Health Effects

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Health Effects

There are mold species that are non-toxic and there are mold species that are extremely toxic. Some molds cause allergic reactions and asthma. Certain molds produce toxins (mycotoxins) as a by-product of living.

Mold allergy causes the same signs and symptoms that occur in other types of upper respiratory allergies. Signs and symptoms of allergic rhinitis caused by mold allergy can includes:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Cough and postnasal drip
  • Itchy eyes, nose and throat
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Dizziness
  • Nose Bleeds
  • Digestive Problems
  • Joint Problems
  • Headache
  • Watery eyes

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Long term symptoms can includes:

  • Dermatitis
  • Impaired Immune Function
  • Infections
  • Lung Damage
  • Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis
  • Pulmonary Hemosiderosis
  • Ocular Disease
  • Deafness
  • Cancer
  • Death

Children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems are particularly susceptible to these contaminants.

Mycotoxins are produced by fungi (mold) to give them a competitive edge against other microorganisms including other fungi. There are over 200 recognized mycotoxins and over 1000 species of moulds. Many are harmful to humans when inhaled, ingested or brought into contact with human skin.

Mycotoxins can produce a variety of short term as well as long term health effects.

Terms to know

Aflotxin

is one of the most potent carcinogen known to man and has been linked to a variety of health problems. Aflotoxins are primarily produced by Aspergillus.

Citrinin

is produced by Penicillium and Aspergillus. This toxin can cause renal damage and bronchial constriction.

Fumonism

is a toxin associated with Fusarium.  Fumonism causes leukoencephalomalcia or liquefaction of the brain in animals.  In humans it it has been linked to esophageal cancer.

Gliotoxin

is an immunosuppressive toxin produced by Alternaria, Penicillium and Aspergillus.

Ochratoxin

is primarily produced by Aspergillus and Penicillium. This type of toxin damages the kidneys, liver, immune system and is a suspected carcinogen.

Patulin

is a mycotxin produced by Penicillium and Aspergillus which causes hemorrhaging in the brain and lungs.

Satrotoxin H

are mainly produced by Stachybotrys charturum and Trichoderma viridi. High doses or chronic low doses are lethal.

Sterigmatocystin

is produced by Aspergillus versicolor and is considered to be carcinogenic.

T-2 Toxin

is a tricothecene produced by Fusarium and Stachybotrys and is one of the more deadly toxins. T-2 if ingested in sufficient amounts can severly damage the entire digestive tract, causing rapid death due to internal hemorrhage.  T-2 has also been implicated in toxic aleukia, pulmonary hemosiderosis (bleeding of the lungs).

Vomitoxin

is associated with Fusarium which can cause acute gastrointestinal illness.


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