Ten Things to Know When Joining the Mold Avoiders Forum or FB Group


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Sara Riley Mattson took this picture on the Snowy Range in Wyoming after she started being able to climb mountains as a result of using Erik Johnson’s approach to mold avoidance.


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Updated March 1, 2020

By Lisa Petrison, Ph.D.

Mold Avoiders is designed to provide information for those working to recover from mold-related illness using the approach discussed in the book A Beginner’s Guide to Mold Avoidance.

It is a spin-off organization from Paradigm Change.

Resources provided include an informational website; a standalone discussion forum; and a Facebook group.

The Mold Avoiders discussion groups have a very specific mission and some specific ways of doing things.

Therefore, I am asking those who would like to participate to please read this blog post to learn more about Mold Avoiders before posting or commenting in either the standalone forum or the Facebook group.


1. Mold Avoiders has the goal of allowing people who are following the mold-avoidance approach pioneered by Erik Johnson to share their experiences and get their questions answered. 

It is important to be aware that the mold avoidance that is discussed is not the sort of avoidance that mold doctors or mold remediators typically bring up (except in cases when those individuals have learned the details of Erik’s approach and are recommending it).

Nor is it the kind of mold avoidance that people generally figure out for themselves.

Rather, the approach is based on the training that Erik Johnson received when he was in the U.S. Army, in order to be able to deal with toxic substances such as nuclear radiation or nerve gas.

Erik extended that approach to the avoidance of mold-related toxins, which he found to have the same sorts of effects on him in minute quantities that the Army had informed him that other toxic substances might have.

Approaching the avoidance of mold-related toxins in this rigorous way allowed Erik to go from desperately sick with chronic fatigue syndrome to climbing mountains within six months.

Many other people who have followed Erik’s approach also have made very impressive gains.

Erik’s experiences are summarized in the book Back from the Edge, which is currently available for free in PDF format to those who sign up for occasional updates on mold-related topics from Paradigm Change.

An Amazon Kindle version of the book also is available.

Mold avoidance using this approach is quite complex and requires throwing out a lot of conventional wisdom and common-sense assumptions about the best ways to deal with this problem.

The purpose of Mold Avoiders is for people who are pursuing this approach to have a place to engage with others who also are pursuing it, so that they can be more effective at using all tools at their disposal (including mold avoidance as well as other healing modalities) to move toward wellness.

Although those who have not yet decided to pursue Erik’s approach to mold avoidance may join the Facebook group or forum, they need to understand that they are being allowed to do so primarily as spectators to learn about the approach that is being pursued in the group rather than as active participants.

Those who would like to discuss other approaches to avoiding mold are asked to consider joining one or more of the many other mold-oriented groups on Facebook or elsewhere on the Internet, rather than to attempt to change the focus of Mold Avoiders to suit their own  preferences.


2.  The book A Beginner’s Guide to Mold Avoidance is required reading for participation in Mold Avoiders. 

This book summarizes the basics of Erik Johnson’s approach to mold avoidance in a straightforward way.

It is written in a simplified style appropriate even for those who have been cognitively affected by their illnesses.

It is much easier for people to learn the basics of this approach to mold avoidance by reading the book than by asking questions about it.

In addition, the requirement that participants read the book prevents experienced members of Mold Avoiders from having to spend considerable amounts of their valuable time answering in detail the same questions over and over again.

The book is available for free in PDF format to those signing up for occasional updates on mold avoidance topics from Mold Avoiders.

Amazon Kindle and paperback versions are also available.

Please note that a high percentage of newcomers’ questions will be answered by reading the book and that Mold Avoiders does not have as part of its purpose repeating the information in the book.

Those who have not yet finished reading the book may feel free to join the Mold Avoiders Facebook group and to read the threads, but not to post or make comments.


3. Questions about mold avoidance and adjunctive healing therapies are allowed only in the standalone forum, not in the Facebook group. 

