Scientists have suggested through a new study that toxins produced by household fungi that may have developed on wallpaper in your homes can easily become airborne and cause health problems.
While scientists are already aware of the type of fungus that can grow on ordinary household wallpaper and spread into the air, leading to serious health consequences, there haven’t been extensive studies to understand the effects of the airborne fungi transmission on human health and their toxins.
Scientists explain that fungal toxins, also called mycotoxins, should be taken seriously as a source of indoor air pollution, and so-called sick building syndrome. Fungal toxins, also called mycotoxins, can lead to indoor air pollution – a medical condition called sick building syndrome where people in a building suffer from symptoms of illness or feel unwell for no apparent reason.
The study published in the American Society for Microbiology’s journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology demonstrates that mycotoxins could be transferred from a moldy material to air, under conditions that may be encountered in buildings. This effectively means that mycotoxins can be inhaled and should be investigated as parameters of indoor air quality, especially in homes with visible fungal contamination.
For the research, the researchers focused on three fungi commonly found in contaminated food: Penicillium brevicompactum, Aspergillus versicolor and Stachybotrys chartarum.
A piece of wallpaper was found to be contaminated with these three fungi. A flowing stream of air was allowed over the wallpaper and samples of air of the room were then collected for testing.
They found that some toxins were present on tiny particles of dust, that could be easily inhaled by people or animals. They also found the different species of fungi sent different amounts of fungal toxins into the air, a finding which could help researchers to prioritize efforts in terms of disease prevention.
They said there has been extensive study of fungal contamination of food, but very little research has been done on the effect of such toxins once they have been inhaled.