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What is the concern for Stachybotrys and Mycotoxins?

Mycotoxins are poisonous substances produced by fungi or mold. They can be toxic for humans when they are eaten, absorbed into the skin, or inhaled. A small amount of mycotoxin can be damaging to human or animal health and even cause death. Poisoning by mycotoxins is called mycotoxicosis. 

Stachybotrys Chartarum (Aka: The Toxic Indoor Black Mold):  A genus of molds which derives from the Greek words “stachy” & “botrys”. “Stachy” (progeny/descendants), “Botrys” (cluster or bunch of grapes). Most famous species of this mold include: S. Chartarum and Chlorochalonata which are also known as “black mold” or “toxic black mold”. These are linked with poor indoor air quality that arises after fungal growth on water-damaged building materials (plywood, wallpaper, drywall & carpet). Stachybotrys has also been associated with “Sick Building Syndrome”. 

Where S. Chartarum Occurs Indoors

The spores of S. chartarum are in the soil and are introduced along with flood waters or the dust and dirt entering with the water incursion. Also, building materials at the time of construction can have a coating of dust or dirt that
contains S. chartarum. The fungus is most commonly found in homes or buildings which have sustained flooding or water damage from broken pipes, roof, wall or floor leaks, condensation, etc. Wet conditions are required to initiate and maintain growth. It is most common on the paper covering of gypsum wall board, but can be found on wallpaper, cellulose based ceiling tiles, paper products, carpets with natural fibers, paper covering on insulated pipes, in insulation material, on wood and wood paneling, and on general organic debris. The paper covering on fiberglass insulation is another area for growth. The fungus can be hidden in the ceiling, walls or floors with no or little visible evidence within the interior of the room. The spores, however, can contaminate the interior of the room through holes and cracks in the building materials (aided by negative pressure) or be transported via the air handling system. It can also be found growing in ducts if there is organic debris. Condensation due to poor design or faulty heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems can promote growth of the fungus. The fungus will usually produce large amounts of conidiophores and conidia giving the substrate a black appearance that can be slightly shiny when fresh and powdery when dry. I have observed the fungus growing profusely on the paper covering of gypsum wall board within a week after flood water was drained from a building. 
Health Effects: Mild-Nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing & skin irritation. Severe-Fever, shortness of breath, fungal ling infections. Extreme-Can and do occur to those with immune-mediated conditions.
Please contact your local public health department, the CDC, or the EPA for advice on these related issues.

How Do Mycotoxins Spread?

Typically, mycotoxins indoors are created by the following conditions:

  • Environmental factors 

While different strains of mycotoxins produce varying symptoms in people, many of the main symptoms are the Four D's

  • Difficulty with digestion
  • Difficulty digesting proteins
  • Damage immune system 
  • Damage to the lungs 

It has been found that these symptoms are often worsened by:

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Malnutrition and poor diet
  • Underlying conditions or diseases





Aspergillus fumigatus

Gliotoxin, Aflatoxin

A. fumigatus is frequently found in homes and buildings. It is considered to be an opportunistic pathogen, meaning it rarely infects healthy individuals, but is the leading cause of invasive aspergillosis in immunocompromised individuals such as cancer, HIV or transplant patients .

Aspergillus flavus

Gliotoxin, Aflatoxin

A. flavus is the second leading cause of invasive aspergillosis in immunocompromised patients. Particularly common clinical syndromes associated with A. flavus include: chronic granulomatous sinusitis, keratitis, cutaneous aspergillosis, wound infections and osteomyelitis following trauma and inoculation. Can cause liver cancer in humans.

Aspergillus terreus

Gliotoxin, Citirin

Inhalation of fungal spores, which travel down along the respiratory tract, cause the typical respiratory infection.

Aspergillus versicolor


A. versicolor is one of the most frequently found molds in water-damaged buildings. A. versicolor is known to produce a mycotoxin called sterigmatocystin a potentially carcinogenic and hepatotoxic mycotoxin. It is primarily toxic to the liver and kidneys.

Aspergillus ochraceus


Ochratoxin has been demonstrated to be Nephrotoxic, Hepatotoxic, and Carcinogenic and is a potent teratogen and immune-suppressant. It has also been associated with urinary tract infections and bladder cancer.

Aspergillus niger

Ochratoxin, Gliotoxin

A. niger produces gliotoxin, which has been identified in the sera of humans and mice with aspergillosis. Causes immunosuppression in patients.

S tachybotrys chartarum

Macrocyclic Trichothecenes

S . chartarum, commonly known as black mold, is highly toxic to humans. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, burning erythema, ataxia, chills, fever, hypotension, hair loss and confusion are symptoms in individuals living or working inside S tachybotrys infested homes and buildings.

Chaetomium globosum


C. globosum is a common indoor fungal contaminant of water damaged homes or buildings. Like S tachybotrys, C. globosum spores are relatively large and due to their mode of release are not as easily airborne as are some other molds.

Fusarium species

Fumonisins; Zearalenone

Fusarium can cause superficial infections such as keratitis or onychomycosis in healthy individuals and disseminated infections in immunocompromised patients.

Candida auris


C. auris can be found in healthcare facilities and can be spread through contact with infected patients and equipment''s. C.auris can cause blood stream infections, wound infections and ear infections.

Penicillium brevicompactum

Ochratoxin A

Producer of the toxin Ochratoxin A. Fungal particles depend on the relative humidity. Can lead to chronic Rhinosinusitis if breathed in high concentrations.

Penicillium chysogenum

Ochratoxin A

Producer of the toxin Ochratoxin A. Fungal particles depend on the relative humidity. Can lead to chronic Rhinosinusitis if breathed in high concentrations. High levels are correlated with the development of sick building syndrome.