The Mold Avoiders standalone forum and the Mold Avoiders Facebook group are designed for participation by individuals who are working to recover their health from mold-related illness issues by using the mold avoidance approach developed by Erik Johnson.
These discussion resources are presented by the Mold Avoiders organization, which is a spin-off from Paradigm Change and headed by Lisa Petrison.
General information about Mold Avoiders may be found in this Paradigm Change blog article.
Those interested in participating in the Mold Avoiders forum or Facebook group need to have read through the list of rules on this page and to agree to do their best to follow them.
1. Following are the Mold Avoiders Terms of Service: The purpose of the Mold Avoiders forum is to encourage the free exchange of ideas. The entire contents of the Mold Avoiders forum is based upon the opinions of the individual users, not Paradigm Change or Mold Avoiders. Individual posts are based upon the opinions of the respective authors, who may retain copyright as marked. Information on the forum may only be copied, reprinted or redistributed with written permission of the original poster of the information.The information on the Mold Avoiders website and forum is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health professional and is not intended as medical advice. The information on this website is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the personal research and experience of the community. We will attempt to keep all objectionable messages off this site; however, it is impossible to review all messages immediately. All messages expressed on the Mold Avoiders forum, including comments posted to forum entries, represent the views of the author exclusively and Paradigm Change/Mold Avoiders is not responsible for the content of any message.
2. No one associated with Mold Avoiders is a medical practitioner and the vast majority of those posting in Mold Avoiders are not medical practitioners either. Regardless, no one should take as medical advice comments from anyone posting in forums on the Internet. Mold avoidance is not a substitute for appropriate medical treatment from a qualified physician. Please use your own best judgment and the advice of your doctors or other healthcare practitioners in making decisions about treatment of your own health issues, rather than relying on comments from other Mold Avoiders members.
3. Mold Avoiders participants who donate money to Paradigm Change or Mold Avoiders need to be aware that this does not mean that they have entered into a health coaching relationship or any other kind of professional relationship with any other participants or managers of the forum. Donations are accepted to cover expenses associated with keeping the Mold Avoiders and Paradigm Change sites operational, not as payment for services rendered.
5. Mold Avoiders has as its foundation the book A Beginner’s Guide to Mold Avoidance (currently available for free in PDF format to those signing up for occasional email updates from Mold Avoiders). The purpose of the Mold Avoiders forums is for those who are interested in pursuing mold avoidance of the type discussed in the book to be able to ask questions and share their experiences with others.
6. Mold Avoiders members need to have finished reading the book A Beginner’s Guide to Mold Avoidance before posting or commenting in the standalone forum or Facebook group.
7. Only those who have been approved as Mold Avoiders Participants are able to read or post in the standalone Mold Avoiders forum.
8. The Mold Avoiders Facebook group is to be used for posting of new articles or other new information; photos of mold avoidance activities or locations; member polls posted by Mold Avoiders staff members; and similar casual conversations on current general topics of interest to those pursuing mold avoidance. Questions about pursuing mold avoidance itself are to be posted only in the standalone forum, not in the Facebook group. Questions about other recovery-oriented issues may be posted in the Facebook group only by those who have been approved as Mold Avoiders Participants in the standalone forum, not by other group members.
9. Mold Avoiders members are expected to follow the rules on their own, so that active moderation is not required. In the unfortunate event that a member’s post needs to be removed due to a group rule having been broken or for other reasons, the member may be informed that this has happened and asked to be more careful about following the rules in the future. The member then may choose to a) rewrite the post so that it is consistent with the group rules and resubmit it and/or b) use the Mold Avoiders Comments form to offer suggestions for improvements in terms of how Mold Avoiders is run.
10. Please do not bring up moderation decisions or suggestions for improvements in the group discussions, and please do not contact any other staff members or me directly to attempt to discuss these issues. If you have suggestions for improvements in terms of how Mold Avoiders is run or in terms of something that I personally am doing, please share those thoughts with me via the Mold Avoiders Comments submission form.
11. If you feel that a Mold Avoiders member has said something inappropriate, please do not take it upon yourself to try to correct the problem by bringing it up so that everyone else is aware of situation. From what I have seen, this consistently leads to disintegration of online communities rather than improving the situation. Please instead either a) bring the issue up to the person privately; b) use the “Report to Admin” option to alert the Mold Avoiders management that a rule has been broken; or c) let it go. (Note: I consider this to be the most important rule of all, and so please be sure to follow it.)
