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In this episode, you will learn about Actinomycetes and its role in CIRS.
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About My Guest
My guest for this episode is Larry Schwartz. Larry Schwartz, BSME, MBA, CIEC is the Founder, CEO, and President of Safestart Environmental and Safestart Building Consulting, Inc.; entities dealing in Indoor Air Quality, Industrial Hygiene, Mold, Infrared Thermography, Forensic Water Intrusion Analysis, Building Science, Consulting, and New Construction Consulting. Larry has performed over 10,000 investigations of properties for which he has investigated, created remediation plans, performed testing, and issued post-remediation verifications. A specialty area is assessing, testing, and creating solutions to make homes and workplaces environmentally safe for patients with inflammatory illnesses. Many of his clients are patients referred by their physicians and clinics worldwide. He both travels to their sites as well as conducts virtual consulting of which he has performed more than 1,200. Larry is on staff at University of Arizona’s School of Public Health as an adjunct lecturer of Environmental Health Sciences.
- What are Actinomycetes?
- Can Actinos be both health-negating and health-promoting?
- Are mold and mycotoxins still relevant in the CIRS conversation?
- What patterns have been observed with GENIE testing?
- Can CIRS occur from exposure to a building without water intrusion or water damage?
- What is the "Stack Effect"?
- Where might Actinos be found in a living environment?
- Can Actinos be a trigger for MCAS?
- How are Actinos tested? How are results interpreted?
- Are Actinos common in indoor environments?
- Do the Actinos indices correlate to clinical presentation better than an ERMI score?
- How might Actinos be reduced in an indoor environment?
- Can air filtration, fogging, or UV light be tools to mitigate Actinos?
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August 12, 2022
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] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to BetterHealthGuy Blogcasts, empowering your better health. Now, here's Scott, your BetterHealthGuy.
[00:00:14] ANNOUNCER: The content of this 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.
[00:00:35] SCOTT: Hello, everyone, and welcome to episode number 171 of the BetterHealthGuy Blogcasts series. Today's guest is Larry Schwartz, and the topic of the show is Actinomycetes. Larry Schwartz is the Founder, CEO and President of Safestart Environmental and Safestart Building Consulting Incorporated, entities dealing with indoor air quality, industrial hygiene mold, infrared thermography, forensic water intrusion analysis, building science consulting, and new construction consulting.
Larry has performed over 10,000 investigations of properties for which he has investigated, created remediation plans, performed testing, and issued post-remediation verifications. A specialty area is assessing, testing, and creating solutions to make homes and workplaces environmentally safe for patients with inflammatory illnesses. Many of his clients are patients referred by their physicians and clinics worldwide.
He both travels to their sites, as well as conducts virtual consulting, of which he's performed more than 1,200. Larry is on staff at University of Arizona's School of Public Health as an adjunct lecturer of Environmental Health Sciences. And now, my interview with Larry Schwartz.
[00:01:52] SCOTT: I'm excited today to have Larry Schwartz on the podcast to talk about a topic that may prove to be significant in recovering health and one that is not commonly discussed, that is Actinomycetes. Thanks for being here, Larry.
[00:02:05] LARRY: You're welcome. Pleasure to be here.
[00:02:07] SCOTT: I guess, the first question should be, should we be saying Actinomycetes, as I've heard Ritchie Shoemaker say. I've heard many other say Actinomycetes. How do you pronounce it?
[00:02:19] LARRY: They take the very short version, Scott. I just called them Actinos. It’s much easier.
[00:02:25] SCOTT: Perfect. Having worked with over 10,000 indoor air quality investigations, how have you seen indoor air quality and the impact of water damaged buildings on health of your clients changing over time? Is the problem growing in prevalence? Is the problem becoming more severe? What made you make this the focus of your life?
[00:02:49] LARRY: Wow, that's a long question. Let me start at the back end. Well, in the training, I’m a graduate mechanical engineer. I have an MBA. I worked a while in industry. It was an interesting road that followed me to where I am. I've reinvented myself several times. I have spent years in real estate, which will lead me into home inspection. From there, when mold raised its ugly head and unusually named town dripping Springs, Texas, a suburb of Austin, where the Ballard case came out about 20 years ago, that was the big mold health deal that came out.
In fact, I was invited by some attorneys I work with, already mold that I spoke at some conferences and met Judge Dietz who presided over that case. That time, the Attorney General of Texas, and I studied and went to proprietary websites and learned all about water damage, what was called at the time, building syndrome. Then I attended courses and got certifications. It grew from home inspection into mold inspection, into the health issues. It was referred by a client of mine to a local physician at the time who was working with a lot of health-related mold patients.
I put it off a year or two and I called him, and we had lunch. We hit it off and I started doing investigations for patrons of his. He was in that inner circle with Ritchie Shoemaker introduced me. Then subsequently, was asked him, was the lead author of the first version of the peer reviewed document that's on survivingmold.com, about how to investigate and remediate water damaged buildings for CIRS. I did that with four or five colleagues internationally and with some physicians. Recently, there's been an update on that. I've been involved in – I've gotten involved with one of the founding members of the International Society of Environmentally Acquired Illness, which has a couple of hundred physicians in it. Now, I'm currently the co-chairman of the indoor environmental professional committee of that organization. We're doing a lot of good work in that.
Over that, that whole lapse of – that whole time period, I would say right now, I'm working almost fairly exclusively, with patients referred by physicians internationally all over the place. The first part of that question, I think, from the health condition point of view, it's the same. There's more and more, the physicians and the IEPs are learning about it. We're on the cutting edge of learning more, what are the causes of these symptoms? Who are the people that are vulnerable? How are they determined? It's interesting, because of the type of symptoms, like every patient has a scope of symptoms that might be mild to middle to extreme of each of these type of symptoms that occur.
There's up to 37 known symptoms right now that can occur with CIRS, and a lot of them, almost all of them are common. One goes to the doctor for to get treated, and the symptoms get treated. They don't necessarily get to the root cause. Let me say this. When I deal with my clients, I often like to give them an analogy. Imagine, there's an imaginary tank and their body, that’s what we call cytokine inflammagens. We all have them. We don’t eliminate them normally. If they build up to more than they should be, if they're vulnerable, then these symptoms will start to occur.
I tell them in this tank, imagine cytokines are like a liquid sloshing around. You want that tank to be empty. Picture a green pipe at the bottom and a valve, the doctors can give binders and meds to open that valve to drain the tank. I deal with the valve at the top of the tank to keep stuff from coming in. The deal is, if what's coming in is coming in equal or faster than what's going out the tank, thus to empty. A lot of times my clients will say, I'm taking the binders and all that, but I don't feel any better. My symptoms don't go away. It may well be that their exposure in what’s going in the tank is coming in too fast. It puts everything in perspective to understand a little more about CIRS.
I'd like to elaborate one other little bit, if I might, is that, is I'm trained by the physicians I work with, people are born as we all know with various sets of genes. We're pretty sure, at least 25%, we think more of people born with a subset of genes category called HLA haplotype. If one has a combination, or a certain number of these HLA haplotypes, genes are typically either on or off, like a light switch, or like a dimmer switch. They may be somewhere in the middle of that on and off. They're usually born with these particular genes in an off position. Everything's good.
