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Common Molds Produce Significant Amounts Of Mycotoxins On Wallpaper

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It is estimated that 20 to 40% of the homes, schools, and workplace buildings in Europe and North America experience significant water damage and or visible mold growth. Many studies have reported that such indoor mold and moisture damage is associated with many adverse health conditions including asthma 1 , sinus problems 2, and neurological problems such as poor concentration and memory 3. 

Indoor molds can also produce significant quantities of mycotoxins on many wet or damp surfaces such as wallpaper, drywall, and carpeting. A French study examined growth of three common indoor molds: Penicillium brevicompactum, Aspergillus versicolor, and Stachybotrys chartarum and mycotoxin production on wet wallpaper 4 .

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These three molds produced respectively 1.8 milligrams of mycophenolic acid per square meter, 112.1 milligrams of sterigmatocystin per square meter, and 27.8 milligrams of cyclic trichothecenes per square meter. (Note quantities are listed in milligrams per square meter. 1 milligram= 10-3 gram. Mycotoxins are often measured in nanograms =10 -9 gm or micrograms = 10-6 gram). Many of these mycotoxins were easily aerosolized in the air. Testing the wallpaper with typical indoor wind speeds aerolized 15% of the mycophenolic acid, 0.2% of the sterigmatocystin, and 4.5% of the macrocylic trichothecenes. Many of these mycotoxins were present on particles smaller than 1.0 µm and thus could be easily inhaled deep into the lungs.

References / Sources

1. Quansah R JM, Huggt, et al. Residential dampness and molds and the risk of developing asthma: A systematic reveiew an meta-analysis. PLOS ONE. 2012;7(E47526).

2. Jaakkola MS, Quansah R, Hugg TT, Heikkinen SA, Jaakkola JJ. Association of indoor dampness and molds with rhinitis risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2013;132(5):1099-1110 e1018.

3. Kilburn KH. Neurobehavioral and pulmonary impairment in 105 adults with indoor exposure to molds compared to 100 exposed to chemicals. Toxicol Ind Health. 2009;25(9-10):681-692.

4. Aleksic B, Draghi M, Ritoux S, et al. Aerosolization of mycotoxins after growth of toxinogenic fungi on wallpaper. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2017.



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