12. Questions and concerns related to mold avoidance of the sort described in the book are appropriate Mold Avoiders discussion topics. Discussions of issues related to mold avoidance activities not mentioned in the book and of healing activities of all kinds also are appropriate.
13. Only those participants who have been designated as having larger amounts of mold avoidance experience (i.e. Senior Avoiders, Highly Skilled Avoiders, Experienced Avoiders) may offer suggestions on issues related to mold avoidance. Other participants may ask questions about mold avoidance; may point to specific avoidance-related information stated in the Beginner’s Guide or other materials produced by Paradigm Change; and may contribute freely on topics not related to mold avoidance activities.
14. Although bringing up principles of other avoidance approaches (such as those suggested by certain mold doctors or mold remediators) is not forbidden, please keep in mind that the main purpose of Mold Avoiders is for people to learn about the approach discussed in the book A Beginner’s Guide to Mold Avoidance. If you bring up a different approach, please do so in a spirit of open discussion, rather than in a tone that suggests that the other approach has been proven to be correct and thus that the approach discussed in the book is incorrect or unnecessary.
15. We all know that doctors and researchers of all kinds have failed to research in appropriate ways or even to take seriously some of the most important topics discussed in Mold Avoiders, including the mold hyperreactivity phenomenon; the locations effect; and the exact role of toxins of all kinds in various chronic illnesses. The category of Mold & The Medical Establishment in the standalone forum is designed for discussion of this topic.
16. No matter what Mold Avoiders members may say or do, there is no excuse for other participants to engage in ad hominem attacks of them (such as by making disparaging comments about their personality, character, mental/emotional health or intelligence), either in the Mold Avoiders discussions or in other public arenas. Individuals who engage in these kinds of personal attacks of other Mold Avoiders members may face immediate and permanent removal from the Mold Avoiders discussion forum and from the associated Facebook group.
17. More generally, let’s please all be as kind and respectful as possible to one another. It’s hard enough to have this illness without being hurt by other people who are in the same sort of situation that we have been in or who are trying to help us.
18. Let’s also be as kind and respectful as possible when speaking of other individuals who suffer from mold-related illness or similar health issues, or who have made efforts to help those with this type of health problem, even if they are not Mold Avoiders members. No one is perfect and we need all the allies we can get.
19. Regardless of whether individuals are Mold Avoiders members or have made apparent efforts to help people with this sort of illness, please refrain from posting ad hominem attacks of them (that is, criticisms of them that suggest that they are bad people or that they have character/personality problems, rather than criticisms of their specific actions or statements relevant to topics being discussed) in this forum. Hopefully this will result in more productive as well as more civil discourse, in which we can focus specifically on issues of importance to those with this sort of illness rather than getting off track.
20. Mold Avoiders has as its foundation the thinking of Erik Johnson, and we all owe Erik a debt of gratitude with regard to his many years of pioneering work on the topic of mold-related illness. I therefore would like to ask all Mold Avoiders members to be especially careful to be respectful toward him in their forum comments. In addition, it is my feeling that Erik has earned the right to share his thoughts as he sees fit in this forum, and so his comments are not being edited or moderated by Mold Avoiders staff members.
21. Regardless of the circumstances, please do not accuse others of running a “scam” or make other assertions suggesting that they have problematic motives, since this falls into the category of making ad hominem attacks on them. If you believe that an individual or organization is doing something wrong, then please instead make a case for that by pointing out specific problems that you have observed with regard to their behavior or statements, rather than by impugning their general character.
22. If an individual has made a comment that violates a Mold Avoiders rule, you may alert the management by using the “Report To Admin” function. However, please do not contact me (or other Mold Avoiders staff members) privately to share personal criticisms of other members, since these kinds of negative conversations are at best a distraction and usually end up making me significantly less inclined to be willing to engage with this community at all.
23. Discussion of experiences with particular practitioners or remediation professionals is encouraged in Mold Avoiders, but those taking part in these discussions need to follow the Guidelines for Commenting on Practitioners and Other Prominent Individuals. Please take a look at these prior to making comments on this sort of topic.
