Dr. Straus, a Texas Tech professor, is the author of a 1998 study that showed a strong correlation between Stachybotrys and public buildings that appeared to make people sick. “If you’re working with this stuff, you’ve got to wear a moon suit and a respirator,” he said. “If you get this stuff on your skin, it’s going to cause sores and rashes. If you inhale it, it’s going to cause serious health problems.”
Straus knows this from experience. After just 30 minutes inside a Stachybotrys-infected house in Dripping Springs, Texas, Strauss found himself dizzy and vomiting. “I suffered permanent hearing loss in one ear. I can’t prove it to a scientific certainty, but in my mind, there’s no doubt — it was the mold,” he said
Some of the indoor molds have the potential to produce extremely toxic materials called mycotoxins. Mycotoxins may cause a variety of short-term as well as long-term adverse health effects. Illnesses ranges from immediate toxic response and immune-suppression to the potential long-term carcinogenic effect. Symptoms due to mycotoxins ortoxins-containing airborne spores (particularly those of Stachybotrys chartarum) include dermatitis, burning and watering eyes and nose, recurring cold and flu-like symptoms, hoarseness, cough, burning sore throat, headaches, excessive fatigue, exhaustion after normal activity, diarrhea, inability to concentrate, dizziness, sensitivity to odors and impaired or altered immune function. The ability of the body to fight off infectious diseases may be weakened resulting in opportunistic infections.
Certain mycotoxins, such as zearalenone (F2 toxin) can cause infertility and stillbirths in pigs. Because these symptoms may also be caused by many other diseases, misdiagnoses of mycotoxin exposures are common. There are very few physicians with the experience or expertise in correctly diagnosing mycotoxin exposures or mycotoxicoses. Occupational or building-related exposures to mycotoxins through inhalation are slowly being recognized as a major indoor air quality problem. Generally, removal of causative agents is necessary. The United States Military has been researching the same T-2 mycotoxins for many years, but ironically the United States health organizations do not seem to be concerned that these exact same mycotoxins exist in our homes, work and school.
Treatment for symptomatic mycotoxicosis may be required. If exposure to fungi and mycotoxins rs suspected, consult an occupational health professional.