Following are a few of the most intriguing or groundbreaking stories about mold to be covered by the news media over the past 20 years.
Additional media coverage is summarized on a separate page of the Paradigm Change website.
THE ATLANTIC: “The Looming Consequences of Breathing Mold”
Many publications discussed the mold problems that were sure to result from Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma in Fall 2017.
DETROIT NEWS: “Hillary Clinton Stumps at Detroit Black Churches”
Both of the leading contenders for the Democratic nomination for President spoke out about mold issues during the Spring 2016 campaign. Hillary Clinton brought up mold in schools and in public housing, and Bernie Sanders mentioned building mold while visiting a housing project in New York City.
PEOPLE: “Detroit Public Schools Are In Crisis”
In January 2016, teachers in the Detroit public school system staged a series of “sick-outs” to protest appalling moldy classrooms and other unhealthy teaching conditions. Many media outlets nationwide covered the protests and posted shocking photos of the schools.
NEW ORLEANS TIMES-PICAYUNE: “Did a Moldy Building Kill Four New Orleans College Professors?”
In a multi-part series in 2015, the New Orleans Times-Picayune covered the deaths of four Southern University New Orleans professors, all of whom had had offices on the same floor of a building commonly known to have an obvious mold problem. The building was damaged by flooding from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and then re-opened in 2008, apparently without proper remediation.
DAILY MAIL: “Seen a Ghost? Then You May Have Inhaled Toxic Mold”
A study by researchers at Clarkson University looking at whether buildings where people had reported ghost sightings were especially likely to have toxic mold problems was reported on in 2015 by the UK Daily Mail and other publications.
SCIENCE DAILY: “Of Hurricanes, Fungus and Parkinson’s Disease”
New research using fruit flies showing that the volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) could cause neurological damage resulting in symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease was published in the prestigious medical journal PNAS. Rutgers University professor Joan Bennett and co-authors received coverage in 2014 in Science Daily, in Discover magazine and the New York Daily News, in addition to other publications. Dr. Bennett published a personal memoir of her experiences in 2015.
DATELINE NBC: “Mold, Mice and Zip Codes”
NBC Dateline (2014) reported on how mold and other health hazards in much of the housing available to people with lower incomes is leading to an epidemic of asthma and other illnesses.
THE NEW YORK TIMES: “Mold Toxins Tied to AIDS Epidemic”
University of Alabama professor Pauline Jolly and co-authors have published a series of papers suggesting that aflatoxin in foods is a major driver of the AIDS epidemic in Africa, as a result of immune system damage from the toxins making people more susceptible to the HIV virus. The most recent article (2013) was covered by the New York Times, by Science Daily and by many other publications.
THE NEW YORK TIMES: “The Mold That Sandy Left Behind”
About a year after Hurricane Sandy hit New York City, the New York Times and a variety of other newspaper discussed in a flurry of coverage the health hazards of the mold that grew in its wake as a key component of the mayor’s race (2013).
SCIENCE DAILY: “Fungus-Induced Neurologic Disease”
Science Daily (2011) reported on the emerging environmental mycotoxin penitrem A, made by the mold Penicillium crustosum. The toxin is damaging in very small quantities, has an effect on GABA, easily penetrates the blood-brain barrier, and creates symptoms that can look like those of common neurologic diseases. The most prominent researcher has been Angel Moldes-Anaya, located in Norway.
CNN: “Sanjay Gupta Learns that Indoor Air Quality Affects Students’ Health”
In a two-part series (2011), CNN reported on how funding inadequacies were keeping many school districts from maintaining their buildings, leading to substantial toxic mold problems having an effect on teachers and students in an estimated one-third of all schools.
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: “Shocking New Brittany Murphy Claim”
In late 2009, actress Brittany Murphy died unexpectedly at age 32 of a “weird flu.” Six months later, her husband (still living in the same home) died unexpectedly at age 39 of a similar “weird flu.” The couple had previously looked into whether toxic mold might be an issue in their home due to a sewage leak, and Brittany’s parents have stated that they believe that toxic mold was the cause of both deaths. A separate page on the Paradigm Change site provides details and media links.
NATURE: “Fungi Help Make Nanoparticles”
A considerable amount of research over the past two decades has looked at whether the natural ability of fungi to transform substances into their nanoparticle forms may be harnessed by scientists for the benefit of humans. Nature (2008) covered the ability of Fusarium semitectum to manufacture silver nanoparticles. Studies reported in other publications looked at the ability of various fungi to manufacture gold nanoparticles, to produce silica nanoparticles, and to create nanoparticles with the potential for cancer treatment (pictured). An unanswered question is whether the ability of molds to transform metals into their nanoparticle forms is a good thing or a bad thing outside the laboratory. More articles on this topic can be found on a separate page of this website.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC: “Fungi Gobble Radiation to Grow, Study Says”
Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine were intrigued by reports that black fungi were growing profusely on the inside of the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl, so they analyzed a sample of the mold. They found that dark-colored molds containing melanin were able not only to tolerate the nuclear radiation but to use it as a food source. The findings (published in 2007) were covered by National Geographic, by Cosmos and by other publications. Whether increased environmental radiation is at least partly responsible for the apparent increasing prevalence of Stachybotrys chartarum (“black mold”) remains an open question. (Image credit: Nigel Buchanan.)
USA TODAY: “The Mold in Your Home May Be Deadly”
USA Today introduced the topic of toxic mold to the mainstream American awareness with this story about Melinda Ballard and her family in December 1999. Two years later, Ballard received a court judgment of $32 million (including damages) against her insurance company. The insurance industry’s response was to almost universally exclude mold coverage from policies. The New York Times (2001) and the CBS news program 48 Hours (2002) covered the story at length.
Links on this page are in orange (no underlining).