One of out clients was concerned that mold in their home may cause neurological damage, they believed that their fear was supported by info from a Florida health department website. Lets look at a few quotes from the actual website and at our response to the client below.
This is great info from the Fl Dept of Health, I am going to use some of it’s info on an upcoming report where some scammers in my industry tried to use ozone to get rid of a horrific mold problem in Boynton Beach Florida. They even claimed that their Ozone system was endorsed by the health dept and the EPA. Needless to say the health dept does not endorse ozone use and neither does the EPA. Needless to say the scammers did not get rid of the mold at all.
Re mold and neurological damage the Florida health dept info you send states that mold causes “cold-like symptoms, rashes, sinus inflammation, eye irritation and aggravation of asthma.”these are all well documented extremely common symptoms & we see them all the time, they are related to the bodies immune response / allergic reactions and other similar responses to allergenic chemicals in mold, and are related to gases (Mvoc’s) molds release. Though allergens and Mvoc’s can make people more miserable than most people realize, and though people die from various asthma attacks each year, these symptoms have nothing to do with toxins and are not though to damage nerves.
The health dept website link you sent me states “Some symptoms are more general – such as inability to concentrate or fatigue. Usually, symptoms disappear after the mold is removed.” these symptoms are more rare and controversial but are not related to neurological damage nor mold toxins either, but are thought to possibly be related to not getting deep sleep because of the above reference immune / allergy like symptoms.
So what is the difference ? Who cares? allergen -toxin – Mvoc its all the same is it not?
It is a very significant difference because if they were related to neurological damage from toxins then the symptoms you and others experience would not disappear after the mold is removed, also I would be scared to be around the stuff every day.
In conclusion according to current scientific research, legal expert research that stands up in court, and honest mold inspectors experience, it appears that mold will not likely damage your brain or nerves if you breath it in. If you eat the same very common household toxic molds or some molds that grow on grain crops toxic molds might cause neurological damage, liver cancer, birth defects, compromised immune system,  convulsions, hallucinations, burning sensations, and death. This has happened to thousands of people and animals and is well documented, but long term neurological damage from breathing in mold in the home or office is not strongly supported by the scientific community nor the legal system despite many tries. Of course their are exceptions to many rules, and who knows what future research may revealed about breathing in toxic mold as it relates to the neurological system.
The Florida Dept of Health Website info can be found at:
Our Mold inspection website can be found at:
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Many people are concerned about the effects of toxic molds on humans. According to the exhaustive 2004 Institute of Medicine study on damp indoor environments, toxic mold exposure in the home and office as well as allergenic mold exposure in the home and office and even exposure to mold odors in such environments often cause many of the same upper respiratory tract problems such as allergy and asthma like reactions.

According to current scientific and medical consensus toxic molds do not appear to be poisoning people in their homes because inhalation of spores does not appear likely to expose a person to high enough doses of toxins to cause a toxic reaction. Of course their may be exceptions and this is the current scientific opinion, this information may change in the future.

In animals and in persons living in third world countries toxic mold exposure often has much worse effects than the allergy and asthma type reactions so common in our world. The reasons is that farm animals, like poor starving people in third world countries often have little choice but to eat foods contaminated with toxic mold.

Some important lesson that can be learned from the information contained in the blog is:

1) Be careful to store pet food, farm livestock feed, and other animal foods in appropriate clean places away from mold, moisture, and excessive humidity. I am not a vet or a farmer so I will not telly you how to store animal feed, but keeping foods below 60% RH would likely be a good idea.

2) Take the same precausions you own families food, and never eat foods contaminated with mold or bacteria, unless of course they are suppose to be contaminated with good bacteria or good molds such products are often quite healthy, (Meso soup, soy sauce, blue cheese, cottage cheese, Sauerkraut, Prosciutto ham, beer etc.) This is making me hungry so I will stop with the list of fermented foods.

