Indoor Mold Exposure and Autism

Exposure to indoor mold, mycotoxins, bacteria, and water damage may play a role in the development and/or worsening of autism spectrum and Asperger’s.  Kilburn et al reported that 6 out 35 indoor mold exposed children aged 5 to 13 were diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorders 1. 

Extensive neurological and neuropsychiatric testing was performed on the 6 indoor mold exposed autistic children, 8 autistic spectrum boys without indoor mold exposure, and 29 children without autistic spectrum or indoor mold water damage exposure. The average number of neurological and neuropsychiatric abnormalities were 12.2 in the indoor mold exposed autistic children, 6.8 in the autistic spectrum boys without mold exposure, and 1.0 in unexposed control children 1. Common abnormalities included problems in balance, visual field, and problems with digit symbol substitution, writing errors, and picture completion 1

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A study of 4,779 Swedish children which followed them up for 5 years between ages 1-3 and 6-8 years reported that home bedroom water condensation in windows and walls was associated with a significantly increased risk of autism spectrum disorder (OR 2.13, 95% CI 1.11-4.08) 
2. An Italian study of 172 autistic children and 61 controls (siblings and step-siblings) (aged 2 to 12 years) reported that serum of levels of ochratoxins and aflatoxins and urine levels of deoxynivalenol were significantly higher in the autistic children 3 .

References / Sources

1.              Kilburn KH, Thrasher JD, Immers NB. Do terbutaline- and mold-associated impairments of the brain and lung relate to autism? Toxicol Ind Health. 2009;25(9-10):703-710.

2.              Larsson M, Weiss B, Janson S, Sundell J, Bornehag CG. Associations between indoor environmental factors and parental-reported autistic spectrum disorders in children 6-8 years of age. Neurotoxicology. 2009;30(5):822-831.

3.              De Santis B, Raggi ME, Moretti G, et al. Study on the Association among Mycotoxins and other Variables in Children with Autism. Toxins. 2017;9(7).



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