Many Types of Fungi Can Cause Indoor Air Quality Problems

PRLog (Press Release) – Jun 06, 2011

Over the past decade there have been numerous media reports about Stachybotrys chartarum that have often referred to it as “toxic mold”.  These stories have made headlines in the country’s newspapers, magazines and television programs.  Stachybotrys chartarum is a greenish-black mold that can be found in properties with water damage or highly elevated humidity levels.   It grows on common materials found in buildings that contain a high cellulose and low nitrogen content.  Growth occurs when there is moisture from water damage, excessive humidity, water leaks, condensation, water infiltration or flooding.

The term “toxic mold”, used by many media reports is not accurate, unless the fungi are actually tested to see if they are producing toxins.  While certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce toxins (mycotoxins), the molds themselves are not toxic, or poisonous and do not always appear to produce toxins.  Another thing that is rarely mentioned in the media reports is that Stachybotrys chartarum is just one of numerous species of fungi that can produce these mycotoxins.

The mere presence of these fungi does not mean they are producing mycotoxins.  None the less, when these molds are found at elevated levels in the indoor environment they need to be addressed.

“Perhaps the most common problem caused by high levels of fungi in homes, schools and offices is their ability to cause allergies and trigger asthma,” stated Susan White, Ph.D., CMC, President of Sussex Environmental Health Consultants (SEHC), a Delaware based environmental consulting firm.  “Mold growing in homes and buildings, whether it is Stachybotrys chartarum or other molds, indicates that there is a problem with water or moisture. Failure to address any moisture problems will simply allow the mold to come back,” she continued.