Water Damaged Buildings and Occupant Health

Depressed, Mental Issues – If You Think You’re a Nutcase, Just Maybe You’re Not

Studies on occupants from WDB have identified innate immune inflammatory abnormalities to include complement activation (C4a) as well as lower levels of a critical inflammatory regulator MSH (Melanocyte stimulating hormone).

This inflammatory basis of illness has been termed as a Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS-WDB).

Clinical studies have shown those with CIRS once removed from site and treated, their abnormalities re-appear rapidly within three days of re-exposure to a microbial contaminated environment. (Ref 1)

VEGF (Vascular endothelial growth factor) can increase permeability of the blood brain barrier to biological toxins, research has shown that bacteria found in WDB like Strepotmyces also produce toxins which alter the blood brain barrier permeability, allowing possibly penetration of fungal mycotoxins like Glicotoxins from some Aspergillus species (mould). Inflammatory markers like TGF-beta 1 also can increase the permeability of the blood brain barrier.

The above suggests that when there is an increase in permeability of the blood brain barrier due to a bacterial exposure, the impact of the fungal toxins may be far greater than has been previously documented. In turn when there is both bacteria and fungi-in an attempt to survive fungi may produce far greater amounts of fungal mycotoxins to combat the bacteria.

A paper about to be published by Ritchie C. Shoemaker, Dennis House and James C. Ryan outlines the abnormalities of those with CIRS and confirms structural changes in the CNS (central nervous system) do occur in those with CIRS and that the above researchers have current studies underway, looking to expand on the significant structural abnormalities in brains of CIRS patients.

In layman’s terms what is being shown in the above, is that the rubbish produced by mould and bacteria in WDB can impact indirectly on the central nervous system and with the proper blood testing can be shown in the inflammatory markers.

In the world of those affected by mould and bacteria and where they have been informed that its all in their head, these findings suggest perhaps there are other pathways which maybe explored to the benefit of the affected individual.


  1. A Time Series Study of Sick Building Syndrome: Chronic, Biotoxin – Associated Illness From Exposure to Water-Damaged Buildings – Neurotoxicology and Teratology 27 (2005) pages 29-46.
  2. VEGF Increases Blood Brain Barrier Permeability to Evans Blue Dye and Tetanus Toxin fragment C – Brain Research 1234(2008) 198-205.