Woman has been ‘slowly POISONED for years after living in a flat with a mouldy bathroom which caused memory loss, skin rashes and her hair to fall out’
- Emma Marshall lived in a flat in Hackney, London, for a year in 2014
- For years after she suffered symptoms that left her bedbound by 2018
- She saw an alternative medicine doctor after NHS were unable to find cause
- Urine sample showed her levels of mycotoxin were dangerously high
A woman fears she has been slowly poisoned by the mould in her old flat, causing years of exhaustion, memory loss and hair loss.
Emma Marshall, 29, lived in a property in Hackney, east London, which had ‘thick black mould’ in the bathroom for a year in 2014.
Since then, her health has steadily declined, as symptoms such as brain fog, headaches and skin rashes took over and ‘sucked the life out of her’.
Ms Marshall, who works in the music industry, was passed around various doctors. But none of them seemed to know why her body was so weak.
At the end of last year, Ms Marshall, who said she was bed-bound due to her symptoms, paid to see a private functional medical doctor who works in alternative medicine.
A urine sample revealed her levels of mycotoxin – caused by mould – were off the chart.
Emma Marshall, 29, fears she has been slowly poisoned by the mould in her flat in 2014, causing years of exhaustion, memory loss and hair loss
Ms Marshall, who moved out of the flat in Hackney in 2015, has been riddled with symptoms such as brain fog, headaches and skin rashes
Ms Marshall found her hair falling out in clumps as her body became so weak
At the end of last year, Ms Marshall, who said she was bedbound due to her symptoms, paid to see a private functional medical doctor who revealed her levels of mycotoxin – caused by mould – were off the chart
Ms Marshall said: ‘When I met with the functional medicine doctor, we talked about the kind of environment I lived and worked in.
‘As soon as I said I started to feel unwell in 2014, when I lived in the flat, something clicked.
‘Since then, my body has broken and continued to be slowly poisoned over the years.’
Before 2014, Ms Marshall was the picture of health, enjoying a fast-paced life working London.
She moved out of the flat in Hackney to be closer to her new job, unaware of the string of health issues that were to come.
Ms Marshall said: ‘I’d had a few symptoms, like acne, exhaustion and aches and pains throughout my body, but I thought it was down to stress and working a lot.
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‘People are used to living around mould and not knowing what it’s doing to their body and, at that point, I had never heard of mycotoxins.’
In February 2015, Ms Marshall began to see serious changes in her health.
She had a serious kidney infection, which resulted in her needing a catheter – a thin, flexible tube used to empty the bladder – to be fitted for two weeks.
Then, in April, she had a nasty fall in the street and fractured her arm. But the fall led to nerve pain so terrible in her arm, shoulder and neck, she was barely able to move.
Ms Marshall then needed her appendix removed, after experiencing severe abdominal pain.
For months, she was passed around various different doctors. But none seemed to know why her body was reacting so extremely.
Ms Marshall said: ‘Nobody ever questioned why my body broke down so severely in so many different ways. I was simply called unlucky.
‘Because the doctors couldn’t find anything, you think it’s all in your head and so just feel like you have to get on with it. It is a very isolating place to be in, though.
‘Knowing something is wrong and not being heard tests your strength and makes you feel like you’re screaming into an abyss.’
Ms Marshall was passed around various different doctors after having a kidney infection, nerve pain and appendix removed. But nobody seemed to know why her body was overreacting
Ms Marshall thought her symptoms, like acne, exhaustion and aches and pains throughout the body, were down to stress and working a lot
Ms Marshall said doctors told her she was simply ‘unlucky’ due to the severity of her symptoms
Ms Marshall battled ailments including flu-like symptoms, nerve, joint and muscular pain, headaches, memory loss, brain fog, insomnia, rashes, bloating, acne, thinning hair and facial swelling.
She said: ‘I would wonder why I couldn’t do certain things, but then also had to just accept how I was as my new normality.
‘At my worst, I could only just about manage getting a taxi to work, then I’d go home and go straight to bed.