24. Please do not criticize anyone else’s life choices. It is fine to say, in a kind way, “If you did X, it might be helpful to you.” But please do not say things like, “If you wanted to get better, you would be doing X” or “There is something wrong with you for not doing X” or “What kind of person are you, that you would fail to do X?” For the purposes of Mold Avoiders, other people’s decisions will be considered to be their prerogative and thus respected as such. The goal here is to provide information, and then to let people make their own decisions.
25. Obviously, some people pursuing mold avoidance have more resources (including financial resources) at their disposal than others. In addition, people pursuing mold avoidance vary in terms of their family situations and in some cases may be pursuing non-standard living arrangements (such as living apart from partners or children) for the sake of their health. Please do not criticize or pass judgments on others with regard to financial or family issues, and please refrain from making inquiries about these topics in ways that have the potential of making others feel uncomfortable or defensive about their situations.
26. While it is fine to suggest that certain mold avoidance techniques may be better than others, please do not point to other group members as not being very good at mold avoidance and thus not good sources of mold avoidance information.
27. Unfortunately, there is not yet enough research either on mold avoidance techniques or on the effectiveness of adjunctive healing techniques for those pursuing mold avoidance for anyone to be making any definitive statements on whether or how these should be pursued. Certainly, comments such as “X is has worked for me” or “I have seen X work for others” or “Maybe you could try X, for this reason” or “In my opinion, X would be worth trying in your situation” are appropriate in the forum. However, let’s all please try to avoid comments such as “X is the right thing to do” or “You should do X,” since there is not yet conclusive evidence to support such statements.
28. Please understand that due to the failure of conventional science to appropriately research the mold hyperreactivity phenomenon, virtually all of the knowledge about mold avoidance that is discussed in Mold Avoiders is based on anecdotal reports rather than on peer-reviewed journal articles. Since arguments about methodology have the potential of distracting the focus of the forum away from its core purpose, those who object to this anecdotal knowledge-gathering approach are requested to look elsewhere for information rather than to attempt to participate here.
29. Although most of us here are not medical practitioners, I would like for the underlying principle of Mold Avoiders to be to do everything that we can to minimize the chance that individuals with this sort of illness will be harmed further. Please keep this in mind when making suggestions about treatments.
30. Discussions of political issues, especially those related to environmental issues, are an integral part of Mold Avoiders. Please do not express opinions in the group discussions or to me personally that you do not believe that political discussions should take place in Mold Avoiders, and please be sure that you are following all other group rules when participating in political discussions.
31. Please do not share remarks that members have made in Mold Avoiders outside the forum or group unless you have those people’s written permission. Note that remarks made in the standalone forum may be shared in the Facebook group and vice versa, however.
32. Please post questions about your own personal health issues in new threads, rather than adding them to existing threads.
33. If you would like to ask a question specifically of me, please do so by starting a new thread rather than by adding the question to an existing thread. Please note that while I am willing to answer many questions, I may choose for various reasons not to address certain other questions in general or at particular points in time. Your understanding should that occur will be appreciated.
34. Before posting questions, it is best if members look over the titles of previous threads in the relevant sections of the standalone forum and then skim through any threads that seem that seem that they may be of relevance. This will decrease the amount of repetitive discussion and allow other members to focus more of their time responding to questions that have not already been thoroughly answered.
35. When complex topics that have been frequently discussed in the past in the Mold Avoiders forum are brought up, I may suggest that looking at archived information may be helpful rather than spend my time answering the question.
36. Please post new threads sharing links to news/research/blog articles only if a) you are asking a substantive question or making a substantive point related to the article or b) what you are posting is a new article that to your knowledge has not already been posted in Mold Avoiders. Because there already are so many postings in Mold Avoiders, please do not start threads sharing older articles that are not related to a particular point that you are making, just because you feel that conceivably someone might find them interesting.
37. Members who start threads in either the standalone forum or the Facebook group are not allowed to remove them or close them to further comments. That is not fair to other people who have taken their time to contribute to the threads or who have points that they would like to make in response to existing discussions.
