Spores: Hazardous to Health?
Division of Respiratory
Disease Studies, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health,
Morgantown, West Virginia USA
Fungi have long been known to affect human well being in various ways,
including disease of essential crop plants, decay of stored foods with
possible concomitant production of mycotoxins, superficial and systemic
infection of human tissues, and disease associated with immune stimulation
such as hypersensitivity pneumonitis and toxic pneumonitis. The spores of a
large number of important fungi are less than 5 Ám aerodynamic diameter, and
therefore are able to enter the lungs. They also may contain significant
amounts of mycotoxins. Diseases associated with inhalation of fungal spores
include toxic pneumonitis, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, tremors, chronic
fatigue syndrome, kidney failure, and cancer. Key words: mold, fungi,
mycotoxin, lung disease, toxic pneumonitis. -- Environ Health Perspect
107(suppl 3):469-472 (1999).
This article is based on a
presentation at the International Conference on Indoor Mold and Children
held 21 to 24 April 1998 in Alexandria, Virginia.
correspondence to W.G. Sorenson, Immunology Section, NIOSH, 1095
Willowdale Road, MS 215, Morgantown, WVA 26505. Telephone: (304) 285-5797.
Fax: (304) 285-5861. E-mail:
Received 3 September 1998;
accepted 8 January 1999.