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Episode 33: Toxic Threats Inside Your Home with Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS

Podcast Drop Date: 4/3/2024

Join Amber Warren PA-C and Cathy Cooke (BBEC, EMRS, BCHN, CRMI) as they thoroughly discuss the hidden dangers that may be lurking in our homes and workplaces, uncovering how these silent threats impact our health. Cathy Cooke has been working as an Integrative Health Coach since 2014. She is Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition by the National Association of Nutrition Professionals. Recognizing that many of her clients were ‘doing everything right’ yet still suffering from health issues, she realized that many home and work environments were contributing to illness. Seeing dramatic improvements in her own health after limiting radiofrequency exposure from wifi and cell phones, she received training and certification from the Building Biology Institute, affording her the expertise to evaluate all areas in a person’s life that may be contributing to illness. She holds certifications as a Building Biology Environmental Consultant, Electromagnetic Radiation Specialist, and Certified Residential Mold Inspector. Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Cathy now lives in Boise, Idaho. She is available for consulting via Skype and phone and is also willing to travel as needed for home assessments. Tune in to safeguard yourself and your family from these toxic threats. For more information on how to get your space tested, visit



Amber Warren, PA-C: Welcome to the Functional Medicine Foundations podcast, where we explore root cause medicine, engage in conversation with functional and integrative medicine experts, and build community with like minded health seekers. I'm your host, Amber Warren. Let's dig deeper. All right everybody, welcome back. Thanks so much for joining us today. I'm here with Cathy Cooke who is we'll get into it. But such a valuable asset to our community. Um we're so thankful to have her here with us. So Cathy Cooke has been working as an integrative health coach since 2014. She is a board certified. She is board certified in holistic nutrition by the National Association of Nutrition Professionals. Recognizing that many of her clients were doing everything right yet still suffering from health issues, she realized that many home and work environments were contributing to illness, seeing dramatic improvements in her own health. After limiting radio frequency exposure from Wi-Fi and cell phones, she received training and certification from the Building Biology Institute, affording her the expertise to evaluate all areas in a person's life that may be contributing to illness. She holds certifications as a building biology environmental consultant, electromagnetic Radiation Radiation specialist, and Certified Residential Mold Inspector. Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Kathy now lives in Boise, Idaho. She is available for consulting via Skype and phone, and is also willing to travel as needed for home assessments. Welcome to our podcast, Kathy. We're so glad to have you here. Yeah, so I finally feel like and maybe you will agree to disagree on this one, but I finally feel like mold is starting to get some of the attention that it's been deserving. Do you agree with that?

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Yes, okay. For sure. In some circles has a long way to go. Yeah, yeah. But, um, way more accepted as a potential. Uh, problem to cause illness than it was even 5 or 10 years ago.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah. Good, good. I'm glad because I finally am like, okay, we're getting somewhere with this. It's not we're not total weirdos by talking about mycotoxin illness and mold as a driver of chronic disease anymore in.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: This circle that's still got a little bit bigger.

Amber Warren, PA-C: We need to widen our circle. Yeah. That's true. So why do you think that we're seeing mold as a driver behind behind environmental illness more than before.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: There's there's a lot of reasons, both from a body perspective and from a building perspective. Right. So one is our building practices kind of suck. You know, we're very concerned about energy efficiency as you know. Great. But we wrap our buildings really tight and we don't allow a lot of ventilation. And so when we wrap everything very tight, we can trap moisture and we get humidity and we can get, um, mold growing in the wall cavities. And it's very difficult to find there. Um, and then we're using things like spray foam, which is very popular right now in the building world. And that can also trap moisture. So our building practices are not great. And then from, from uh, the body side. Um, well, what other toxins are we dealing with? Right. You know, everything. Yeah. The air, um, building materials, off, gassing our food. So our buckets are this full, and it's like adding mold spore on top of that. Boom. And, you know, you've got too much for the liver to be able to process, too much for the immune system. And there's also some other thoughts here. So Doctor Shoemaker, who I'm sure you know, your audience is familiar with, he talks about how back in the 70s, we started to add antifungals into paint, and then we build our houses or we paint our houses with this antifungal paint. And what is, you know, antibiotic resistant bacteria, right? We've got this resistant, fungus resistant molds that are kind of morphing around the antifungals to be more virulent. Right. So we've got potentially more toxic molds, higher chances of it happening in our homes. And our bodies are overwhelmed. Yeah.