38. When starting a new thread in the Mold Avoiders standalone forum, please choose a simple title that is descriptive of the content of the post. In addition, please make an effort to post the thread in the appropriate forum category. Although forum management occasionally may rename threads or move them to other categories, I would strongly prefer that they not to have to do this since it is time-consuming and can be confusing for people.
39. If you recall someone posting something in Mold Avoiders and now cannot find it, please do not submit posts asking other people to help you look for it. Note that it is fine to post questions asking for general information on particular topics, and so phrasing requests in that way is a possibility.
40. Please do not use the “Reply” function in the Facebook group. Instead, please write any comments that you have all the way at the bottom of the thread. This saves considerable amounts of my time, of the moderators’ time, and of other members’ time, since otherwise we have to read the entire threads over and over again in order to see all the comments.
41. If others are using the Reply function on a Facebook thread, any group member may post the following comment either as a Reply or at the bottom of the thread: “Lisa requests that the Reply function not be used in this group. www.paradigmchange.me/reply/” Because it is distracting to the general discussion, there are to be no other comments about the Reply function issue in the group (e.g. please do not criticize or defend the group policy, apologize or provide explanations with regard to having used the function, promise not to use the function again, or make any similar remarks).
42. Please do not bring up directly or indirectly any so-called “brain retraining” or “neural retraining” programs – such as the Dynamic Neural Retraining System/DNRS (sold by Annie Hopper) or The Gupta Programme (sold by Ashtok Gupta) – in Mold Avoiders discussions, except in the specified section in the standalone forum or on designated threads that I start in the Facebook group.
43. No mention or discussion of the the Hi Tech Air Solutions company or machines is allowed in the Mold Avoiders standalone forum or Facebook group. The reason for this is because the company has filed lawsuits against or sent cease-and-desist letters to a number of mold victims who have criticized their products, with the subsequent climate of fear making it impossible for any sort of useful and open discussion about these products to take place. Previous Mold Avoiders discussions on Hi Tech may be found at the links of Hi Tech Machine Technology and Other Hi Tech Discussion.
44. Although I am in agreement that issues going on in the skies that are related to airplane trails have the potential of affecting mold-sensitized people in negative ways, comments about this topic in Mold Avoiders group in the past have often moved into what I believe to be libelous speech and also generated repeated contentious arguments that have not been relevant to the core purpose of Mold Avoiders. Thus, while it is fine for people to discuss their reactions when the skies look particular ways and to outline the avoidance activities that they pursue when this happens, I have placed very strict restriction on discussions of hypothesized covert activities that may or may not be causing the issues in the skies. For further explanation, please read this discussion of the topic.
45. Please do not state unsubstantiated theories about news events or other topics as if they are proven facts in Mold Avoiders. Insofar as you do not possess linkable evidence of the sort that could be used in a court of law or in a mainstream newspaper story to support a particular assertion, then any comments that are made with regard to that assertion need to be stated as a theory or as a speculation or as a rumor rather than something that should be accepted as the truth.
46. Some basic information on ionic detox footbaths is supplied in the Mold Avoiders FAQ’s, and there is a section of the forum devoted to the footbaths. Note that in the past, there have been occasional comments from Mold Avoiders newcomers suggesting that detox footbaths are a “scam,” and that this type of comment impugning the motives of the makers of such machines is not consistent with some of the group rules listed above. In addition, while I am not unwilling to discuss issues of science regarding these machines, I am disinclined to repeat the same discussion over and over again. I thus am requiring that prior to posting criticisms of this type of machine in Mold Avoiders, participants must have read all the threads in the ionic footbath section of the standalone forum and then have informed me that they have done this.
47. Erik Johnson’s thoughts on mold avoidance and other issues related to microbial toxicity issues are complex and easily misunderstood. If you would like to state a summary of Erik’s position on a particular topic in the Mold Avoiders forums, please provide a link to or an exact quote from materials either written by or officially endorsed by Erik to support your conclusions so that the topic can be discussed in a rigorous way.
48. Participants may share links to relevant blog posts or media articles that they have written themselves, provided that those articles are new or related to topics that are being discussed. Insofar as the focus is on providing useful or interesting information rather than selling products or asking for money, it is fine if these articles are presented by commercial organizations or individuals holding fundraisers.
