Quantcast Mycotoxins

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ITG FY03-4
5 June 2003
Respiratory problems---wheezing, difficulty in breathing
Nasal and sinus congestion
Eyes-burning, watery, reddened, blurry vision, light sensitivity
Dry, hacking cough
Sore throat
Nose and throat irritation
Shortness of breath and lung disease
Chronic fatigue
Skin irritation
Central nervous system (headaches, loss of memory, and mood
Aches and pains
Immunity suppression
Mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are toxic compounds made by many
fungi as metabolic side products. Presence and amount of mycotoxins depend
on the species of fungus and a variety of growth factors. The detection of a mold
does not necessarily indicate the presence of mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are
common in our grain-based food supply, and ingestion is the major source of
exposure. Although mycotoxins have been considered as potential causes of the
myriad non-allergic symptoms often found in patients with indoor air related
complaints, research to date has been scant, and the issue remains
controversial. Mycotoxins are considered relatively non-volatile and unlikely to
be released into the air in sufficient quantities to cause disease.
Categories of Ill Effects. The ill effects of molds generally break
down into four categories that include:
irritations, and
Allergies. Allergies are probably the most common reaction to
contact with molds. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and
Immunology (AAAAAI) an estimated 50 million Americans suffer from allergies.
Teamwork with the installation industrial hygienist, facilities
management and safety and occupational health staff in evaluating patient
complaints relevant to the work area is critical to solving the problem. If
symptoms suggest an allergy to a substance in the work environment, a careful
search for a source of this allergen should be made. Fungi are not the only


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