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Indoor Mold/mycotoxin/ Water Damage Exposure And Joint Problems/ Muscle Weakness

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A number of studies have reported that indoor exposure to molds/ mycotoxins/ water damage is associated with problems with joint pain/ muscle weakness. Lieberman reported that 34 out of 48 (71%) consecutive indoor mold exposed patients had symptoms of joint or muscle pain/ weakness (Curtis L, 2004). Rea reported that 44 out of 150 (29%) consecutive mold patients were diagnosed with fibromyalgia (Curtis L, 2004). 

Campbell et al. reported a study of 119 patients with documented indoor mold/ mycotoxin exposure who experienced muscle weakness and peripheral neuropathy (Campbell et al., 2003). 

Indoor flooding and other forms of water damage stimulate heavy growth of molds (fungi) and bacteria. Chronic joint pain was reported in 20 of 26 (77%) adult patients who had adverse health symptoms after working in a water damaged building (Shoemaker & House, 2006). A Texas study reported that chronic joint pain was significantly more common in elementary students in a mold damaged school versus a school without mold damage (joint pain seen in 9.8% of 309 students in mold damaged school versus 3.6% in 168 students in a non-mold damaged school.

P<0.005) (Handal, Leiner, Cabrera, & Straus, 2004). Several studies have reported clusters of patients with new-onset arthritis and other autoimmune joint diseases such as ankloysing spondylitis (Luosujarvi et al., 2003; Myllykangas-Luosujarvi et al., 2002). For example, a Finnish report described a water damaged health center in which all 34 employees developed at least some rheumatic complaints including 14 cases of new onset arthritis (Luosujarvi et al., 2003). Another report described a moisture and water damaged office building which contained 83 to 93 employees during the study period of 1987-2000 and from which 10 employees developed new-onset rheumatic diseases including 4 ankylosing spondylitis, 3 rheumatoid arthritis, 2 Sjogrens syndrome and 1 psoriatic arthritis) (Myllykangas-Luosujarvi et al., 2002) .

Several studies have reported that higher consumption of mycotoxins in foods is associated with a significantly higher rate of the arthritis like disease Kashin-Beck (Chasseur et al., 2001; Haubruge et al., 2001). Cell culture studies have also reported that exposure to mycotoxins such as the trichothecene deoxynivalenol are associated with damage to chrondrocytes (cartilage cells) (Li, Blain, Cao, Caterson, & Duance, 2014).



Campbell, A. W., Thrasher, J. D., Madison, R. A., Vojdani, A., Gray, M. R., & Johnson, A. (2003). Neural autoantibodies and neurophysiologic abnormalities in patients exposed to molds in water-damaged buildings. Arch Environ Health, 58(8), 464-474. doi:10.3200/aeoh.58.8.464-474

Chasseur, C., Suetens, C., Michel, V., Mathieu, F., Begaux, F., Nolard, N., & Haubruge, E. (2001). A 4-year study of the mycological aspects of Kashin-Beck disease in Tibet. Int Orthop, 25(3), 154-158.

Curtis L, Lieberman Allan, Rea W, Stark M, Vetter M. (2004). Advere human health effects of indoor molds. Joural of Nutritional and Environmental Mediciine, 14(3), 261-274.

Handal, G., Leiner, M. A., Cabrera, M., & Straus, D. C. (2004). Children symptoms before and after knowing about an indoor fungal contamination. Indoor Air, 14(2), 87-91.

Haubruge, E., Chasseur, C., Debouck, C., Begaux, F., Suetens, C., Mathieu, F., . . . Lognay, G. (2001). The prevalence of mycotoxins in Kashin-Beck disease. Int Orthop, 25(3), 159-161.

Li, S., Blain, E. J., Cao, J., Caterson, B., & Duance, V. C. (2014). Effects of the mycotoxin nivalenol on bovine articular chondrocyte metabolism in vitro. PLOS ONE, 9(10), e109536. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0109536

Luosujarvi, R. A., Husman, T. M., Seuri, M., Pietikainen, M. A., Pollari, P., Pelkonen, J., . . . Aho, K. (2003). Joint symptoms and diseases associated with moisture damage in a health center. Clin Rheumatol, 22(6), 381-385. doi:10.1007/s10067-003-0753-y

Myllykangas-Luosujarvi, R., Seuri, M., Husman, T., Korhonen, R., Pakkala, K., & Aho, K. (2002). A cluster of inflammatory rheumatic diseases in a moisture-damaged office. Clin Exp Rheumatol, 20(6), 833-836.

Shoemaker, R. C., & House, D. E. (2006). Sick building syndrome (SBS) and exposure to water-damaged buildings: time series study, clinical trial and mechanisms. Neurotoxicol Teratol, 28(5), 573-588. doi:10.1016/


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