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The Mold Dichotomy

There is a definite Dichotomy or difference of opinions between those of our legislative and general medical establishment from the insights and evidence of those involved in research of Fungalbionics. For the sake of time and space, this section is focused primarily on Stachybotrys Chartarum, although similar dichotomies seems to exist for other toxic molds as well, Aspergillus, Fusarium, Epicoccum, Gliocladium, Penicillium, and more.

The CDC says:
Center for Disease Control (CDC)
Does Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra) cause acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage among infants?
To date, a possible association between acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage among infants and Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra) has not been proved. Further studies are needed to determine what causes acute idiopathic hemorrhage.

Dr.Michael R. Gray, M. D., M. P. H., C. I. M. E.
Molds, Mycotoxins, and Human Health
There is allegedly "disagreement within the scientific community as to whether the relatively large size of Stachybotrys spores prevents it from penetrating to the deepest areas of the lung." However, this controversy was resolved by the documented presence of Stachybotrus spores in the alveoli and small airways of the lung of an infant suffering and dying from mold-induced hemorrhagic pneumonitis a rare lung disease, found to have occurred in a series of nine infants in Cleveland, Ohio by Dr. Dore Dearborn, who confirmed the presence of Stachybotrus mold in each of the infants' homes. These cases were reported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in their 1998 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports (MMWR). There has been some controversy raised by some researchers claiming that they cultured the organism from these homes, and were unable to detect mycotoxins in the resultant cultures. The problem is that they are not acknowledging that molds in general do not produce mycotoxins when they are growing under "ideal" conditions, such as those that usually obtain in laboratory settings. They generally produce their toxins when austere living conditions bring about sporulation, for example when nutrients are depleted, or when arid conditions prevail.
( let me interject here, there are several different strains of Stachy, and the strains in their case studies may not have been identical to the strains found the the children in Cleveland)

The CDC:
In summary, Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra) and other molds may cause health symptoms that are nonspecific. At present there is no test that proves an association between Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra) and particular health symptoms. Individuals with persistent symptoms should see their physician. However, if Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra) or other molds are found in a building, prudent practice recommends that they be removed.

Dan -
I find it interesting they include other molds with Stachy here, and specify health symptoms that are non-specific.  At present they have no tests that prove an association with...  in otherwords they don't know that there isn't a direct connection.  On the otherhand, there have been lots of studies by noted Doctors and researchers on mold that have shown a correlation between many molds and many of the symptoms and ailments people who have been in contact with specific molds.  In otherwords, certain ailments seem to appear in much greater frequency to people who have been exposed to certain strains of Stachy, thus an apparent connection or association does exist.  This is the same method used in originally determining that smoking leads to cancer and other problems. AKA a group of people who smoke a pack a day have a 50% increase in heart attacks, (numbers not actual, just to make a point to the method of determination).  There really isn't a simple test they can give anyone to determine how it is going to affect that person, either in smoking or in mold.  The problem with the CDC and medical community over the issues of mold is in my opinion purely political as more and more insurance claims acros the country are blaming mold for medical problems.  Lots of lobby power and money to be made elsewhere, it is detrimental to many areas of the economy to test and prove the association of mold with medical problems.  It's almost like asking the Gas company to encourage Detroit to develop strictly electric cars, it just won't happen.  They will encourage hybrids though so they can increase the price per gallon and make more money on the same amount of fuel.

Dr Gray:
(same document referred to above)
A wealth of literature in the field of Occupational Medicine has appeared over a more than a century confirming the significance of molds in both residential and workplace environments. Molds have long been known to lead to the development of a severe debilitating lung disease known as hypersensitivity pneumonitis. If not treated aggressively, hypersensitivity pneumonitis will lead to the progressive development of emphysema. In the case of structural mold-exposed individuals, treatment with antifungal medication, such as ketaconazole, itraconazole, and/or fluconazole-each produced or derived from mold mycotoxins themselves-may be appropriate and necessary.