49. I am engaged in affiliate relationships with several companies, including Vitacost, Amazon, Walmart, Microbe Formulas, Moosejaw and a number of mattress companies. Occasionally, I may share affiliate links for these companies in the Mold Avoiders forums or in articles published by Paradigm Change, and may receive a small percentage of any sales that result from people clicking on those links.
50. Open discussion of products or services of possible relevance to mold illness and mold avoidance is encouraged, provided that the discussion follows the rest of the rules. However, there also need to be some constraints on the selling of products by participants so that it does not get out of hand. Here are the specifics on what is and isn’t allowed.
* Only Mold Avoiders participants with higher levels of mold avoidance experience (i.e. Senior Avoiders, Highly Skilled Avoiders, Experienced Avoiders, and Mold Avoiders staff members) may discuss products that they are selling in the Mold Avoiders forum or Facebook group.
* Insofar as these more experienced individuals want to include a mention of the products that they are selling in their post signature on the standalone Mold Avoiders forum, that needs to be approved by me first via PM.
* These more experienced individuals also may ask me to start a thread in the “Products” section of the standalone forum, for discussion of the product that they are selling. Those selling the products as well as other members may add as many comments to this thread as they like.
* These product threads will be maintained indefinitely, so that new comments can continue to be added to them. That way, potential purchasers can consider the products in the context of everything that has been said about them in the forum.
* If the individuals selling products or services feel that these might be helpful for another member’s particular situation, they are permitted to make the following comment on any thread: “You may be interested in X product, which I sell and have been helped by, and so here’s the link to the thread about it.” Further elaboration is not allowed.
* If someone not selling a product or service brings it up in a dedicated post, then those who are selling the product may comment on that thread provided that they disclose their status as sales reps.
* Those who are selling products must disclose that status every time they make a comment about their products anywhere in the forum.
* Those selling products may not bring up those products to other members through the forum PM system or the Facebook PM system, though they may respond to inquiries by PM if others approach them. Please let me know if you receive unrequested solicitations for products from Mold Avoiders members through the PM systems.
* Mold Avoiders participants who are hoping to buy or sell particular products (not forbidden by the group rules or by law) may post a free classified in the “Marketplace” section, but are not allowed to mention it elsewhere in the forum.
* Those posting about products that they are selling need to be aware that they are being allowed to mention those products so that open discussion about them can take place, not because I have decided that it is their right to get free advertising. Thus, those wanting to bring up products that they sell in the discussions need to send me a statement that neither they nor the companies they represent will be suing or otherwise attempting to harm any Mold Avoiders members who make critical or negative comments about the products.
* Individuals who have not contacted me stating that they agree to all these conditions are prohibited from mentioning products that they sell in the Mold Avoiders forum or Facebook group.
* Please note that the mention by Mold Avoiders members of products or services in the Mold Avoiders forum or Facebook group does not constitute any kind of recommendation or endorsement by the Mold Avoiders or Paradigm Change organization; by me (Lisa Petrison); or by any other Mold Avoiders staff member.
51. Please do not make comments on threads of the sort that suggest, “I have more information about this – PM me for more details.” This sort of language is often used by those selling products and thus is not appropriate in the context of the other rules on this topic. If the information in question is not related to sales of a product, then I would prefer that it be shared with everyone in the discussion so that many people may benefit, rather than kept confidential.
52. Almost all individuals with mold illness are living under substantial financial constraints. They thus rarely have any ability to provide financial help to other illness sufferers and often get upset when they feel that others with the illness are pressuring them to give money. Individuals who are holding fundraisers in order to pay for expenses related to mold avoidance or medical treatments may post about them in the Fundraisers Classifieds section of the standalone forum and also may request that they be included in the Mold Illness Fundraisers page on the Paradigm Change website. They are not allowed to post about them elsewhere in Mold Avoiders or to contact other members about them through the PM systems, however.
53. Please keep in mind that most of the individuals in the Mold Avoiders group are under substantial mental, emotional and physical stress, and that they therefore very well may not have the extra resources to help others to pursue avoidance either on an unpaid or paid basis. Please confine any requests for assistance to the Marketplace Classifieds section of the Mold Avoiders forum, rather than mentioning such requests in other sections of the forum.
