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TOXIC MOLD NEWS ONLINE

STACHYBOTRYS MOLD 

Stachybotrys Chartarum (atras) is a greenish-black fungus that is found throughout the world and is typically wet and slimy to the touch. There are somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 different species that grow in surroundings where the humidity exceeds 50%. Stachybotrys Chartarum thrives on materials high in cellulose and low in nitrogen content. Examples include wet leaves, straw, carpet, wallpaper, thermal insulation, fiberboard, dry wall, gypsum board, paper, dust, and hay. What these examples have in common is their propensity to become chronically moist or water logged due to excessive humidity, water leaks, flooding, etc. It is not found on materials such as plastic, vinyl, or ceramic tiles, nor is it the green mold in bread or between shower tiles. Since homes and buildings are not typically tested for it, it is difficult to say how prevalent this mold is.

Dangers of Stachybotrys Mold

Stachybotrys chartarum (SC) is dangerous to humans because it can, given the proper environmental conditions, create multiple toxic chemicals called mycotoxins. These toxic byproducts exist in the spores of the mold, as well as in the tiny fragments that can become airborne. Luckily, these spores and fragments are often unable to become airborne because they are part of the slimy mold cluster. However, once the mold dries up, there is a much greater possibility that the spores or fragments can become airborne and come into contact with humans. Of particular concern is the threat that humans will inhale and ingest these toxic spores.

Characteristics of Stachybotrys Mold

  • Stachybotrys atra produces toxigenic spores that are potentially dangerous to humans, especially if they enter an air-conveyance system.
  • The EPA has set no strict regulations or guidelines for determining the health risks associated with Stachybotrys atra.
  • Experts can only estimate how prevalent the incidence of indoor Stachybotrys atra is.
  • Collected mold cultures of Stachybotrys atra can be tricky due to the existence of other types of fungi in the same area.
  • Removing cultures of Stachybotrys atra must be undertaken with great care to contain the spread of dangerous spores.

Outbreaks

Stachybotrys atra (S. atra) has been linked by the Center for Disease and Control to 10 cases of lung disorder in infants and 100 other cases. In 1993, there were a number of cases of acute pulmonary hemorrhage in nearly 30 infants after homes were flooded. The CDC does not completely know the specific cause of these deaths. However, they eventually concluded that significant exposure to S. atra, in addition to other hydrophilic molds, played a significant role in the development of this severe and fatal lung disease.

Health Effects

Stachybotrys Chartarum first came into the spotlight when it caused disease-like symptoms in Russian and Eastern European. Agricultural and farm workers who handled moist, wet hay experienced symptoms not unlike those that were affecting nearby animals. Individuals who ate grain from the contaminated hay experienced symptoms such as burning sensations in the mouth, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

Stachybotrys Chartarum occurs more frequently in animals than in humans. However, if spores are released into the air, humans certainly can come into contact with them and develop symptoms that include coughing, wheezing, runny nose, irritation to the eyes or throat, skin rash, and diarrhea. Many of these symptoms are commonly associated with allergies. In fact, some theories hold that the symptoms are an allergic reaction to the mold or from toxic byproducts from the mold. There also seems to be an association between trichothecenes (the mycotoxin produced when SC interacts with certain other molds) and certain human diseases.

Prevention of Stachybotrys Mold

The most important consideration to keep in mind is that mold needs a moist, wet, or damp environment in order to thrive. By maintaining a clean, dry home or workplace, dangerous mold species cannot begin to grow. Sources in and around homes that can create a dangerous environment include leaky or broken pipes, windows or older doors that lack good seals, roofs that leak, and any cracks or holes in the building. If flooding has occurred, it is extremely important to make sure that the water is thoroughly dried up to avoid festering water or dampness.

All buildings should undergo scheduled maintenance that includes inspection for water leaks, problem seals around windows and doors, as well as checks for visible mold in moist or damp parts of the building. Any conditions that could be a possible cause of mold or fungi growth should be corrected to prevent possible problems in the future.

 

Removing Stachybotrys Mold

Stachybotrys is often hidden within walls, in the insulation, or under floorboards, etc. This can make detection very tricky. It is therefore very important to be aware of the possible symptoms and monitor loved ones for any signs that may indicate any sort of danger. Removing Stachybotrys is usually accomplished fairly easily by thoroughly cleaning the mold with a solution of bleach and water. Extensive infestations (as with flooding) may demand hiring a professional cleaning service that has extensive knowledge of ridding mold from homes and office buildings.

If you or someone you care about has experienced serious health problems that may have been caused by Toxic Mold, you're entitled to know your legal rights.

 



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