building syndrome III. Stachybotrys chartarum
Gershwin ME. Journal of Asthma. April, 2000; 37(2):191-198. (Review)
Purpose: The authors reviewed the scientific literature
pertaining to the health effects of Stachybotrys chartarum in humans.
Outcome: The authors reviewed the early animal studies that
identified Stachybotrys chartarum as a health concern. In particular, a
1931 study described an unusually high mortality rate occurred among a
population of horses that had ingested moldy wheat and barley. Mahmoudi
and Gershwin indicated that the majority of isolated samples from the
species S. chartarum were found to produce Stachybotryotoxin, a chemical
belonging to the class of fungal byproducts known as trichothecenes. The
authors acknowledged that toxicity occurs only when the chemical is
present in sufficient quantities, although toxic doses were not
discussed. The authors proposed that trichothecene-induced toxicity may
be ascribed to inhibition of several mechanisms involved in protein
synthesis. The authors cited animal studies demonstrating that chemical
byproducts derived from S. chartarum inhibited immune system function
and produced toxicity in lung cells. The toxins produced by the fungi
resulted in hemorrhagic inflammatory lung injury in mammalian lung
tissue. The authors suggested that even though a concrete connection
between S. chartarum and illness has not been established, the danger of
exposure should not be ignored.
Significant Quotes: "First, we should emphasize that the presence
of fungi in housing does not imply illness. Nonetheless, it is important
to recognize the potential for illness and to improve housing conditions
in order to prevent growth of toxigenic fungi and microorganisms." (p.
Peer Review: Yes.
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