54. Please be careful not to state or suggest that individuals who offer information or instruction related to mold avoidance or other health-related topics are acting in ways that are unethical, immoral or sinful. In addition, please do not bring up the current availability of free resources as a way of arguing or implying that anyone has any obligation to make additional free or inexpensive resources available. While the positives and negatives of various resources being offered may be discussed, please restrict comments to quality issues such as whether the information provided is likely to be helpful to others, rather than sharing personal judgments about the motivations or morality of the people offering the information.
55. Mold Avoiders is a recovery help forum, not a support group. Although you very well may find emotional support here, please keep in mind that the primary purpose of the forum is to provide information and discussion that will help individuals to move toward recovery from their illness. In particular, please use the forums in order to seek out solutions to problems, rather than to complain about problems for the sake of complaining about them.
56. Very often, feeling depressed or suicidal is a symptom of being exposed to particularly problematic mold toxins. It thus seems important for people to feel free to bring up these symptoms in the Mold Avoiders forum, so that others can use the information to help them to pursue mold avoidance more effectively. However, please note that few Mold Avoiders members have any clinical psychological training and that most members are currently under substantial emotional stress of their own. Participants thus should not be expected to provide emotional support or guidance to those who are feeling suicidal or undergoing other emotional crises. I encourage those who are experiencing these kinds of acute emotional issues to seek out other sources of emotional support and counseling from people who are better qualified to provide them with the needed help, rather than looking for that sort of help in Mold Avoiders.
57. Please follow standard “netiquette” (such as avoiding the use of too many exclamation points or all capital letters) when posting or commenting in Mold Avoiders.
58. Please comment in the Mold Avoiders group by writing your own words, not by sharing memes or GIF’s or other artwork. While links or photos may be shared, please provide a brief summary of what these are about so that people do not need to work to figure it out.
59. There are many other groups and other sources of information about toxic mold illness on Facebook and elsewhere on the Internet. Mold Avoiders has the specific purpose of discussing mold avoidance and related treatments as discussed in the book A Beginner’s Guide to Mold Avoidance. Those who would prefer a different kind of discussion are encouraged to find groups that are more to their liking, so that Mold Avoiders can stay focused on its main purpose. All members should feel wholly free to bring up other groups and other sources of information in Mold Avoiders.
60. “Mold Avoiders” (as well as “Paradigm Change,” “Rabbit Hole,” “Avoiding Mold,” “Locations Effect,” “Locations Ratings” and “Living Clean in a Dirty World”) are trademarks belonging to Paradigm Change/Lisa Petrison. Please do not use “Mold Avoiders” or any of these other names as the name of your organization or other enterprise without my written permission. Information about circumstances under which I may permit the name “Mold Avoiders” to be used by Facebook groups run by other individuals can be found in the Mold Avoiders FAQ’s section of the Paradigm Change website.
61. Although my goal is to make Mold Avoiders into a discussion forum that will endure for many years into the future regardless of what happens to me, I am not yet certain whether that goal will be achieved. Please enter into this experience with the goal of obtaining value from discussions here while the forum lasts, rather than with the expectation that discussions necessarily will go on forever. Insofar as I do discontinue active discussions, I will do what I am reasonably able to allow previous discussions to remain accessible to forum participants.
62. Both the Mold Avoiders standalone forum and its associated Facebook group are closed forums. Although anyone may become a member of either of these, discussions cannot be viewed by non-members or robots. Discussions thus should not be searchable online. I promise that this level of privacy will continue to be maintained permanently in the future for both these forums.
63. If unforeseen issues come up, additional rules may be added to this list.
A PDF version of the book A Beginner’s Guide to Mold Avoidance is currently available for free to those signing up for occasional emails about mold avoidance topics from Mold Avoiders.
More about mold avoidance is on this Paradigm Change website page.
I would like to thank Erik Johnson for developing the concept and the specifics of mold avoidance over the past three decades and for generously sharing his knowledge with others.
Thanks again for joining me in Mold Avoiders. I hope that it will provide a positive and helpful experience for all involved.
Mold Avoiders standalone forum:
Mold Avoiders on Facebook:
Information about Mold Avoiders:
Lisa Petrison, Ph.D.
Paradigm Change/Mold Avoiders
info at paradigmchange dot me
Updated November 23, 2019
Links on this page are in green (no underlining).