The mysterious deaths of actress Brittany Murphy (of Clueless fame) and her husband, Simon Monjack, have kept the rumor mill churning. Murphy died at home in her bedroom in L.A. in December, and Monjack died in the same place five months later.
So the latest rumor is that they both died due to toxic mold in their home. Their autopsies revealed that they both died of acute pneumonia and severe anemia (and both had prescription drugs in their system but not enough to be the cause of death, the coroner reported).
But the coroner is quelling the mold rumors this week, saying mold did not appear to be a factor.
The whole story is very bizarre. But even if they didn't die from toxic mold, it raises some concerns about how deadly mold can be.
The CDC says that "toxic mold" is not an accurate term because mold itself cannot be toxic. But in rare instances, mold can produce poisonous mycotoxins, which can lead to lung hemmorhaging or memory loss. But again, this is an extremely rare occurrence, and the most common reactions to any kind of mold are allergy-like symptoms like coughing, wheezing, and upper respiratory tract irritation. People with allergies or asthma may have a more severe reaction to mold, and anyone with serious or worsening symptoms should consult a doctor.
While it's important to remove mold, the CDC does not recommend routine testing of molds since it's expensive and there's no set measure for what kinds of molds and what levels of mold are hazardous.
So what else around your home could be hazardous? These resources can help you detect and manage potentially invisible hazards around the house: