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Toxic Rot in Homes Linked to Sickness

Toxic Rot in Homes Linked to Sickness

Tuesday, January 7th 2003

New Zealand research confirms the role leaky houses play in allergies and infections.

Scientists have confirmed the mould growing in water-damaged homes around New Zealand is dangerous to humans and may affect animals.

The toxin-producing fungus stachybotrys has been linked to serious illness and deaths in the United States, but until now researchers had not proven the fungus found in New Zealand homes was toxic.

Scientists now confirm the fungus is linked to the rashes, breathing problems and chronic chest infections of some home owners.

HortResearch microbiologist Nick Waipara said tests had also found other toxic fungi growing with the stachybotrys. "We're finding the population of fungi in the walls is more complex than we thought. Some of them are first reports of them in New Zealand and haven't been reported overseas."

Stachybotrys grows only when materials such as wood or carpet backing are saturated for long periods. It rots wood, carpet, wallpaper and plaster if left to grow.

Dr Waipara said stachybotrys had been confirmed in 170 homes but the toxic rot is likely to be growing in any home which has been poorly constructed and leaks, or in old damp homes. He said samples taken from 10 of 43 homes where the occupants had reported illness were tested for toxicity.

Tenants in the homes reported symptoms that included rashes, tiredness, headaches, allergies, breathing trouble and chronic chest infections.
Some occupants said that since living in their leaky home they had experienced health problems such as allergies for the first time. People with existing complaints such as asthma said they felt worse.

In the US legal disputes have linked stachybotrys to a range of health problems, from chronic tiredness to bleeding lungs.

A report on toxic rot is being prepared for the Ministry of Health and the results will be sent to science publications.

"It gives weight to the evidence that these fungi could potentially cause sick building syndrome," Dr Waipara said.

The fungus emits toxic gases which can permeate minute cracks or wallpaper but, if disturbed, the fungus may send out spores which expose people to dangerous levels of the toxin. The toxic fungus could also affect animals, he said.

Builders making repairs to rotting homes were at high risk.

The preliminary results have already attracted international interest with the New Zealand evidence to be included in stachybotrys research at Columbia University in new York, Denmark's Technical University and the Institute of Hygiene and Medicine in Germany.

However, further investigation of stachybotrys in New Zealand by HortResearch and Landcare Research is on hold while applications for more funding are made to the Government.

Sourced from the New Zealand Herald 6 January 2003

Footnote from Ideal Health:

The following products are all useful for Hayfever and Allergies:

Allergy Check
Body Cleanse Total Detox Pack
Gencydo Nasal Spray
Hi Strength Fish Oil
Inner Health Plus
Liver Detox & Support
Sinus & Hayfever Relief
Self Test Food Allergy Test Kit

Related health information can be found here:

Hay Fever

Related articles can be found here:

Armoracia - Horseradish Root - Discover Metabolic Catalyst
Boost Your Seven Immune Systems
Fenugreek Seeds - Powerful Multiple Remedy

If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.


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