Read an Excerpt
Foreword by Doris J. Rapp, MD, FAAP, FAEM
The book Mold: The War Within by Kurt and Lee Ann Billings is truly outstanding. They personally learned the pervasive nature of molds and chemicals when their family became sick from exposures to hurricane-size molds and toxins during and after Katrina. The Billings knew that their family was only one among many sick from Katrina exposures as cataclysmic levels of molds and toxins had devastated so many families. In addition, after months of trials and tribulations, they came to realize that all across our nation and even in other countries people are suffering health challenges from unavoidable exposures to molds and chemicals. MOLD: The War Within is not just a “Katrina” book, but far more. It is a source of valuable information for the growing ranks of mold and chemical survivors. Each year countless numbers of mold and chemical victims exposed through hurricanes, flooding, water leaks, oil spills, and sick buildings are faced with similar unexpected monumental challenges. Until now, there was a paucity of places to turn for inclusive help or knowledge. In their search for answers to their family’s health problems, the Billings have written the ultimate “Why, When, and How-to” book. MOLD: The War Within confirms the many frustrating and challenging changes that can occur in the health and lives of people who have been exposed to molds, formaldehyde (in trailers), and other harmful pollutants or chemicals. It gives people hope and living proof that recovery is possible; it enables people to make informed health decisions by providing information (in an understandable and practical format) with which people can educate and help themselves.
One of the most significant reasons their book is so valuable is that they made their readers aware that molds can cause much more than respiratory and skin problems. Many common, but less, well-acknowledged symptoms of mold-related illnesses (see pages 116 and 119) are all too often wholly attributed to emotions or deep-seated psychological issues. While stresses from mold symptoms, remediation factors, and sudden unanticipated expenses cannot be ignored, too few recognize the full devastating scope of the purely medical aspects of mold-related illnesses. The potential immense variety of symptoms that can be caused by such exposures are unfortunately not fully appreciated, or even believed, by many in the medical profession. These symptoms can include medical complaints, such as depression, fatigue, joint pain, twitching, heart symptoms, and headaches. Some notice inability to walk, write, speak or learn normally. Others have an inability to act and behave in an acceptable manner. Unfortunately, these types of complaints are not typically recognized or even considered as possible manifestations of mold and/or mold toxin sensitivities.
As a physician practicing for well over 40 years, I have dedicated my life to providing conventional medical care while keeping an open mind to complementary and alternative medicine. After the first twenty years in practice, I became aware, for the first time, of a process called provocation and neutralization allergy treatment. It is a newer version of what many of you know as “allergy shots,” but this method can demonstrate exactly how mold, pollen, dust, and food exposures can cause specific symptoms and how they can then be treated. When I started trying this method of testing for molds, I was astounded to find that discrete areas of the brain, for example, could be affected so some people became tired and docile while others might become aggressive, angry, and hyperactive when tested with a drop of a mold allergy extract. Allergies and sensitivities to molds are especially problematic to health because, as the Billings so thoroughly explain in their book, toxigenic molds are a double-faceted foe. The mold itself can grow in and on human tissues and cavities, such as the lungs, and the mycotoxins they produce can cause chronic systemic poisoning.
I have witnessed and documented untold numbers of allergic reactions in children and adults over the years as an allergist. In my book, Is This Your Child? I show some examples of how allergies manifest themselves in children—red ears, puffy and wrinkled eyes, mottled tongues, and red cheeks—and provide pictures of hand writing changes in children and adults before and after allergy treatments. Readers really identified with the allergy characteristics outlined in this book which became a New York Times Best Seller.
There are many paths to healing. If one doesn’t work, try another, especially if it is safe and possibly effective. After conventional treatment methods failed the Billings, they embarked on a natural treatment plan that included diet modification and supplements known to detox the body and boost the immune system. I applaud the Billings for their initiative and ingenuity in seeking and identifying an effective, non-invasive form of treatment for them that was backed by sound scientific and medical logic. I am all for safer, easier, and less expensive forms of treatment that help, even if they would be considered nonconventional by most medical doctors. As you read about the various components of the Billings’ treatment plan, you will be amazed at the simplicity and practicality of most of what they found helpful. For example, they supplemented with magnesium, which I have recommended to patients for years. It is more important than most people realize. Many patients have reported that it promotes strong bones, healthy muscles and nerves, keeps the digestive tract working properly, and sometimes even reduces heart pain. Check with your doctor to find out if it might help you.
As a pediatrician, I have grave concern about the toxic overload that is taking place in our bodies today—especially in the bodies of our children. Detoxification regimes, such as what the Billings followed and detailed in their book, are an integral part of maintaining and restoring health in today’s toxic world. Parents especially need to be aware of the effects of toxic build up in their children, which is the reason I wrote another book Is This Your Child’s World? We must all care enough about our health and the health of our children to read books like MOLD: The War Within and Is This Your Child’s World? to better equip ourselves with knowledge on how to retain our health while living in a dangerously toxic world.
Too many people continue to hope for our government to take appropriate and responsible action for what has turned their lives and health upside down, be it devastation from natural disasters, toxic exposures in the workplace, or mold-deteriorating schools. It took a while for Gulf Coast residents, rescue workers, and remediation crews who were harmed from Katrina exposures to find out that genuine meaningful help was not forthcoming. This book, Mold: The War Within, explains in detail why the Katrina fiasco and deception continues to remain an open, oozing sore and how the lessons learned from Katrina can benefit us all.
This book provides the kind of insight and knowledge you need to know to help resolve some of the health and other challenging issues many mold- and chemical-sensitive individuals face. It is all there, in this outstanding book. I hope everyone will not only read but study this book if they have mold and chemical issues, because so many who claim to be informed in the health field do not fully appreciate the immense scope of illness that molds or chemicals can cause. MOLD: The War Within offers practical (“I’ve been there”) realistic help and suggestions so others who are stressed and sick from recent or long-term water or mold-related damage realize their health can be acutely and chronically harmed physically, emotionally and mentally. This book will share in detail what you can do and where you can go for the type of help and assistance so many people need when battling illnesses from mold and chemical exposures.
Doris J. Rapp, MD, FAAP, FAEM
Board Certified in Pediatrics, Allergy and Environmental Medicine
Clinical Ass’t Prof. Pediatrics (emeritus) at SUNYAB )
New York Times Best-selling Author of Is This Your Child?
Founder of Health Research Foundation; drrapp.com for DVDs of reactions to molds