Mold: Stachybotrys chartarum
Stachybotrys chartarum is the well-known “black mold” seen in many water damaged buildings. Stachybotrys grows well on all sorts of wet building materials with high cellulose content, for example, water-damaged gypsum board, ceiling tiles, wood fiber boards, and even dust-lined air conditioning ducts. While it is one of the EPA ERMI panel mold species, it is frequently not detected due to the large size and weight of the spores, and the damp environment required for Stachybotrys growth. The spores are not easily airborne and disseminated throughout the house. In the RealTime Labs environmental testing, the presence of the macrocyclic trichothecene mycotoxins (produced by Stachybotrys) are found 3X as often as spores of the mold.
Mycotoxins: Stachybotrys has been demonstrated to produce a number of Macrocyclic Trichothecene mycotoxins including Satratoxin G, Satratoxin H, Isosatratoxin F, Roridin A, Roridin E, Roridin H, Roridin L-2, Verrucarin A and Verrucarin J. These are among the most toxic of all mycotoxins. Since these are low Molecular Weight molecules, they can easily float around in the air on particles such as fungal debris or dust particles, and be inhaled by inhabitants of the dwelling. It has also been demonstrated in animal models that other than direct injection into the brain, inhalation of Trichothecenes is the most lethal mode of exposure. These mycotoxins have been demonstrated to be present in the indoor air of Stachybotrys infested buildings. Given the frequency of infestation by Stachybotrys and the toxicity of its mycotoxins, it is critical that any mycotoxin testing include testing for the macrocyclic trichothecenes, and not just simple trichothecenes such as T-2, which is produced by Fusarium, not generally considered to be an indoor toxic mold.
Health Effects: Macrocyclic trichothecenes are known to be highly cytotoxic and are potent inhibitors of protein synthesis. This can affect almost all cells in the body. The health effects of trichothecenes are known, as cancer patients were administered a trichothecene called anguidine in a 1978 and 1979 clinical study in the hope that its inhibition of protein synthesis would selectively kill the faster multiplying cancer cells. The study was terminated due to the severe symptoms/side effects of anguidine which included: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, burning erythema, ataxia, chills, fever, hypotension, hair loss and confusion. These side effects were very similar to the symptoms described by individuals living or working inside Stachybotrys infested homes and buildings.