Dear editor,

I live upwind of the Buffalo Trace distillery and of both existing and proposed sites of bourbon warehouses in Peaks Mill, but I’d like to share some thoughts on the matter.

The fungus that occurs due to off-gassed ethanol from bourbon curing in wooden barrels is formally called Baudoinia compniacensis. A government site refers to this fungus as a "black fungus that is velvety or crust-like and can reach 1-2 cm in thickness.” This material is euphemistically referred to as the “angel’s share” in distillers’ parlance.

The World Health Organization defines air pollution as: “Contamination of the indoor or outdoor environment by any chemical, physical or biological agent that modifies the natural characteristics of the atmosphere.”

I contend that any airborne fungus, especially when evident and obvious, is unhealthy for anything with lungs. I believe fungus densely covering any living organism could smother and negatively affect it.  

Being one of many with lung disease from smoking tobacco in my youth, breathing smoke, pollen, dust, scents, fumes, molds and fungi can all make it difficult for me to breathe. I don’t need medical studies to know this — I experience it daily.

I wish our “good neighbor” Buffalo Trace and Sazerac Co. put as much effort and funding into installing effective ventilation for bourbon warehouse air pollution from fungus rather than engaging in campaigns pitting neighbor against neighbor and county against county. Until bourbon warehouses stop emitting pollution, I don’t think any location is safe.

Cecilia Mitchell

Franklin County

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