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Toxic mold not cause of Murphy, Monjack deaths

July 26, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The coroner's office has dismissed online speculation that the deaths of actress Brittany Murphy and her husband, Simon Monjack, may both have been related to toxic mold inside their home.The issue of mold had been addressed after the 32-year-old actress died last year of pneumonia, but was later discounted. The issue resurfaced when Monjack died of the same thing in May.

A formal inquiry was opened after the coroner's office notified the Los Angeles County Health Department that there were two deaths resulting in pneumonia and anemia from the same residence.

The coroner's office released the following statement on Monday:

"Although mold was discussed during the investigation into the separate deaths, it was not a factor. There were no indicators that either death was related to mold. Since there were two deaths resulting in pneumonia and anemia from the same residence, it was reported to the health department. We don't know if they contracted something from an overseas trip. We don't know how and why the both of them died of pneumonia."

Meanwhile, Brittany Murphy's mother, Sharon Murphy, says that she has never been asked by anyone from the L.A. County Health Department to inspect the home for mold. Her publicist, Roger Neal, did say however that there were some problems with the house.

"It is my understanding that due to the inferior products used by the builder and sub contractors, the Murphy home had a persistent leak problem," said Neal.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are very few reports of mold causing severe illnesses.

However, Shay Kalmanovich, a mold expert with 911 Restoration, says that a lot of water damage could cause toxic mold.

"You have to test the house after water damage or leaks. If a pipe bursts you have to check a house and test it for mold," said Kalmanovich. "There are thousands and thousands of different species of mold. Just six or seven of them are very toxic and you have to do the test."

The family claims in October 2009, because they were having so many problems with the home, they did conduct a full test and no mold was found at that time.

Murphy's mother calls all the reports of mold inside the home absurd.

Murphy became famous after a starring role in the 1995 movie "Clueless." She went on to star in "Girl Interrupted," "8 Mile," and "Just Married."

CNS contributed to this report.


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