Amber Warren, PA-C: So and we're all super stressed and you can't detox when you're stressed out like it's. Yeah, I know I'm starting to include stresses like like when I have that toxic discussion. It's like stress actually needs to probably start well.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: And then I mean, to take that another step further. A mold exposure is very traumatic. Yes, it is. You know, and I always say, yeah, it's the only thing that affects your body very dramatically. But everything you own so true. And so now you've got relationship problems and financial problems and health problems and it's a huge trauma. And if your body stays in that fight or flight, boy.

Amber Warren, PA-C: You don't stand a.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Chance. Yeah.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah, I'm honestly almost hearing it daily now where I have the response of do you think you've been exposed to mold in your history, or do you think there could be mold in your current home? No. Art. I've always lived in new homes or our current home is brand new, and that is such a false sense of security for people to be living in a new build. And I think you just explained it really well. It's just the way that they're building it. And is there something to be said for I hear this a lot too. Like they're just especially we can talk in the Treasure Valley, right? Just the explosive growth that we've had here in the Treasure Valley there, just the quality of homes that they're building. Is that true? Or maybe the piping issue, water leaks are more likely to happen.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: I mean, the building materials. So if you take a nice, um, you know, solid piece of wood and pour water on it, it's going to, you know, you wipe it off and fine and nothing happens. You take a piece of particle board, you know, crack quality. Yeah. And you pour water on it and it, it absorbs it and it holds it. And you're going to have mold growth there way quicker than you will a solid. That's such a good building material. So yes, that is absolutely a factor. Yeah.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah. So when we've got I mean there are a lot of individuals in this community that do mold inspection, right? Because I hear it all the time. Well, I had our home tested and it was fine. They did an air test and it was fine. We had an inspection before we moved in. I mean, I've experienced that. We had an inspection that was clean and it wasn't. Um, so why why is that a big deal? Let's let's talk about that. Well, let's just start there, okay?

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: So, you know, most mold inspectors are trained to come in and look for a few signs of water damage and take air samples. That's how the training goes, um, depending on where you get trained. But taking an air sample in the middle of the room gets about, you know, five cubic meters. I mean, it's a very small amount. So if the mold's over there and I have my air sample here and I run it for five minutes. It's not going to capture what's over there, so it's just not very efficient. Okay. Um, and we all have different opinions about how important it is to find all the mold, you know, like the tiny. I mean, I will find, like, the tiniest little spots. And I want to tell my homeowners this, like, there's this spot here. I mean, it seems over the top, but for a sensitive person that little bit, if it's stachybotrys or holmium, you know, one of the black molds, then it's enough. Yeah. So it's just a different perspective and a different approach to being holistic about it. So when I do an inspection, you know, maybe it's going to take me 4 or 5, six, seven hours. Whereas if you just come in and do an air sample because you think that that's representative of everything that's happening in the air, which many inspectors do, they're there for maybe a half an hour. Right? So it's it's different opinions about the efficacy of the approach and the sampling. I have seen way too many times, just like you alluded to, where air samples are clean, but there's a problem in the house. So I just I don't rely on that. And I think you need a much more in depth visual inspection.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah. Which is why you've become one of our very few trusted inspectors in the Treasure Valley, because there's there are a lot of people. So when we hear people say mold is not a big deal because it's we know there's mold outside. We know there's mold in plants. We know there's mold that exist in foods. Right? There's high mold foods. So what would your response be to someone that says, but molds everywhere, so it's not a big deal if there's a little bit in my home.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Oh, and that's what I hear from. People all the time, I'm sure. I mean doctors, contractors. Builders. Yeah. Mediators. Yeah. I'm like, why do you do this job if you don't think it's a big deal? So it is everywhere. But. It behaves differently. You know, outside we've got sun, wind, bacteria. It's an ecosystem and everything is kept in balance and in check inside your home, though, we can create conditions to create this out of balance, out of, you know, um, it's not in its ecosystem where there's checks and balances. It can grow differently and behave differently. So, for example, you know, we have drywall which which is faced with paper, which is a predigested food for mold. So if that gets wet and there's no bacteria to keep it in check, no sun, no wind, I can grow huge amount of, say, stachybotrys on this wall, and then it can release its mycotoxins inside a confined environment. So you've got a densely concentrated source of mycotoxins. And it's it's not the mold necessarily that makes you sick. It's the toxins that write on it.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Which are the mycotoxins.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Which are the mycotoxins. And then you've got an unnatural environment for this toxic mold in a confined space. And it's too much for our bodies to handle. Yeah. So it is everywhere, but it's not everywhere like that. Right? Right right, right, right.

