Moldy Home?

In the last few years, many people have e-mailed asking about the relationship between fungal infection of homes or workplaces and developing allergies and other more serious health problems. Many have read or heard about "sick building syndrome" reportedly caused by some subspecies of Stachybotrys chartarum.

Although it has infused the field of mycology with much needed attention and cash, there is still considerable debate within the mycological community about the role that Stachybotrys plays in the health of people that exhibit, a diverse suite of symptoms placed under the umbrella, "sick-building syndrome." Certainly the truth has been muddied by much of the mass media attention, that several years ago, bordered on hysteria.

Unfortunately, as with many syndromes, it is difficult to prove a cause and effect relationship. To my knowledge (and this may be suspect), the connection between serious health problems and presence of genera like Stachybotrys has not been definitively proven. There is no doubt, however, that some strains (not all) of Stachybotrys chartarum can produce toxins and do cause illnesses, especially when consumed in large quantities. This only confuses matters. So where is the truth? Being a skeptic, I would rather see additional evidence to suggest that microfungi, like Stachybotrys, can cause serious health problems when found in buildings. The mere presence of the fungus and illness in the same house does not prove a cause and effect relationship.

When considering your situation or predicament . . . please keep in mind:

The CDC has published a common-sense piece that describes fungal ecology of water-damaged homes in the aftermath of hurricanes.  Although some of the recommendations are specific for these types of  catastrophes, I think you will find much helpful information and recommendations concerning mold growth in general.  If you are interested in this document please click here

I hope I helped with some of your concerns. I don't think I've offered any easy answers, but every case is particular and needs individual assessment. If you still have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thanks.