Mycotoxins are poisonous substances made by specific kinds of fungi that can be harmful to human health. They can be found in a variety of grain-based foods and cereal crops, as well as in modified forms that increase exposure overall. In a recent study conducted in Beijing, it was discovered that more than 98% of adult urine samples contained at least one Alternaria mycotoxin, with alternariol monomethyl ether having the highest detection rate at 96%. (AME). Indicating the potential health concerns associated with mycotoxins, the computed average daily intake levels of AME (12.5 ng/kg b.w.) were five times the tolerated daily intake (TDI) value (2.5 ng/kg b.w.) set by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
The results of this study emphasize how critical it is to pinpoint the mycotoxin sources and human exposure pathways in the areas under consideration. Indoor air quality is a potential cause of mycotoxin exposure. In wet or water-damaged regions of the house, mould and other fungi can develop and release mycotoxins into the air. Residents may then inhale these pollutants, which can cause a variety of health difficulties, such as respiratory problems, allergic reactions, and even cancer.
It's crucial to remember that while mould can develop everywhere in the house, it typically occurs in attics, basements, and kitchens. Leaks, flooding, high levels of humidity, and inadequate ventilation are just a few of the causes. Maintaining a humidity level in your home between 30 and 50 per cent is crucial to preventing the growth of mould. Dehumidifiers, air conditioners, and suitable ventilation can all be used to achieve this.
Regular home inspections, especially if you suspect water damage, and addressing any leaks or other problems as soon as they are found can also assist to stop the growth of mould. Note that a mould inspection is different to a general property inspection. A mould inspection will specifically test for mould in the home. A building inspection will look for defects with the building according to the building code and will look for areas of the home that would benefit from maintenance and repair.
In our experience, a mould inspection is mandatory whenever there is a suspicion of mould or when your medical doctor or health care provider asks you for this information. If it is proven that there is an indoor mould problem, then it may then be sensible to proceed with a separate building inspection. However, the mould inspection process will very likely document any areas of the home that are suspected of water damage and this information is invaluable for the building inspector. Many times the underlying building problems are known, so often the mould inspection results can be acted on immediately without requiring any further inspections. It really depends on the:
If you don't know the answers to these questions, it's probable that you will benefit from a mould inspection
Get your home tested for mould if you're not feeling well or think there may have been water damage. Your home can be thoroughly inspected by a skilled mould inspector who can spot any locations where mould is present. Additionally, they can collect mould samples for laboratory investigation to identify the fungus and the mycotoxins it produces. Following the inspection, the inspector will give you a thorough report explaining their findings and suggestions for corrective action.
Mould removal can be a difficult process that needs to be handled by a professional. It entails locating and getting rid of the moisture source, disinfecting and sanitising the afflicted regions, and, in some situations, replacing contaminated items. It's crucial to take action to stop re-growth as well, including maintaining low humidity levels and resolving any leaks or other problems that may have contributed to the initial formation of the mould.
In conclusion, mycotoxins pose a major threat to our health, and their occurrence in both our food supply and indoor air is alarming. The study carried out in Beijing emphasises the requirement for prompt attention and subsequent steps to be made in order to identify the sources of mycotoxins and the associated human exposure pathways. Regular home inspections can aid in preventing the growth of mould because indoor air quality is a primary source of mycotoxin exposure. It's crucial to have your home tested for mould if you think it may have been water damaged or if you feel unwell. You should also take the necessary steps to address any issues that are discovered. To protect your family's health and safety, several precautions must be taken and an indoor air quality and mould inspection could be just what the doctor ordered!
Qiao X, Li G, Zhang J, Du J, Yang Y, Yin J, Li H, Xie J, Jiang Y, Fang X, Dai X, Shao B. Urinary analysis reveals high Alternaria mycotoxins exposure in the general population from Beijing, China. J Environ Sci (China). 2022 Aug;118:122-129. doi: 10.1016/j.jes.2021.08.025. Epub 2022 Jan 11. PMID: 35305760. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1001074221003296?via%3Dihub