‘People would think I was just being dramatic, which would make me isolate myself even more.’
Towards the end of 2018, at rock bottom, Ms Marshall took to the internet desperate for answers, and stumbled across a page about mycotoxin poisoning.
After researching more, she became convinced that is what she had, and paid to see a private functional medicine doctor who looks at patients holistically and tries to determine the root cause, rather than treating individual symptoms.
Ms Marshall, who also experienced bloating, is determined to ‘detoxify’ her body
Ms Marshall said she felt like she was ‘dying’, convinced the mould was the cause
HOW CAN BLACK MOULD CAUSE HEALTH PROBLEMS?
Moulds produce allergens (substances that can cause an allergic reaction), irritants and, sometimes, toxic substances.
Inhaling or touching mould spores may cause an allergic reaction, such as sneezing, a runny nose, red eyes and skin rash. Moulds can also cause asthma attacks.
Black mould often thrives in humid areas, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, and shower cubicles.
Although not recognised by official health bodies, black mould poisoning could be a form of mycotoxicosis, which may occur if a person breathes in too many mycotoxins over a long time.
Mycotoxins are fungal metabolites which when ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin could cause toxic disease in human and animals.
The adverse health effects of range from acute poisoning to long-term effects such as immune deficiency and cancer, according to the World Health Organisation.
Although there have been little large studies into mycotoxins, and its significance is only fairly recently recognised, researchers have noted that mycotoxicosis was ‘the neglected disease’ which can be overlooked.
Mycotoxins are typically found in food due to infected crops. The moulds grow cereals, nuts, spices, dried fruits, apples and coffee beans, often under warm and humid conditions.
Exposure to mycotoxins can happen either directly by eating infected food or indirectly from animals that are fed contaminated feed, in particular from milk.
In February 2019, she was shocked to discover that her levels of mycotoxins – which, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), are naturally occurring toxins produced by mould, and can pose a serious health threat – were sky high.
Convinced it was breathing in toxins while living in the mouldy flat that triggered her nightmare, Ms Marshall said: ‘The results really shocked me. I figured I’d likely have some mycotoxins in my system, but the doctor told me my levels were off the charts.
‘He asked how I felt, and I said, “I know this sounds dramatic, but I feel as if I am dying, and the life is being slowly sucked out of me”.
‘It was traumatic knowing my body was failing and not to know why. Now it’s just as scary to discover I was being slowly poisoned.’
Determined to get well again, Ms Marshall and has set-up a GoFundMe page to help with the cost of her ongoing care.
Using an alternative approach, she plans to take binders – which aim to ‘trap’ toxins and help move them out of the body – for around a year, before also having a type of stem cell rejuvenation.
With the funds raised through her GoFundMe page, she is hoping to travel to a specialist clinic in Mexico for the treatment.
On the page, she said: ‘Treatment is not available on the NHS, due to their lack of understanding of autoimmune and chronic illness. There is a huge lack of research in the UK into Mycotoxin poisoning, CIRS and mould illness.
‘Healing is not quick and simple. It’s not a case of taking a pill and fixing something, but of finding the root cause and doing everything in my power to reset it,’ she said.
‘Functional medicine is amazing when it comes to chronic illness. They can piece everything together like a puzzle, rather than just treating the symptoms.
By speaking out, Ms Marshall hopes to raise awareness of mould and mycotoxin poisoning in the hope that, one day, it will be better understood by both medical professionals and members of the public alike.
She said: ‘I would really like to see testing for mycotoxin poisoning as standard protocol, especially if someone is living in a mouldy environment – but I know change must come from the top down, and not within the NHS.
‘Not everybody will have as adverse a reaction as me, but those that do should be dealt with straight away and listened to.’
To donate, visit GoFundMe.
Ms Marshall is now raising funds to travel to a specialist clinic called Sanoviv in Mexico for treatment. She plans to take binders – which aim to ‘trap’ toxins and help move them out of the body – for around a year, before also having a type of stem cell rejuvenation
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