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What's really making you sick? Plant pathologists offer the science behind Sick Building Syndrome

Science-based identification of mold and other causes of Sick Building Syndrome may improve its management, say plant pathologists with The American Phytopathological Society (APS).

Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) refers to a situation in which building occupants experience health problems while inside a particular building. Human health issues typically associated with SBS range from allergy attacks and asthma to more complex medical problems involving exposure to toxins.

Mold is a common cause of SBS, said Mani Skaria, Ph.D, plant pathology professor and interim chair of the Department of Agronomy and Resource Sciences, Texas A&M University, Kingsville, TX. "Mold has been known to humans since ancient times and it is impossible to eliminate mold from our lives," Skaria said. "However, we now have the technological ability to detect mold growth in its infancy to control it."

Apart from mold, dust and other antigens also cause SBS. This makes SBS a complex problem and requires objective inspections for possible causes to detect and manage SBS. Skaria cites a need for more plant pathologists and mycologists to study building-related mold growth and development and SBS syndrome in real-world conditions.

More on this topic will be presented during the Identification of Fungi Involved in Sick Building Syndrome workshop at the APS Annual Meeting in Austin, TX, July 30 - August 3, 2005. The workshop will offer the latest information on building inspections, assessing mold in a building, sampling techniques, mold growth areas, common misconceptions, new building construction, industry standards, legal issues, and possible solutions as well as discuss proactive strategies to be taken during house construction in order to control mold, insect, and mite-related allergens.

The workshop will be held Saturday, July 30 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Austin Convention Center. Members of the media are extended complimentary registration to the annual meeting. To register, contact Amy Steigman at or +1.651.994.3802. A news conference on emerging plant diseases will be held at the annual meeting on Monday, August 1. The media is invited to attend or call in.


Source:American Phytopathological Society

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