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  • Tuuminen, Tamara; Rinne, Kyösti Sakari (2017)
    The presence of toxic indoor molds with accompanying bacterial growth is clearly detrimental to human health. The pathophysiological and toxicological effects of toxins and structural components of molds and bacteria have been clarified in experiments conducted in tissue culture and animals, and there is convincing epidemiologic evidence; nonetheless their implications for human health are either ignored or denied, at least in Finland. In this communication, we describe two cohorts suffering severe sequelae to mold-related illness. One cohort is a nine-member family with pets that moved into a new house, which soon proved to be infested with pathogenic molds. The other cohort consists of 30 teachers and 50 students from a mold-infested school building. The first cohort experienced a plethora of mucosal irritation, neurological, skin, allergic, and other symptoms, with all family members ultimately developing a multiple chemical syndrome. In the second cohort, we detected a greatly elevated prevalence of autoimmune conditions and malignancies. We claim that mold-related illness exists in multiple facets; if not simply a transient mucosal irritation or even an increased risk of asthma onset or its exacerbation. We propose a scheme to explain the natural course of the mold-related illness. We recommend that future studies should combine data from, e.g., cancer, autoimmune, and endocrine disorder registers and neurological and mental health or neuropsychological registers with mold-exposed individuals being monitored for prolonged follow-up times.
  • Salin, Janne; Ohtonen, Pasi; Andersson, Maria A.; Syrjala, Hannu (2021)
    Background: The causes and pathophysiological mechanisms of building-related symptoms (BRS) remain open. Objective: We aimed to investigate the association between teachers' individual work-related symptoms and intrinsic in vitro toxicity in classrooms. This is a further analysis of a previously published dataset. Methods: Teachers from 15 Finnish schools in Helsinki responded to the symptom survey. The boar sperm motility inhibition assay, a sensitive indicator of mitochondrial dysfunction, was used to measure the toxicity of wiped dust and cultured microbial fallout samples collected from the teachers' classrooms. Results: 231 teachers whose classroom toxicity data had been collected responded to the questionnaire. Logistic regression analysis adjusted for age, gender, smoking, and atopy showed that classroom dust intrinsic toxicity was statistically significantly associated with the following 12 symptoms reported by teachers (adjusted ORs in parentheses): nose stuffiness (4.1), runny nose (6.9), hoarseness (6.4), globus sensation (9.0), throat mucus (7.6), throat itching (4.4), shortness of breath (12.2), dry cough (4.7), wet eyes (12.7), hypersensitivity to sound (7.9), difficulty falling asleep (7.6), and increased need for sleep (7.7). Toxicity of cultured microbes was found to be associated with nine symptoms (adjusted ORs in parentheses): headache (2.3), nose stuffiness (2.2), nose dryness (2.2), mouth dryness (2.8), hoarseness (2.2), sore throat (2.8), throat mucus (2.3), eye discharge (10.2), and increased need for sleep (3.5). Conclusions: The toxicity of classroom dust and airborne microbes in boar sperm motility inhibition assay significantly increased teachers' risk of work-related respiratory and ocular symptoms. Potential pathophysiological mechanisms of BRS are discussed.