The Hidden Deadly Element in Your Environment
By Kathleen Downey, CSC

Many of us who deal primarily with healing the core reasons for illness see the cause for illness and dis-ease as two fold, spiritual/emotional and environmental. The roll the environment plays in creating physical illness teaches us something vitally important. Keeping in mind that our physical life is a reflection of our spiritual life and, looking at our health and the health of our planet as a connected whole, we might consider that we are not taking care of the environment that we have been entrusted with. This also reflects the imbalance of the feminine and the masculine elements of which we are as human beings. The feminine representing the spiritual and inner-world self, the natural side of us that creates and utilizes intuition and trust and then the masculine representing the physical outer-world self, that part of us that best deals with physical life has the choir of taking care of our physical life and our physical environment. Through my work I have seen that in order to live in balance the masculine must back up the feminine and what we know spiritually and intuitively.

Those of us who don’t trust our intuition may be disregarding an opportunity to heed a warning and then those of us who don’t listen when there is a clear warning can suffer a hard lesson. Remember the “curse” on Tutankhamen’s tomb? It warned, Death will come on swift wings to whomever enters the sealed tomb. All those who opened the sealed doors and entered thought they were fine because nothing obvious like the Indiana Jones type of poisonous dart popped out to get them, nevertheless they all mysteriously died shortly after entering. The original tomb raiders were exposed to the same hidden element that exists in our physical environment today. It’s something that we can sense intuitively, it isn’t new as is evident in the Curse of King Tut, it has created havoc with our health and well-being for centuries. It is not confined to any one type of environment it is an element that always has and always will create serious health issues world-wide and it is directly related to the overuse of a natural resource.

As a practicing Shamanic Counselor/Past–Life Therapist and nutritionist I have, over a fifteen-year period, seen a thousand clients locally, nationally and internationally ninety percent have health issues related to this hidden environmental issue. My clients health complaints that echo the complaints coming from, chiropractor’s, acupuncturist’s, and allergists offices are: ringing in the ears, headache, fever and chronic flu like symptoms, congestion in sinus and lungs, shortness of breath, constant cough, bronchitis, skin rashes, sleeplessness, swollen glands, joint pain, depression, chest pain, cardiovascular stress, heart palpitations, chronic Candida ablicans, chronic fatigue, PMS, digestive disorders, parasites, and cancer. All the above including death has been related to toxic mold exposure in the indoor environment. According to a survey done by the University of Connecticut health Center in 2004 the list is longer and includes, bleeding lungs, central nervous system problems, hair loss, kidney failure, memory loss, tremors, verbal dysfunction (trouble in speaking) and vomiting. Scientist’s link parasites found in persons who have been exposed to myctoxins in food and contaminated indoor air to cancer. Breast cancer researchers say weddellite (calcium oxalate) crystals are present in calcifications found in the breast tissue of patients with breast cancer. Oxalic acid is a mycotoxin that can be produced by a number of different fungal species. One of the species of indoor mold found on water damaged building materials Aspergillus niger, has been found as a fungal infection in human lungs, it produces large amounts of oxalic acid.

Sensitive people, largely women and children, will react to mycotoxins immediately others will develop subtle issues over time, such as insomnia, constant runny nose, persistent cough, mild eye or skin irritation and multiple allergies. These health issues are often shrugged off as nothing and ignored transferred to another source for cause then suppressed with medication. Allergies, however subtle they seem, are a sign that something is wrong on a deeper level. Subduing allergies will not stop the growth of the more serious issues that develop from toxic mold exposure including liver parasites and Candida Ablicans, which may develop into something more serious as our bodies absorb the air born toxins. Environmental doctors say that if your immune system is compromised in any way, i.e. recent surgery or immune compromising illnesses like diabetes, HIV, Lyme disease, auto-immune disorder or the common cold you are at greater risk for a reaction to indoor mold in your home or office.