3) If you are living in a moldy home, you should not panic over toxic mold, it can likely be remediated and you will likely not have to burn you house down. Contact a properly trained and certified mold testing specialist. Certified indoor environmentalist, and certified industrial hygienist often make the best mold inspectors.

Below is information taken from two trusted web resources, both discuss the effects of the consumption of a specific type of mold toxin (aflotoxin) from a specific toxic mold species (Aspergillius flavus).

In the 1960’s 100,000 turkeys died on farms in England.  The condition was called Turkey X disease .

Later it was found that Turkey X disease was caused by turkey feed made from Brazilian peanuts.

Evidence of acute aflatoxicosis in humans has been reported from many parts of the world , namely the Third World Countries, like Taiwan, Ouganda, India, and many others . The syndrome is characterized by vomiting, abdominal pain, pulmonary edema, convulsions, coma, and death with cerebral edema and fatty involvement of the liver , kidneys , and heart.
Conditions increasing the likelihood of acute aflatoxicosis in humans include limited availability of food, environmental conditions that favor fungal development in crops and commodities, and lack of regulatory systems for aflatoxin monitoring and control.
Because aflatoxins, especially aflatoxin B1, are potent carcinogens in some animals, there is interest in the effects of long-term exposure to low levels of these important mycotoxins on humans .In 1988, the IARC placed aflatoxin B1 on the list of human carcinogens. This is supported by a number of epidemiological studies done in Asia and Africa that have demonstrated a positive association between dietary aflatoxins and Liver Cell Cancer (LCC) .Additionally , the expression of aflatoxin-related diseases in humans may be influenced by factors such as age, sex, nutritional status, and/or concurrent exposure to other causative agents such as viral hepatitis (HBV) or parasite infestation.

http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/toxicagents/aflatoxin/aflatoxin.html

Aflatoxicosis and Aflatoxins

Aflatoxicosis is a disease that can affect many species of fish, and results when feed contaminated with aflatoxins is eaten by the fish (Ashley, 1970). Aflatoxins are chemicals produced by some species of naturally occurring fungi (Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus) commonly known as molds. Aflatoxins are common contaminants of oilseed crops such as cottonseed, peanut meal, and corn. Wheat, sunflower, soybean, fish meal, and nutritionally complete feeds can also be contaminated with aflatoxins.

Four major aflatoxins (AFB1, AFB2, AFG1 and AFG2) are direct contaminants of grains and finished feeds. Factors that increase the production of aflatoxins in feeds include environmental temperatures above 27°C (80°F), humidity levels greater than 62%, and moisture levels in the feed above 14%. The extent of contamination will vary with geographic location, feed storage practices and processing methods. Improper storage is one of the most important factors favoring the growth of aflatoxin-producing molds, and it is a major element that can be controlled by the fish producer.

Implications of Aflatoxins in Fish Feeds

Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is one of the most potent, naturally occurring, cancer-causing agents in animals. The first documented incidences of aflatoxicosis affecting fish health occurred in the 1960s in trout hatcheries. Domesticated rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) that were fed a pelleted feed prepared with cottonseed meal contaminated with aflatoxins, developed liver tumors (Ashley, 1970). As many as 85% of the fish died in these hatcheries. Although cottonseed meal is no longer used as a major ingredient in feed formulations, poor storage of other feed ingredients and nutritionally complete feeds can lead to contamination with aflatoxins.

Aflatoxicosis is now rare in the rainbow trout industry due to strict regulations enforced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for aflatoxin screening in oilseeds, corn and other feed ingredients. However, interest in the toxic effects on cultured warm-water fishes, such as tilapia (Oreochromissp.) and channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus), has increased as diets for these species are now being formulated to contain more plant and less animal ingredients. This increases the potential for development of aflatoxicosis in these species because, as noted earlier, plant ingredients have a higher potential than animal ingredients for contamination with aflatoxins.

