Health Effects of Stachybotrys Exposure

Stachybotrys is a black mold (fungus) which grows on wet areas containing cellulose such as wood, paper, carpet, or drywall material. Stachybotrys contains several quite toxic mycotoxins such as trichothecenes (which damage the immune and nervous systems) and hemolysin (which causes hemorrhage or bleeding).

A study was made of 32 adults who were exposed to Stachybotrys and other molds at work or home. Nineteen of these patients (59%) were exposed to airborne Stachybotrys levels which exceeded 1,000 spores per cubic meter of air- a very high level of Stachybotrys.  Health problems experienced after exposure to Stachybotrys included chronic cough (found in 79% of patients), shortness of breath/asthma (70%), nasal stuffiness (54%), difficulty concentrating (53%), poor memory (53%), chronic fatigue (51%), headache (51%), frequent vomiting (18%), and severe difficulty in sleeping (15%).

Heavy exposure to mold for a prolonged period can also cause chemical sensitivity. Many of the Stachybotrys mold exposed patients also reported being sensitive to low levels of everyday chemicals which worsened many health problems such as asthma, nasal congestion, headaches, chronic fatigue and concentration problems.  The low level chemical exposures which most frequently worsened health problems included second hand tobacco smoke (which worsened health problems in 88% of mold exposed patients), new carpets (59% of patients), perfumes/cologne (53%), and detergents (41%).

Seventeen of the subjects were examined and interviewed 3 years after their exposures to high levels of Stachybotrys mold ended.  Many patients had somewhat improved health symptoms, but most patients were still experiencing chronic health problems like asthma, chronic fatigue and sensitivity to low levels of common chemicals.

This research is published in the February 2010 Allergy.

Other studies have reported that Stachybotrys exposure can cause life-threatening lung hemorhhage in infants.

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