If any of the above-mentioned symptoms persist even if you don’t smell a musty odor, toxic molds are just as deadly dry as wet, have indoor mold testing done. If you find more than a little toxic mold both environmental doctor’s and mold specialists say that the best thing to do is to move. Some people believe that certain ionizers and ozone air filters will clean the air. I cannot say if these will stop anything other than allergic types of reactions. The next step is to change your diet to exclude alcohol, sugar of any kind, caffeine, white flour products, anything fermented or anything with ingredients that sound like a science project including artificial sweeteners. While making dietary changes increase your intake of vegetables especially greens they will supply more chlorophyll to the body, which will help to detoxify the liver and colon and bring oxygen to the brain. Vital oxygen to the brain is depleted in an environment where toxic mold spores develop on water damaged indoor wood this is when brain fog and memory loss occurs. The liver and colon as the filter and waste disposal systems of the body demand cleansing for many reasons this is especially true if you’ve been exposed to toxic mold. A liver/colon cleanse of simple ingredients helps in avoiding any sensitivities to products with multiple ingredients; organic psyllium husks or apple pectin and bentonite liquid mixed with a few other herbs works well to draw out and absorb fungi and their toxins. The diet change and cleanse along with an herbal parasite cleanse, organic apple cider vinegar, caprylic acid, pau d arco and in some cases coffee enemas work well to help the physical body cope after being exposed to mycotoxins in the environment. However, it is my experience that most of these conditions will not heal if you remain in a contaminated environment with or without air filters.

Many health practitioners and doctors believe that mega doses of vitamins will help reduce symptoms related to indoor mold but I have found that to be untrue. While practicing in Boulder, Colorado I had the opportunity to meet a doctor who agreed, J. Crawford Duhon wrote papers in the mid-70’s for three medical conferences on the identification of fungal pathogens. He found that these mold organisms produced the most severe neuro-psychiatric symptoms of any antigens he had encountered. Another doctor, WM. Philpott, an ortho-molecular psychiatrist wrote about mold and Brian Allergies in 1991, he agreed with Duhon’s findings. Duhon also states that fungal infection/sensitivity is a most important factor in PMS, back and joint pain. He told me of a young woman who had come out of a clinic where she was given mega doses of vitamins for brain allergies and chronic depression that resulted in suicide attempts, after a month of vitamin treatment she was worse. Commercial vitamins are fermented to increase the yield. This caused the highly sensitive mold individual to react. His client was in college at the time and after having grown up in her grandmother’s moldy house on Martha’s Vineyard reacted severely when re-exposed to indoor mold in her dormitory. Aside from psychiatric care Duhon prescribed 2 quarts of fresh organic vegetable juice and one quart of organic fruit juice a day. That recipe isn’t easy for those of us with busy lives. With that in mind I’ve researched and discovered a supplement made entirely of dried fruits and vegetables that works to build the immune system and aids in cleansing the body. It has not been fermented.

Cleansing the physical body is only part of the equation for healing from the devastating effects of mycotoxins in your environment. Years ago an environmental engineer in New York, Wayne Tusa, confided this, “People lose everything in this type of situation they need emotional help.“ We lose our health, our mental clarity and many of our material belongings when mold is present in our homes. Most of our belongings, like the contents of Tut’s tomb, are food for mold spores: clothing, furniture, mattresses, books, linens, and drapery… If they can’t be thoroughly cleaned, and foam cushions and mattresses cannot, they must be discarded. We are like drowning spirits under the circumstances. Finding a safe harbor in our emotional/spiritual strengths becomes the only place that many can trust after such devastation. We will need to fight to regain our losses in these situations the homeowner generally will not take responsibility for the neglect to the environment of his home nor will the home builder or the insurance companies. We must start at the beginning and find the help we need to fight for our physical and emotional health before we fight to regain financial losses.

Medical research on the Shaman’s journey practice confirms that engaging in this practice increases killer cancer cells and boosts the immune system. My personal experience with healing Lyme disease and cancer after engaging in first hand experiences with the oldest spiritual tradition, confirms this research. The Shaman’s spiritual Journey, your first hand experience with your soul’s life, offers an inexhaustible support system, unearths hidden truths that will inform you and heal you emotionally while restoring your memory and empowering you spiritually for life.