We know, when these people get exposed primarily to water damaged building, there'll be other stressors that can start to turn these genes in an on position. When they go on, the tank I talked about, that old cytokines, and it plugs up and doesn't drain, and symptoms get worse. We know water damaged buildings are the primary reason this effect occurs. We know too, that a lot of these patients, not everybody that has these genes. It's different. I've sat with a client at a table outdoors, I had to turn off my iPhone, because it was giving him a headache. Some symptoms like, some of the headaches of brain fog may be caused by strong electrical EMFs, or radio frequencies, or dirty electricity. Some of them may be affected more by chemical sensitivities, by volatile organic compounds, by the mycotoxins for molds.
Now, what we've been learning of late in the last few years is the endotoxins and Actinomycetes. It's like a hate joke. We're learning more and more of all these more environmental things can affect you.
[00:10:01] SCOTT: I think, much like Lyme disease where there really are many factors that are in play, we tend to use the term mold illness, which, unfortunately is probably a mischaracterization of what's really happening, to the point that you just made, there's so many things in water damaged buildings that can affect us. Our conversation today is about Actinomycetes. I'm wondering if you can tell us, what are Actinos? How are they similar to fungi, even though they're technically classified as bacteria?
[00:10:35] LARRY: Okay. They're similar in that they grow in water damaged buildings, as well as outdoors and soil and on parts of our bodies. Now, bacteria, different also in that they don't necessarily as they grow, produce mycotoxins today like molds do. Bacteria might develop on their surfaces, what are called vesicles that might be little spherical bodies that might hold things in them. Some of the similarities are all these biological life forms need water to help dissolve a food source for them to get energy to live and grow. When the water disappears, they die. What's unique for these patients is these things affect the patient, whether they're dead or alive.
[00:11:31] SCOTT: Some Actinomycetes are found in the human microbiome and may have a beneficial effect in gut homeostasis. They may actually be therapeutic. Building on that idea that maybe not all Actinos are bad, many antibiotics and medications are derived from Actinos, much like antibiotics that are derived from fungi. I know Dr. Jill Crista recently posted, talking about tetracyclines and macrolides and aminoglycosides and rifamycins and even ivermectin being derived from Actinobacteria. Is it that there are some Actinos that are health promoting and others that are health negating? Is there a subset of them that are of concern in the external environment?
[00:12:20] LARRY: The way it's categorized is just like mold have a family name called the genus, then they morph in species, they have two names and they're variations of the original. The Actinomycetes also evolve into species. There are a number of the species, most of them identified, that are characterized as pathogenic. Aren't necessarily creating illness per se, but they're pathogenic to people that have the vulnerable genetics to cause them effects. We have those identified. We work with those.
[00:13:01] SCOTT: In the context of chronic inflammatory response syndrome, for many years, we thought of mold and mycotoxins as the primary health negating factors found in water damaged buildings. We know that there's this soup that we talked about of many toxicants, and even microbes in water damaged buildings. Really, the focus has been on mold illness, as research is progressing, it now seems that the current thought is that the Actinos and the endotoxins may represent a much more significant concern for indoor air quality, as compared to mold and mycotoxins. I'm wondering if you can talk about what we currently know relative to that, and do you believe that mold and mycotoxins still matter?
[00:13:46] LARRY: Mold and mycotoxins definitely matter. Now, a lot of this is related in the last year or two, to development of the newer genetic test. People … like genie in the bottle. It's unique in how it's performed, even that the blood is drawn in two tubes. The instructions are to turn those tubes up and down 10 times, freeze them, ship them with dry ice to the lab. It's not the usual method of dealing with it. A PhD microbiologist, Dr. Jimmy Ryan created this along with Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker. They've got a couple of labs on the East Coast.
Now, what this tells is, and you have to understand the nuances about how to interpret the results. It gives the physicians a lot of information of the degree of upward-down regulation of genes in different categories. Like hypometabolism and a number of other areas that are great for their medical knowledge and how to treat the patient. My perspective on it near the end of the report was a narrative and there are some questions that say, is there an activation of Actinomycetes present? Yes, or no? Is there an activation of mycotoxin present? Yes, or no? Is there an activation of endotoxin present? Yes, or no.
Now, let's say on a particular patient chose being activated by Actinomycetes in their home, but not the mycotoxins, or the endotoxin. Now, that doesn't mean that for all time, that patient doesn't react to those other things. Means to the conditions in that home, at that time, there is not enough presence to trigger their symptoms caused by those other stressors. Usually, it's very conditioned on the condition of what's going on in that home, around the timeframe that blood is drawn. I have worked with patients where that test shows, they don't react to any of those, what I call the Big Three, but the home still affects them environmentally.
We have treatments to cover that in any case. Here's the deal. We found over 2,000 patients that have taken the GENIE test. About 42% of them are being triggered by Actinomycetes. The next largest percentage was endotoxins. The least percentage was the mycotoxin. Now, there could be all kinds of limiting factors in that analysis and all of that. It's interesting to think that at least close to half of these patients are getting triggered by Actinomycetes. We talk further on this, I think I can help shed some light on that.
[00:16:39] SCOTT: I've been interested personally in doing that GENIE, just to see what comes up. Fortunately, I'm healthy today, but have had my mold and Lyme journey and still work a lot on keeping my health in a good place. Unfortunately, I'm not finding yet a lot of practitioners that are doing it, specifically related to the special handling and those things that you talk about. Hopefully, it will become more available.
When we talk about endotoxins, which are portions of bacteria that serve as toxins to the body, and those being a major contributor to CIRS. I think, it was 30 something percent, if I remember correctly as compared to Actinos, which were 42%. Are all of the endotoxins that are referenced they're coming from Actinos, or are they coming from other bacteria that are also found in water damaged buildings, like Mycoplasma, for example?
[00:17:36] LARRY: My knowledge of that is like this. You hear the term gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. They get that, because when they’re staying, how they look under a microscope, and the gram negative are more prevalent, more common, more numerous. They have two outer cell walls. Gram-positive have one outer cell wall and a membrane behind it. My interpretation is, my knowledge is when the gram-negative bacteria die, the outer cell wall is made up mainly of Lipopolysaccharides. As it breaks up, goes into the air, create these endotoxins. I believe, the majority of endotoxins coming off the more numerous gram-negative, which are more prevalent than the gram-positive bacteria.
[00:18:28] SCOTT: I believe it was during my podcast interview with Michael Rubino that I first came to understand that Actinos and maybe even some of these bacterial endotoxins can come from drains and pipes in our homes and buildings. I'd really love to hear more from you about, is it possible then that one can have CIRS from their environment without water damage, without water intrusion? Because if that's true, that seems like a really significant concept that I did not previously understand in this conversation.
[00:19:06] LARRY: This is where it gets really interesting. The research is showing that the Actinomycetes in homes may come in from about 13 species of Actinos that are generated in common residing soils, that may come in from water damage that has occurred past or present in the building itself. In a predominant one, there are 33 species of Actinos that – it's hard to say, because it's such an unbelievable thing. They're coming from our bodies. We call those human habitat Actinos. I can tell you more about horses and how that works. It has all kinds of important implications for keeping a building safe.
By the way, of the 13 soil Actino species and the 33 human habitat species, five species and each of those categories fall into what we call the pathogenic species that can affect a vulnerable patient.
