Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

A Killer Smell: Mold Toxin Destroys Olfactory Cells in Mice

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

A Killer Smell: Mold Toxin Destroys Olfactory Cells in Mice

Article excerpt

Mold seems ubiquitous: it permeates spaces made damp by leaking water lines, faulty roofs, or storm flooding. Although no one contests that its slimy presence is a general nuisance, its related adverse health effects have been the subject of some controversy. Now researchers at Michigan State University's Center for Integrative Toxicology have found that a toxin produced by the black mold Stachybotrys chartarum can damage nerve cells key to the sense of smell, at least in the noses of mice [EHP 114:1099-1107; Islam et al.]. The study is the first to probe how inhaling black mold toxins affects nasal passages.

Other researchers have previously reported links between S. chartarum exposure and human health effects including upper and lower respiratory illnesses. There is also evidence of an association between exposure to fungi in a damp indoor environment and effects such as asthma symptoms in sensitive individuals. However, in a recent Institute of Medicine report, a panel of experts concluded that there is limited or insufficient evidence to determine whether an association exists for other suggested health outcomes such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, neuropsychiatric symptoms, skin symptoms, and immune diseases. …

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