The following illustrates that common molds and their mycotoxins (fungal poisons), concentrated inside buildings, can produce dangerous health effects. These same mycotoxins are often found in schools (Fusarium, Trichoderma, Stachybotrys), sometimes in large amounts (at times, the inside of entire walls filled with these molds). The mycotoxins are so potent that they are recognized as potential agents of bioterrorism and have been developed for use in chemical warfare, since the 1980's. In fact, Gulf War Syndrome is suspected to have been caused by agents such as these.
This is why it is imperative not to stay in moldy rooms or buildings, and to realize that the mycotoxins can remain on school and personal items in the room. This article, from the Southern Illinois School of Medicine, describes the same symptoms that teachers, custodians, school secretaries, and children present with, following mold exposure. These same symptoms, unfortunately, are often vigorously denied by school district attorneys, school administrators, school boards, school insurance risk managers, school nurses and some other uninformed staff and agents of some school districts who wish to protect liability and deny injury claims. These school districts would be well-advised to concentrate on protecting the occupants of their schools from potent fungal poisons.
These are, frequently, the symptoms of many desperately ill people we have spoken with, including children, confirmed by physicians, who remained in moldy buildings. Parents, do not allow your children to become sickened in moldy buildings! This is difficult to read, but necessary to educate yourself about, for only with education can you protect your child's health.
OVERVIEW OF POTENTIAL AGENTS OF BIOLOGICAL TERRORISM
Southern Illinois School of Medicine
Trichothecene mycotoxins are a group of more than 40 toxins produced by common molds like Fusarium, Myrotecium, Trichoderma, Stachybotrys and other filamentous fungi. They are extremely stable in the environment and the only class of biological toxins* that cause skin damage. Usual hypochlorite solution does not inactivate these toxins. They retain bioactivity even after autoclaving. Skin exposure causes pain, pruritus, redness, vesicles, necrosis and sloughing. Severe irritant effects are seen on the respiratory tract, GI tract and eyes on contact. Severe intoxication results in shock and death. Diagnosis should be suspected if an aerosol attack occurs in the form of "yellow rain" with contamination of the clothes and the environment by pigmented oily fluids.
Treatment is supportive only. Soap and water washing can prevent or significantly reduce dermal toxicity if done within 1 - 6 hours. Superactivated charcoal should be used for oral intoxication.
No prophylactic chemotherapy or immunotherapy is available in the field . Exposure during an attack should be prevented by mask and clothing. Secondary aerosols are not a hazard. Contact with contaminated skin and contaminated clothing can produce secondary dermal exposures. Until decontamination is accomplished, contact precautions are needed. Subsequently, standard precautions are recommended for health care workers. Environmental decontamination requires 1% sodium hypochloride with 0.1% NAOH for 1 hour contact time.
* Dr David C. Straus notes that other biological toxins also cause skin damage.