[00:20:15] SCOTT: Extending then on that concept are Actinos higher in areas of water damage, let's say, behind a wall, or are the factors that lead to Actinos in an environment very much different from those that lead to mold and mycotoxins in an environment. I wonder if you can just paint the picture as to whether or not there's an overlap between factors that lead to Actinos, or if there are a significant difference between the environmental factors for Actinos versus mold?
[00:20:48] LARRY: It's interesting. In the last large group of Actino labs I've seen, where Actino tests are done in the homes through EnviroBiomics, we're finding that there might be anywhere from 10 or 15, to 20 to 30 pathogenic species of Actinos that show up on the dust sample. Typically, about no more than eight to 10 of those 10, 20, or 30 are coming from the soil, or human habitat. The balance that are coming from the home typically have a much lower concentration of bacterial equivalents per milligram of dust. It seems to have more primary causes, higher concentrations of these equivalents coming from the human and soil area and between those more than human habitats. Going back to the building, yes, I want to talk about drains and, or is behind shower walls and all that if you want me to do that now.
[00:21:56] SCOTT: Yeah, absolutely. I think, we'll get into that in just a couple of minutes here. Talk to us a little bit about negative pressure and positive pressure and the impact that that has on Actinos potentially being pulled into our homes from outside the Stack Effect and how that plays into the conversation.
[00:22:15] LARRY: First, I’ll explain what’s Stack Effect. Stack Effect is basically warm air rises. Air in a home typically rises from lower levels up. There's a basement or crawlspace, typically 15% to 25% of the air on the main floor may be coming up from the basement, or the crawlspace. That was of Stack Effect. Think about this. Nobody ever thinks about when you go into a high-rise office building, or you go through a revolving door or a vestibule. Why if there's a restaurant, maybe it's not too large and you leave the restaurant, you have to push real hard to open the door to leave, because the vent hoods that are pushing a lot of air out of the restaurant. The Stack Effect, the higher a building is, the greater the Stack Effect is.
With air rises, it's pushing air out of the building. The air wants to come in from outside to replace the air that's being pushed out. If you didn't have a revolving door or a vestibule, if you were in that building, you wouldn't be able to open the door to leave. The pressure differential, it's so great. The outside are pushing against the door. That's a good explanation of Stack Effect.
Now here's what happens in the home for example. Run a bath fan, kitchen fan, clothes dryer, rising air Stack Effect are always pushing air out of the home that typically exfiltrate to the upper levels and infiltrates primarily in basements and lower levels. Keep in mind that there's air mixed in soils, there’s radon gas mixed in the soils often and what kind of stuff? As you push air out of the building, the building creates a suction, or negative pressure trying to replace the air being pushed out by air outside the building envelope any which way it can.
Here's the bad news. That if there's contaminants in the air outside, you may not react too much, because you have the whole atmosphere and when to dilute its concentration. When these things get sucked into the building, they can build up in intensity, in the amount of it that can reach your trigger levels. Additionally, in the building envelope itself, the building envelope is the space between the outside cladding and the inside plaster drywall. Then that space you have insulation, may have had condensation in there, you may have had leakage around windowsills or whatever. There may be degrees of microbial growth in the building envelope and through any penetrations, wall switch plates, outlets. That air in the building envelope, as well as air from outside is going to come in slowly any which way it can through paths of least resistance. I think that's an answer, I think, to your question.
[00:25:16] SCOTT: In a prior conversation that you and I had, you shared that Actinos grow on dried skin cells and areas where we may be leave behind more dried skin cells, then we're likely to have more issues with Actinos there. Given that dust is largely dried skin cells, what role does dust in our homes play in terms of the growth of Actinos and how important is regular cleaning, or even air filtration focused on reduction of dust?
[00:25:46] LARRY: At the behest of a number of physicians I work with, I’ve written what I call an Actino white paper. In testing, I found that areas of the home that tend to have, through Actino testing through the lab, or the home, I found that the areas of the home that the most people spend the most time in have the highest levels of Actinos, primarily the human habitat Actinos. Within that group, I find the absolute major factory of Actinos in the home is the bedroom.
Through testing, where I've taken dust samples, for example, from mattress covers, I found the very highest levels of human habitat Actinos. Think of this. When we're under cover, four, six, eight, 10 hours a day, there's virtually no ventilation of that air. The air reaches near body temperature, our bodies give off moisture, our bodies give off skin cells, our bodies may give up some mucus. This is the absolute factory, major factory in the home.
I've also found in the bathrooms and drains, and we talk about these pressure differentials sample. If there are plumbing fixtures, or sinks, or drains in your home that you don't normally use and the water evaporates from the traps, the negative pressure in the home will suck up air from the sewer line into the home. Sometimes you may get an odor from that. What happens in these drains is there are dried skin cells, there are dried soap films, there's dried hair, and Actinos and all kind of microbial type grow in this stuff. This is really disgusting talk, but it's the real deal. Especially in the shower drain, where you get soap films, you get skin cells, you get hair, the stuff grows pretty rapidly. Even the walls of the shower surround, you may not see anything visually, but there's stuff growing on there. Your bath towel that you use to dry, hang it up to dry and you use it again, it's probably got a whole big growth of Actinos on it now.
Again, this paper, I have – I give up. Protocol of steps to do, I've created a specific type of would have to be habit forming of a reasonable way to maintain the bedroom and bath and other areas of the house. Minimize the reduction of Actino growth and maintenance. If I can, I want to give a quick example.
[00:28:32] SCOTT: Sure.
[00:28:33] LARRY: I have a client who's a CIRS patient in Arizona, who has been determine their primary activation is Actinos. I got a baseline from the lab. I know what all the concentrations of the pathogenic species are. On the protocol two months, they retested their home, and I found about a 47% reduction in pathogenic specie concentrations, and the symptoms of the patient had greatly improved. Now, that doesn't prove that causation. It's certainly very anecdotal. I've had other cases similar to that, I'm trying to document them. Through happens and changes in how we maintain our homes, we don't know the trigger levels. We don't have data thresholds, good or bad.
Frankly, I believe every person that's a patient, they have different sensitivity levels, different trigger levels. There's probably some mean trigger level. My goal is to get these concentrations lowered as much as possible and hopefully, get below the trigger level.
[00:29:48] SCOTT: I think for some people listening, they may think, “Oh, my goodness. One more issue that I need to think about.” For me, I actually find this very empowering because some of the potential solutions for reducing Actinos fall more in the realm of maintenance things, like flossing our teeth, or something similar, versus having to tear out a wall and rip up the tile and take out the shower and those kinds of things. I think, it gives us another tool through which we might be able to improve our external environment in support of our health, which, for me, is really exciting. I mean, we're going to talk more about some of those things, but I think it gives us some new solutions to consider as well. What potential implications do basements and crawlspaces have on the Actinos conversation? Are they a potential source of exposure?
[00:30:43] LARRY: They are. Consider the fact that soils are basically known to be 25% microbial growth from dead and decaying organic material in the soils. Soils are typically damp. On the exterior of the home, with rain and snow on a continuing basis, there's always going down a foot or two levels of moisture in the soils. We find the soils not only in our reservoir of 13 species of Actinos. There's various species of molds and other contaminants that reside there. Negative pressure can bring those in through paths of entry around windows, window walls, cracks, cold joints, etc. In a basement, let's take a crawl space. I would say, of all the clients I've worked with that have crawl spaces, majority of them generally have a dirt floor crawl space that may have some gravel on it, or some loose plastic on top of that.
