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Six Types of Human Response to Mold Exposure

There are six types of human responses associated with mold exposure including the following according to Emil J. Bardana, Jr., MD, in his report to the 60th Annual Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, as reported in “The Impact of Environmental Molds in the Home” by Anthony Montanaro, MD, on medscape.com, 2002   

  1. Potential irritant effect, which at best is mild and transient and may be associated with exposure to beta-1,3 glucans or volatile organic compounds;
  2. Nonspecific respiratory symptoms, which are poorly correlated to airborne fungal levels;
  3. Allergic sensitization, which is usually not considered to be severe and is usually not considered to be a major problem and is more problematic with outdoor exposures;
  4. Fungal infections, which mostly arise from outdoor sources and may occur from exposure to soil-based saprophytic fungi;
  5. Exposure to mycotoxins, which have recently been described. There are currently more than 300 mycotoxins that have been described that are low in molecular weight and nonvolatile in nature. Dr. Bardana highlighted the fact that all species of fungi are capable of producing mycotoxins; and
  6. Psychogenic effects, which can occur when an individual perceives that he or she is being harmed by the effects of fungal exposure.
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