January 12, 2006. LONDON - An infectious fungus aggravated by global
warming has killed entire populations of frogs in Central and South
America and driven some species to extinction, scientists said on
January 11, 2006.
In research that showed the effects of rising temperatures on
delicate ecosystems, a team of researchers found that a warming
atmosphere encouraged the spread of a fungus that has wiped out species
of harlequin frogs and golden toads.
"This is the first clear evidence that widespread extinction is
taking place because of global warming," Dr Alan Pounds, an ecologist of
the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve in Costa Rica, said in an
"Climate change is already altering the dynamics of infectious
disease and causing species to disappear."
Pounds and his team established the link between global warming and
the disappearance of frogs in the cloud forests of Costa Rica by
analysing sea surface and air temperatures, which rose by 0.18 degrees
per decade between 1975 and 2000.
Warmer temperatures increased cloud cover over the tropical mountain
which the scientists believe promoted conditions to spur the growth of
the chytrid fungus that kills frogs.
They are confident that global warming is a key factor in the
disappearance of many amphibian populations in tropical forests.
"There is absolutely a linkage between global warming and this
disease - they go hand-in-hand," said Dr Arturo Sanchez-Azofeifa, of
Canada's University of Alberta and a co-author of the research published
in the journal Nature.
"With this increase in temperature, the bacteria has been able to
increase its niche and wipe out large populations of amphibians in the
Americas," he added in a statement.
About a third of the 5,743 known species of frogs, toads and other
amphibians are classified as threatened, according to the Global
Up to 167 species may already be extinct and another 113 species have
not been found in recent years. Habitat loss is the greatest threat to
amphibians but fungal disease is also a serious problem.
Andrew Blaustein, of Oregon State University, and Andy Dobson, of
Princeton University in New Jersey, described the research as a
"The powerful synergy between pathogen transmission and climate
change should give us cause for concern about human health in a warmer
world," they said in a commentary in Nature.
"The frogs are sending an alarm call to all concerned about the
future of biodiversity and the need to protect the greatest of all
open-access resources - the atmosphere," they added.
Story by Patricia Reaney
Suits filed against Florida school boards
Washington Times newspaper, March 3, 2004
WASHINGTON, March 2 (UPI) -- The law firm of Babbitt, Johnson,
Osborne & Le Clainche Tuesday announced it had filed 11 suits over
alleged toxic mold in two Florida schools.
The suits were filed against the
Charlotte and Sarasota County school boards and contractors and
builders by parents who assert their children got sick as a result of
the school systems' failure to address mold problems.
These are the first major suits on
mold in schools on Florida's west coast, but are preceded by similar
suits in Broward County.
In April 2003, a Broward County grand
jury issued a report condemning the Broward School District for
lagging in its efforts to get rid of mold. The county responded by
launching a comprehensive remediation program but still was sued by
parents concerned with their children's health.
State Sen. Skip Campbell of Coral
Springs has introduced a legislative bill to make Broward's program
Home Invasion in Utah
news article below was on page 1 of the St. George, Utah, Daily
Spectrum newspaper on March 9, 2002.
mold invades Utah house, sickens family
By JANE ZHANG
Tiffany McDonald, 21, knew there must be something enigmatic about
her house near 200 East in Ivins.
ago, her grandmother, Mary Brennan, who was described as an
energetic hiker, unexpectedly died of breast cancer at age 64, three
years after she moved into the $60,000 house. Then, during her
pregnancy, McDonald spent 10 days in the hospital because of “a
weird smell” in the house.
nine months after her daughter, Lainee, was born, the baby was
bleeding internally, beginning a series of ailments from asthma to
diarrhea to bacterial infection.
I would rather leave everything than feeling the way we felt,”
said McDonald, who moved to her parents’ house in St. George about
seven weeks ago. The best way, she said, “probably is just forcing
yourself out, bankrupt and start over.”
condemnation of her house was blamed on toxic mold, which had
invaded the bathroom, closet and bedroom. The fungus, which has 200
species, is routinely found in the United States, such as
stachybotrys, chaetomium and penicillium, display black, gray, brown
and other colors with a musty smell. Spreading through spores, mold
can cause health problems to adults and pets if they inhale it,
swallow it or touch moldy surfaces. But it’s especially hazardous
to small children, the elderly and people with weakened immune
Newsweek magazine reported that mold accounted for 6 to 7 percent of
all chronic sinusitis cases. A report by the U.S. Department of
Housing and Urban Development last year confirmed that certain types
of mold can lead to asthma, allergies, infectious diseases and such
toxic effects as aflatoxin-induced liver cancer.
years, mold has triggered thousands of lawsuits, prompting the first
mold bill in the nation last year, which required California home
sellers to disclose mold problems. Even Erin Brockovich, made famous
by the movie with her name, fought against landlords and insurers
for the mold contamination in her house. In 2001, a Texas court
awarded $32.1 million to victims exposed to extensive mold damage in
Fry, a certified mold inspector and manager of Mold Inspector in
Hurricane, said mold exists in the southwestern desert area because
of the wide use of swampcoolers, which are susceptible to leaking
while traveling from the roof down into the house. Mold, which grows
in dark, moist and warm environments, can suck nutrition and water
from various building materials, such as cardboard, wallpaper and
it’s hard to establish a direct link between mold and breast
cancer, They said the family was convinced that high levels of
mold have caused the sickness in their daughter and granddaughter.
After McDonald and her child moved away from the house, she said,
the symptoms began to go away. Lainee has also become more energetic
been reports that a family in Oregon burned its mold-contaminated
house. As for his house, he said, there’s not much he can do.
the bank, mostly. Lose it,” he said. “What can I do? I don’t
have any money to fix it. It won’t appraised for what it’s worth