As they may or may not have a drainage system. Most of them don't have a hit or a drainage system to pump out accumulated moisture. Some of them never get puddles, but maybe the soils are always moist, normally get moist. Just disturbances of air. They also present a higher level of moisture into the home. Their crawlspace on an average sized home in the summer, and put two to three gallons of water into the air of the home from the crawlspace alone. In crawlspaces, we often see condensation, this factor of the amount of moisture in the air and the temperature of the surfaces and the temperature of the air. You hear the term, dew point.
Any surface at a dew point temperature, anything at or below the dew point temperature, the water vapor in the air will condense on it into moisture, whether it's invisible film, or visible water droplets. Very often in crawl spaces where there's not a lot of ventilation, a high moisture rich environment in the air, if the floor above the crawlspace it's cool, we often see condensation on the sub-flooring, on the joists. Not unusual to see mold growth on the underside of the plywood, or planks, or OSB sub-floor on the joist. Underneath plumbing fixtures, toilets and drains where there may have been historic leakage, we often see mold.
Crawlspaces are very much a biological, environmental bad thing. That air rises up into the home. There's penetrations where air can get through, even around where HVAC registers are in the floor, where electrical conduit where plumbing goes through. A good portion of crawl space is how they create the equipment, the air handler, duct work. Now, when air flows through a metal duct work, any leaks around the junctions, and whole leaks in it, the air moves through that suck surrounding air into the air stream.
Another conduit that are in the crawlspace being distributed into the home. He had Actinos, molds or whatever often come in that way. There's a lot of challenges with these kinds of foundations, basements, or I would say, crawl spaces I categorize is most vulnerable for bad indoor environmental quality. Basements next, then on a concrete slab probably best. Doesn't mean everything up above it’s all hunky dory all the time. That's for preventing ground issues.
[00:34:44] SCOTT: I know you're not a doctor of people, but you are a doctor of buildings. When we think of this mold-focused paradigm, we primarily think of the mycotoxins as a trigger for the chronic inflammatory response. Some consider the potential for fungal colonization inside the body. I know that's highly debated. What is it about Actinos that impact humans in terms of triggering the inflammatory response? Is it that there's some value in binders, like cholestyramine, or maybe antibiotics, or herbs to address the possibility of pathogenic Actinos that are actually in the body? Or is it that the Actinos are producing a toxin similar to mold producing mycotoxins? What are your thoughts there?
[00:35:35] LARRY: What I've discussed with the physicians I work with and the researchers in this, I find that the pathogenic species of Actinos often create a chemical called mycolic acid. They often create vesicles on their surface that may have toxins in them. Whereas, other species don't create these. That's the cutting-edge on the science of why certain ones are bad for you, and certain ones are not. From what I understand, even the bad ones don't necessarily – I know, they're on the cutting-edge of determining this cause and effect, but not so much necessarily causing disease per se, but by triggering the production of cytokine inflammagens into that tank. I hope that's helpful.
[00:36:31] SCOTT: Yeah. Have you heard from the practitioners you're collaborating with? Are they still finding that those that are more Actino inflammation-driven, let's say, mold and mycotoxins are less of an issue. Are people in that patient population still benefiting from binders, for example?
[00:36:49] LARRY: Yes, they are.
[00:36:51] SCOTT: Many people think of mold as a primary trigger for mast cell activation syndrome. Do we know if Actinos also trigger mast cell activation, or histamine associated issues?
[00:37:06] LARRY: What I'm told is the mast cell activation is primarily a histamine-driven effect. I couldn't get any information from the physicians. The gist of what I got was, the Actinos aren't necessarily activating histamine activity.
[00:37:25] SCOTT: Okay. Let's talk a little bit about some of the testing. You mentioned EnviroBiomics is the primary lab that does testing for Actinos. Are there other labs that IEPs use as well? Or is that the primary tool that we have available currently?
[00:37:42] LARRY: The reason that EnviroBiomics right now is the only lab I know of internationally that does what's called next generation sequencing, to determine these Actinos. There's special lab equipment called NGS processors. Right now, they're the only lab we know of that does that, that gives us the in-depth degree of data on the speciation of Actinos and their concentrations. There are some labs that will test Streptomyces, like Mycometrics on dust natural level with that. I mean, there's no control or anything else to measure against that.
Even doing that test, the question is, does it give us enough useful information to give us direction with doing the building to make it better? I'm not finding that. I know, there are other labs – there's a lab they've been working with. Also, in San Antonio LIS Biotech, LIS. They're working, I think they're going to be coming out with some Actinomycetes testing. They currently are not doing that, but they're doing other stuff that's really interesting.
To answer your question, right now, EnviroBiomics is the only one doing it to the level and degree that's giving us an event formation. Though, I think we can get a degree of usefulness to know, is a baseline, are we getting better or worse than this?
[00:39:19] SCOTT: You talked about the fact that there is this distinction between human and soil habitat Actinos that we can test for 33 human and 13 soil Actinos with the EnviroBiomics panel. Do both the human habitat and soil habitat Actinos that are tested for have the potential to lead to CIRS? Why are we looking at both of those and can they both drive our inflammatory response?
[00:39:47] LARRY: I don't think either one wagers causative to make CIRS happen. I think, CIRS is a condition created by the genomic issues of the body, and environmental exposures. The environmental bacteria aren't causing CIRS. They will exacerbate it, create more cytokine inflammagens cells into that tank, just as chemicals, or mycotoxins from molds, or endotoxins will do the same.
[00:40:23] SCOTT: Is it true then that either of the human, or soil-based Actinos can lead to the same pathogenic response in humans, or is it less so the soil-based Actinos?
[00:40:37] LARRY: The pathogenic species of soil-based are human-based, can cause the same degree of health activity. The differences that we're finding in the EnviroBiomic testing, that the soil base are generally not reaching a level of causative as much as the human-based. The dominance and prevalence index when you want to get to that will help explain a lot of that.
[00:41:10] SCOTT: When we look at the human habitat Actinos, I noticed that one of them was Propionibacterium acnes. I'm wondering, if we know if people that have ongoing problems with acne could potentially attribute that to the presence of Actinos in their indoor environment.
[00:41:29] LARRY: Great question. I don't know if it would be a cause for acne, but I do know for a fact that the primary bacteria in acne is that same exact species in Actino.
[00:41:42] SCOTT: In someone that is self-collecting environmental samples to send to EnviroBiomics, which I always recommend that if they can do it, that they're really working with an IEP. Sometimes self-sampling is a starting point. Where should we test in order to get an accurate picture of the Actinos burden in the indoor environment? Are there common places where, and you've talked about bedding and pillows and so on. Are there common places where you would suggest taking those samples for Actinos? How is that sample collection the same, or different from what we do for sample collection for an army?
[00:42:21] LARRY: Great question. First of all, when I instruct a client, or we go out in the field and collect the samples, for Actinos, I want to get a maximum worst-case scenario in the home. I want the collection primarily to come from the primary bedroom. Or if it's failed, it's the patient, their bedroom and in the bath area, not getting close to the water fixtures. The places I like to get are from not on walking pathways, not at junctions of windows and windowsills. Both of those may provide some outdoor bias to the collection. Even things like top and backside of computers, TVs, perhaps a little bit on the back of hem blades, maybe top of doorframes.
