Indoor Air Quality Handbook. Samet J, Spengler J, McCarthy J, eds., New York: McGraw-Hill Publishers, 2000 Dec; :46.1-46.19
Intense scientific and public scrutiny has focused on hazards associated with exposure to fungi, especially in enclosed environments. Fungi are well known as agents of infection (e.g., histoplasmosis, aspergillosis), allergic disease (e.g., asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis), and toxicoses (e.g., tremogenicity, aflatoxicoses, ergotism) (Baxter et al. 1981, Brown et al. 1998, Burge 1985, Dvorackova 1976, Garrett et al. 1998, Juchet et al. 1998, Land et al. 1987, Robertson et al. 1987). Fungi also produce malodorous volatile organic compounds that may cause physical irritation (Pasanen et al. 1998, Walinder et al. 1998). The fungal cell wall is composed primarily of chitin fibrils embedded in a matrix of 13-(1-->3)-D-glucans. Glucan exposure may exacerbate the infectious, allergic, and toxic reactions to fungi (Burge 1989, Flannigan et al. 1991, Rylander et al. 1992). Exposure to mycotoxins in indoor air has become of particular concern because of the potential for both acute and chronic health effects (Flannigan 1987, Hendry and Cole 1993, Jarvis 1990, Miller et al. 1988, Morey 1993, Sorenson 1990, Tobin et al. 1987). The potent health effects elicited in laboratory animals and information from anecdotal case studies have fueled the anxiety. This chapter discusses mycotoxins in general and the fungal species Stachybotrys chartarum (syn. S. atra) in particular. Although other toxin-producing species of fungi can also be found in the indoor environment (Tobin et al. 1987), S. chartarum has been the most public, because of the severity of the reported symptoms and the population affected.