Mold has been in the news! Recently we received the email below and the sender agreed we could share it with our readers. Here, we’re talking of the agony of living in a moldy house.
“Dear Dr. Kung’u:
An article of yours was recently posted on a listserv in the States to which I belong, and I am curious about your work. Several years ago now, I lived in a building which had a sewer pipe leak beneath it go untended long enough for the water to soak up into the structure of the building and cause a great outgrowth of mold in the wood floors beneath the carpeting in the unit below mine. Mold was first seen growing up the walls and on clothes in picture frames and on items in the closet.
Several of us in this small building had bizarre neurological problems with balance and seizures, but it took us awhile to connect the dots to exposure to neurotoxins resulting from the leak under the building. When my downstairs neighbor was diagnosed as having asthma and allergies from his mold exposure, we moved from the building.
Unfortunately for my neighbor downstairs, it was not soon enough – he died three months later after producing quantities of foam and blood from his mouth. I’ve been working with his mother since that time, and we have finally proved that he had Trichothecene mycotoxicosis. We don’t yet have quite all the information we need to prove causation for court. We haven’t been able to tie the Trichothecene to a particular mold found there by means of DNA, however, there were several molds present in an earlier air sampling that can produce Trichothecene.
Since it was a sewer leak, we know bacteria was involved, although the sampling we’ve had done hasn’t tested for bacteria, and we don’t really know what we need to know about what role it played in our human tragedy. Is there a good primer anywhere to read up on what to test for and how that is done? Do you do that sort of work in the U.S.?