Toxic Mold

Monday, September 01, 2008

Find out what you need to know about toxic mold. Chemical/industrial hygienist Monona Rossol of Arts Crafts and Theater Safety and Dr. Eckardt Johanning of the Fungal Research Group explain the health effects of mold exposure, and why court cases involving toxic mold are very difficult for plaintiffs to win. Call us at 212-433-9692 to ask the experts about toxic mold.

Weigh in: Have you ever had a problem with toxic mold? Tell us about your experiences.


Dr. Eckardt Johanning and Monona Rossol

Comments [32]

Tiffany from Stoughton, WI

I heard Dr. Johanning talk on UTube about how mycotoxins can alter DNA?

My son has been diagnosed with an SCN1A mutation (sodium channel deficiency). He was given this dianosis at 9 months old, (after a DNA test by Athena Labs), Seizures started at age 3.5 months. I thought it could be b/c of an unapproved incorrect vaccine (yes, he got an adult dose of Pneumovax23 instead of PREVNAR)at 2 months old that I though could have penetrated his blood brain barrier, causing the mutation, causing the seizures, but our genetist says the mutation happened at conception. BUT, we have just recently found out our home is invested with stachybotrys mold. He has been consistantly coughing for 3 months now, seizing more and we have left our home to forclosure, trying to get him to a "somewhat" mold free environment. Could the mycotoxins rearranged his DNA causing the missense mutation on SCN1A? We collected stem cells from him at birth, would Dr. Johanning be interested in testing the stem cells DNA at birth to see if this mutation was present or see if it wasn't and possible an environmental mutation caused by mold?

Please help! We don't know where else to turn.

Mom of Bauer, 21 months

Jan. 31 2009 06:17 PM
Jonathan Lee Wright from Estes Park, CO

Listeners here should not only pay heed to the medical and scientific information that this excellent journalistic coverage has provided on the subject, but also to see the underlying cause for there even being a need to address questions of this problem's validity.

The American College of Occupational and Evironmental Medicine's position paper on the subject of mold and human health that was referenced by Dr. Johanning here was the subject of a front page, year-long investigative report in the Wall St. Journal that outlined the severe conflicts of interest inherent in the production of that paper. In the years since the publication of the ACOEM paper in 2002, it has been not only used as a potent defense litigation weapon against the sick, but repeatedly referenced in an increasingly compromised press to create public confusion and stall legislative response to this national public health emergency.

The first order of business in healing those sick from mold exposures in this country will be to clear the decks of those with vested interests in legal and legislative responses to this issue.


Jonathan Lee Wright
Fungal Disease Resource Center, Inc

Sep. 03 2008 12:16 AM
schooled in mold from CT

Having worked for many years in an environmentally neglected science building on a university campus, I suffered all the above noted symptoms and many recriminations from colleagues over the years. Employers will NEVER do a scientific study that will entail a potentially costly remediation! PERIOD. Of approx. 100 full time workers and colleagues who worked in this toxic environment for over the past 30 years, at least 10 have succumbed to cancer, some undergoing very grizzly, rapid demise. A high percentage??? One can only question the implications for students who have paid big money to spend their time learning in such an environment.

Fortunately, I finally retired early, without any university remuneration, at some personal loss. I am certain that those individuals who were "valued" employees of the institution and who succumbed while confined to this unwholesome environment would today reconsider their commitment to "The Greater Good". As it turns out, the insidiously neglected environment had been a bone of contention for decades. The administration abrogated its responsibility to care for the environment of its work staff; employees who chose to voice their concerns were labeled as "whiners" and ostracized.

Happy Labor Day in the USA.

Sep. 02 2008 09:41 PM
Darlene Berube from Worcester, Massachusetts

I have posted the podcast on myspace and some other sites. I am receiving a tremendous amount of feedback. I have also referred them to this site here at WNYC with Leonarad Lopate, the sickbuildings site, facbook, mine, and some others. Many thanks to Dr. Johanning and Monona Rossol for all the hard work and devotion to all us that are very ill from these exposures. Thank you and God Bless, Darlene

Sep. 02 2008 02:08 PM
surella baer from new york

Please check out the online group called
It has been very helpful to me when I got exposed to mold in my home. Almost 2 years later I can finally say I think I got it all and am just starting to feel better. The group answered all sorts of questions for me when I was remediating the mold.

Sep. 02 2008 10:54 AM
adrean hayashi from benicia, California

Dr. Johanning, Thank you for the link to the WHO european study. Seems that other countries are taking this seriously...the US seems to be missing the mark. I heard on an online interview with a pathologist that yeast in the body is important to measure. Are you able to clarify why this would be so? What type of procedure is needed to measure yeast in the body?

Sep. 01 2008 03:37 PM
Lisa Nagy MD from Martha's Vineyard

To the people above with mold in the bathroom soap dish and toilet.

THe problem may be that the mold content of the apartment is too high. the spores are just growing in the bathroom because that is where the water is. THe problem may not be in the bathroom but elsewhere in the walls or roof from leaking. P and K microbiology (tel 866 871 1984)(see my website) is the best place to do mold plates and get the species and then you can google to seee what toxins that species may make.
Many people become paralyzed from the mold and cannot lift a finger to clean it up once they have been affected by it neurologically. It can zap your energy, your adrenal and thyroid function. Best to rip out all wet materials the day a leak happens within 2 days the mold sets in and then you have to much more expensively remove the more dangerous moldy and wet material.

Sep. 01 2008 03:09 PM
Eckardt Johanning MD from New York

Thank you for your very thoughtful and challenging questions - indoor molds - whether allergenic or toxic - are typically associated with damp and wet indoor conditions - that is why some scientist now prefer to call this "dampness related exposure and illness(es)" - it is a public health issue and public health agencies should take it seriously and advocate prevention and rapid control - even if science has not told us everything about the proper environmental exposure assessment, quantifications, etc. and medical diagnosis. From what we know now, there is enough to follow the "precautionary principle" and avoid or minimize exposure in indoor environments to these biological agents - these are not "normal" household molds! For a more recent "independent" medical summary of health issues and research needs see:

Sep. 01 2008 02:29 PM
Ciro M. DiSclafani from Hackensack, NJ

My wife was seriously affected by toxic molds. We moved to a new residence and throughly treated the apartment - bathroom, refrigerator, food storage areas, washing machine, laundry bins, air conditioners, vacuum cleaner, bedding and furniture - with a safe, non-toxic, water-based, odorless, peroxide/organosilane treatment product.
For almost two years we have had no mold growth issues because of the RESIDUAL remediation nature of the product.
This is why I am an advocate, and crusader, of this product line.
Why don't medical and remediation professionals want to know about it? Are they only obsessed with treating, or preventing, disease with drugs and toxic chemicals? This is very frustrating.
It seems that all these interview programs never explore ALL the solutions, unless they are promoted by FAMOUS people.
To learn more please contact me

Sep. 01 2008 02:16 PM
adrean hayashi from benicia, California

We need more of this!!! My family and I (we have 6 children) were exposed to apergillus pennicilum and stachybotrys via a brand new rv we bought in Arkansas. Since then we have each has differnt symtoms. Have you ever heard of constant neck pain at the base of the skull? My 5 year old has been complaining of this sort of pain for almost 4 weeks. She has been givin an x-ray with normal I don't know what to do???

Sep. 01 2008 02:13 PM
Missy from Mt Kisco, NY

I was exposed to stachybotris while working at Brucker Hall at Rockland Community College (NY). The web site has been very helpful to me. After 3 years of mainstream medicine, I have finally tried a Naturpath Dr (licensed in the state of CT) and feel some relief. They are detoxifying my liver and other organs using natural medicinal approaches. I'd encourage others who have no relief through pharma to consider this approach. I was at the end of my rope with the ongoing symptoms, and this has given me a glimmer of hope that I'll potentially feel notably better one day. For those of you who are writing in about seeing mold and wondering what to do - all I can say from my experience is MOVE. Don't risk your health over a nice apt, a good job, etc. I didn't listen to my body and stayed in a moldy office and have perm respiratory damage as well as short term memory don't know what I'd give to have my old NORMAL health back. Be well!

Sep. 01 2008 02:04 PM
Fish from brooklyn

Can you talk more about the symptoms. Your guest mentioned symptoms like a rash on the skin that feels like sunburn? Can a dermatologist determine this?

Sep. 01 2008 01:57 PM
Tony Jannetti from NYC

I heard in passing some reference to marijuana and mold.
Can you clarify?

Sep. 01 2008 01:57 PM
Jenny from NYC Manhattan

How do you do air testing?

Where is best place to get more info on all of this?

Sep. 01 2008 01:55 PM
Kevin Carstens from Georgia

Dr.Johanning, how can fungal disease/infections be so prevalent in many strutures such as hospitals, courthouses, governor's mansions,etc, when it does not seem to be a great concern to authorities in our homes, schools or work environments? Why do these facilities take aggessive actions at taxpayers expense if mold/mycotoxins are not dangerous to your health?

Thank you.

Sep. 01 2008 01:53 PM
Michael from Manhattan

2 other points I would like to make.
New York city , with its many buildings that are very old and the crawl spaces full of the detritus of vermin, humans, and animals that have accumulated over the years must be chock full of all sorts of biomatter that may account for some toxic consequences. We may be able to keep our spaces clean but between the drywall and floors of countless buildings, but it is my guess that all the vermin that live with us as well as out effluent collect degrade, decompose and affect our atmosphere over the 300 years of history here.
I have also noticed that food will spoil (go moldy ) much faster in NYC than in SFO and Vancouver. I am also sure that these microbiologic debris affect even the smell and condition of our bodies as I have noticed thru frequent travel that my own body odor changes depending on where I am . Despite the hot climate, paradoxically, I dont need deodorant in Thailand, or Vancouver, but Do need it in NYC and Japan. I believe it is because of the different concentrations of these microfauna and flora in different areas of the world.

Sep. 01 2008 01:48 PM
shamelshipman from Big Sandy TX

Those with mold concerns may want to check out the remarkable research on toxic mold removal done by environmental expert Dr Ed Close. Simply diffusing a therapeutic-grade essential oil regularly will likely result in an environment very hostile to mold.

In one instance, 10,667 stachybotrys mold spores were identified in a per cubic meter area. After diffusing Thieves essential oil for forty-eight hours, Dr Close retested. Only thirteen stachybotrys remained. Similarly, 75,000 stachybotrys mold spores were identified in a sample of sheetrock. After seventy-two hours of diffusing, no stachybotrys mold spores remained. (Stachybotrys has a reputation for being the most toxic mold.)

Sep. 01 2008 01:42 PM
Michael from Manhattan

I have noticed that when I enter Japan I smell the mold there, as soon as I exit the plane into Narita airport. I thought it was just "the smell of japan" Even packages and the clothing of people that come from theer have a smell that people hear interpet as"moldy" when I give it to others to smell. It is a rather humid country.

Sep. 01 2008 01:38 PM
Sharon Kramer from California

It seems to be the common perception among the physicians of the US that exposure to molds within water damaged buildings cannot cause illness in prior healthy people. Is that true and where did that concept originate?

Sep. 01 2008 01:37 PM
anonyme from manhattan

I read that mold hates acid so I am a big fan of distilled vinegar for cleaning

Sep. 01 2008 01:35 PM
JoEllen Perez from GA

Can Dr. Johanning address the potential complications of mycotoxin exposure in people with other disorders? I am thinking specifically of connective tissue disoreers such as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome which alter the extracellular matrix environment or possibly the blood brain barrier.

I mention this primarily because it is so common for victims to have symptoms laid off to their imagination, sheer greed, or other illnesses.

Sep. 01 2008 01:31 PM
Jenny from NYC Manhattan

What should I do if I am in a tenement building rental with chronic water-leak problems and recurrent smell of mold that I think is in ceiling and walls.

If I get the landlord to rip open the walls (don't know how likely),

1) how would we collect and get the mold tested?

2) How do you remove all the mold?

3) Can I be tested for mold problems and avoid ripping the wall? (I already have autoimmune problems, so symptoms might not be attributable)

Sep. 01 2008 01:29 PM
Jonathan from Lower East Side

For at least a year I've had what looks to be mold frequently appearing & rapidly spreading on metal surfaces (soap dish, candle holders, pliers) in the bathroom of my rented LES apartment, and more recently, a calcified, yellowish substance building up on the grout between the tiles in my bathroom & now my kitchen, in a few places growing over the height of the tile line.

