Mycotoxin In the indoor environment

Buildings are another source of mycotoxins and people living or working in areas with mold increase their chances of adverse health effects. Molds growing in buildings can be divided into three groups – Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary colonizers. Each group is categorized by the ability to grow at a certain water activity requirement. It has become difficult to identify mycotoxin production by indoor molds for many variables, such as (i) they may be masked as derivatives (ii) they are poorly documented and (iii) the fact that they are likely to produce different metabolites on building materials. Some of the mycotoxins in the indoor environment are produced by Alternaria, Aspergillus (multiple forms), Penicillium, and Stachybotrys.[24] Stachybotrys chartarum contains a higher number of mycotoxins than other molds grown in the indoor environment and has been associated with allergies and respiratory inflammation.[25] The infestation of S. chartarum in buildings containing gypsum board, as well as on ceiling tiles, is very common and has recently become a more recognized problem. When gypsum board has been repeatedly introduced to moisture S. chartarum grows readily on its cellulose face.[26] This stresses the importance of moisture controls and ventilation within residential homes and other buildings. The negative health effects of mycotoxins are a function of the concentration, the duration of exposure and the subject’s sensitivities. The concentrations experienced in a normal home, office or school are often too low to trigger a health response in occupants.
In the 1990s, public concern over mycotoxins increased following multi-million dollar toxic mold settlements. The lawsuits took place after the Center for Disease Control (CDC) did a study in Cleveland Ohio and claimed that there was an association between mycotoxins from Stachybotrys spores and pulmonary hemorrhage in infants. However in 2000, based on internal and external reviews of their data, the CDC concluded that because of flaws in their methods the association was not proven. Stachybotrys spores in animal studies have been shown to cause lung hemorrhaging but only at very high concentrations.[27]
One study by the Center of Integrative Toxicology at Michigan State University investigated the causes of Damp Building Related Illness (DBRI). They found that Stachybotrys is possibly an important contributing factor to DBRI. So far animal models indicate that airway exposure to S. chartarum can evoke allergic sensitization, inflammation, and cytotoxicity in the upper and lower respiratory tracts. Trichothecene toxicity appears to be an underlying cause of many these adverse effects. Recent findings indicate that lower doses (studies usually involve high doses) can cause these symptoms.[25]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *