Microbe of the Month: Stachybotrys chartarum

Stachybotrys chartarum risksMicrobe of the Month: Stachybotrys chartarum

Classification Type: Fungi

Cultured from / Found in HVAC: Coiling Coils, Diffusers, Grilles, Filters, Drain Pans, Humidifiers

Noted Health Risks: Nasal Irritation, Burning and Congestion, Cough, Wheezing, Chest Tightness and Dyspnea

About Stachybotrys chartarum

Two black moulds commonly found in buildings are Cladosporium and Alternaria fungi. Another black mould is Stachybotrys chartarum, which can release specific toxins that are harmful to humans. [3] Stachybotrys chartarum causes sick building syndrome, where toxins released by the fungus cause people to feel unwell. The fungus has also been associated with a potentially lethal condition called acute idiopathic pulmonary haemorrhage in infants, but a firm link has not been established. [5]

Sick building syndrome: Investigation of a water-damaged office building in New York, USA whose employees complained of similar symptoms, detected widespread contamination of building materials such as sheetrock (drywall) and insulation material, carpets, stored paper products and the air ventilation system with toxigenic strains of S chartarum. The significant water damage and heavy mould contamination found are typical of these and other reports of ‘sick buildings’. [4]

Dyspnea (pronounced “DISP-nee-uh”) is the word healthcare providers use for feeling short of breath.

Health Risks Associated with Stachybotrys chartarum include:

Commonly reported respiratory tract symptoms include nasal irritation, burning and congestion, cough, wheezing, chest tightness and dyspnea. Central nervous system manifestations include headache, irritability, lightheadedness, sleeping difficulty, concentration problems and mental fatigue.[6]

Dyspnea: (pronounced “DISP-nee-uh”) is the word healthcare providers use for feeling short of breath. You might describe it as not being able to get enough air (“air hunger”), chest tightness or working harder to breathe.

Shortness of breath is often a symptom of heart and lung problems. But it can also be a sign of other conditions like asthma, allergies or anxiety. Intense exercise or having a cold can also make you feel breathless. [7]


[1,4,6]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2828207/#:~:text=Commonly%20reported%20respiratory%20tract%20symptoms,concentration%20problems%20and%20mental%20fatigue. [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stachybotrys_chartarum [3, 5] https://www.theguardian.com/science/2022/nov/15/what-is-black-mould-health-problems-cause [7] https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/16942-dyspnea

Safe indoor air from a serviced HVAC system means a lower particle count and less breathing difficulties for occupants of the building. Clean-Air are IICRC mould remediation experts with the knowledge and experience to test, treat and eliminate serious mould-related risks within your HVAC system. If you have concerns about the air you are breathing, or would like an HVAC health check, contact our team today.