Is Exposure to a Toxin in One Type of Black Mold a Possible Cause of Autism?


Here is a summary of my theory which is based primarily on personal experience and anecdotal data. There is ongoing research into the affects of toxic black mold. There is ongoing research into the affects of mycotoxins in mushrooms. But the two disciplines have not yet seemed to connect and produce research on the possible affects of mycotoxins found in toxic black mold.

I live in the state of Oregon. We have a high incidence of individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). We also have lots of rain. In fact, I lived on the Oregon South Coast for nearly 30 years. That region’s climate is a rain forest per se.

We also had many leaking roofs on the South Coast.

My concern is the possibility that plywood when exposed to water damage for periods of months and years, can produce a class of black mold called basidiospores. There are around two thousand types of basidiospores. These are typically involved in promoting dry rot in wood. Professional mold reports can determine the presence of basidiospores in areas where wet plywood exists. The detection process however is unreliable since basidiospores tend to be slimy and do not adhere to adhesive tapes typically used to collect samples. Also, basidiospores can be mistaken for aspergilis spores.

My theory is that slimy black basidiospore colonies in wet plywood process the urea formaldehyde binders holding the layers of plywood together. The chemical process produces buds of gyromitrin-containing spores in the slimy colony. When these colonies are located in areas such as attics, on warm days basidiospores blossom and produce tens of thousands of spores containing gyromytrin.

From the Mycologist’s perspective, gyromitrin is typically found in poisonous mushrooms and is the substance that causes death when it is consumed. The process resulting from the ingestion of gyromitrin involves the human body’s hydrolysis process whereby, the body converts the gyromitrin into monomethyl hydrazine (MMH), a rocket fuel component used by NASA to give the Space Shuttle an extra boost during take off.

My theory is that when 20% of the human population is exposed to gyromitrin from basidiospores in black mold, they will experience symptoms to the same extent that aerospace workers experience symptoms when they are exposed to spills of MMH. The OSHA documents report these to include the development of seizure disorders, of hypersensitivity pneumonitis and death.

If this theory can be supported, then the issue of cognitive impairment of victims arises. There is one case to date in the state of Oregon in which a manufactured home was bought by an Oregon family. The home had Tyvec sealing the green wood in the support structure. The conditions with the sealed wet wood was ripe for the development of black toxic mold. The family sued the manufacturer and won based on damages that included the children of the family having developed cognitive delays during their occupancy of the home.

How many young families in Oregon live in substandard housing such as manufactured homes, trailers and apartments that go without proper maintenance of leaking roofs?

I suspect a relationship between exposure to MMH and ASD. This is particularly obvious when the classic presentation exists where a child has typical development of language and social skills until the age of two. At the age of two, these disappear.

I would greatly appreciate any and all comments on this topic.