Often, mold is discussed in various public forums, but one of the most imperative points of discussion tends to be omitted: mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are essentially why we study the potential human health effects of mold.
Mycotoxins are secondary metabolites (a byproduct of their metabolism), which derive from mold, which have the potential to cause harm (pathogenic) towards both humans and animals. There are myriad mycotoxins which are of interest due to the potential harm they can cause; "aflatoxin, citrinin, ergot akaloids, fumonisins, ochratoxin A, patulin, trichothecenes, and zearalenone" (Bennett & Klich, 2003). It is believed that the effects of mycotoxicoses are akin to those of being exposed to being exposed to such agents as pesticides or various heavy metals.
The term 'mycotoxin' is derived from a veterinary emergency, which occurred in England during the 60's, when an estimated 100,000 turkey chicks died. It was discovered that the groundmeal, which the turkeys were being fed, contained secondary metabolites (mycotoxins) from a present Aspergillus mold (Bennett & Klich, 2003).
The main type of mold that concerns professionals (in relation to mycotoxins) is Stachybotrys Chartarum, which laymen often refer to as 'black mold'. According to a research paper by Dr. Sean P. Abbott,
"The first cases of human stachybotrytoxicoses were a result of inhalation exposure of the spores by handlers of contaminated hay and straw. Without adequate PPE, remediators of mold-contaminated buildings are at similar risk of high mycotoxin doses" (Abbott, 2002).
Mycotoxins are still being studied, and the potential health effects are still be corroborated by scientists, especially in terms of potential carcinogenic effects. To read more into mycotoxins and mold, please find the following sources below.
The information in this article has been sourced from this scientific journal on the study and background of mycotoxins. Further information was sourced from Mycotoxins and Indoor Molds by Sean P. Abbott, Ph.D.
If you are concerned with your health, or any health related issues, please do not refer to this information as medical advice and consult with your doctor instead.
The author of our microbial blog is Fareed Nazaryfar. He holds a Master's degree in Environmental and Petroleum Geochemistry from Newcastle University (United Kingdom). He is also a Certified Mold Inspector, as well as an Environmental Manager-holding an ISO 14001 certification in Environmental Management.
MOLD HEALTH EFFECTS BLOG AND RESEARCH