Many of us who don’t know if our physical/emotional issues are at least partially due to mold hiding in our environments will discover the truth behind what is happening in our physical life and environment when we experience well-guided Shamanic Journeywork. Emotional/spiritual reasons for organ or structural weaknesses is different for everyone however, what I have found to be true is that we heal the spirit body in the same order as we do the physical and according to the first symptom attacks or signs of weakness, which are generally found to be connected to the body’s filter and waste systems; the liver and digestive organs. Just as filter systems in your car affect the mechanics of the car a clogged filter and toxic waste in the body affects everything in the body. Emotionally the liver represents anger and repression the digestive system holding onto the past, which effects what we create in the present. As human beings it is natural for us to hold onto the past and our interpretation of it, which may make us angry. Until we see each traumatic situation that was created in our life as the catalyst for our learning what we agreed to learn and heal in this lifetime and see it from all perspectives, from the viewpoint our spiritual journey will give us, from our hearts and from our past-life connections with others it can be very difficult to heal. For intelligent beings understanding why trauma was created brings us to experiencing our past-lives with others who become our catalyst for change. This allows us to see the bigger picture and it will bring us to forgive and therefore release the energies of anger and repression.

One woman came to me for help after becoming ill from three different mold contaminated environments in homes she rented one, a fifteen-year old house in the exclusive La Costa area of Southern California made her ill within the first week after moving in. The homeowner was a retired government worker. When he showed the house he bragged about how he came to have his exclusive La Costa area house and didn’t disclose any information about the flooding or the leaking kitchen appliances. What he did was manipulate his perspective tenant, a single Mom, by threatening to renege on his verbal promise to rent to her unless she signed the lease and gave him a deposit prior to the agreed date, a month in advance of her move-in. Otherwise he would rent to someone else who might give him a higher price. She discovered the leak damage on the day she moved in and asked for mold tests. The homeowner refused to have mold tests done and was abusive to her when she did them herself using Home Depot test kits. The Petri dish tests only pick up about a third of the mold spores that are actually present but these tests confirmed an abundance of toxic mold in three areas of the house. The health issues she and her daughter developed from the deadly toxins forced them into a lengthy hotel stay at peak season, which meant moving every couple days from one hotel or campsite to another for seventy-eight days. These costs coupled with health care, moving and storage came to over twenty thousand dollars.

The retired government employee cried to his homeless tenant while he admitted that he couldn’t afford his La Costa house. He also admitted that he knew there was mold in his house. He hired the cheapest remediation company he could find. They did not follow the Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA) guidelines that direct remediators to both erect a hermetically sealed containment from the contamination site to the outdoors and to place contaminated building materials into sealed plastic bags when removing them from the house. The remediators didn’t wait for the tenants to leave the house before they opened walls without containment and exposed them to the worse of the toxins and at the same time cross-contaminating the entire house with the tenants personal belongings in it. Thereafter owner refused to address all three effected areas of contamination and then he threatened his sick tenant with an eviction notice. Although he couldn’t afford the house and didn’t take care of it properly, which became his tenant’s problem, the contaminated La Costa house was this man’s facade. He couldn’t admit that something was wrong with it and that he didn’t take care of it properly. He has tried to make his tenant the problem. Our Soul Retrieval work showed us that this woman’s father, who also worked for the government, had mold in his house from leaking pipes behind a shower wall where there was tile work that he did himself. Her father refused to ruin the facade of the tiles in order to repair the leaking pipes behind the wall. Her mother was the one who told her about the water leak, however, her father refused to listen to anything his wife had to say especially anything she wanted with regards to health and safety in the home environment that he built. She didn’t have a voice in her home.

Her irresponsible landlord reflected her father’s lack of awareness for the environment and irresponsibility, which set her on a course of first hand experiences with negligent landlords and unhealthy homes, which would repeat her mother’s circumstances in order to help her understand a bigger picture. Women have to use their voices and demand to be heard in order to make changes.

