most part it doesn't.

I grew around that type of diet lifestyle. My wife has gotten me onto organic foods and diets and things that are balanced and then exercise. Those things actually truly make me happy. I think I took for granted in my 20’s how lucky we are with our health. As I've gotten older I realized, Hey, wait a second, I actually have to maintain that. But the rewards are good for me because not only am I there for my family, but I'm also here to be here talking with you today and being able to serve others across the globe.

[01:33:40] Scott: That is fantastic. I want to thank you for your time today. We had so many pearls and great things that you shared in this conversation. I know I have connected with people that have also worked with you over the years and had very, very good feedback and good things that happened as a result of their work with you. So I just want to thank you and honor you for all that you're doing for your educational work. But also for the work that you're doing as an IEP, for being available as a resource to really help people. Just thank you for your time today, Mike.

[01:34:06] Mike: Same to you, Scott. Such an honor to be on your show. I look forward to helping anybody out in the future.

[01:34:13] Scott: To learn more about today's guest visit environmentalaanalytics.net or IEPRadio.com.

Thanks for your interest in today's show. If you'd like to follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you can find me there as Better Health Guy. To support the show, please visit betterhealthguy.com/donate. If you'd like to be added to my newsletter, visit betterhealthguy.com/ newsletters. This and other shows can be found on YouTube, iTunes, Google play, Stitcher, and Spotify.

[01:34:54] Outro: Thanks for listening to this BetterHealthGuy Blogcast. With Scott, your Better Health Guy. To check out additional shows and learn more about Scott's personal journey to better health, please visit betterhealthguy.com

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  BetterHealthGuy.com is intended to share my personal experience in recovering from my own chronic illness.  Information presented is based on my journey working with my doctors and other practitioners as well as things I have learned from conferences and other helpful resources.  As always, any medical decisions should be made only with the guidance of your own personal medical authority.  Everyone is unique and what may be right for me may not be right for others.