In tropical and subtropical conditions, this potential is further increased due to storage under humid and hot conditions. International trade in affected commodities and exposure to aflatoxins are worldwide concerns and the economic impact due to animal losses can be enormous.

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/FA095

Daryl Watters is a certified mold inspector, certified home inspector, and certified indoor environmentalist

COMMENT FROM:

Gary Burtle

Good comments on molds and toxins.  Our animals are a barrier between us and these plant-associated toxins.  The subject of fish and aflatoxin is interesting since there is a wide range across fish species for aflatoxin tolerance.  Catfish seem to be 1,000 times more tolerant to aflatoxin B1 than are trout.  Tilapia are also relatively tolerant to aflatoxin.  One study has shown that aflatoxin is eliminated from catfish tissue a day after the catfish quits consuming it.  I would like to see more reserch on peanut, cottoseed, and corn sources of mold toxins related to fish.  The future of aquaculture seems to depend on the development of safe fish feeds.

REPLY FROM BLOG

Thanks for the interesting info on fish feed and micotoxins on the following blog:
https://moldinspector.wordpress.com/2008/01/07/toxic-mold-and-animals/
It is a helpful scientific addition to the pool of knowledge reguarding mold issues.
Please feel free to add a little info on who you are, and link back to your website / your schools website etc from the blog.
Linking back will ad creadibility to your in depth comment, also it will ad a link pointing from the blog to your site, this link from our blog will in turn boost your sites popularity.


Many mold inspectors use the article titled:
Indoor Mold, Toxigenic Fungi, and Stachybotrys chartarum: Infectious Disease Perspective

and other articles to support the belief that toxic molds poison people in their homes, it looks as if the article is stating that toxic molds are very toxic to homeowners or even deadly.Mold inspectors who hastily review such articles come to such conclusions do so because they do not understand what the scientific article is talking about. This and other similar articles on the topic of toxic mold effects are talking not about what happens when a home owner breathes in mold spores released by Stachybotrys or other toxic molds, the article is talking about the effects of mold toxins / mycotoxins when these toxins are eating in foods contaminated with toxic molds, or the effects of mold toxins when animals in the lab are injected with mold toxins directly into the body or nasal passages. Sometimes such articles site cases where industry workers were made ill by toxic mold exposure after working around clouds of organic dust and mold spores for extended periods of time, such conditions contain millions of spores per cubic meter or air as apposed to the hundreds or thousands of spores encountered in most moldy homes and offices.

This article has been used by mold inspectors to support the view that toxic molds will poison you but in fact the article and many others have been taken out of context and this article and other scientific articles like it support the view that their is no solid evidence that toxic mold will poison you when breathed in at levels found in the home.

It is important to keep in mind that toxic molds and allergenic mold, and in fact any mold in your home at elevated levels can cause many people to become seriously ill from asthma or allergy related conditions as the result of allergens found in nearly all, if not all mold spores. Such conditions can be more serious and more debilitating than many people realize.

Mold can cause flu like symptoms in mold removal workers if they are not wearing proper protective gear.

Mold can cause serious and even deadly infections, but this typically occurs in persons who have a week immune system.

Mold can create foul smelling microbial volatile organic compounds that in turn cause irritation resulting in allergy like symptoms.

Ignoring a mold problem can cause a two thousand dollar mold removal job to become a two hundred thousand dollar mold removal job.

Mold can make your home un inhabitable for your family, and nearly impossible for you to sell. Selling a home with a mold problem that you hid can easily get you and your Realtor sued.

In conclusion though current scientific literature does not support the belief that toxic black mold is a killer mold of any kind in your house given the right environmental conditions it has the potential to become a serious menace.

Heres that link again.

http://cmr.asm.org/cgi/content/full/16/1/144#R40

the article appeared in

Clinical Microbiology Reviews, January 2003, p. 144-172, Vol. 16, No. 1

The above info is provided by A Accredited Mold Inspection Service, Inc. serving Palm Beach County Florida