During the lengthy time of homelessness she experienced more symptoms of brain fog, fever and lethargy while staying in a well-known Hotel where a mushroom was found growing out of the wall by the shower. There was a large crack in the grout. The internationally famous hotel chain’s general manager denied the presence of mold and directed her to their insurance company. The hotel’s insurance provider like so many insurance providers said they had a clause in the policy, which eliminated them from liability where indoor mold was concerned. She called the San Diego Environmental Health Department. They said they couldn’t investigate mold contamination but after a half dozen more calls they agreed to investigate water damage. The San Diego Environmental Health Department found mold under the wallpaper even after the hotel quickly re-grouted the crack that covered water damaged mold contaminated wood framing.

Thirty-nine days later she paid a second and much larger deposit that a property manager from a big real estate firm asked for two weeks in advance of the move-in date and once again this woman and her daughter moved into an expensive Carlsbad house and got sick. She walked out of the master bathroom and saw a warped baseboard and bubbling paint by the shower. She called the property manager and requested mold testing. The property manager, who didn’t have the house clean before these women moved in admitted, “Property management isn’t what I want to do, that isn’t where the big bucks are in this racket,” and he called a handy man. The handy man took the baseboard off the water-damaged wall and cross-contaminated the house. A mold specialist came a few days later and told the property manager that a containment would have to be put up in order to take the walls down. He had detected moisture for nearly seven feet behind the shower by using an infrared gun. The property manager denied what the mold specialist said. He asked the tenant, who was already sick from more exposure to mold, who was never moved able to move into the house and was now paying for more hotel costs to cooperate and let four different remediation companies into the house for estimates. Only one of the remediation company representatives, a woman, had the wherewithal to mention that the removed baseboard was causing cross-contamination of toxic molds in the house. The property manager didn’t hire her. He hired the lowest bid and a company that told him what he wanted to hear. They didn’t follow the guidance of the mold specialist or the EPA. They didn’t put up a containment before removing the walls and exposing an abundance of mold to the tenants, who were present, and to the house.

The second homeowner whose rental house was uninhabitable from the beginning refused to return nearly 5,000.00 in deposit and rent that was paid to him upfront for a house that this woman couldn’t move into. He has refused to pay for any of the twenty thousand dollars in expenses and losses that she incurred during another lengthy stay of homelessness to this day. During three months of homelessness she learned that half the occupants of several hotels were people experiencing mold issues in their homes. For three months she searched for a mold free house to rent in the San Diego area and thirty houses later realized there weren’t any homes that were under four years old that didn’t have mold. She talked to attorneys who told her that the homeowners were required to provide a habitable environment to the tenant but paying an attorney to advocate for that would costs thousands of dollars and there is always the chance that the court could rule in favor of the negligent property owner and demand back rent from the victimized tenant. She is wiped out financially from three months of homelessness and still looking for a lawyer with a conscience who will fight to help her.

We did Past-Life looking at the long term energetic relationship between her, her mother and her daughter and found that in the role of a mid-wife she was wrongly accused by a woman who was controlled by a man and modern science. Her daughter was the head of the mid-wife school and didn’t speak up on her behalf, which “helped the gods to drown Atlantis and the school.” In this life we see that her mother had not spoken up to protect her children. She herself had always spoken up for her daughter in a courtroom and in schools and in being unwilling to be exposed to more mold did protect her child. However, the mother admitted that in a court situation she was not allowed to speak up for herself by a male judge and her daughter is still not speaking up for herself or her mother.

Yesterday I stopped by a wellness center to get a quick chair massage and heard a therapist talking to a client she said, I can’t wait to rent out my house and be done with it, it’s just too much work. A man who was present agreed and said he was looking to rent his house for the same reason. This attitude from homeowner’s and property managers reflects one of the main reasons why we have environmental issues including toxic molds in our homes that devastate the lives of renters and new homeowners everywhere. The situation that insurance will not cover has begun a war between landowners and renters it brings to mind the line from the film, Cold Mountain, “They call this war a dark cloud over the land but they made the weather and then they stand in the rain and say, shoot it’s raining.” The war between landowners (homeowners) and non-landowners/renters can be traced back to the biblical story of jealousy and the slaying of Abel by his brother Cain. Their story also symbolizes the disruption caused by the change from the wandering pastoral life to that of the sedentary agriculturist, which is apparent in the root meaning of their names. Abel means “airy” – something that is in constant motion. Cain comes from the word Kanah, meaning “to own property” A legend recorded in the Midrash (Hebrew commentaries relating to the bible) says that the Lord divided the land between two brothers. Cain owned the land, Abel the creatures. And Abel offended Cain by trespassing on his property, something that Abel could hardly avoid doing and so Cain killed him.

