October 6, 2020
Mold and Thyroid: How Mold Can Trigger Hashimoto

Autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s often have an overwhelming effect on your health. One of the most alarming and misleading factors that contribute to the development of Hashimoto’s is mold.

Can Mold Exposure Affect Thyroid Health?

Yes, mold exposure can affect your thyroid health because continuously growing mold spores produce toxic mycotoxins. Though mold exposure in small amounts does not present any significant health problems in healthy individuals, individuals suffering from an autoimmune condition can experience serious health concerns if exposed to mold.

May 7, 2020

How Can You Reduce and Prevent Mold Allergy?
Mold is a type of multicellular organism found throughout nature and in our own homes. People are said to have a mold allergy when their immune system overreacts to breathing in mold spores.

5 August 21, 2019

black mold exposure and headache

Black mold can release harmful toxins into the surrounding area. A person inhaling these toxins can experience certain health problems. People with weakened immune systems or lung disease have an increased risk of experiencing these health problems. In this blog, we will discuss what black mold is, how it affects your health, and how you can treat and prevent black mold exposure.

March 26, 2018
The Center for Occupational & Environmental Medicine (COEM) has successfully treated patients from all over the world since 1978. Our office consists of three MD’s and a full support staff dedicated to helping patients gain optimal health. Our physicians have seen many cases of mold exposure and its toxic effects. We are experienced in the accurate diagnosis and treatment of mold injuries.


COEM specializes in Environmental, Functional, and Integrative Medicine – which are all board-certified and evidence-based fields of medicine. Our center is one of the few resources for the practice of Environmental Medicine in the entire Southeast. Our physicians treat patients using a combination of conventional allopathic medicine with holistic medicine treatments using some of the best, scientifically validated therapies available. We take the time to develop and monitor individualized treatment plans designed to heal the whole body, not just relieve symptoms.


We look for biomarkers of exposure through blood and allergy testing to determine sensitivity and the type of mold you have been exposed to. Indicators of mold poisoning include, but are not limited to, a low white blood cell count, poor lung function, and neurological damage associated with exposure to biotoxins. Knowing the type of mold and its affects can help the doctor pinpoint the treatment.


The initial appointment is an entire day, starting with a lengthy consultation reviewing your life and health history. We evaluate several factors throughout your history including, allergies, toxins, infections, stress, genetics, lifestyle, and nutrition. At the end of your appointment, the doctor will go over treatment recommendations. To learn more about our new patient appointments, please contact our New Patient Coordinator, Gabrielle at 843-572-1600 or complete the form found on our ‘Schedule Appointment’ page.  

Dr. Bettina Herbert discusses Mold Toxicity on ABC 4’s Lowcountry Live.


Exposure to toxic mold can cause numerous health problems. After pollen, mold is the leading cause of outdoor airborne allergies. Mold produces several harmful substances like allergens, irritants, and the most harmful of all, mycotoxins – a potentially toxic substance. Mold and the toxins they secrete (i.e. mycotoxins) are increasingly being recognized as a source of illness and wide a range of symptoms, ranging from mild to severe, including:


  • Muscle and joint aches and pains (including cramping)
  • Coughing & Wheezing
  • Nosebleeds
  • Sinus pain
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Sleep disorders
  • Night Sweats
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Difficulties losing weight
  • Skin rashes
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Immune suppression
  • Kidney and lung disease
  • Anxiety & Depression
  • Difficulty focusing or finishing a task
  • Disorganization
  • Feeling disconnected, confused, or losing parts of your personality
  • Nerve Pain
  • Numbness & tingling


Dr Allan Lieberman, in his paper Explosion of Mold Cases in Homes, Workplaces and Occupational Medicine Practice, examined 48 patients who were heavily exposed to mold and stated that the following problems are caused by mold:


  • Muscle and joint pain (71%)
  • Fatigue and weakness (70%)
  • Neurocognitive dysfunction (67%)
  • Sinusitis (65%)
  • Headache (65%)
  • Gastrointestinal problems (58%)
  • Shortness of breath (54%)
  • Anxiety/depression/irritability (54%)
  • Chest tightness (42%)
  • Insomnia (40%)
  • Dizziness (38%)
  • Numbness/tingling (35%)
  • Laryngitis (35%)
  • Tremors (25%)
  • Heart palpitations (21%)


Nearly 50% of buildings are water damaged and can be a host to many other dangers like bacteria and inflammatory toxins (know as biotoxins).


These organisms can metabolize materials and chemicals that are used in the construction of buildings and change them into new chemicals called inflammogens.


When someone who is genetically susceptible becomes exposed to these toxins, Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) can occur. This is the body’s uncontrollable inflammatory response to a toxin it can’t get rid of, causing a flood of inflammatory and hormonal changes.


This condition most frequently happens in the 24% of the population who have the genetic susceptibility (HLA DR/DQ genotype) who can’t detoxify mold well (source: Jill Carnahan, MD).


The physicians at COEM are experts in treating mold related illnesses, including CIRS. If you suspect CIRS or toxic mold exposure as the cause of your health problems, call our doctors today at 843-572-1600.

Posted in Mold Treatment
March 26, 2018


Mold, fungi and mildew are all terms generally used to describe a specific group of organisms that can be found both indoors and outdoors. Molds grow wherever there is enough surface moisture to keep them alive and are found in every type of environment, and in every social and economic condition.

Mold and mold spores require moisture and a food source, such as cellulose or decaying food, to grow. As mold spores swell with water and grow, they elongate, forming balloon-like protuberances (hyphae), which secrete digestive enzymes and mycotoxins. The fungi then digest the food source to support their growth. About 100,000 fungal species have already been identified; in fact, fungi are estimated to comprise an astounding 25% of the world’s biomass. Molds are capable of growing on a variety of different surfaces, like, fabric, paper, and wood. The most common indoor molds are:

  • Stachybotrys – also known as ‘toxic black mold’, produces trichothecenes and other mycotoxins. It feeds off cellulose usually found in dry wall and can become airborne on dust particulates.
  • Alternaria – found in damp places indoors, such as showers or under leaky sinks or ceilings.
  • Aspergillus – found growing on dust, powdery food items, and building materials like dry walls.
  • Penecillium – found typically on water damaged materials and are mostly of green and blue color.
  • Cladosporium – capable of growing in cool areas as well as warm areas.


Water damage is a leading culprit of mold toxicity. Since odorless mold can live in hidden spots and floorboards, it often lurks quietly and indefinitely.

Mold spores are invisible to naked eye, but still are found everywhere. Open windows, doorways and even ventilation systems are getaways through which these spores can enter the home or office. These molds will only land somewhere if the conditions are ideal for their growth i.e. places with excessive moisture and with a supply of suitable nutrients. Wet cellulose materials act as a great support for mold growth – these includes paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles and wood products. Wallpaper, insulation materials and upholstery are other typical launch pads for mold growth.


Environmental sampling can be performed to check for spores and mycotoxins. Placing agar plated mold dishes in suspected moldy environments can yield counts of colony forming units. One study implies more than four colonies could be a problem, especially for those with recurrent sinusitis.

Calling in a mold inspector to do a thorough evaluation and written report of their findings is important. If litigation is involved it is wise to bring in a CIH, Certified Industrial Hygienist, who is qualified by training to determine the presence and extent of mold over growth.

Posted in Mold Treatment