Mold is everywhere. It grows on anything, including concrete, furniture, clothing, and even jet fuel. When mold gets wet and stays wet for 24 to 48 hours, it begins to grow and releases mold spores (sporulate). These spores carry on them mycotoxins. These mycotoxins are, yes, you guessed it, highly toxic. The most toxic substance known to humans is Aflatoxin which is a mycotoxin released by a mold called Aspergillus.
Let’s look at mold spores first. We have seen in the news and on TV how the mold spore count is up, etc. These outdoor molds can cause breathing and allergy type problems such as asthma. So some say if there are molds everywhere how can a person become sick from this? There is a vast difference between the molds outdoors and molds growing in you home or workplace. How many square feet is you home, or the place where you found mold? Then ask yourself how many square feet is the open air outdoors? What if I put a bag of sugar in the Gulf of Mexico? Will it make Alantic ocean sweet? No! But if I put just a teaspoon of sugar in my glass of iced tea, I will be able to taste it.
When you have an indoor water leak, either from a roof leak, a leak from flashing around the chimney, a damaged pipe, etc. this water will help molds grow and multiply, releasing spores and mycotoxins. It will also help bacteria (both gram positive and negative for you microbiologists out there) grow and these bacteria will release harmful endotoxins. All these toxins combine with what is in their immediate area (dry wall, plastic, glue on the back of wall paper, paint, etc) to produce volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) and these in turn are can be quite toxic.
A toxic soup?
What happens when there is a leak (water intrusion is a better definition) into a home or indoor space or area, the growth of these microorganisms such as molds and bacteria, the release of their toxins and the VOC’s they generate forms a toxic soup. And this is what make people sick, this contaminated indoor environment.
The next question that comes to mind is: if this is cleaned up or if I move away will I get well again? In general, people will feel slightly better once they are removed from this contaminated indoor environment. But it will not reverse the damage done to their health.
Our medical center will review with you your medical records and testing you may have had so that it doesn’t have to be repeated. There are tests to see what molds and what mycotoxins may have affected you. Once we know what parts of you have been damaged and how severely, then we can start treatment.
There are many. One mold does not produce one mycotoxin, but a series of mycotoxins. There are studies that show that Stachybotrys produces trichothecenes, a highly toxic mycotoxin. Trichothecenes were used in the ….Vietnam…. conflict and by Saddam Hussein in his Scud missile warhead. Trichothecenes are well known in biological warfare. If you go to the CDC website and type in “trichothecene”, it will tell you how dangerous it is and cites 4 studies for more information. I am one of the authors of the 3rd study cited.
Other mycotoxins include aflatoxins, one of the most toxic substances known to humankind, satratoxins, T-2 toxins, deoxynivalenol which is known to mimic hormones in adults and children, causing endocrine problems. These are usually misdiagnosed by most physicians.
By the way, did you know that many of the drugs used to suppress the immune system are derived from mycotoxins? It should come as no surprise then that mycotoxins do overpower the immune system.
Dr. Andrew Campbell, MD at immunotoxicology.com