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© Cheryl Ciecko, 2017

Cheryl Ciecko, AIA, ALA, LEED AP is a licensed architect who improves the health of people by helping them avoid toxin exposure in their buildings.  Cheryl also shares information on a variety of other potential toxin impacts affecting health, including food, products, water quality, and air quality.  Individual consulting is available upon request.


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Genetic Testing for Mold Sensitivity - The HLA-DR Gene

January 17, 2017



Why do some people become chronically ill following an exposure to toxic mold, while others recover quickly OR have no symptoms at all?


Genes can be a factor in susceptibility to mold toxicity leading to serious health challenges.   Those who carry a specific gene called the HLA-DR gene, can have difficulty recovering from mold and other toxin exposures.  Allergies are also common with certain gene combinations related to mold and toxins.


It is estimated that 25% of Americans have the genetic predisposition to be affected by mold.  However, is seems 100% of my family is susceptible, including my husband who is not genetically related to me.  In a study of people affected by the mold being found in the Pensacola Judicial Building in Florida, it is estimated that 50% of the occupants who worked in the building experienced health challenges related to the mold there.  Perhaps the 25% number is not accurate or high enough?  In the United States, just 25% of the population is over 80 million people!


The 25% + of people who carry the HLA-DRBQ gene related to mold toxicity, do not make the antibodies needed to deactivate and remove mold toxins.  Their bodies cannot recognize the mold toxins as ‘bad guys’ to be eliminated.  So the toxins get stored…


    “Mold toxins are lipophilic, meaning their molecular structure consists of fatty acid molecules. For this reason, mold toxins migrate to and deposit in the brain because the brain is the ‘fattiest’ organ, consisting of 60% fat.”


Once mold toxins enter the brain, they start to destroy neurons and hormone production, and eventually lead to many other symptoms and chronic health issues including:


Autoimmune Diseases 

Multiple Sclerosis

Rheumatoid Arthritis 

Hashimoto’s Disease

Graves Disease 


Sjogren’s Syndrome 

Parkinson’s Disease 

Alzheimer’s Disease 

Heart Disease 

ADD/ADHD and more


A full list of possible mold exposure health symptoms are listed HERE.


So, a staggering 25 percent or more, of the population is genetically wired to have a tough time ridding itself of the deadly microbes associated with water-damaged buildings. For this group of individuals, the invading pathogens are not "tagged" and cleared by the body. Instead, they run freely. The body is then left to deal with the attackers in any way it can—which leads to inflammation, so often at the root of chronic conditions.


Blood testing is available to answer the question of genetic susceptibility to health effects related to mold toxins. The proper genetic test - HLA-DR - Genetic testing determines whether you are in the population of people genetically unable to properly detect and eliminate biotoxins from mold/lyme and other sources via the immune system.


HLA DR Testing Details:



    Test: HLA DR by PCR

    Lab to Use: LabCorp



    Spec: Lavender, room temp

    Code #: 167120

    DX Codes: 279.10, 377.34, 279.8

    CPT Code: 81375



Additional blood tests can help determine if mold exposure is involved in health challenges.  These tests include a series of immune inflammatory and other markers commonly out of range in CIRS/Biotoxin Illness as a result of mold/lyme.


- C4A - Indicative of recent mold exposure.
- TGF-Beta 1 - Indicative of longer term mold exposure.
- MMP9
- ADH/Osmolality
- AntiGliadin Antibodies


 CLICK HERE for more blood testing information.


For an updated Lab Order Sheet - CLICK HERE


For an Physician Results Sheet - CLICK HERE


C3a & C4a Testing Details:

Lab to use:  QUEST



Lab testing procedures are critical for valid results.   The current recommendation for C4a and C3a testing is to use Quest Labs for these tests, as the LabCorp testing is no longer valid for some reason.   It is normal for results to take up to 4 weeks to return.  Updated Lab Orders can be found above.


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