New Study Proves Chlorine Bleach Kills Household Mold and Neutralizes Mold Allergen

University of Arizona Study Reveals Facts & Myths about Indoor Mold and

Effective Cleaning Methods

Mar 22, 2004, 00:00 ET from University of Arizona

    SAN FRANCISCO, March 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Today at the American Academy of
 Allergy Asthma & Immunology's (AAAAI) 60th Annual meeting, Kelly Reynolds,
 MSPH, Ph.D., a research scientist at the University of Arizona, announced the
 results of a new study that proves, for the first time, a chlorine bleach
 solution not only effectively kills mold but also neutralizes the indoor mold
 allergen.  The study, funded by a grant from The Clorox Company, also found
 mold spores, a common trigger for allergies in America, to be present in
 100 percent of the homes surveyed.
     When sensitive individuals are exposed to allergens, such as mold spores,
 by either direct contact or inhalation, allergy and asthma symptoms may
 result.  Some of these symptoms may include sinus congestion, coughing, upper
 respiratory distress, chronic headaches and flu-like symptoms.  In fact, mold
 spores are suspected in the tripling of the asthma rate in the past 20 years
 and have been blamed by a 1999 Mayo Clinic Study for nearly all of the chronic
 sinus infections afflicting 37 million Americans.
     The primary cause of allergic responses from exposure to mold can be
 attributed to surface allergens.  These allergens become a problem when they
 become airborne and contaminate indoor air quality.  The study found that low
 concentrations of chlorine bleach, such as those common to commercial
 household products certified to kill mold and mildew, were proven to be
 effective at not only killing the mold spores, but also denaturing, or
 neutralizing, the surface allergen, making it essentially unable to produce an
 immune response in sensitive individuals.
     "Remaining fragments of dead mold can linger indoors long after the mold
 spores have been inactivated, and can be as harmful as live mold," said Kelly
 Reynolds, MSPH, Ph.D. and lead investigator for the study from the University
 of Arizona.  "The study results confirm that denaturing the mold spores with a
 dilute chlorine bleach solution appears to be the most effective and efficient
 way to reduce mold allergen on hard surfaces."
     Molds can be classified as either the mycotoxin producing molds such as
 Penicillium and Stachybotrys and the non-toxic molds such as Trichophyton.
 While the toxicities differ, all mold spores contain allergens, which
 according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), can
 aggravate symptoms of both allergies and asthma.
     The University of Arizona study yielded 1,330 mold samples and evaluated
 the growth rate and distribution of household mold on indoor surfaces in
 160 homes in seven geographical regions.  The regions where sites were
 frequently positive for fungal counts include the far west (San Francisco),
 Southwest (Tucson, AZ; Dallas, TX), Midwest (Chicago), Southeast (Atlanta,
 Tampa, FL), and Northeast (New York) regions of the United States.
     The study, which also looked at consumer perceptions towards mold,
 demonstrated that mold is far more pervasive in the home than people believe.
 While consumers understand that mold is a health concern, they are confused
 with the extent of the problem in their homes, with just 17 percent believing
 mold is an issue inside their own homes.  Significant confusion also exists
 with the best way to effectively treat the issue.
     The abstract for this study, "Efficacy of Sodium Hypochlorite Disinfectant
 on the Viability and Allergenic Properties of Household Mold," (abstract 617)
 was published in the February issue of the Journal of Allergy & Clinical

SOURCE University of Arizona