Think about this. When you think about housecleaning dust, categorize what I call new dust and old dust. Old dust is on areas you don't normally clean, like the top of the doorframe, back side of the computer, the top of a picture frame. New dust around are on areas you normally dust in your house cleaning. The older dust has a longer time period history on it. The lab will send you directions, because they need 10 milligrams of dust on that sampling cloth to run the test. They want a lot of dust. They'll often tell you to take it off of return air registers and such that have a lot of dust. When I think about that, I think about this, the target for our patient is the air they're breathing, not a surface thing.
Now, things that collect dust, like an air return have a lot of history on them, but their surfaces that I consider are not emitters. If they were emitting dust, they wouldn't be collecting so much dust. The emitters are what put dust in the air. My thinking is, I want to get surfaces that are more correlated with what's in the air they're breathing. Even though a surface, like an air return has good history on it, it will give us probably the most conservative highest level that I think is that highest level really relative to what's affecting the patient. We're not going around licking the register. That linking kind of getting my drift.
[00:45:01] SCOTT: No, that's incredibly helpful. What percentage of environments would you suggest likely would have an unhealthy level of Actinos, if they were tested? Are high levels seen in homes where the occupants are healthy? How do we differentiate between healthy and unhealthy levels of Actinos indoor environment?
[00:45:24] LARRY: I think, regardless of the person, we all have Actinos growing on our skin. We are all emitting skin particles. Here's the really hard fact that's hard to swallow. That if a patient is in a home that had no water damage history at all, and this home is an – let's say, it's even a cleanroom, you move into the cleanroom, they are going to be causative in creating Actinos that might affect them in that cleanroom. There's no house that's going to be perfect for this. When people are moving, or deciding to move, one of the things I want to make sure they do is follow some specific, very detailed labor-intensive cleaning processes in that home before they move in, and how to clean their content, whether it's going to be at point A, or point B, and how to protect the content when it is in a moving van. That they'll get a good fresh start. If they maintain these particular housekeeping protocols, it should be good moving forward in time.
[00:46:37] SCOTT: Similar to an algorithm like, hurts me too, my understanding is that when you get those results, there is a Actinobacteria dominance index and an Actinobacteria prevalence index. What do those two indices tell us? What's the difference between dominance and prevalence? How do you interpret those indices?
[00:46:59] LARRY: This is a very difficult subject. I'm going to give you a definition of how they are derived, and I'm going to tell you how they're generally used by the physicians. The dominance index relates, just in a broad term, that relates to the degree of soil, habitat Actinos related to one's health effect. The prevalence index is looked at as relating to the human habitat degree that if a physician, yes or no, these should be affecting the patient or not in a broad stroke. Physician say, if either of those indices is over 2.0, and the case of the dominance index relating to soils, if that patient's taking the genie test, they have high upregulation of genes in an area called MAPK, which I'm not going to define. That index is over 2.0. That means that patient is likely health-wise reacting to that Actino source of soils. If the prevalence index is over 2.0 and I'm told by the physicians, doesn't matter if it's a little over 2.0, or a huge number over 2.0. There's a high upregulation in the gene group, known as TGIF, transformative growth factor, that it's likely that patient's going to react health-wise to those human habitat Actinos.
I look at these as a stoplight. When I look at them, the report from EnviroBiomics, they're over 2.0. That tells me that likely, the patient is going to be reacting to those. Then I look at the specific concentrations of the pathogenic species, I can look at him and I can tell you, these are low for what we see, whether they're high, whether they're medium. They don't have a threshold to tell you they're perfect, but I have a pretty good feel for what's going on.
Let me give you the definition of the dominance index. It says, take the sum of the human habitat Actino species of all 33 of them, and divide by 33 to get an average of those species, average concentration. Then you sum up all 13 concentrations of the soil habitat divided by 13 to get an average concentration of those. You divide the average of the human habitat by the average of the soil habitat. That's how they derive the dominance index. Now, we try and think of that, well, what does that really mean? That's the definition of how they derive that.
Prevalent index is a little different. The average, the five pathogenic species concentrations in the human habitat, and then divide that by the average of the five pathogenic soil habitat, and that's the PI. Here's what I find. In all the many, many, many lab reports from EnviroBiomics I see on Actinos, it's rare for me to see a soil habitat over 2.0. Common for me to see a prevalence index over 2.0. I would even say, that over 95% of the labs I see have a prevalence index over 2.0 and a dominance index under 2.0.
[00:50:44] SCOTT: We know that most IEPs don't consider the ERMI score itself to be very helpful. I think, HERTSMI-2, has been better than their ERMI score in terms of trying to consider the potential impact of the environment on health. In your experience, does the Actino index, does that correlate better with the health of the indoor environment and potentially, the health of the occupants? Or do you think we'll have the same conversation later that they don't really seem to taking just the index values, they don't really seem to correlate very well?
[00:51:21] LARRY: I want to tell you, I don't throw the mycotoxins under the bus. I feel they're here to stay. I think, the real key is the sensitivity of the patient to them. Now, we know over 800 patients that have been treated degree on their homes. Their health effects correlated with HERTSMI scores and ERMI scores. That was done by Shoemaker and David Lark. In month two maybe two years ago. That's how they came to the conclusion on HERTSMI score that if one is reactive to the mycotoxin, HERTSMI zero through 10, the average relapse rate was 1.7%.
In 10 and 15 score, the average was 47%. Over 15, the average was over 90%, a very steep climbing curve. Now, there's nothing like that right now for Actinomycetes. That's the Holy Grail to figure that out, figure these thresholds. When I look at this page, the soil habitat, human habitat, from the prevalence index and dominance index, the way I deal with it is I look at dominance and prevalence to see if there's some degree of causative. I talk to, or work with the client’s physician to see if they've determined either through genie or other means that they feel Actino is a primary cause. If they do, I then look at the concentrations of the pathogenic species in those two groups. I ask my client to use this test as a baseline on my treatment protocol a couple of months and retest, collecting in the same general surface areas. Let's see if we can measure a substantial reduction in concentrations. I'm finding that's working.
[00:53:23] SCOTT: I think that leads then into the next question, which you've already alluded to, but with water damaged buildings and that approach to CIRS, people would remediate, or move to attempt to improve their health. Given that Actinos can be an issue without any water intrusion, or water damage, have you seen people recovering their health, improving their symptoms by focusing on Actino reduction, where a costly remediation, or moving to a new environment may not be as necessary as we previously thought?
[00:53:57] LARRY: I agree with that, Scott. I had several cases now where the treatments to the home I've been recommending have been able fair degree of improvement in symptoms. Having to do major remediation. Let’s try to find major remediation. Major remediation involves a couple of things. One is finding and removing chronic or past sources, water damage that are currently causative to the indoor environment. Need to neutralize causative sources problems in the environment.
Remediation is also looked at as removing a special cleaning, what's been created and pointed out now on surfaces of structuring content, which we don't want to do till we remove the causes, so it doesn't reiterate. The three methods of controlling indoor air quality, removal of the contaminants is one of them. We have to be careful, causes are first corrected. One of them is air purification, which I have an interesting area about. One of them is ventilation.
