The frenzy generated around the metabolic by-products (mycotoxins) of the mould Stachybotrys chartarum has resulted in the unjustified expenditure of yet more time, energy and money . A page from a relatively recent paper prepared by The Infectious Disease Epidemiology Section at the Office of Public Health in Louisiana Dept of Health & Hospitals –‘Stachybotrys chartarum (a.k.a. Stachybotrys atra or alternans)’ – provides a valuable overview of the situation.
“The Stachybotrys Episode
Excellent demonstration of the perils and pitfalls associated with assigning a disease to a fungus and its toxins
Prior to 1993, Stachybotrys chartarum known for ability to produce trichothecene mycotoxins – animal syndrome “stachybotrytoxicosis”: leukopenia & hemorrhage leading to death
Jan 1993 to Nov 1994,
Cluster of infants in Cleveland died with an unexplained hemorrhagic lung process of acute onset that was subsequently given the label acute idiopathic pulmonary hemosiderosis (AIPH)
Case control study found majority lived in water-damaged homes
Microbiological investigation suggested toxin-producing S. chartarum in case homes
Clinical syndrome not similar to veterinary stachybotrytoxicosis
Other infants heavily exposed to S. chartarum failed to develop similar symptoms Investigation of similar cluster of AIPH in Chicago did not find same linkage.
Data again reviewed. Assumptions made during the original investigation challenged and reconsidered.
Omitting technical details, bottom line = NO meaningful statistical linkage between S.s & AIPH
However, damage done and horse out of the barn. Now an urban legend”.