Award Date

Fall 1998

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Environmental Science

Advisor 1

Carol Jensen-Department Advisor

Advisor 2

Dr. Shawn Gerstenberger-Content Advisor

Number of Pages

54

Abstract

Stachybotrys chartarum (atra) is a toxigenic fungus that is known to adversely impact the health of animals. Until recently, there have only been a few documented clinical reports linking Stachybotrys chartarum to human health effects. Scientists are increasingly convinced that Stachybotrys and its metabolites are responsible for several adverse health effects experienced by people all over the world, although conclusive proof has yet to be established. All the physical requirements needed for indoor Stachybotrys sporulation and growth is provided through water leaks (plumbing, roof or ceiling), flood events, nutrient sources (cellulose and nitrogen), pH, and temperature(23° - 28°C). Stachybotrys has been found in several climates around the world that are similar to those found in Nevada. Conditions that support Stachybotrys growth and confirmed contamination site locations were also similar to those found in Nevada. Also, Nevada residents who reside/work in water damaged buildings that have confirmed Stachybotrys contamination have reported similar symptoms to those mentioned in the reviewed literature. Unfortunately, scientists have not identified human toxicity levels or the dose/response relationship for humans exposed to Stachybotrys chartarum due to the lack of test subjects who were exposed and their willingness to undergo testing. Scientists are also trying to determine whether not reported Stachybotrys-related illnesses are the result of exposure to Stachybotrys alone or if there are synergistic effects with other bioaerosols and molds. What is known is that Stachybotrys spores often contain toxigenic properties, such as, macrocyclic trichothecenes which can be absorbed into the body through ingestion, skin contact, or inhalation. Nevadans who work or reside in Stachybotrys-contaminated buildings may be at risk. Health effects are numerous and may be life threatening depending on the person’s age, exposure (duration and route), and toxicity level. Medical professionals and consultants should consider microbial contaminants in their assessment of their patients because there is a potential risk that Nevadans may have been exposed to Stachybotrys and its metabolites. Industrial hygienists should use a multi-method approach when collecting and analyzing microbial samples because it has a higher fungal detection rate than single method sampling.

Keywords

Molds (Fungi) control; Nevada; Stachybotrys; Toxigenic fungi health aspects

Disciplines

Environmental Sciences | Fungi | Organisms | Public Health

Language

English


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