I can't find any reference on the web to the yellowish substance and it's all very scary in a "sci-fi horror flick"-kind-of-way.

Do I need the CDC or Bellvue?


Sep. 01 2008 01:27 PM
Neil from Manhattan

I recently moved to an apartment on the UWS which gets very little sunlight. I noticed funny smell in the bathroom, which I traced to mold growing on the bottom side of the toilet seat. I have repeatedly used bleach solution and Lysol to get rid of it, but it always comes back. Why is that? What can I do? How dangerous is it?


Sep. 01 2008 01:26 PM
Steve Mark from NYC

How can you test for toxic mold in the air in your home. We bought a new home with a flat roof that has been leaking for years and know e had to build a new roof and the air smells awful Is this a self-evident clue?

Sep. 01 2008 01:25 PM
Ciro M. DiSclafani from Hackensack, NJ

There is an effective, safe, non-toxic, non-leaching remediation treatments that can be effectively used to inhibit the growth and spread of toxic molds, and other dangerous pathogens.
For some strange reasons, known only to people in healthcare and other related industries, this class of products is not taken seriously.
The other frustration is the apparent lack of scientific curiousity to even want to test these products claims.
I am sure that even your guests today are unaware of the second generation organosilanes that are available.
For those who may be curious please visit or contac me at

Sep. 01 2008 01:25 PM
anonyme from manhattan

Two questions - any info on mold in the blood? My 89 yer old motehr told me 2 or 3 years ago taht they found mold in her blood but nobody knows what to do with it. She is a tiger btw - lives half the year on the ocean in FL and half the year in southern Ontario on the lake

Second - i bought titanium dioxide coated fluorescent bulbs and I think they work - the reason is i can make kvass and kombucha without getting mold in my kitchen in roosevelt island (gross mold in my utility closet which has one of these lights on 24/7

Sep. 01 2008 01:18 PM
Sharon Kramer from California

Why does Dr. Johanning think we have seen such an increase in report of these illnesses in the past 10 to 15 years?

Sep. 01 2008 01:14 PM
Lisa Nagy MD from Martha's Vineyard

I am a doctor who was featured on Nightline in March telling my story of almost dying from Toxic Mold exposure a few years ago. I was successfully treated by Environmental Medicine doctor William Rea in Dallas( Other doctors listed at

I now give Grand Rounds (next week is Cleveland Clinic) to medical institutions on the subject of Chemical Sensitivity and Environmental Illness induced by mold, chemicals and metals.
My website and Non profit (The Prventive and Environmental Health Alliance - PEHA) can be reached at:
I assist patients to find medical help, resources and piece of mind at no charge though donations are encouraged.
Contact info on the site. Lisa

Sep. 01 2008 12:42 PM
Darlene Berube from Worcester, Massachusetts

If others could comment on becoming sick in their apartment and/or house. What types of issues are people having with landlords neglecting the situation and not wanting to do remediation in apartments and/or HVAC systems in the larger complexes? Also, are there a larger number of HUD homes or apartments that are being neglected more so than the non-subsidized ones that have the mold/mycotoxins/bacteria, etc in them.

Sep. 01 2008 12:30 PM
Cathy Stolley from South Florida

We live in South Florida and our house had aspergillus in the walls. We discovered this from finding it in my husband's lungs first. He now has ABPA. We have redone the house and it is supposed to be clear. I think it would be good for him to move from South Florida to some place like Colorado. It seems most doctors don't think that will help him. But I would think that his health would be better in an area where there is less mold. What do you think?

Sep. 01 2008 12:04 PM
A Page from Upstate NY

My e mail question keeps getting rejected because you think my e mail has too many @ in it, which is not the case, so I am trying this comment space.
I would like guests to comment on accommodations for those that a negligent workplace has made sensitized to molds, and chemical fragrance made from petrochemical byproducts. When a workers skills et is intact, but cannot work in the same space any longer, what have you heard about accommodations. It cant be that these folks are thrown in the "disabled" pile and live off social security.

Sep. 01 2008 12:00 PM

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