I found a number of cases now have the right combination of purification and ventilation, running on the climate at the area and all. For a much lower cost, we're able to get tremendous effects in and reducing forces and making it healthy without necessarily having to do major remediation. I like to take things for example, a step at a time. With our steps, we think we're going to get the most bang for the buck. You know how that works and move on through those.
[00:55:41] SCOTT: The word that comes to mind for me is hallelujah. I mean, that's a lot. It's a lot more hopeful and less frightening than some of the bigger remediations that sometimes we do have to unfortunately do. Given that Actinos are common in soil, could indoor houseplants be a source of Actinos?
[00:56:05] SCOTT: It comes up a lot. I remember one client, they had well over 30 large house plants, various levels of the home. This gentleman's wife was the search patient. We tested the soils and tested the house. We didn't find a direct correlation. Additionally, when you think about the house plants, not the whole depth of the soil in the vase, so to speak. Just the top surface, which is not a super large area. There has to be a lot of disturbance to it to get things into the air. I've seen more mold on the stalks of the plants than anything on the surface of the soils.
Some of the physicians I work with where we've had this discussion, say the house plants aren't a big deal. I find when you overwater plants, and they might go through the pot into a hardwood floor or carpet that can cause growth more of an issue. In general, I'm going to say, I'm not going to necessarily have a client get rid of their house plants. I don't think they’re majorly causative.
[00:57:12] SCOTT: How about pets? Can those be a source of Actinos in the home? How do you reduce the potential pet contribution to poor indoor air quality?
[00:57:22] LARRY: Yeah. I happen to be a pet lover, so I'm not against necessarily having to get rid of them. Here's the deal. I mean, on the climate, I remember, it’s in Austin, where the dogs just roll around in the dirt. They bring in soil habitat that way, and maybe on their cause. As far as their skin, they're not that large skin surfaces a person, but I think proper grooming and there are certain grooming, cleaning materials we might recommend when they're shampooed, or such that would minimize exfoliation of their skin.
I think if they do, if they're young and like to dig and roll in the dirt. Dogs, for example, to – I know it's hard to control, but when they come in to try have some non-fragrant damper wipes, or something to wipe their paws and such when they come in the house, if you can do that would be helpful. That's if they're in the home, I just recently had a client, right, I think we're getting Actino growth that's affecting this client. Everything else looks good. From the litter boxes, where the Actinos might be growing. She's recently moved them into the garage, and we're monitoring that to see if that's going to help. You have to think out of the box on a lot of this stuff.
[00:58:49] SCOTT: It's funny. I'm staying at a place currently where there's a dog in the home next door and the only time the dog started barking was when we were talking about potentially getting rid of our pets here. I think the dog was saying like, “Hey, no.”
[00:59:03] LARRY: Smart dog.
[00:59:04] SCOTT: I’m not going anywhere.
[00:59:04] LARRY: Very intelligent dog.
[00:59:06] SCOTT: Let's talk about some of the solutions. What can we do to maintain our homes to reduce Actinos? What can we do to maintain our drains and pipes?
[00:59:17] LARRY: Right. In this protocol I've developed, the kinds of things I have in there. I direct people to a particular, believe it or not, there's companies that make a thing called a bed vacuum. It's a handheld power, long cord. It's not a battery, it's HEPA filtered very well. I have them. When they change their sheets to vacuum the mattress cover, vacuum the pillows, the daily basis. I have them vacuum the top sheet they've been lying on and the pillows. If they're up to it, I'd like them to change sheets a little more frequently in their watch, I’d like them to add a cup of laundry borax. If you don't use hot water, premix borax in hot water and add it to laundry. Do an extra rinse. Borax is a natural element that helps surfactant, get all this stuff out of the fabrics.
I have them on the drains. I have a drain protocol where I have them take an oxo brush. I have them make a solution in a bowl, with about six, seven drops of a non-fragrant detergent water. Add an ounce or two of vinegar. We find the acidity helps clean the area better. To take the cover off the drain, go up and down the drain, down to the trap and clean it several times and rinse it with water the drain. Then had a bottle of drugstore-grade hydrogen peroxide down the drain, would sit about 15 minutes and then run the water and clear that out of the drain. Make sure other sinks, or water fixtures have water in their traps, if you don't use them regularly.
Run the water, pour a glass of water down the drain. Make sure water is on the traps. Going to get a pressure as I'm bringing stuff up in the air. Clean the shower bath surround with the solution I described. Do that even every day, the shower. I know, it's got to be a habit for me. It’s a pain.
[01:01:35] SCOTT: It's probably a good time to just ask and I know, we'll link to your website as well. If people that are listening are interested in learning more about that protocol, is that something they can access to your website? How do they get that protocol?
[01:01:49] LARRY: Yeah, if they access through the website, they would talk to our people and we can do – we don't have to do a whole big deal, but there's so many things that are unique on what we recommend. I mean, pre-rebuilding this like the person, they have system of ways air flow and the heating systems. Building science may be a little different. We have a little questionnaire we'd send them with info about the building and about the elements. We can take them along to fill out. We could have a short consultation. We could send them our protocols that we feel are most appropriate for them. Some of them might have to be tweaked a little for their situation. We can do that nominally, without a whole lot of effort and a whole lot of cost.
[01:02:39] SCOTT: Excellent. That's wonderful. As much as I personally have been hesitant about and stayed away from fogging solutions in the mold conversation, where there is some source, some damaged, or wet materials, can fogging an environment reduce Actinos, where there is not a water intrusion, or mold issue, or focal contamination?
[01:03:05] LARRY: I am not a proponent of fogging for many reasons. The only fogging I do recommend and I'll tell you why in a minute, is a type of product, or water that will non-chemically take airborne contaminants out of the air. This is something real important that the borders on this and I need to talk about in a minute to explain about fogging. I find two different paradigms of health effects with water damage, Scott. One I categorize as traditional. One I categorize as inflammatory.
About 98%, 99% of the world of mold testers, remediators, physicians, insurance adjusters, and that's traditional, where the health effects are upper respiratory, more spore related, wheezing, sneezing, coughing. You get rid of the contaminants, or go away from them in a few days to a week. Those symptoms resolve and go away, and the inflammatory relate to the 37 kinds of symptoms that arise from increased cytokines that aren’t leaving the body. The deal is – I'm sure you know this, but in traditional remediation, there's an insurance document. IICRCS 520. That's a standard to tell us how to remediate mold.
Nowhere in there does it say to use chemicals or any things that tells you to remove the mold. The way it's working now and traditional remediation, this is a big problem. A lot of CIRS patients call a remediator and I think they all know how to deal with things on the specific ailments they have. The remediators will use strong chemicals called biocides and such to kill mold. Even if it kills it, it's in place, still going to bother them.
Mold has to be removed. Not even removing the material, if it can't be removed, it has to be surfactant clean to remove the live and dead mold, and may need to be encapsulated. If so, there's products we recommend that don't have chemicals and fumes that would affect them. When myself and colleagues of mine deal with the giving instructions to the remediators, we often have to train and teach them new tricks on how we want it done that are not necessarily traditional, because a lot of the traditional work can affect the patient. I don't know if I went far from your question or not.
[01:05:41] SCOTT: No, no, no. That's very helpful. That was your thoughts on fogging. Mine have also been somewhat hesitant about that. I think a lot of times people think they can fog and then ignore finding the source of the problem.
