Molds and mildew are fungi that grow on the surfaces of objects, within pores, and in deteriorated materials. They can cause discoloration and odor problems, deteriorate building materials, and lead to allergic reactions in susceptible individuals, as well as other health problems (1).

Recently, molds have been identified as a possible pathogen in Infant Pulmonary Hemorrhagic Syndrome (IPHS). Stachybotrys atra is a mold that has been associated with cases of IPHS in Cleveland Ohio. Exposure to the mold occured in water damaged homes or apartments (2,3).

Stachybotrys atra is black or green-black and has a slimy appearance. The mold primarily grows on cellulose products that have become damp from water damage, and is often isolated from building materials in houses with moisture problems. Spores of Stachybotrys atra can contain mycotoxins which may lead to various symptoms in exposed residents in damp houses. The pathogenesis of Stachybotrys atra-induced lung diseases has not been elucidated (2,3).

These are some very informative links that pertain to Molds:

EXTOXNET FAQS IndoorAir Pollution Home


1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. December 1991. Building Air Quality: A Guide for
Building Owners and Facility Managers. pp. 229.

2. Sudakin, D. OEM: Stachybotrys and IAQ, Sep. 1997. URL:

3. McCabe, A.W. United States Navy, Navy Environmental Preventive Medicine Unit 5, Epidemiology Department V/R URL: .

This Page prepared by B.T. Johnson, November 1997 UCD EXTOXNET FAQ Team.