Ten Things to Know When Joining Mold Avoiders


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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.

February 16, 2017


By Lisa Petrison

Mold Avoiders is a Facebook group and standalone forum presented by Paradigm Change.

It has 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 the Facebook group or forum.


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 my organization Rabbit Hole.

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.

Therefore, those participating in Mold Avoiders need to either  a) have finished reading the book  or  b) be in the process of reading the book (and to have finished the first several sections of the book).

Those who have not completed this requirement may feel free to join Mold Avoiders and to read the threads, but not to post in or make comments in Mold Avoiders


3. Advice-giving on avoidance topics in Mold Avoiders is restricted to members who meet certain criteria.

A problem that has previously occurred in Mold Avoiders is that people who are following other approaches to mold avoidance and who have not improved their health as a result nonetheless have suggested to others that they follow those same approaches rather than the one described in the book A Beginner’s Guide to Mold Avoidance.

This is problematic because it makes it difficult for those asking questions to sort out which advice has been helpful to people as well as which advice is consistent with the approach that is the focus of Mold Avoiders.

Therefore, advice-giving in Mold Avoiders is restricted to two groups of people:

* Those who are already making an effort to follow the mold-avoidance approach described in the book A Beginner’s Guide to Mold Avoidance.

* Those who already have experienced substantial health gains subsequent to pursuing any type of mold avoidance.


Those who do not fall into one of these categories are not allowed to provide others with any advice on issues related to mold avoidance in Mold Avoiders.

Provided that they have read the first several sections of the Beginner’s Guide, all Mold Avoiders members may ask questions about mold avoidance; may offer suggestions on topics not related to mold avoidance; and may participate in general group discussions.


4. 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 a little 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.


5. 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 Paradigm Change website

* The Paradigm Change blog

* The Living Clean in a Dirty World blog


6. 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.


7. 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 group.

Since those people possibly will answer newcomers’ questions while they are visiting the group (or as a result of seeing group posts in their Facebook feeds), 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.


8. 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.


9. Previous discussions from the Mold Avoiders Facebook group may be archived in the standalone forum. 

Because of the way that Facebook is structured and the poor quality of its search function, previous discussions eventually fall into the void and never are seen again.

This is problematic when it comes to the Mold Avoiders group since part of our goal is to create new knowledge.

Therefore, on occasion, threads from the Facebook group are archived to the standalone Mold Avoiders website.

Like the Mold Avoiders Facebook group, the standalone website requires individuals to join the forum in order to read the content, and content is not accessible to search engines.

The same level of privacy present in the Facebook group thus is present for archived materials on the standalone site, and I promise that this will be maintained into the future.

Discussions in the archives are organized by topic for easy accessibility, and much of the information there is very interesting and enlightening. Therefore, I suggest that those who are hoping to find out information about a particular topic take a look at archived discussions related to the topic as well as asking about it in the Facebook group.

Although most discussions are currently taking place in the Facebook group, postings are allowed in the Mold Avoiders standalone forum as well.

In order to cut down on spam postings on the forum, only those individuals who have been personally approved by me will be allowed to post or comment in the standalone forum. Please write to me at the following address to request permission:  info at paradigmchange dot me.


10. Reading the group rules is required for participation in Mold Avoiders. 

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, some extensive rules on what is and is not permitted in the Mold Avoiders group 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


Thanks very much to all who are interested for considering participating in the group!  I wish you the best of luck with regard to your future health issues.


Lisa Petrison, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Paradigm Change

Updated: May 1, 2018


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Basic Links

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

The Mold Avoiders standalone forum includes discussions as well as extensive organized archives of discussions from the Facebook group. Registration is required in order to view the informational content.

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 that is discussed in a PDF (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 on the Paradigm Change website.

Lisa Petrison is the owner/administrator of the Mold Avoiders group and the executive director of Paradigm Change. Her organization Rabbit Hole has the specific goal of providing information about mold avoidance to those who need it. She is a former business school professor and business consultant, with a Ph.D. in marketing 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 group. She can be reached for more general matters via Facebook PM or via email at info at paradigmchange dot me.


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Additional Links

A great deal of 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 is a community blog project on recovering from mold-related illness that is presented by Paradigm Change.

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

Links to more information relevant to pursuing mold avoidance are found on the Mold Avoidance Resources page on the Paradigm Change site.

The Mold Avoiders Rules place restrictions on the discussion of certain topics. Hi Tech Air Solutions machine technology discussion and other Hi Tech Air Solutions discussion is limited to those two threads, for instance.

An information sheet summarizes guidelines for commenting on practitioners and other prominent individuals in the Mold Avoiders group.

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 Map provides additional information relevant to understanding the locations effect.


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