My goal with regard to the standalone forum is to produce an organized archive of information useful to those who are pursuing this kind of mold avoidance approach, so that the same questions do not need to be answered over and over again into the future.

In addition, the standalone forum is designed to engage in deeper discussions of participants’ specific issues; to address many of the privacy and censorship concerns inherent in discussing health information on Facebook; and to ensure that all of those who are participating are familiar with the mold avoidance approach being discussed.

The Facebook group is a venue for casual conversations, such as discussions of new articles or videos on related topics; sharing of photos and stories; and member polls.

Although Mold Avoiders members are not allowed to share discussion content outside of Mold Avoiders, material from the Mold Avoiders FB group may be transferred to the standalone forum (and vice versa).


4. Only individuals who have been approved as Mold Avoiders Participants may read or contribute to the discussions in the standalone forum. 

To become a Mold Avoiders Participant, please fill out the online Participation Application. You then will receive an email containing information on logging into the forum.

The reason for the application process is to make sure that all participants have done the required readings and are sincerely interested in following this approach, so that discussions do not get off-track.

In addition, the application process allows members to be categorized by Experience Group (e.g. “New Avoider” or “Highly Skilled Avoider”). This will make it easier for those who are new to the topic to get a sense of which participants’ comments may be the most valuable to consider.

The application process also verifies that participants have read the Mold Avoiders Rules and that they are aware that interacting with others in the forum should not be taken to mean that they have entered into any kind of practitioner/patient or coaching relationship with any other forum members.


5. Those who want to make substantial improvements through mold avoidance are advised to read the book Erik on Avoidance. 

The book A Beginner’s Guide to Mold Avoidance is not designed to provide all information relevant to pursuing Erik Johnson’s mold avoidance approach in an effective way.

Rather, it is designed to provide an easy-to-understand overview of the topic, so that those who want to learn the basics of it can do so as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Those who actually want to pursue the difficult undertaking of mold avoidance will benefit enormously from also reading Erik on Avoidance, which is a collection of writings by Erik Johnson on mold avoidance topics.

Although it is true that people may benefit just from reading the Beginner’s Guide, it is my observation that those who have done really well with avoidance also have read Erik on Avoidance (or interacted substantially with Erik personally).

The book is available for free in PDF format for immediate downloading and also is an Amazon Kindle book.


6. Additional information relevant to pursuing mold avoidance is available from Paradigm Change. 

A great deal of additional information useful for those pursuing mold avoidance has been published by Paradigm Change.

The goal is for members to be able to learn the basics of topics related to mold avoidance by reading information on their own and then to use the group to get their remaining questions answered.

Therefore, if basic questions are asked in the group, other members may direct them to existing sources of information rather than writing out a detailed answer in the group.

All Mold Avoiders participants are encouraged to proactively spend time on the following sites to get a sense of the type of information that is available:

* The Mold Avoiders website

* The Paradigm Change website

* The Paradigm Change blog

* The Living Clean in a Dirty World website


7. Mold Avoiders is a recovery help forum, not a support group. 

Although members very well may find conversations with others in Mold Avoiders to be helpful to them emotionally, providing emotional support is not the purpose of Mold Avoiders.

Rather, the purpose of Mold Avoiders is to provide relevant information that will be helpful in allowing members to move toward wellness.

Some additional goals are  a) to create a better understanding the illness phenomenon by discussing anecdotal observations and putting them into the context of other scientific knowledge  and  b) to effect societal change with regard to getting the medical community, government, media and world at large more interested in mold-related issues.

Because the core emphasis of the group is on knowledge-building and knowledge-sharing, open discussion of relevant topics is encouraged.

Please make it a priority to focus on sharing information and experiences in a rigorous manner, but also in a way that is respectful and kind toward others.


8. Discussion of other healing therapies in addition to avoidance is welcome in Mold Avoiders. 

Although mold avoidance can be very helpful on its own, the concurrent use of other therapies along with mold avoidance has the potential of providing additional help.

