Mold Toxins in the Air
Mold toxins are airborne
poisons created by many growing mold species. Mold toxins are one of the
primary causes of serious mold health problems to both humans and pets
living or working in mold-infested homes and workplaces.
Expert Phillip Fry, April 29, 2012.
Wherever there is visible mold,
there are also mold toxins.
ScienceDaily (Dec. 15, 2008) —
Mold toxins in buildings damaged by moisture are considerably more prevalent
than was previously thought, according to new international research. Erica
Bloom from the Division of Medical Microbiology at Lund University in Sweden
has contributed to research in this field by analyzing dust and materials
samples from buildings damaged by mold. Virtually all of the samples
contained toxins from mold (mould).
“Previously it was claimed that the occurrence of mould does not
necessarily mean that there are toxins present. But they are! On the
contrary, we can assume that wherever there is visible mould, there are also
mould toxins,” says Erica Bloom.
And toxins produced by mould
are more potent than was previously thought. It has now been shown, for
instance, that mould toxins (mycotoxins) not only directly kill cells but
can also affect immune cells in a way that increases the risk of allergies.
Even incredibly tiny amounts of these toxins can do this, as little as a few
picograms (a picogram is one millionth of a millionth of a gram).
New research also shows that
mould releases extremely small particles that remain suspended in the air,
and can get into our lungs much more easily than the spores that have
previously been focused on. This can increase exposure to mould and
mycotoxins hundreds of times over compared with previous calculations. And
mycotoxins have further been shown in laboratory studies to have a
synergistic effect: the effect of two toxins is not merely 1 + 1 but much
Using methods from analytical
chemistry, Erica Bloom analyzed dust sample and samples from construction
materials such as molding, drywall, and wallpaper from buildings damaged by
mould. She acquired nearly all of the samples from professional damage
“We looked at 6-7 different
mycotoxins and found them in a majority of the samples. And since there are
at least 400 sorts of mycotoxins, what we have seen is probably just the tip
of the iceberg,” she says.
Mould in buildings is a
phenomenon that has been known since the times of the Old Testament. In
Leviticus mention is made of spots that constitute “a fretting leprosy in
the house,” and should be scraped off and thrown away “in some unclean
“Actually, we haven’t made all
that much progress today,” maintains Erica Bloom. “We know that people are
sickened by buildings damaged by moisture, but whether this is primarily
caused by mycotoxins, bacteria, or gases given off by the moist building
materials, this we don’t know exactly. We should therefore observe the
principle of caution and renovate the building as soon as a moisture problem
or mould is found.”
After she defends her thesis on
December 6, Erica Bloom will start working with indoor-environment issues at
the IVL, the Swedish Environmental Research Institute. Her thesis director,
Lennart Larsson, is continuing his research with the Lund team, for example
participating in a major EU project on indoor environments in schools and
their possible connections to asthma and allergies.
Swedish Research Council) (2008, December 15). Mould Toxins More Prevalent
And Hazardous Than Thought. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 17,
2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com