All people on the planet are connected. We are all spiritual beings learning how to exist peacefully together in a physical world. We are all linked by our similar need for oxygen. People all over the world have similar horror stories to tell about health issues linked to mold in their home or work environment. The manager at the West Inn, a new hotel in Carlsbad, said that half the occupants in the hotel were people who were homeless due to water damage and mold contamination in their homes. Several years ago I had a New York City neighbor who died suddenly at forty-six, no one knew why. I walked into his apartment to help his family clean up and saw that his bathroom ceiling was buckled by about three feet from water damage it was covered in black mold. Environmental engineers say the problem is wide spread and due mostly to neglect on the part of the property owners and managers. Most of the prevalent water damage issues stem from water leaks that have been unattended to in roofing, kitchens and bathroom plumbing. Other water issues stem from grout that has not been repaired, poor quality sealants that dry rot in empty houses that are on the market for months during the hot summer, leaking pipes behind walls and appliances with flimsy water lines. Many water damage problems in the South West stem from over watering shrubs planted too close to the home. The water streams under the building where it rises through the cement slab into the home. Other homes are built at the bottom of hills without adequate retainer walls causing the water to leak in through the exterior walls to the interior wood framing. The EPA states that if a leak is not taken care of within 36 to 48 hours the water damaged building materials will create toxic molds. To protect yourself and your tenant from mold exposure means immediate removal of wet dry wall, roofing or flooring then thoroughly drying or replacing the wood framing that has been damaged by water. The EPA also say that a slow leak is more damaging than a flood because people do not take care of slow leaks and the constant presence of moisture from a small but constant flow of water leaking will create mold.

Homeowner’s Against Deficient Dwellings president, Nancy Sears says that even new homes are experiencing serious life threatening mold problems. She blames the problem on shoddy construction and defective products used by the builders. A recent Dateline NBC report on Pulte, one of the largest homebuilders in America, tells about a couple who bought a new home from Pulte they were shocked to find that shod workmanship ran throughout the home and that many items were not covered by the homebuilder’s warranty. They were confronted with dripping faucets, unwired appliances, un-insulated pipes that burst at 13-degree weather, and a doorway so poorly constructed it allowed rain to pour in, growing mold across the foyer. They too have moved out of what is now an unhealthy home that they still make payments on while they arbitrate the situation. A clause in their contract prohibits them from suing Pulte.

Recently a female environmental engineer from GAL agreed with me when I pointed out that the problem is essentially the material we use to build homes, wood being the largest material that is overused for homebuilding. This truth reflects the over use of a natural resource that is essential to our health, a resource that is dying off on the planet, trees. Trees alive and well and growing in the earth give us the essential oxygen we need to survive. Wood from trees that we cut down to build homes become water damaged and grow mold, which depletes our oxygen and makes us very sick. California’s political leaders have initiated the construction of over a million new homes in the next year that means using about five hundred million trees. Millions of trees are being cut down every minute all over the planet to provide us with building materials. While thousands more are being destroyed in early ice storms and hurricanes. Nearly twenty years ago I was in Italy and told that that country had used so many trees for building that trees barely exist there. I suggested metal as framing material for homes to the engineer and she replied that it’s being used in some cases however, metal and dry wall are different temperatures that will cause condensation, this will create mold. In Hawaii’s damp climate foam materials are being used this is also a different temperature from drywall and will create mold. Houses that are to tightly sealed when they are built are creating mold.

