The term “toxic mold” is not accurate. While certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce toxins (specifically mycotoxins), the molds themselves are not toxic, or poisonous. Hazards presented by molds that may produce mycotoxins should be considered the same as other common molds which can grow in your house. There is always a little mold everywhere – in the air and on many surfaces. There are very few reports that toxigenic molds found inside homes can cause unique or rare health conditions such as pulmonary hemorrhage or memory loss. Read below on how mold has affected human health.
Stachybotrys chartarum and Stachybotrys chlorohalonata, are known as “black mold” or “toxic black mold” in the U.S., and are frequently associated with poor indoor air quality that arises after fungal growth on water-damaged building materials or buildings suffering from moisture intrusion or buildings with high humidity problems.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “The term ‘toxic black mold’ is not accurate. While certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce toxins (specifically mycotoxins), the molds themselves are not toxic, or poisonous. Hazards presented by molds that may produce mycotoxins should be considered the same as other common molds which can grow in your house.
We need further studies
Professor Berlin D. Nelson states in his article about S. Chartarum: One of the most important areas where we lack information is the relationship between exposure to bioaerosols of S. chartartum (both in time and amount of the fungus) and effects on human health.
The possibility exists that there are multiple modes of action forS. chartarum to affect human health. Mycotoxicosis is clearly important but the immunosuppressant compounds may also have a role, although it is not clearly understood. The bioactive compounds may lead to lung dysfunction through various mechanisms. In addition, hemolytic compounds may be important, especially in infants. The presence of a hemolysin may lead medical investigators to view this fungus as a potential pathogen and not strictly as a mycotoxin producer. Also, the fungus could be an allergen. Plus, two or more of these modes may act together as suggested by Jarvis et al..
Important!!!! Although there are many unanswered questions about the effects of S. chartarum on human health, the accumulation of data (from observations and research) over the past 65 years tells us that one should not handle materials contaminated with S. chartarum(without proper safety procedures) and strongly indicates that indoor environments contaminated with S. chartarum are not healthy, especially for children, and may result in serious illness.”
- In the late 1930s, stachybotryotoxicosis was reported in humans working on collective farms in Russia. People affected were those who handled hay or feed grain infested with S. chartarum or were exposed to the aerosols of dust and debris from the contaminated materials. Some of these individuals had burned the straw or even slept on straw-filled mattresses. The infested straw was often black from growth of the fungus. Common symptoms in humans were rash, especially in areas subject to perspiration, dermatitis, pain and inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat, conjunctivitis, a burning sensation of the eyes and nasal passages, tightness of the chest, cough, bloody rhinitis, fever, headache, and fatigue. Workers developed symptoms within two to three days of exposure to the fungus. Some members of the Russian teams investigating this disease rubbed the fungus onto their skin to determine its direct toxicity. The fungus induced local and systemic symptoms similar to those observed in naturally occurring cases. The article by Drobotko is a good source of information on the Russian experience with this problem
- In 1986, Croft et al. reported an outbreak of trichothecene toxicosis in a Chicago home. Over a 5-year period, the family complained of headaches, sore throats, flue symptoms, recurring colds, diarrhea, fatigue, dermatitis, and general malaise. Air sampling of this home revealed spores of S. chartarum. The fungus was found growing on moist organic debris in an un-insulated cold air duct and on some wood fiber ceiling material. The home had a chronic moisture problem that favored mold growth. Extracts from the duct debris and contaminated building materials were toxic to test animals and several macrocyclic trichothecenes were identified in the extracts. Important!!! When the mold problem was corrected, these symptoms associated with trichothecene toxicosis disappeared.