SIDS and fungi

Paul Zambino paulz at PUCCINI.CRL.UMN.EDU
Fri Mar 7 18:32:22 EST 1997

>In article <19970214232101.SAA07558 at>,
>davidmarc at (DavidMarc) wrote:
>> What do people think about this association between Satchybotrus Autra and
>> Sudden Infant Death Syndrome?
>> Davidmarc at
>   There is a report at <>.  Stachybotrys atra
>(now known as S. chartarum) can be highly toxic.  It is very commonly
>found in homes in basements on damp drywall or paper.  Exposures are
>limited because the spores do not become airborne very readily.  There
>were at least 2 deaths associated with this mold in Cleveland after
>flooding, but I believe that the mold was found in forced air heating
>ducts. The mycotoxin causes pulmonary hemorrhage.  I doubt that it is the
>main cause of SIDS;  I rarely find the spores in air samples even when the
>mold is present.  Nonetheless, under some circumstances, S. chartarum may
>be a significant health threat, to adults as well as children.
>Jeff May

I concur.  I can recall three topics of discussion over the past several
years dealing with SIDS, none of which mentioned any connection with S.
chartarum.  The first report studied infants with smoking vs. non-smoking
mothers.  Infants of smoking mothers were shown to have poorer regulation
of blood pressure and internal oxygen, correlated with a higher incidence
of SIDS.  The report identified prenatal nicotine in a premature aging of
fetal adrenal tissue.  This causes an uncoupling of some aspects in the
normally coordinated shift in the way oxygen stress is handled in infant
vs. child.

The second study  showed lower incidence of SIDS in infants placed on their
backs when sleeping, than in infants sleeping on their stomach, and
promoted the "back to sleep" informational campaign.

A third study compared babies sleeping with their mothers vs. by
themselves, and found that incidence of SIDS was lower in babies sleeping
with non-smoking mothers, but higher for infants sleeping with smoking
mothers.  Infants sleeping with their mothers had fewer and shorter periods
of extremely deep sleep.  Such deep sleep periods are characterized by
pauses in breathing interrupted by deep breaths or gasps.

The variety of reports on SIDS probably just illustrates that causes of
SIDS and the ways that they interact are not well understood.  There may be
a connection of S. chartarum with SIDS in some cases, but I would imagine
that this would be the case primarily when there are other predisposing
factors.  Paul

Paul Zambino, Ph.D.
USDA Forest Service
Forestry Sciences Lab
5985 Highway K
Rhinelander, WI 54501
FAX: (715)362-1166
EMAIL: paulz at

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