[01:05:54] LARRY: Exactly.
[01:05:55] SCOTT: I was wondering, with Actinos, if there isn't a specific source, drain pipes and so on. Yes. If it's more broad in the environment, is there then a potential place for fogging? It sounds like, not necessarily.
[01:06:08] LARRY: What we find, for example, in a bedroom, we often like to tell people to have a really, really good air filter that might filter smaller than HEPA, as many out there that filter down to a 100 times smaller than HEPA particles. Move it around every other day or two. Maybe even add a non-ozone producing PCO device, small, even maybe an iAdaptAir by Air Oasis. A lot of the doctors feel, I haven't seen data supporting it, but they feel anecdotally that those have been helpful with Actinos.
You talked about dust, which is primary material of dust, with skin cells maybe carrying Actinos on them. Any reduction of dust is going to be helpful. Cleaning dust off of the walls. Carpeting is another subject of importance. Because when you vacuum, all the particulates and air get sucked into the vacuum goes through some kind of a filter. Anything smaller than HEPA, the HEPA filter will go through the bag, back in the air where it's small, light and can hang in the air a long time. We have to ventilate rooms properly when you vacuum, or have a sealed system vacuum that that's not going to happen.
It gets crazy. I mean, if it's really old carpeting, we even have a protocol, how to remove that in a safe way, but you don't jostle all this stuff in the air in removal. Everyone uses the term, we’re going to rip out our carpet. I shudder when I hear that term, rip. It just puts everything into the air. We like things like the new luxury vinyl tiles that are floating and without a mastic, or adhesive that has fumes to hold it down. We reengineer pre-finished wood floors. We like tile. I mean, there's better alternatives in wall-to-wall carpet. I know, I’m averting a little bit.
[01:08:06] SCOTT: No, no, no. I mean, this is all gold. You mentioned air filtration. You also mentioned the PCO, or light-based air filters. There's a lot of conversation about purification and sanitization using devices that also use hydroxyl radicals, or similar. What are your thoughts on that type of a solution?
[01:08:28] LARRY: Some of those devices that we find actually are very effective, that may even reduce levels of mold species on surfaces and treat the air. I see two basic methods of air purification. One of them is very intuitive. They trap particles that are in the air out of the air through filters. We all know the name and air filter of like HEPA.
The other method uses a simple chemical reaction to purify the air. Hydroxyl molecules are one atom of oxygen and one of hydrogen. They're called OH molecules. Given an electrical charge and a PCO device, they go in the air and are electrically attracted biological contaminants in the air. When they come in contact, they grab an atom of carbon or hydrogen from the contaminant, create an atom of H2O, or CO2. By so doing, they decontaminate that contaminant. Now, you have to be careful. I mean, some of these devices rely on air to go through them. Some project air into the room. Some of the use of wavelength of ultraviolet, other than UV-C, like Charlie, may create ozone.
There's physicians I've heard at conferences that have huge data, and even extremely low levels of ozone in the air can increase symptoms of inflammatory patients, so I’m a no-ozone kind of guy. There are devices that do this without ozone. I've had a very, very, very small percentage of client patients react to PCO devices, or with a headache, or something of that nature. We have them within 30 days. Send it back to the manufacturer. They usually have a restock fee. They'll take it back.
We've seen a lot of effects. We've been tracking, measuring like HERTSMI test after six weeks using just that device in a closed environment. We've seen large reductions, surfaces on HERTSMI score. I think they can do good. I think and I've read articles, too, that the PCO may help even keep the filters on the filter device cleaner longer, so there's some degree of possible synergistic effect.
[01:10:53] SCOTT: You mentioned a few minutes ago, the term surfactant. I wanted to talk a little about small particulate cleaning, which is another tool we can use to improve home health. Is there some aspect of small particulate cleaning that helps with Actinos as well? Or is that more mold focused? Are there certain cleaning solutions that maybe work better for reducing Actinos than others?
[01:11:18] LARRY: Great question. Yes, the answer is yes. Important, especially in the rooms that are the highest formers of Actinos, like the bedrooms, the family rooms, kitchens where you spend a lot of time to surfactant clean. One of our protocols is small particle cleaning, I've derived with colleagues, and physicians. It's a way of cleaning the surfaces, even of the walls, the content. Porous, or non-porous, how to clean them properly, down to a queen baseline, to remove what's built up over time to can get disturbed into the air you breathe. Yes, cleaning is primary. Cleaning, air purification of ventilation are the keys.
[01:12:05] SCOTT: We talked a bit about portable air filters. I'm wondering your thoughts about whole house filters, like maybe MERV16 filtration, or even systems that are put into the ducts that either create bipolar ionization, or create some of these purification and sanitization molecules that are actually in the HVAC system itself. Do you find those helpful?
[01:12:31] LARRY: I don't have enough data to show how helpful. I do know that some of the room size units, they create these PCOs, have been helpful. The manufacturers talk a lot about the in duct systems and bi-polarization and all. I like to say, they are helpful. If they don't create ozone, they're not harmful. The question is, is the cost worth the benefit? I haven't seen enough data on those. I know, I do have some clients that are using the in duct type systems, as opposed to standalones. Haven’t had them long enough to really measure it. I really can't opine on it.
[01:13:16] SCOTT: One of the practitioners that I've worked with for a while has a Germ Away UV light device that he uses in his office between patients to sterilize a room, essentially. That primarily was something that was really talked about and potentially helpful in the COVID conversation, is how do we minimize people coming into the office and getting infected from someone else? My thought process, and I actually purchased one of those devices myself, and my thought process was, I wonder if something like that could be helpful as well in the bedroom after you strip the bedding, the sheets and whatnot, put it in the middle of the mattress, let it do its UV purification for an hour or so in the room, in an attempt to further reduce the Actinos in the environment. Any thoughts on that?
[01:14:08] LARRY: Yeah. Back to the bed vacuums, I recommend a UV that goes on while it's on the surface as you're vacuuming. You want to be careful. That UV that sterilizes generally may use a wavelength of UV that might create some level of ozone. I think, it's really important. I think the safe wavelength is called UVC, like Charlie. It may not be as effective sterilizing viruses and bacteria per se, but it will do a good job of creating molecules that will take decontaminate contaminants. Big subject today and a lot of manufacturers. I deal with a lot, for people that are going to put these in duct systems, make sure that ones they use are ones that aren’t creating ozone.
[01:15:07] SCOTT: Right, right. For the bed vacuum with the ultraviolet, is there a particular manufacturer that you have experience with?
[01:15:17] LARRY: Yeah. It’s called Dibia. D-I-B, either EA or IA. Lately on the same site, where I recommend people buy that, they've dropped the Dibia name on it. I know what it looks like. Oh, I am not trying to promote necessarily going to their website. People shop of stuff. People don't know where to go to find stuff and connects them with Amazon. It’s in the shop in our website.
[01:15:46] SCOTT: Okay, awesome. Great. Yeah, no, I'll definitely check that out. Talk to us then, some of the services that you potentially can provide through your SafestartIAQ.com, or Safestart Environmental, what are some of the services that listeners potentially might benefit from reaching out to you and your team?
