Toxic Black Mold in Biblical Times
The dangers of toxic black mold have been recorded as far back as in the Bible. According to Chapter 14 of the Book of Leviticus if toxic black mold was found on a stone within a house then the stone was to be removed and taken outside of the city.
Anyone who had lived or eaten in the house had to wash themselves. If the mold appeared on more stones in the house after this then the house was to be dismantled and the stones placed outside the city.
Toxic Black Mold in Eastern Europe
In 1837, the Czech mycologist August Carl Joseph Corda originally described Stachybotrys chartarum (toxic black mold) after he found the mold growing on a wall of a house in Prague.
Later, in the 1930s and 1940s, farm animals (especially horses) in Ukraine, Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe mysteriously began to die from a strange new disease. The symptoms included bleeding, immune system suppression, infection, nervous system disorder and shock.
In 1938 Russian scientists discovered that the disease was caused by toxic black mold. The mold had been growing on the animal’s hay and feed which had been wet. The scientists called the new disease stachybotryotoxicosis.
Toxic black mold was then studied. Tests were performed on animals to examine the toxicity of toxic black mold. Stachybotryotoxicosis occurs throughout the world today but it is still especially common in Eastern Europe.
Toxic Black Mold Affecting Humans
The first reports of humans being affected by toxic black mold came from Russia in the 1940s. Farm workers who were in contact with grain or hay infested with toxic black mold became sick.
They had toxic symptoms including skin irritation and bleeding, inflammation of the airways, fever and fatigue. People who ate grain infested by toxic black mold showed symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. (Toxic Black Mold Symptoms)
New Building Codes Increase Mold Indoors
Previously the reported cases of toxic black mold had been outdoors, relating to agriculture. However beginning in the 1970s new construction methods made it more likely that toxic black mold would grow in homes.
After the energy crisis new construction codes came into effect in the United States during the 1970s. These required buildings to be more airtight to conserve energy. This resulted in buildings being less ventilated, allowing pockets of moist air to become trapped for longer periods of time.
Cheaper building materials such as drywall also became popular. Because of these factors mold growth became more frequent inside homes.
Toxic Black Mold in Homes
Since the outbreak of the 1930s in Eastern Europe, study of Stachybotrys had continued and there was increasing information reported on toxic black mold. However it was not until 1986 that a case of people being affected by toxic black mold growing indoors was reported.
In Chicago, a family lived in a home for five years with toxic black mold growing in it. During this time they showed symptoms of stachybotryotoxicosis. These included skin and throat irritation, headaches, sickness, flu and cold symptoms, diarrhea and tiredness.
Testing of their home found toxic black mold spores in the air. Stachybotrys was also found growing on building materials in the home and on some organic materials. These materials had become wet from a moisture problem in the house.
Testing also found trichothecenes in the air, a type of mycotoxin produced by toxic black mold. These mycotoxins were found to be highly toxic when tested on animals. After the toxic black mold was removed from the house the family’s health problems faded away.
Toxic black mold started coming to the public’s attention even more after 1993-1994. Almost 30 infants were found to have pulmonary hemorrhage in Cleveland, Ohio after their homes were flooded. Several of the infants died from the lung disease. Later investigation of their homes revealed toxic black mold growing in the houses.
Toxic Black Mold in Biological Weapons
Because of its high toxicity, toxic black mold has been used as a biological weapon, beginning with the Yellow Rain attacks during the Vietnam War. The “Yellow Rain” was actually concentrated T-2 trichothecene mycotoxins harvested from toxic black mold.
Later on, T-2 mycotoxins were again used during the Iraq-Iran war by Iraq under Saddam Hussein. It has also been proposed that biological weapons made from toxic black mold were the cause of Gulf War syndrome. Biological weapons made from toxic black mold were also created by the Soviet Union.
Toxic Black Mold Today
Today toxic black mold is still a problem in agriculture with Stachybotrys infesting crops. Harvests such as grain have to be treated with binding agents before consumption to remove toxic spores and mycotoxins.
Since the early cases of toxic black mold in homes, there have been increasing reports in the media about toxic black mold. In 2001 a toxic black mold story ran on the front page of the New York Times. Increases in flooding and storms are today also making toxic black mold more widespread.
Cases of toxic black mold infested houses having to be burnt down have also appeared. Numerous law suits have also resulted because of toxic black mold growing in houses. “Sick building” has become a well known term. Toxic black mold infestation is one of the leading causes of sick building syndrome.
There have been alarming reports of children suffering toxic black mold poisoning because of infested schools and horror stories of people whose health has been devastated by toxic black mold so badly that they have ended up in hospital. It is estimated that over 500 000 people in America die each year because of toxic black mold.