CIRS-Mold Exposure from front-loading washing machines

Another potential source of mold and biotoxin exposure is front-loading washing machines.  Complaints began to surface online several years ago regarding foul smells when the washing machine doors were left closed after use.  The complaints allege pungent smelling clothing even after the articles of clothing had been washed and also the presence of visible mold growth on the seal of the door of the washing machine.  A reveiw of the available data show that certain front-loading washing machines that were manufactured between 2001 and 2010 were found to have mold and mildew buildup.  

A preliminary settlement was reached with Whirlpool and Sears in several class-action lawsuits involving 5.6 million Whirlpool, Maytag, and Kenmore front-loaders made by Whirlpool. The parties eventually came to an agreement and members of the class had until mid-October of 2016 to collect a rebate or refund.  Below is a statement on the Whirlpool website that addresses the status of a class action lawsuit.

A settlement has been reached with Whirlpool Corporation (“Whirlpool”) and Sears, Roebuck and Co. (“Sears”) (together, “Defendants”) in several class action lawsuits claiming that certain front-loading washing machines manufactured between 2001 and 2010 fail to adequately self-clean themselves of laundry residue, resulting in mold or mildew buildup that can cause bad odors and ruined laundry. Defendants deny they did anything wrong.

A complete list of the affected front-loading washing machines can be found on the website www.washersettlement.com.  Also, note that LG has also reached a settlement, involving up to 800,000 front-loaders bought in the U.S. between 2002 and 2006. 

Consumer Reports recently published that manufacturers have taken various steps to alleviate the problem that some front-loading washers have had with mold.  However, they stated that because multiple factors could have led to mold issues that they cannot guarantee that the problem is 100% resolved.  The recommendation is that if one is interested in a front-load washer, they should look at online reviews of the particular model that they are considering purchasing to see if others have encountered any issues. Another option is to consider purchasing a High-Efficiency Top-Loading washing machine.  

The implication here is clear.  Numerous peer-reviewed studies have consistently shown that mold and the related biotoxins including endotoxins, mycotoxins and bacteria cause a cascading series of symptoms that lead to a multi-system, multisymptom illness known broadly as Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). Accordingly, consumers who are genetically susceptible (24% of the population) for developing CIRS, have a front-load washing machine and have one or more family members with chronic illness that is seemingly unexplained need to consider the possibility that mold illness from the front-load washing may be the underlying cause.  In this case, a visit to a physician that is trained in diagnosing and treating mold is strongly advised.  Dr. Lawson and Proactive Wellness is a leading CIRS-Mold Illness specialty practice serving patients in the Northern Virginia and out of state patients as well.   Click here to read our comprehensive CIRS-Mold page to learn more about diagnosing and treating rold-related illnesses.

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