[01:16:08] LARRY: Yeah. We provide both virtual and on-site investigations. Not only, oh, nationally, but we've got quite a number of client patients that are international. We investigate, interpret, provide opinion, recommendations for solutions that are unique to each individual situation. I've created over 30 type of protocols for different situations, that at one time or another, we might be recommending, and we also want to make sure people are doing these properly. We want to follow up. We can do even a virtual consultation for 30 minutes, or we can do an hour. In the virtual, and I look at the info provided to us, or the questionnaire we send out. A lot of times, people say, most of our clients are referred from physicians. We get a lot of info from them as well. A lot of them are focusing on the Actinomycetes reduction.
We need to learn some history about the home. In our questionnaire, we ask about how old is the home? How many years have you lived there? I always said, it’s a split level ranch, we've got a foundation, crawl basement, some history that you know of, of water events you've had in the home, or water events you know of. Want to know about the topography around your house, what's going on outside that may be coming in there. Are there transformers nearby. Is the land sloped to the house? Golf courses nearby. Retention ponds that might have algae, wood, etc.
I had a case once of a home in Mumford, Connecticut, who was boots on the ground there. The husband at the home had CIRS. There was nothing going on in the home. It had a radiator heat system. Look like an old a big, old farmhouse. This house was on 3 acres. Right off the property to the west on another property was an old rotting barn with a bunch of rotting hay. Through testing, I was able to ascertain the main source of problem was coming with westerly winds from that rotting building, they had no control over. I wound up working with a local HVAC contractor, provide a air exchange and pressurization system in the house to minimize outdoor air from being sucked into the home. That did the trick.
[01:18:53] SCOTT: Wow.
[01:18:54] LARRY: We want a lot of information. I want to know about what's going on in the home, outside the home. I want to know how many levels, whatever testing they've done. Then I ask them a few on the medical side, questions about if they've been diagnosed with CIRS, with Lyme. Are they on any binders? No. How do they feel in different areas in the home? How did they feel outdoors, or other locations, versus being in the home, and things of that? When I talk to them, and we can have a real meaningful conversation, It doesn't have to take a whole lot of time.
[01:19:31] SCOTT: I know your schedule is very busy. I'm just curious, because I'm sure listeners will ask, about how long does it take to schedule a virtual consultation with you, or your team?
[01:19:42] LARRY: Generally, it's within about four to six weeks. Sometimes it's a little less. People list, because once in a while somebody has a situation they need to reschedule when we get some openings. If it's a really urgent thing, and I hate to say that because almost everybody says, theirs is an urgent thing. We'll do our best. There's been times where I've maybe gone off of the mark, maybe in an evening, or a weekend where I need to maybe talk to a client patient, if need be.
[01:20:17] SCOTT: Great.
[01:20:18] LARRY: We don't want to compromise time. We want to give everybody the time they need.
[01:20:24] SCOTT: Wonderful. My last question is the same for every guest. That is, what are some of the key things that you do on a daily basis in support of your own health? Also thinking about, you over your career have probably had exposure to lots of these environments. What do you do to keep your own health in good shape?
[01:20:44] LARRY: Interesting, you ask that, Scott. I know during COVID, I totally changed my eating habits. I lost a lot of weight. Two to three days a week, I'm a senior, and I still get to the gym, and I want to do stuff to stop any loss of muscle mass. I do a lot of Pilates type of things. I swim two, three days a week. I don't have time for it, but I make time. It’s a priority. My neighborhood, there's a little walk around a retention pond that's kept clean with a fountain. I every day, do a loop on that, even in the winter.
Listen, this is not an ad. I'm not even going to name the product. There's a newer product in the last two, three years, formed by a guy who's a professor at MIT on keeping cells in good health. I take that product daily.
[01:21:44] SCOTT: You can share the name. People are going to want to know. If you're comfortable, I'm happy for you to share it.
[01:21:50] LARRY: Okay, if you are. I can't tell you for sure this works. I took an index through this company through a DNA sample that takes about four weeks. This index measures a 100,000 points of DNA that measures biological age, versus chronological age. I've been on this stuff about two and a half years. I can't say it’s all from that. I'm sure it has to do with my diet habits. I eat a lot of berries, five years now every morning. It has a combination of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. I can't say that's the whole deal, either.
[01:22:34] SCOTT: What's the company that does the DNA?
[01:22:37] LARRY: Yeah. My biological age came up 15 years younger than the chronological age.
[01:22:45] SCOTT: Wow. Awesome.
[01:22:47] LARRY: and I can't say it's these products, but the company, it was an article. Not an ad in Time Magazine about three years ago on aging. This company is called Elysium.
[01:23:03] SCOTT: Yeah. They have the Basis product, I think was the first one with the nicotinamide riboside
[01:23:07] LARRY: I’ve been taking these about two and a half years. Then a year ago, I added Format, which is for the immune system. They added to that. Now, in the middle of the month, there's four capsules and two packets you take two days in a row. That's supposed to get rid of the senescent cells in the body. A huge deal.
[01:23:30] SCOTT: Love it. Stimulating autophagy.
[01:23:32] LARRY: Yeah. Now, here's what's really interesting. I have a lowered IgG. I used to get chronic upper respiratory – I mean, I'd have a cold that would turn into an upper lung disease, or sinus infection. Be taking a lot of antibiotics. Now, last two, three years, knock on wood, I haven't had one upper respiratory infection.
[01:23:54] SCOTT: Which is amazing, given the last –
[01:23:56] LARRY: It’s amazing.
[01:23:57] SCOTT: Yeah. Given the last two or three years of what the world has become. Not having an upper respiratory infection is pretty impressive over the last couple of years, right?
[01:24:06] LARRY: There's two more. I just added one more product called signal, which is supposed to help keep mitochondria topnotch condition. It would create energy in your cells.
[01:24:18] SCOTT: Beautiful.
[01:24:19] LARRY: I can't say this is the deal. Whatever it is. I think the work I do gives me energy, because I really enjoy what I do. I'm passionate about it.
[01:24:30] SCOTT: You are. You are.
[01:24:33] LARRY: I love seeing good results and seeing people get better.
[01:24:37] SCOTT: You mentioned that the beginning of our conversation, ISEAI, the International Society for Environmentally Acquired Illness. I do think that is a fantastic resource. People that are looking for IEPs, or looking for clinicians, there is a list on that website, ISEAI.org, where you can access that information. It's a fantastic resource.
I just want to thank you, Larry, for sharing new leading-edge concepts here, taking time today out of your busy schedule to really help others through sharing of your knowledge. I want to thank you for the work that you do with ISEAI and with putting a lot of these protocols and publications and things together. I think you really are making a difference, a positive difference for people's lives and I just want to honor you for everything that you do. Thank you so much.
[01:25:30] LARRY: You make my day, Scott. Thank you. I love doing this. I love teaching. I love helping people. I accept that and look forward to being of service to anyone who needs it.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
[01:25:44] SCOTT: To learn more about today's guest, visit SafestartIAQ.com. That’s SafestartIAQ, as in indoor air quality .com. SafestartIAQ.com.
[01:25:57] SCOTT: Thanks for listening to today's episode. If you're enjoying the show, please leave a positive rating or review, as doing so will help the show reach a broader audience. To follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or MeWe, you can find me there as BetterHealthGuy. To support the show, please visit BetterHealthGuy.com/donate. To be added to my newsletter, please visit BetterHealthGuy.com/newsletters. This and other shows can be found on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify.
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