In many cases, therapies work differently in the context of effective mold avoidance than they do when people are still being exposed to problematic amounts of mold toxins.

Discussion of these adjunctive healing therapies has the potential of providing a reason for those who are very experienced with mold avoidance to continue to visit the Mold Avoiders discussion forums.

Since those people possibly will answer newcomers’ questions while they are visiting the forums, the discussion of related healing therapies has potential benefit for all group members regardless of whether they are interested in pursuing any therapies apart from mold avoidance or what their doctors recommend.


9. The Reply function is not used in the Mold Avoiders Facebook group. 

It is my goal to read all the comments that are made in the group.

When people use the Reply function, this makes achieving this goal monumentally more difficult since I then need to read through all the comments (sometimes hundreds of comments) on particular threads over and over again to find the new comments.

I thus am requiring that people not use the Reply function at all, and instead that they write all comments at the very bottom of the thread.

Although I understand that some people prefer being able to use the Reply function, this topic has been discussed many times in the Mold Avoiders group already.

I thus am requesting that the policy not be brought up again in the group.


10. Reading the Mold Avoiders rules is required for any participation in the standalone forum or the Facebook group. 

So that Mold Avoiders requires a minimum of time with regard to moderation issues and so that it provides a maximally pleasant and rewarding experience for all concerned, extensive rules on what is and is not permitted in the Mold Avoiders discussion forums have been developed.

This includes certain restrictions on a few discussion topics that have proven to be problematic in the group in the past.

Please take a few minutes to read over the Mold Avoiders Rules before participating in either the Mold Avoiders Facebook group or the Mold Avoiders standalone forum.


Thanks very much for considering participating in Mold Avoiders!

I wish you the best of luck with regard to your future health issues.


Lisa Petrison, Ph.D.
Paradigm Change/Mold Avoiders


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Basic Links

The Mold Avoiders website includes a wide variety of information relevant to those pursuing mold avoidance.

The Mold Avoiders standalone forum includes recent discussions as well as extensive organized archives of previous discussions from the Facebook group. Only those who have been approved as Mold Avoiders Participants may read or comment in the forum.

The Mold Avoiders Facebook group is open to anyone who would like to join, but posts can be read only by members of the group.

The book A Beginner’s Guide to Mold Avoidance is required reading for participation in Mold Avoiders.

Erik on Avoidance is a collection of writings by mold avoidance pioneer Erik Johnson and provides additional important information for those who have decided to pursue this mold avoidance approach.

Back from the Edge provides a readable overview of Erik Johnson’s story.

Please read the Mold Avoiders Rules before posting or commenting in Mold Avoiders.

Mold Avoidance Safety is an important topic discussed on a page of the Mold Avoiders website (and also in the book A Beginner’s Guide to Mold Avoidance).

A section of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) from the Mold Avoiders group with answers supplied by Lisa Petrison is available.

Lisa Petrison is the founder of Mold Avoiders and of Paradigm Change. She holds a Ph.D. in marketing and psychology from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Lisa is currently answering questions and providing comments on healing from chronic illness only in the Mold Avoiders standalone forum. She can be reached for more general matters via email at info at paradigmchange dot me.


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Additional Links

A great deal of original information relevant to those pursuing mold avoidance can be found on the Paradigm Change website and the Paradigm Change blog.

Living Clean in a Dirty World provides links to many more articles recommended by Paradigm Change on the topic of recovering from chronic mold-related illness.

Additional books related to pursuing mold avoidance are listed on the Paradigm Change Publishing page.

Links to a variety of information relevant to pursuing mold avoidance are summarized on the Mold Avoidance Resources page on the Paradigm Change site.

The Locations Ratings project allows anyone who is actively avoiding mold to provide information on places that they have been, with average ratings by town summarized in map format.

The Paradigm Change Visitor Project provides additional information relevant to understanding the locations effect.


Links on this page are in orange (no underlining).


Updated: January 28, 2020


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