Amber Warren, PA-C: That's a really good way to put it. So some of these are mediators or even some homeowners. And I've had patients tell me, oh yeah, we have black mold in our shower. My husband just bleaches it and it's fine. What's the problem there? It's. You cringe.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Never, ever put bleach on mold. So bleach. What it does to mold is it bleaches it. It takes away the color, the pigment, but it can still be there. And in fact, the main component of bleach is water. So you can feed it and you can make it worse. Um, you know, I will state that if it's a superficial, um, you know, mold on a fiberglass shower. Yeah, you can clean that. You can clean it with soap and water or hydrogen peroxide or whatever. Fine. But if it's on wood or a porous material, you never want to use bleach. You can't clean it because mold has roots. It has, you know, it grows into the surface. So if you tried to clean it, you're not getting the roots. You're not. You have to remove it. You just have to physically remove it. Otherwise it's still there. It can still cause a problem. And bleach can make it worse. Yeah.

Amber Warren, PA-C: So it has to physically be cut out.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: It has to physically be cut out or um, abrasively removed. So, you know, you can you can remove the drywall here. And now you've got studs back here. You can sand and Hepa vacuum those studs so you don't have to remove them. And that's the proper way to do it versus a lot of remediation companies that come in and say, awesome, I've got this chemical, we're going to spray it and we're done. And that does not work ever. Mhm. Um or they fog it. Let's just fog it. Yeah. Yeah that doesn't work either.

Amber Warren, PA-C: You have to cut it out. Yeah, yeah. Shoot. Have you had luck finding remediation companies that will do it the right way. Like do you have these relationships built in.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: I do um I've gone through kind of a lot of, of hills and valleys with this. Um, I've been through a lot of remediation companies, I'm sure. And unfortunately, they don't want to do it to my standards, which I'm, I'm basing my standards off of, actually. Doctor Shoemaker's Surviving Mold IEP Consensus Statement of 2020, which was a panel of amazing indoor environmental professionals and medical doctors, including Doctor Shoemaker. And they came up with this standard that says this is how you remediate for a sensitive population. Yeah. And that's what I follow. And it's very difficult to get the remediation companies here to do that, because they just don't have the empathy and understanding. That for some, some people really, for most of us, we have to go that extra mile. So I do have a couple companies right now that have been excellent and I'm very they get it. Um, I do still like to go in after they're done and test to make sure because I would say, you know, after many hundreds of remediations, I've had two clear the first time. Wow. Yeah. And that's that's a lot I mean too, I'm happy for those two. Right. Every other one. I have to go in and go guys I tested. It's still here. We got to get a little bit deeper just to have, you know, some controls there. Yeah. Um, because nobody's going to care like we do and like the homeowner does. Yeah. So yeah, thankfully I do have remediation companies, but I do always still recommend a third party to check to make sure the work was done well.

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Amber Warren, PA-C: Well, I guess I want to follow with this. I think our audience would really, really like to hear your advice. Well, first of all, where is where are you seeing most of the mold in homes? Where is your biggest, the biggest issues?

