Terry Allan, MPH, the Cuyahoga County board's director of community health services, tells WebMD the program has had only limited success.
The difficulty of reaching inner-city populations and entering homes to fix water damage is similar, he
says, to that confronting public health leaders trying to improve vaccination rates in medically underserved areas.He
defends the effort despite the fact that no one has proved the mold made babies sick."How long does it take to discover causality?"Allan
asks."Do you ever get that definitive study?Not very often.At some point, public health leaders have to make a decision based on what they know today."Allan
says the stachybotrys prevention effort is continuing, but will be folded into a larger project looking at all kinds of mold and moisture in low-income housing.
This year the Cuyahoga County Board of Health
received $3.1 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
to track mold and moisture in low-income homes, to determine their relationship to disease, and to make repairs.Meanwhile, the link between stachybotrys chartarum and pulmonary hemosiderosis awaits further research.Dearborn says he
is conducting studies on the effects of airborne stachybotrys spores on animals. He
believes the Cleveland babies may have served as "canaries in the coal mine" -- that is, indicators of something foul in Cleveland's inner-city environment."They are telling us that our inner city is not a healthy environment," he
says, "and that indoor pollution problems may be a very significant player in the increase in inner-city childhood asthma."