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Medical Panel concludes mold and dampness linked to respiratory symptoms and asthma
Saturday, 01 December 2007

State task force to focus on mold
Various types of mold - especially toxic forms - have long been a public concern, and now a New York State task force will investigate related health issues in a first-of-its-kind meeting next week...State legislators in 2005 urged that the panel be formed after hearing complaints of debilitating exposure to potentially lethal indoor air and concluding that toxic mold is an under-recognized health problem.  In 2004, an Institute of Medicine panel concluded that while indoor mold and dampness are linked to respiratory symptoms and asthma in vulnerable people,.. The institute, an arm of the National Academies, advises Congress on health issues.

State task force to focus on mold
Various types of mold - especially toxic forms - have long been a public concern, and now a New York State task force will investigate related health issues in a first-of-its-kind meeting next week.

The newly formed 14-member panel, which is welcoming the public, arguably has one of the worst names in investigative medicine: The Toxic Mold Task Force.

State legislators in 2005 urged that the panel be formed after hearing complaints of debilitating exposure to potentially lethal indoor air and concluding that toxic mold is an under-recognized health problem.

Nancy Kim and Thomas Mahar of the state Health Department will lead the group of experts, whose first meeting is in Latham on Tuesday.

"The task force was formed by legislative mandate," said Claire Pospisil of the Health Department. ". . . to look into this issue, and prepare a report for the governor."

Pospisil added that the panel will assess existing scientific research on toxic mold and the illnesses it triggers.

Toxic mold is a hot-button national issue that has been the source of lawsuits and disability payments after people inhaled contaminated indoor air.

In 2004, an Institute of Medicine panel concluded that while indoor mold and dampness are linked to respiratory symptoms and asthma in vulnerable people, there is no evidence that they cause neurological disorders or conditions such as cancer. Some cancer patients had blamed mold spores for their disease. The institute, an arm of the National Academies, advises Congress on health issues.

Molds are the ubiquitous fungi that have contaminated the air in countless homes, schools and workplaces. They flourish in dampness and sometimes become so embedded, experts say, that entire walls must be removed to rid structures of the invasion.

On Long Island, the most common forms include Penicillium, Aspergillus, Cladosporium - and Stachybotrys chartarum, the so-called black toxic mold that is a notorious trigger of asthma.

Bruce Stevens of Manhattan has been sickened by mold, which he says he inhaled in his home. He applauds the state's plan to investigate toxic mold. In his case, the illness "started about 11 months ago with a little bit of a cough and continually progressed until April or May when my doctor, who happens to be a pulmonologist, ultimately did a lung biopsy."

Stevens said that test, as well as others, proved that Penicillium spores and Aspergillus had infiltrated his lungs. "I cough right after I wake up in the morning and cough for three to four hours," he said.

http://www.newsday.com/news/health/ny-hsmold305482034nov30,0,4600099.story

 
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