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Carpet Monsters and Killer Spores: A Natural History of Toxic Mold [Kindle Edition]

Nicholas P. Money
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Molds are everywhere: we inhale their microscopic spores from birth to death. But when an investigation in Ohio revealed that babies suffering from a serious lung illness had been exposed to a toxic black mold in their homes, millions of Americans became nervous about patches of mold in their own basements and bathrooms. Before long, lawsuits were filed by the residents of mold-contaminated homes in every state. By failing to address water damage, building contractors, plumbers, and insurance agents were held liable for exposing families to an unprecedented microbiological hazard. The mold crisis soon developed into a fully-fledged media circus. In Carpet Monsters and Killer Spores, Nicholas Money explores the science behind the headlines and courtroom dramas, and profiles the toxin-producing mold that is a common inhabitant of water-damaged buildings. Nicholas Money tells the most important mycological story since potato blight, with his inimitable style of scientific clarity and dark humor.

Editorial Reviews


"For the subject of mold, its surprisingly fun to read."--Carl Woychuk, MHSC, ROH, CIH

About the Author

Nicholas Money teaches in the Department of Botany at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2344 KB
  • Print Length: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (March 10, 2004)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000QEDQ88
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,225,923 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny Fungi June 20, 2004
If Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) were reincarnated as a mycologist, he would have written this book. Dr. Money's liberal dose of irreverent humor makes his very detailed, erudite book on toxic mold easy and enjoyable to read.
In the preface, Dr. Money says, "Widespread fears about black-mold toxins are a product of the new millennium and deserve a critical, balanced, scientific inquirty. Though I cannot promise anything that boring, I do hope I can dispel some of the media myths about these microorganisms while identifying the real threat that can be posed by a few of these fungi."
Stachybotrys plays a key role in this book. In Chapter 5, Dr. Money discusses the 1993 outbreak of pulmonary hemmorraging (bleeding lungs) in poor children living in Cleveland. When Dr. Money began his book, he first thought that stachybotrys might be an innocent victim of media hype. However, he discovered that stachybotrys chrtarum can produce highly toxic spores. Along with the Cleveland outbreak, he discusses an outbreak of stachybotryotoxicosis in the Soviet Union in the 1940's, and illnesses linked to Stachybotrys among horticulture workers in Europe. Dr. Money also talks about the science used to evaluate the links between Stachybotrys and illnesses, and some of the political issues at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that caused the CDC to soft-pedal Stachybotrys.
This book has a thorough, although daunting, discussion of how allergic reactions are triggered in individuals. The body's allergic reaction is, as Dr. Money points out in Chapter 3 -- Carpet Monsters, an intricate mechanism. Until I read this book, I didn't realize that four types of cells primarily respond to allergens - dendritic cells, T lymphocytes (T cells).
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book! May 4, 2004
Nicholas Money is an amazing writer who manages to entertain and instruct at all times. I found myself learning and laughing from cover to cover. "Carpet Monsters and Killer Spores" is a book for everyone. Not only does it provide a wonderful introduction to the study of fungi; it explores the way our lives and destinies are inextricably linked to those of the fungi. Homeowners, attorneys, and people in the insurance industry will find much to enjoy (and fear!) in this book, as will biology enthusiasts, naturalists, and readers of all persuasions.
As Money explores the "black molds" that have received so much attention in our news media, he also explores the cultural event surrounding their reception. The book is fascinating not only as a biological work, but also as a sociological study. Thorough research and diligent attention to detail provide Money with a unique, scientifically grounded perspective, and his quirky humor will have you laughing out-loud all the way through.
Importantly, Money does not provide any easy answers to the pressing questions raised by black molds. Instead, responsibly, he shows us what science knows and what it does not know, giving us a sound, factual basis for interpretation of the many wild claims we see in the media. The only negative factor involved with this book is the fact that readers everywhere have had to spend many hours (and dollars) cleaning their bathrooms like maniacs and replacing moldy shower curtains after reading it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a sequel please March 8, 2006
All things black and slimy. I loved your book Dr. Money. Lets add the nasty Chaetomium next time also neurogenic fungus.

How about the politics of the wood industry and Dr.Jeff Morrell who appears to be teaching that "mold and mildew do not cause wood rot". Is this related to the wood industry and building industry not wanting mold reported in inspections and promptly forgetting about soft rots while endangering occupant health? I have this in print from the State of Washington Department of Agriculture- what fun we could have with them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gifted writer writes about mold June 16, 2012
And he makes it fun and interesting! Expect after reading CARPET MONSTERS AND KILLER SPORES that you will be able to walk into a house and determine if the ocupants should leave. It's simple, really: if the stuff eating the walls and floors are black, they should probably leave. Highly recommended... - lc
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Carpet Monsters and Killer Spores was published in 2004, before Mold Warriors, in 2006 and Surviving Mold, in 2010. These more recent books benefit from hundreds on scientific studies, which have been published in peer reviewed journals, since 2004.

The most useful helpful information discussed in Carpet Monsters is the University of Cincinatti study which revealed at least 300 mold spore fragments are often released for every mold spore detected. The spore fragments often contain highly toxic mycotoxins, missed by mold spore testing. HEPA filtration should be part of every mold remediation, due to the presence of these mold spore fragments.

Mold Illness and Mold Remediation Made Simple is a much more practical collection of affordable steps which can be taken by laymen to find and reduce indoor toxic mold hazards.

There are also many other books which include more useful information explaining how poor design and building maintainence and construction defects can cause hidden toxic mold problems.

Steven Sponaugle
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More About the Author

Welcome to my book page. I'm a 52-year-old, breathtakingly attractive, Anglo-American author of a sextet of books on fungi and other microorganisms, and several works-in-progress. A handful of unpublished writings are available on My work is defined by my love of science and belief in its power to make sense of life, the universe, and everything else.


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