December 19, 2018
The Australian government and news media has been focused on the topic of toxic mold over the past year, subsequent to a Member of Parliament (MP) speaking out about her family’s experiences becoming sick as a result of a mold problem in their own house and calling for an investigation into the problem.
Lucy Wicks, a Federal Liberal MP from the NSW Central Coast, first started experiencing symptoms after a tree crashed down into her home during a storm in early 2015. The damage to the home led to hidden mold growth and then illness.
News coverage has frequently focused on Wicks’ sensitivity to mold and need to avoid even small amounts of further exposure.
For instance, a news story from Spring 2018 written by Emily McPherson for Nine News summarized the situation as follows:
For Ms Wicks, the prolonged exposure to mould in her home triggered an extreme sensitivity that is devastatingly real.
“When you walk into a building and you have to leave 15 mins later because your skin is on fire, your brain feels like mush, and you know that within two hours you are going to be flat on your back, unable to get out of bed for some hours it is very, very real and it is not just happening to me, it’s happening to a lot of people around Australia,” Ms Wicks said.
The Wicks family were forced to sell their home and in the past 16 months have moved more than a dozen times in a bid to find a house that is mould-free.
“For me it has been a difficult journey. We moved about 14 times while we were waiting for the house to be remediated. But I found by that time I was also allergic to the rainforest outside because I was so sensitive. So we did sell the house and we have been looking for some time for a safe place to live,” she said.
Ms Wicks said her heath was gradually improving and she was thankful her mother, who is also sensitive to mould, recognised her symptoms so early, leading her to get help relatively quickly.
Other individuals who are especially sensitive to mold also have been featured in the Australian news media.
For instance, a Nine News story in November was headlined “Mould Avoiders: The Aussies Going to Extreme Lengths to Treat Chronic Illness” and described one individual as follows:
Mr Barry stayed in a friend’s storm-damaged and mouldy caravan for a weekend and became severely ill. It was enough to convince him drastic action was needed.
So began the path to extreme mould avoidance. Mr Barry started getting rid of all his possessions and bought a new tent.
The first night he slept in his tent confirmed had had made the right decision, Mr Barry said.
“That first night was the most profound shift in my health that I have had in seven years. It was immediate. My brain felt clear and I had word recollection immediately.”
Like many mould avoiders, Mr Barry follows the strict protocols of Lisa Petrison, a US academic and myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) sufferer, and Erik Johnson, a former US soldier who re-purposed the decontamination protocol for warfare and applied it to mould.
The pair’s Facebook page has 11,000 followers and they have co-authored a beginner’s manual for mould avoidance.
The advice includes physically washing off the mould with a shower after any accidental exposure, something Mr Barry admits he also found “outlandish” at first but now follows religiously.
In October 2018, the Australian Parliament released a Report on the Inquiry into Biotoxin-related Illnesses in Australia, calling for more research into the topic.
Australian Mold Illness Coverage
9 News Australia
Short Stay in Mould-Ridden Apartment – March 6, 2019
TV Presenter Left Homeless – December 19, 2018
Mould Avoiders – November 10, 2018
Mould Making Life “Living Hell” – May 29, 2018
Girl Ill After Mould Exposure – May 14, 2018
Lucy Wicks Calls for Enquiry – April 30, 2018
Could Your Home Be Poisoning You? – October 25, 2018
A Mysterious Illness From Mold – September 28, 2018
CIRS: Could You Be Affected? – November 14, 2018
MP Reveals High Mould Sensitivity – August 19, 2017
How Mould Kills – November 1, 2018
Fungus that Turns Ants Into Zombies – November 9, 2017
Huffington Post (Australia)
How to Get Rid of Mould In Your Home – July 10, 2017
The Worst Thing That Can Happen To Your Home – August 8, 2017
Newshub New Zealand
Mouldy Rental Homes a Big Problem – July 18, 2016
Mold Could Be to Blame for Asthma – September 8, 2017
Mould Toxins Can Become Easily Airborne – June 26, 2017
A New Type of Antibiotic – May 3, 2017
Sewage Leak at Hospital – March 29, 2018
NZ’s Next Big Health Epidemic – June 15, 2017
Sydney Morning Herald
Top Sydney School Made Student Sick – December 20, 2018
The Canberra Times
The New Asbestos – December 16, 2018
Mould in Melissa’s Home – December 9, 2018
Beyond Bleach – September 27, 2017
How Does Mould Affect Your Health? – November 1, 2015
The Fifth Estate
Parliamentary Report On Mold – November 1, 2018
The New Daily
Patients Exposed To Toxic Mold – August 17, 2018
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