With that in mind my thoughts turned to the ancient past again and the oldest manmade stone structure Djoser’s Step pyramid. A miraculous healing from the effects of mold exposure to my body occurred for me when I came into contact with a stone wall from Djoser’s pyramid. This stone structure is still standing while we have filled the earth with landfills that are ninety percent debris from building materials that cannot be reused. The ancient people on the planet lived in harmony with nature, they didn’t build wooden framed houses, they were mostly nomadic, which is a life style that is still very much part of our DNA. However, we have become accustomed to modern lifestyles and are not nomadic any more therefore we must now consider which building materials are safe both for us and our environment, the use of wood as a building material does not appear to be safe for either.

The bigger picture that was discovered through past-life therapy for the woman and her daughter in this article that were devastated by irresponsible landowners was about women who didn’t use their voices to make demands for their safety and the safety of their children in the home, instead they let themselves take blame for what irresponsible men did or didn’t do. What the physical side reflects is that our country doesn’t seem to be guarding our own property and natural resources. Some interesting facts were presented to me while writing this article, only one percent of landowner’s on the planet are women, only five percent of homeowner’s in this country are women and more than 75% of the world’s poorest people are women. Most men in our country are involved in an effort to keep us “safe” by going away, abandoning us to war and we appreciate that they are proud of the fact that we have the strongest army in the world. The idea that this is ultimately important has been around for thousands of years and seems a bit archaic especially when the truth is no one is safeguarding our land and our precious resources. No one other than women have noticed that we have a serious shortage of men. We women don’t want men to go to war. Is that really going to keep us safe? Do we need to spend all of our energy, lives and money on toxic war materials or do we need to focus on keeping our natural resources safe and our technology that will eliminate the need for oil use growing? After World War II Germany and Japan can no longer spend all their time, energy and money creating armies, instead they have advanced beyond us in technology and electronics, which we’ve become dependent on and they are more advanced in medicine. In so doing China and Japan have been able to buy up much of our land and resources. Those countries that are no longer building armies are becoming very wealthy and we are becoming more indebt and dependent on the resources of other countries for our everyday needs in life. This is destroying our health and economy. The real need for safety is right here in guarding our natural resources and the materials we create our homes with. We have sold our land to foreigners, Japan has cemented up our second largest producing copper mines making us dependant on their materials for our appliances, plumbing materials and electronics, which have to be replaced every few years. Plumbers tell me that the materials they use now have a life expectancy of four years, they say don’t use your ice makers the copper wires are so flimsy that even new refrigerators leak.

With this in mind it’s possible that we need to have building/home inspections for water damage every four years to avoid catastrophic costs to our health, when we are exposed to water damage, and remediation costs. Like the life expectancy of our cheap foreign electronics we now need to replace copper wires on appliances every few years. We must keep on top of these repairs in order to avoid the inevitable water damage issues. It is mostly women who suffer from the resources our country has had to sell off to pay for the war. It is women who seed the land to create the food that we need to survive and it is women who take care of men’s homes making them feel safe and comfortable. Women have only their voices, voices that should now be used to make demands of our leaders, of our men so that landowner’s and homeowner’s who are not doing their part to safely construct homes by using sustainable materials and performing inspections regularly for required maintenance, must.

Take the time to investigate the home you’re in for any areas that may have water damage, make sure bleach is not being used to remedy this mold will grow back on bleach treated wood. Be sure remediators follow the EPA guidelines and ask “off the record” questions of Environmental engineers and mold specialists. And most importantly write to your Governor, Senator and state representatives and ask, no, demand that the Environmental Health Departments provide inspections for water damage to rental homes. Then ask your state representative how many of the million new homes slated to be built in California this year are subsidized for single mothers and how many are sustainable homes? Sustainable means able to be done or used for a long time without harming the environment.

Copyright 2007, Kathleen Downey. All rights reserved.

Those interested in making a contribution, financially or otherwise, to assist us in lobbying for new laws and the formation of government agencies to protect rental homes against water damage issues please contact Kathleen Downey, Shamanic Counselor/Past-Life Therapist POB 1824 Solana Bch, CA 92075, 858.646.9808 or at

It is time to come together, put on our leopard cloaks, remember who we are and make a stand for our health and the health of our planet.