Mycotoxins and building-related illness.
J Occup Environ Med 1998 Sep; 40(9):761-764
To the Editor: Building-related illnesses include a variety of recognized disease entities that are characterized by objective clinical findings potentially related to specific exposures in the indoor environment. Examples include allergic rhinitis, asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, Legionnaire's disease, and humidifier fever. A number of microorganisms, including many species of bacteria and fungi, are well established as potential etiologic agents of building-related illnesses; these illnesses may be classified as being allergic, infectious, or related to a toxic or inflammatory reaction. The recent article by Hodgson et al (Hodgson JM, Morey P, Leung W, et al. Building-associated pulmonary disease from exposure to Stachybotrys chartarum and Aspergillus versicolor, J Occup Environ Med, Sept. 1998, 40(9):241-249) addresses the issue of whether exposure to mycotoxins in an indoor environment is related to illness among building occupants. We agree with the authors that this is an important public health issue, but we disagree with the authors' conclusions that a "mycotoxin-induced effect is the most likely explanation" of the health problems discussed in the article.
Mycotoxins; Construction-workers; Construction-industry; Allergic-disorders; Allergic-reactions; Allergies; Pneumoconiosis; Bacteria; Fungi; Microorganisms
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies, Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, Mail Stop R-10, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine