Mold exposure and respiratory health in damp indoor environments

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA.
Frontiers in bioscience (Elite edition) 01/2011; 3(2):757-71. DOI: 10.2741/e284
Source: PubMed


Almost all modern buildings experience at least minor, and sometimes serious, water damage during their life span. Excess moisture in buildings becomes a critical factor for mold (fungal) proliferation in nutrient-rich environments. As a result, building occupants may be exposed to increased levels of microbial agents such as fungal spores, cell fragments, cell wall components, or toxins. Such exposures may result in various diseases and symptoms, both respiratory and non-respiratory. Respiratory health complaints are common in damp buildings and have been more thoroughly studied than non-respiratory complaints. Respiratory diseases and symptoms which may be produced by exposure to indoor fungi include asthma development, exacerbation of asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, cough, wheeze, dyspnea (shortness of breath), nasal and throat symptoms, and respiratory infections. In addition to these illnesses, rhinosinusitis and sarcoidosis in water-damaged building occupants are also drawing more scientific attention. In this article, we explore the evidence for adverse effects of fungal exposure on respiratory health in damp indoor environments and potential disease mechanisms related to the exposure.

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    • "Concentration of moulds, such as Aspergillus versicolor, Penicillium chrysogenum and Cladosporium sphaerospermum, and microbial components such as LPS and β-(1,3)-glucan were elevated in rooms with moisture damage [2,3]. The continued exposure to these bioaerosols may increase the risk of developing asthma, bronchitis, rhinosinusitis or hypersensitivity pneumonitis [4]. "
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    PLoS ONE 12/2013; 8(12):e82734. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0082734 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A family of five and pet dog who rented a water-damaged home and developed multiple health problems. The home was analyzed for species of mold and bacteria. The diagnostics included MRI for chronic sinusitis with ENT and sinus surgery, and neurological testing for neurocognitive deficits. Bulk samples from the home, tissue from the sinuses, urine, nasal secretions, placenta, umbilical cord, and breast milk were tested for the presence of trichothecenes, aflatoxins, and Ochratoxin A. The family had the following diagnosed conditions: chronic sinusitis, neurological deficits, coughing with wheeze, nose bleeds, and fatigue among other symptoms. An infant was born with a total body flare, developed multiple Cafe-au-Lait pigmented skin spots and diagnoses with NF1 at age 2. The mycotoxins were detected in bulk samples, urine and nasal secretions, breast milk, placenta, and umbilical cord. Pseudomonas aueroginosa, Acinetobacter, Penicillium, and Aspergillus fumigatus were cultured from nasal secretions (father and daughter). RT-PCR revealed A. fumigatus DNA in sinus tissues of the daughter. The dog had 72 skin lesions (sebaceous glands and lipomas) from which trichothecenes and ochratoxin A. were detected. The health of the family is discussed in relation to the most recent published literature regarding microbial contamination and toxic by-products present in water-damaged buildings.
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