Mold....it's everywhere! Is this naturally occurring element really a problem for our health? In some cases....YES. We are exposed to molds in our outside environment which can cause, for some, allergy. It is when these molds grow indoors without competition from their natural environment that we can get into trouble.
Is mold the same thing as yeast and mushrooms? Mold exists along with yeast and mushrooms. It is closely related to yeasts like candida but there are differences between the two. Molds, or microfungi make mycotoxins, and mushrooms and other macroscopic fungi make mushroom poisons (Bennett, e al). Yes, some mushrooms are poisonous to humans. The purpose of this article is to discuss certain molds and mycotoxins they produce that have been identified as toxic to humans. These molds/mycotoxins that we worry about grow in damp, water-damaged buildings and homes aka Sick Building Syndrome: a situation in which the occupants of a building or home experience acute health effects that seem to be linked to the time spent in a particular building or home (Joshi, S.M.).
What are Mycotoxins?
Mycotoxins are naturally occurring toxins produced by certain molds. Are all molds/myctoxins toxic? The short answer is .... NO. While all mycotoxins are of fungal origin, not all toxic compounds produced by fungi are called mycotoxins (Bennett, et al). There are certain mycotoxins produced by certain molds that can wreak havoc on the body such as:
Penicillum: mycophenolic acid
Aspergillus: aflatoxin, ochratoxin, Gliotoxin
(Bennett, et al)
What areas of the body do mycotoxins affect?