Abingdon, MD, July 9th, 2012 -- Many types of mold commonly found growing in wet and damp indoor environments are capable of producing microbial toxins known as mycotoxins. A mycotoxin is a toxic secondary metabolite produced by some types of fungi.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “More than 200 mycotoxins have been identified from common molds, and many more remain to be identified. Some of the molds that are known to produce mycotoxins are commonly found in moisture-damaged buildings. Exposure pathways for mycotoxins can include inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact. Although some mycotoxins are well known to affect humans and have been shown to be responsible for human health effects, for many mycotoxins, little information is available.”
Numerous human health issues attributed to the inhalation of mycotoxins have been reported. They include: mucous membrane irritation, skin rash, nausea, immune system suppression, acute or chronic liver damage, acute or chronic central nervous system damage, endocrine effects, and cancer.
“More studies are needed to get a clear picture of the health effects related to most mycotoxins, especially due to inhalation exposure as much of the current research is related to exposure from ingestion,” reported Bruce Jacobs, CIH, President of IAQ Index, a leading provider of home test kits for mold and other indoor air quality (IAQ) contaminants. “What we do know is that people should not be exposed to high levels of mold in their homes, schools and places of business. Not only can some types of fungi produce mycotoxins, but elevated levels of mold in indoor environments is clearly associated with allergies, some types of infections in susceptible individuals and as a asthma trigger. IAQ Index’s mold test kit allows people to quickly and efficiently determine if mold is a problem in their indoor environment.”
IAQ Index has sponsored an educational video about mold and mycotoxins that can be seen at:
About IAQ Index
IAQ Index was developed by a Certified Industrial Hygienist with decades of experience dealing with indoor air quality issues. IAQ Index was developed as a health-based, easy-to-understand, air quality index that is calculated from data generated for various parameters commonly measured during IAQ surveys. The approach is similar to the EPA’s Air Quality Index that has been used historically to communicate the risks posed by common pollutants in the ambient air.