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Probably crawl spaces.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Okay. I wouldn't have guessed that. Okay. Yep.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Um, well, nobody. Nobody. You go. Don't go down there. You have no.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Reason to ever go down there.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: And it's damp and there's dirt and water comes in, and you've got insulation here, and it traps moisture and and that's probably the, the big. Place. B but bathrooms are big. You start to. Yeah. Even you know anywhere little to plumbing, right. But you but I'm only a long as you can see those windows so you kind of get want to get. Earlier I. Sometimes I do have a friend who does, a contractor friend who does bathroom remodels, and he says he's never opened up a bathroom without finding mold, which I have. I mean, I maybe he hasn't, but I have.

Amber Warren, PA-C: So you've seen clean bathrooms.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: I've seen clean bathrooms, but it is, um, I mean, you think about we're taking a shower inside our house, I know, and the moisture and humidity and cracks in the grout and everything they can get behind. There it is. It's a big spot to a big area as well.

Amber Warren, PA-C: So what some pretty reasonable advice that people like. Have a real working fan have a window you can open. Just a well-ventilated shower?

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Yes, always run the bathroom fan. People don't know that. Actually, that's what it's for. I did an Instagram post on this a couple of weeks ago. Oh cool. And had, I don't know, something like 200,000 views and people passing it on to people because they don't know. They think it's they call it a fart fan, right? They think the fan is there to remove odor and don't understand that the fan is actually there to remove humidity and moisture. Yeah. So yes, very good advice. Run the bathroom exhaust fan every time you bathe and or open a window if you don't have a fan. Yeah very important.

Amber Warren, PA-C: So let's get another tips and tricks to avoid mold growth in your home. Yes, I'm sure you've got a lot of them. Yeah.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Um, I really like to, to give people tips about things. Easy things they can do right away. Yeah. So one of those would be to get a little leak detector. So Govee is one brand. There's other brands where they're inexpensive. Just a little alarm that you put everywhere. You've got plumbing. So you put it on your sinks. You put it behind your water heater. You put it behind your refrigerator, your washing machine. So if there is a water leak, it will alarm you very loud, very loudly. Hey, there's water here so you can get on that immediately because mold can grow in 48 hours.

Amber Warren, PA-C: That's what I was going to say. You know, I have patients that say, oh, well, we had a leak, but they were on it within a couple days and I'm like couple days or five days, like, how quickly and what did they do to be on it. So that's the whole that that's probably a whole nother topic of conversation. These disaster relief companies.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Yeah.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah. Do you have any that you trust. Like if someone does have a leak, do you have companies that you would recommend? I have, I have a couple.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: But yeah it does depend on what are they doing. Are they I mean I see them sometimes they'll they'll cut a hole in a wall and put a heater or a fan in there. That's horrible. Because if there's heat which mold loves, they love warm temperatures. And then you're blowing it around. Not awesome, I know. So it depends on how they approach it. But yes, I do have a couple that I like. Okay. Um, and so yeah, those those alarms are amazing. It can it can save you from a massive issue. Yeah. Um, and then another thing is like water heater, all of these same appliances, you can put pans under them. So if it leaks, it'll catch on the pan. Oh, yeah.

Amber Warren, PA-C: We have one under our washer, our stackable washers. We have a pan. Yep. Yeah. Exactly.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Okay. Um, and sink mats too. You can put rubber silicone sink mats under the sink. So if you get a drip it's not going to impact the building materials. So those are those are good tips. The other thing I say is everyone should have a little hygrometer. You can get inexpensive hygrometer online and monitor your humidity. If suddenly the humidity inside your house is higher than outdoors, you've probably got a problem. You have an issue. Yep.

Amber Warren, PA-C: So are you not a fan of humidifiers?

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Not in the HVAC system. Okay, not at all. I don't like any. I don't like air scrubbers, UV lights, ionic blah blah blah. All the things in the what's.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Wrong with UV lights?

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Well, UV or blue lights? Um, one they don't really do much because the air passes right by them.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Right? They don't actually clean the air like they're supposed to because.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Because the air would have to sit there for a long time. Oh, that makes sense. But two, this technology can actually create new chemistry. Okay. So we've got what do we have all kinds of particles in our house in in chemistry and essential oils. And I mean seemingly benign things. But when molecules interact they create new chemistry that might not be a healthy molecule at this point. So the blue light, the UV light, they can interact with other particles in the environment, create and create toxic chemicals like ozone or formaldehyde or other things that we don't want to be breathing in. So it's just it's just not helpful.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Okay. So interesting. Yeah. Wow. Um, other other tips and tricks as far as just if someone's going to be building a home or remodeling a home, what else? What else can people be looking for?

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Well, I like everyone to, um, look, get into their attic or crawl space every once in a while, you know, and I know that not everybody wants to do that. It's super not fun. Um, you know, hire someone to go in your crawl space in attic and look, you know, pull back insulation once in a while and keep an eye on things. If you're building new, one of the best things you can do is have large overhangs and gutters. And I say that because especially here in the Treasure Valley, I see so many houses built without gutters. Seriously, all the time. Why looks esthetics?

Amber Warren, PA-C: Oh the the more modern or farmhouse type. Yeah, okay.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: It's kind of streamlined, but even older houses no gutters.

Amber Warren, PA-C: So so the moisture is just running down the building materials.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Yeah. And yeah. And it's it can get into the foundation and it can wick up the, up the walls. So gutters very important and downspouts. So people will have gutters but they have downspouts and then it terminates like they have a little elbow like right here. Well where's that water going. It's just going to go back into the foundation. So we like to have nice long extenders about five feet away so that you push the water away from the building. Um, um, and then the large overhang, you know, will just help to same, same principle. It's just going to help keep water away from the exterior walls and the foundation. So smart. So really good things you could do on a new build or even if sometimes if you're remodeling, you can, you know, put that into practice. But, um, yeah. And then just, you know, keeping an eye on your drainage. So a lot of people, um, will have sloping towards the house or a lot of foliage or trees or bushes against the house, which is never good, because then we're going to trap moisture. Roots can grow and get into the foundation, create cracks and penetrations. So we want, you know, basically we want our house on a little hill. Yeah. And every and sloping away.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yep.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Sloping away in our, our foliage trees bushes at least six feet away from the building materials.

Amber Warren, PA-C: I can't wait to tell my husband we need to build a new house. Oh, no, it's such good advice. Um, yeah, just so many different things to think about. Um, emfs. I don't any more feel like you can have a conversation about. Let's be honest, I don't feel like you can talk about toxins anymore without talking about including emfs in that topic of conversation as well. Um, Boise was chosen as a smart city years ago. I think it's almost been like almost a decade now since they started to try and identify Boise as a smart city. Oh, wow. Yeah, it's been a while. I was like part of an original committee where they were trying to fight it. Um, and so these 5G towers just keep popping up all over our city. So why do we care about EMF as it interacts with mold? Yeah. Or do we care?

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Yeah. Well, again, it's another toxin for our bodies to try to handle. But you know what's interesting to me in my line of work, since I deal with both EMF and mold and I'm a nutritionist, my most sensitive clients from an EMF perspective, have had a major mold event, and that is sometimes how they become sensitive to EMF. It's the mold event that triggered them. Yeah. You know why that is? I think we still have a lot of research to really identify all the ways. But one, it's, um, you know, the the EMF or the mold exposures creating this. Very suppressed immune system, or maybe overactive immune system, rather. And the nervous system, it's really impacting the nervous system. And so then when we're exposed to this human made electromagnetic fields that our body can't deal with, it just it can't respond. And some people think that. The in the presence of EMF mold will will fight harder because it's threatened and so it releases more mycotoxins, does it not?

Amber Warren, PA-C: That's what I was led to believe. I mean, that it actually grows, I.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Don't know, there's there's a few small studies that show that I'd like to see more robust. Yeah. Um, research on that. I'm. It makes a lot of sense to me.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Makes sense. Yeah.

Amber Warren, PA-C: And but you're saying it's more that it just how it impacts the human body.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Both. I think you know how. Yes. How it impacts the human body and, you know. Maybe the mold grows more, more aggressively in your house because you've got Wi-Fi and smart everything. And if you're colonized, right, and you're doing this on your phone, or you've got wireless earbuds or you're sitting next to your router, what's happening in your body?

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah. So. And just to learn that your body can't detox and heal when it's being hit by.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Right by.

Amber Warren, PA-C: All those different.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Toxins, I mean, not.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Only for.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Yourself. Yeah, not only is all of it, the mold is impacting your nervous system. Yeah, so is the EMF. And they're playing off each other. So it's like. You know, three, three things happening at once.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Um, I want to revisit this because I've had so many clients that test their homes, come back clear, even though I know there's a mold burden. We've tested their bodies because thankfully, nowadays we have really good mycotoxin tests. Mostly urine urinary mycotoxin tests. Right. And I'm scratching my head or we start to detox them because I'm like, great, your home is clear. You're not currently being exposed. You're fine and they're not getting better. And shame on me. But like one of the patients, it was in her workplace. Yeah. She worked in a school which we know is rampant for mold. And it took me a couple of months before I'm like, oh my goodness, your school counselor. I bet it's in your building. Sure enough, got on summer break, started detox her. We got her in a newer school. She healed. Wow. I had another patient, um, he actually remodeled his home and found a bunch of mold, and we were trying to get him better, actually, crazy high lipids. Um, we started detoxing. Wasn't getting better. It was all over his truck, in his car. So I think people need to realize, too. It's it's not just your home. Where else are you going? Where else? You're visiting church that you might go visit a couple times a week and spend a lot of time, and you volunteer at a hospital system, or you volunteer at a school or you're a teacher. Oh my goodness, the schools make me so nervous. I know.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: It, I know it.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Schools. Really? That's a hard that's a hard one.

Amber Warren, PA-C: And then guess what's on top. A lot of schools 5G tower. So those schools are just rampant with Wi-Fi too.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Yeah. And every kid in school has a phone and wireless earbuds and Wi-Fi in every room. Yeah. Um, now, I'm really glad you mentioned that, because it is a very important thing for people to consider. They're just, like you said, their house is totally fine. Yeah, but their their workplace or their vehicle. Yeah, I see that very.

Amber Warren, PA-C: So will you go check places, places of work if someone asks you or look at the vehicles or.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Yeah, we can test vehicles for sure. Um, workplaces. Absolutely. You know, it can be tricky because not all employers are going to allow you to do that. Yeah. Um, but you know, I hopefully, you know, will work with anybody to however we can. I mean, there's multiple ways we can test, you know, we can always do an army if that's what we have to do, which somebody can collect on their own, because.

Amber Warren, PA-C: That's the dust.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Collection. The Army.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: A PCR DNA test which has its limitations as well. You cannot put all you know, you can't guarantee everything from one army. But it's a it's a piece of information. You know, another thing I will say is people bring stuff into their house. Their house might be fine, but that used couch they bought or something I've seen recently. I used to recommend people would get like sisal or jute or these grass area rugs because they're natural, right?

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Mold.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Mold fibers. Yeah, I can see that.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Unfortunately, sometimes they're woven when they're wet. Yeah, they come from other countries. Uh, I have two clients that reacted severely because they had stachybotrys in those area rugs. So it might not be the house. It might be something you're bringing.

Amber Warren, PA-C: So why do we care about Stachybotrys? Yes.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: So stachybotrys quote unquote, the black mold, um, which it doesn't even have to be black, but it is that in Chaetomium are the two.

Amber Warren, PA-C: What's the second one? Chaetomium how do you spell that?

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: C h a e t o m I u m k comium comium starts with a c ch okay. They have the most toxic mycotoxins. Um, so when they produce mycotoxins, they they are I mean, there's others that impact people very aggressively as well. But those are the two that's like, it can really bring you down. Yeah. So they're the most toxic. And so if we find those um, we even in small you know, I mean, I had some in my sink. It was not much. It was about that much. But I was getting migraines for like two years. I've never had migraines before. And since we cut it out, I haven't had one since. Yeah.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Good.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: So, you know, even a little small area of those two types can be pretty, pretty toxic.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Okay. Yeah.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Okay. I think it's probably good for our listeners to hear, um. Everyone's probably on the edge of the seats being like, what symptoms should I be looking for? Why should I hire someone like you to test my home for mold? Right? And I kind of say it runs a large gamut of symptoms. It really doesn't mold, doesn't have to, um, have one specific symptoms. Um, so I'm curious what you see in these homes that you're testing. What are what are these families complaining of? And it doesn't have to be. We should also visit about how it doesn't have to be every. Well, my kids aren't sick. My husband's not sick. Why do you think I have a mycotoxin illness?

