Learning objectives: Recent public concern about the danger of environmental fungi has focused attention on one particular mold, Stachybotrys. The purpose of this review is to examine and critique the published literature on Stachybotrys for objective scientific and clinical evidence of disease caused by the presence of this fungal organism in the environment.
Data sources: Data were obtained from all published research and reviews of Stachybotrys indexed in MEDLINE since 1966.
Study selection: The publications used for this review were those that contained information about human health effects of this microorganism. The critique of these publications is the author's.
Results: Stachybotrys is a minor component of the indoor mycoflora, found on certain building material surfaces in water-damaged buildings, but airborne spores are present in very low concentrations. Published reports fail to establish inhalation of Stachybotrys spores as a cause of human disease even in water-damaged buildings. A possible exception may be mycotoxin-caused pulmonary hemorrhage/hemosiderosis in infants, although scientific evidence to date is suggestive but not conclusive. Based on old reports ingestion of food prepared from Stachybotrys-contaminated grains may cause a toxic gastroenteropathy. No convincing cases of human allergic disease or infection from this mold have been published.
Conclusions: The current public concern for adverse health effects from inhalation of Stachybotrys spores in water-damaged buildings is not supported by published reports in the medical literature.