We’ve all heard the word “mold” before.
The pesky fungi that show up out of the blue and wreak havoc on our homes. They’re unwanted and quite honestly, a huge pain. Not to mention, the serious damage they can cause to our health.
But, have you ever heard of the toxins certain molds can produce as well? Small microorganisms that can cause a range of negative health effects from brain fog and coughing to immune deficiency and cancer?¹
For those who haven’t, we’re talking about compounds called mycotoxins.
WHAT ARE THEY?
When certain molds feel threatened, they produce these little powerhouses that are undetectable to the human eye. ² Like dust, they can float through the air currents in your home, landing on any and all surfaces they come into contact with. And, as an added bonus, once they land they’re incredibly difficult to remove. Bleach is not your friend when it comes to mycotoxins.
Okay so, if they’re so bad for our health, why haven’t you heard of them before?
That’s a good question!
As of today, government agencies are only discussing mycotoxins in relation to food.
- The FDA explains how toxic these microorganisms can be to humans and animals and that they can grow on agricultural commodities in the field and during storage.³
- The World Health Organization, WHO, says, “Mycotoxins are naturally occurring toxins produced by certain molds (fungi) and can be found in food.”⁴
- The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) even went so far as to evaluate whether companies are using correct mycotoxin test kits to ensure grains and related products don’t have levels of the toxic organisms present.⁵
So far, over 100 countries around the world have specific regulations for mycotoxins.⁶ When it comes to food, that is. But what about when these compounds are in a home being breathed in by individuals? Individuals that may be you…
The short answer?
The Environmental Protection Agency defines what mycotoxins are. They discuss how there are over 200 mycotoxins identified thus far, and that many more remain to be identified. And then their short summary concludes with:
“Some mycotoxins are known to affect people, but for many mycotoxins little health information is available. Research on mycotoxins is ongoing. Exposure to mycotoxins can occur from inhalation, ingestion and skin contact. It is prudent to avoid unnecessary inhalation exposure to mold.”⁷
If we have research backing how these toxins can cause negative health effects when ingested in food and regulations in place to limit exposure, the question then becomes: why is the same attention not paid to the air in our homes?
Honestly, we don’t know. Especially when mycotoxin food regulations began over 30 years ago.⁸
WHAT SHOULD WE DO?
What we do know is that we need to bring more awareness to the impacts these toxins can have, how to treat them when they’re present, and how to prevent them from forming.
If you think you might have mycotoxins, test your home or hire a qualified mold inspector to come in and assess. Should those tests come back positive for mycotoxins, you’ll need to hire a remediation company that can confidently handle the contaminates. Check out our website for how to find the right company for you.
No mycotoxins on the test?
Congratulations, that is an awesome thing!
Now, all you have to focus on is prevention. Better to stop the problem before it starts. That way, you’ll save money in the long run and avoid experiencing any negative health effects caused by these toxins.
Remember, your health and the health of your family is what’s important. Just because regulations haven’t caught up to the problem yet, doesn’t mean we can’t proactively take steps ourselves to handle it.
FEEL FREE TO GIVE US A CALL IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS!
Still Have Questions?
A member of our team is here to help! Click on “Get Started ➤” below to book a consultation with a member of the HOMECLEANSE team. We have a few quick questions that will help us put together a roadmap to solve or prevent all of your mold problems.
Two minutes of your time could lead to better health for you and your family.
- Bennett J.W., Klich M. Mycotoxins. Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 2003;16:497–516. doi: 10.1128/CMR.16.3.497-516.2003
- Richard, J. L. (2007). Some major mycotoxins and their mycotoxicoses—an overview. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 119(1-2), 3–10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2007.07.019
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “Chemical Hazards.” FDA, 2021, https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/biological-chemical-and-physical-contaminants-animal-food/chemical-hazards. Accessed 10 08 2021.
- WHO. (2018, May 9). Mycotoxins. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mycotoxins.
- United States Government. (2020, December 18). Mycotoxin test kit design specifications and performance criteria. Federal Register. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/12/18/2020-27850/mycotoxin-test-kit-design-specifications-and-performance-criteria.
- Van Egmond HP, Schothorst RC, Jonker MA (2007). “Regulations relating to mycotoxins in food: perspectives in a global and European context”
- Environmental Protection Agency. “Mold Course Chapter 1.” EPA, https://www.epa.gov/mold/mold-course-chapter-1. Accessed 10 08 2021.
- Wood GE (1 December 1992). “Mycotoxins in foods and feeds in the United States”. J. Anim. Sci. 70 (12): 3941–49. doi:10.2527/1992.70123941x. PMID 1474031. S2CID 1991432