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: That's a big.

Amber Warren, PA-C: That's. I hear that all the time.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Yeah. Well, like you said, the symptoms can be. Anything. Yeah. I mean, there's no system of the body. That mold doesn't impact Graham.

Amber Warren, PA-C: It could be your skin, your.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Liver.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Your Energy, your hormones, your fertility. I mean, any system of the body. So brain, it could be cognitive. It's so hard. You know, I would say if you're. I mean, it could be one thing, or it could be all of them. So. You know, there. I don't know that there is one thing that I would say. Oh, that's mold. Yeah. Even even anger, aggression, I mean.

Amber Warren, PA-C: It's depression, mood imbalances, brain fog, fatigue or even just a new diagnosis of an autoimmune issue. I think if we're not asking right, is there an exposure to mold or mold illness?

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Right, right.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: It's so all over the board that there isn't one, you know, presentation for mold. So, um. And to your to your second question. It's so common. The bees will get a cicada to people in the house are sick. Rid of the one person who nobody else was. And that's where I see, unfortunately, relationships struggle. Yeah. Um, you know, because why are we going to spend all this money and go through all this stuff and do all this thing? You know, when we're all fine, it's something else, but it doesn't work like that. Yeah. Um, I see this constantly. So one person, maybe they have the HLA gene, right? That makes them, you know, less able to detoxify, mold. Maybe they've had a previous trauma. Um, maybe they are, you know, have been exposed in another location and so they're more sensitive to the mold. I mean, there's so many reasons.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Buckets a little more full.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So there's so many reasons why one person might react or a couple people in the house and everybody else does not. However, I will say that most of the time when I see this. The person who is fine actually does have a lot of health problems or some, but they're not equating it with the mold or they think it's normal. I always get seasonal allergies or I've always had this sinus issue. Yeah, or I've always had depression or whatever. So it doesn't always correlate to one person's fine. And you know, the other one's not often.

Amber Warren, PA-C: There's a lot of subjective problems.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Yeah. Yeah.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Um, I think it's also important. Um, we talked about how ways that you can make sure you prevent mold growth in your home, which is very important. Emfs that's something I've started talking about a lot more. Let's start to be more aware of these invisible frequencies and signals that we see in our home. And I think there's so many ways that you can start with tonight when you get home, to start making your home more EMF safe. Um, yeah. So as the expert, what do you what do you. Yeah.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Yeah, absolutely. And I'm glad you asked that too. I love talking about this because this is something you can do immediately. Yeah. So when you go to bed tonight, unplug your Wi-Fi.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: I mean, so easy. Don't sleep next to your phone or if you have to have it as an alarm. Great. Turn off Wi-Fi, turn off Bluetooth, turn off your cellular data. Yeah, you.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Can still use it. Yeah.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Yeah. So, um, you know, this is a whole spectrum and you can get really aggressive or you can just do a few things. Um, I would say for anybody listening, the number one thing you could do in your house is to hardwire your internet. Yeah. So you don't have to unplug it at night. You just don't have Wi-Fi.

Amber Warren, PA-C: You don't have your you have.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: A wired connection. It's not that complicated to do. Um, I mean, anybody can reach out to me and I can explain how to do it, because you can do it yourself. You don't have to run wires everywhere. Really?

Amber Warren, PA-C: Really? You can do it yourself.

Amber Warren, PA-C : Oh, yeah.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Yes.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yep. Easy. I had no idea.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: So super easy.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: To show you how to do.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: It. I've got a $20 course on how to do it yourself and.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Oh my gosh. Or on your website or.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Yeah, well actually it's not on my website, but I can. I made it for another, um, company, but I can point any anyone in to the course or I've got an article on it. Great. It's very simple. And you know, in a house when I'm measuring the radio frequency, if we unplug the Wi-Fi or hardwire it, it reduces your overall exposure by 90%. Like that. Wow. Yeah. So everyone says it's everywhere. Why would why should I even bother? Every reduction is worth achieving. Yeah, and if you can reduce your exposure by 90%.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah. Why wouldn't you. Yeah.

Amber Warren, PA-C: What are some of the other wires, wireless devices that you see put out the most of these frequencies?

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: These Days? Everything really I mean I've seen tampons that.

Amber Warren, PA-C: What what.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Because how are you supposed to know when you're supposed to change your tampon? Unless your phone tells you.

Amber Warren, PA-C: They have tampons that connect to your phone?

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Yep.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Oh my gosh.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: And diapers and posture devices that you wear on your back.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah, I've seen them.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: You know, um, so.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Diapers?

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: I know. So these wearables are what really bother me because it's on your body constantly. Yeah. Um, but other things in your house that you might not be aware of. Your water softener, um, your dishwasher, your fridge, mirrors, sometimes, um, stuffed animals I found. I mean, it's it's wild. So it's good to have a meter so that you can find the stuff in your house. And just when you're buying a new appliance, just, you know, ask for the dumb one. You don't need a smart one. Right? Um, thermostats, obviously, soundbars, TVs, all stuff that you can just keep. Okay? You want to use your amazing TV? Awesome. Unplug it when you're not using it because it's going to emit no matter what, even if it's turned off. So any of this stuff keep on a power switch, just, you know, turn it off when you're not using it. And then if you want to use it once in a while, fine.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Okay, that's really good advice. I love that I know this smart world, smart everything, the smart cars. You did a really good post on on vehicles and emitting EMF. So some of the newer vehicles, right. Didn't you. You compared like an old Subaru to like a newer one or something.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: I've got. I've.Tested a lot of cars. Um, so I've got many videos on just cars in general, but yes, the electric ones, obviously I did a Tesla.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Oh, Tesla. Okay.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: And ironically, it didn't test that bad compared to another car. Yet what's happening there is there's many sensors that are out of the range of our meters. So we can't pick up everything with our, um, radio frequency meters. Um, and I, I wrote in that car for about 20 minutes, and I did not feel well.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Um, I.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Kind of felt like I was going to throw up after I got out of.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: It, but.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Yeah, um, I would not recommend them. Um, um, an electric vehicle in general. There are some that are okay. You just have to test and that pretty much goes with everything. You know what fridge, what car, what TV. You have to.

Amber Warren, PA-C: You just have to test.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Um, can you tell us a favorite meter that you would recommend your clients to buy?

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Um, yeah. So for radio frequency, I like the Safe and Sound Pro. Okay. Um, it is from Safe Living Technologies. Um. It's a great meter to test all the wireless stuff in your house. But then we've got magnetic fields, electric fields, dirty electricity. I mean, it gets pretty complex. And for those, um, there are meters that are like a 3 in 1 where you can do radio frequency, electric fields, magnetic fields, um, for under $200, like the kornett meter. It's pretty good. It's not nearly going to be as sensitive as our equipment, but it's a good place to start.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah, with a c or a k, c c. Cornet.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Cornet. That's great. Oh, you are such a wealth of information. I'm sure people would just die to take you to coffee and spend an hour of your time and just hear all of your.

Cathy Cooke, BBEC, EMRS: Some low mold coffee.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yes. There you go. Thank you so much for joining us. It's been so valuable, and I know there's going to be so many great takeaways and things that people can implement at home right away with regards to both mold and EMF. So thank you, Kathy, and we'll list all your information. People can find you. I know on your website is probably the best place to locate you. So we'll list Cathy's website, um, for in-home mold testing and EMF testing and all things healthy. Healthy building, right? Yeah. Thank you so much for your time. Thank you. We appreciate it. Thank you for listening to the Functional Medicine Foundations podcast. For more information on topics covered today. Specialties available at the FMI center for Optimal Health and the highest Quality of supplements and more. Go to

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