In addition, pulmonary function testing (PFTs) confirmed excessive small airways obstruction, the hallmark of mold induced hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and a review of the neuropsychological evaluations, and QEEGs performed on the mold exposed individuals confirmed the presence of central nervous system impairments consistent with what is expected based on numerous animal and human toxicological studies found in the many peer reviewed articles readily available in the extensive world literature on the toxic effects of mycotoxins.

Berlin D. Nelson, Professor, Department of Plant Pathology, North Dakota State University, Fargo
In the late 1930s, stachybotryotoxicosis was reported in humans working on collective farms in Russia (10,14,17,29). People affected were those who handled hay or feed grain infested with S. chartarum or were exposed to the aerosols of dust and debris from the contaminated materials. Some of these individuals had burned the straw or even slept on straw-filled mattresses. The infested straw was often black from growth of the fungus. Common symptoms in humans were rash, especially in areas subject to perspiration, dermatitis, pain and inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat, conjunctivitis, a burning sensation of the eyes and nasal passages, tightness of the chest, cough, bloody rhinitis, fever, headache, and fatigue. Workers developed symptoms within two to three days of exposure to the fungus. Some members of the Russian teams investigating this disease rubbed the fungus onto their skin to determine its direct toxicity. The fungus induced local and systemic symptoms similar to those observed in naturally occurring cases. The article by Drobotko (10) is a good source of information on the Russian experience with this problem.

Interesting note by Dr Gray:
The spores from Stachybotrus chartarum (a.k.a. atra), a mold capable of producing some of the most toxic substances known to human-kind, can survive temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, as well as acid, caustics, and bleach without being destroyed. Spores from molds have been removed from 2,000,000-year-old sedimentary rock and grown when placed on appropriate media. And, every nation that has developed biological warfare capability, has harvested mycotoxins from molds, some of which are so toxic that microgram quantities are capable of killing within twenty-four hours, while being so completely metabolized that they are undetectable at autopsy.

Sounds pretty innocuous huh??

There are further studies which get into comparison of different strains of Stachybotrys to find the different abilities of different strains of Strachybotrys' to break down red blood cells. Out of some 28 strains observed in different parts of the country, 8 strains were found to have this ability.
See University of Minnisota Environmental and Occupational Health: Stachybotrys: A risk factor for pulmonary hemorrhage/hemosiderosis?

In My honest opinion:
There is more to this Dichotomy than just a difference of opinion, Molds are not treated by the medical comunity as normal viral and bacterial illnesses are, because molds are not considered to be contageous, i.e. person to person, they do not fit into the mold, (pun intended), of typical disease or illness, which is somewhat understandable. However, this ignorance to mycotoxicity results in what may be more harmful than helpful. If you read the many studies done on molds, it seems apparent that many conditions can actually be worsened by the use of antibiotics and steroids which are often the first line of defense to what appears to be an otherwise known ailment. For example a bacterial eye infection may be treated with antibiotics and/or steroids, but if the infection is fungal, (hard to tell the difference), these treatments can actually make the problem worse. By the sheer ignorance due to the sweeping of mycotoxicity under the rug, people are treated for a problem they APPEAR to have due to the symptoms of mycotoxins mimicking other ailments.

From all I've read, it is my opinion also that perhaps there is some level of downplaying the mycotoxicity of molds and the possible dangers of their presence. Why is this? Is it because there have already been multimillion dollar litigations over sick-building syndrome, (buildings that have high levels of mold contamination)? Is it because if the alertness to this possible problem were made general information to the public, the cost of cleaning up possibly millions of buildings, (including homes), could cripple businesses, insurance companies, and more? If the dangers and signals to mold problems were made typical information to the general public and people were aware and therefore handled careless situations, which yield mold growth, properly, how much would it impact the medical and pharmacuetical industries economic backbone? Is there a significant reason why an antifungal medication has been recently found to be effective in the treatment of some cancers? If it is scientifically proven that mold spores and their mycotoxins are dangerous to physical and mental health, and even in some cases deadly and the dangers have been known or suspected to exist, should there be criminal charges on those involved in protecting the integrity of the rich industries at the cost of the health and lives of the common people?


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