Dr James Schaller
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SHORT EXCERPTS FROM THE
NEW YORK CITY MOLD PANEL

The New York City Department
of Health and Mental Hygiene

On May 7, 1993, the New York City Department of Health, the New York City Human Resources Administration , and the Mt. Sinai Occupational Health Clinic convened an expert panel on Stachybotrys atra in Indoor Environments. The purpose of the panel was to develop policies for medical and environmental evaluation and intervention to address Stachybotrys atra (now known as Stachybotrys chartarum contamination. The original guidelines were developed because of mold growth problems in several New York City buildings in the early 1990's. [bold italics mine]

We are expanding the guidelines to be inclusive of all fungi for several reasons:

*Many fungi (e.g., species of Aspergillus, Penicillium, Fusarium, Trichoderma, and Memnoniella) in addition to Stachybotrys chartarum (SC) [black mold], can produce potent mycotoxins, some of which are identical to compounds produced by SC. Mycotoxins are fungal metabolites that have been identified as toxic agents. For this reason, SC cannot be treated as uniquely toxic in indoor environments...

The presence of fungi on building materials as identified by a visual assessment or by bulk/surface sampling results does not necessitate that people will be exposed or exhibit health effects. In order for humans to be exposed indoors, fungal spores, fragments, or metabolites must be released into the air and inhaled, physically contacted (dermal exposure), or ingested. Whether or not symptoms develop in people exposed to fungi depends on the nature of the fungal material (e.g., allergenic, toxic, or infectious), the amount of exposure, and the susceptibility of exposed persons. Susceptibility varies with the genetic predisposition (e.g., allergic reactions do not always occur in all individuals), age, state of health, and concurrent exposures...

Immunological reactions include asthma, HP, and allergic rhinitis. Contact with fungi may also lead to dermatitis. It is thought that these conditions are caused by an immune response to fungal agents. The most common symptoms associated with allergic reactions are runny nose, eye irritation, cough, congestion, and aggravation of asthma. HP may occur after repeated exposures to an allergen and can result in permanent lung damage. HP has typically been associated with repeated heavy exposures in agricultural settings but has also been reported in office settings [my bold and italics].

A wide variety of symptoms have been attributed to the toxic effects of fungi. Symptoms, such as fatigue, nausea, and headaches, and respiratory and eye irritation have been reported. Some of the symptoms related to fungal exposure are non-specific, such as discomfort, inability to concentrate, and fatigue [my bold and italics].

*****

Do not take any of these comments as being endorsed or opposed. Please consult with the New York State Board of Medicine and the FDA before applying any of these comments. They are confident they can do better than any smart problem-solving clinician.



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