Vindy story failed to point out mushroom dangers

Vindy story failed to point out mushroom dangers

Did you know mush- room ingestion can kill you? While The Vindicator’s recent article described the biological wonders of mushrooms and encouraged foraging for local mushrooms, an article in another newspaper at the same time warned readers of the dangers and toxicities of collecting mushrooms. Your article may have done a disservice to local readers.

Given the recent increase in patients admitted to St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital with liver failure from home-picking mushroom ingestions, we would strongly suggest that you inform the community of this potential lethal problem. There was a complete disregard for the safety of individuals in your recent publication; less than one sentence, only a phrase, warned readers of the significant possible mortality and morbidity associated with toxic ingestions.

Approximately 100 of the known species of mushrooms are poisonous to humans. New toxic mushroom species continue to be identified. Some species initially classified as edible are later reclassified toxic. This results in a continually expanding list of toxic mushrooms. As new toxic species are identified, classic teachings about mycetism no longer hold true, especially as more toxic mushrooms are identified and more toxic syndromes are reported.

Mushrooms are the visible fruit of fungi. Mushroom species are grouped into sections, which are grouped into genus. The toxicity of different mushrooms may vary greatly.

Mushroom poisoning, termed mycetism or mycetismus, most commonly ensues after mushrooms are foraged, misidentified and consumed. Incidence of ingesting wild, toxic mushrooms is increasingly reported. Worldwide, hundreds of mushroom poisonings are fatal each year.

Current mortality rates are often reported at less than 10 percent; however, in some current reports, mortality rates continue to be higher.

More balanced reporting, which included the dangers of wild mushroom ingestion, would have done a better service to local readers, especially since new toxic mushroom species continue to be identified, previously classified edible fungi are later reclassified as toxic, and classic teachings about mycetism no longer hold true.

Dr. Timothy J. Barreiro, Youngstown

Dr. Barreiro is director of the St. Elizabeth Pulmonary Health & Research Center.

Clean air threatened by loosening of federal regs

I would like to respond to an Oct, 12 editorial in The Vindicator. It correctly noted that the current federal administration has been loosening standards designed to reduce air pollution and emissions.

The editorial states “in Ohio and the Mahoning Valley we’re pleased to see (that) the public sector’s commitment to the quality of our air and water remains strong and vigilant. The proof is in two recent spills into waterways to which local authorities and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency responded quickly and professionally.”

While I also praise the Ohio EPA for its professionalism, their good work does not compensate for the harm that is being done on a federal level.

The U.S. EPA proposed weakening the 2016 methane standard intended to protect health and combat climate change, by relaxing how the oil and natural gas industry is required to monitor and prevent leaks of methane gas during drilling.

Weakening the methane standard means more air pollution and more health dangers for Ohioans. Over 27 percent of Ohioans live within 1 mile of an oil or gas facility. That’s 3.2 million people in Ohio, mostly in Eastern Ohio shale areas.

The comment period for this proposal will be open now till Dec. 17. Let your U.S. senators and the federal EPA know that you demand clean air.

Elaine Fujimura, Columbus