Mold Illnesses aren’t just caused by mold

I frequently talk about mold illnesses as an important cause of illness among my patients.  However, the term “mold illness” is an oversimplification of what  the true problem.   The real problem is the ecology of what is found in a water damaged building.  Not only is there mold, there is also bacteria, amoeba, and sometimes mycobacteria and actinomycetes growing.  These organisms can release a variety of toxic substances such as:


  • endotoxins / mycotoxins
  • beta glucans
  • hemolysins
  • proteinases
  • mannans
  • c-type lectins
  • spirocyclic drimanes
  • volatile organic compounds

It is the combination of all of these components that cause illness.  It’s nearly impossible to test for all of the possible substances in  a water damaged building and it’s not possible to tell someone which one they are reacting to.   However, it  is easy to test for inflammation caused by a water damaged building.

If you look at some of Dr. Shoemaker’s research, the term he uses for “mold illnesses” is CIRS-WDB:  Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome from Water Damaged Buildings.  Now you can understand why.


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