There has been increasing public attention to the potential health risks of mold exposure, particularly in wet buildings. A variety of molds has been isolated from both damaged homes and businesses, including agents that secrete toxigenic materials. One area that is attracting particular notice is the relative toxigenic potential of mycotoxins. Although exposure to molds can produce significant mucosal irritation, there are very few data to suggest long-term ill effects. More importantly, there is no evidence in humans that mold exposure leads to nonmucosal pathology. In fact, many of the data on toxigenic molds are derived from animal toxicity studies, and these are based primarily on ingestion. Although every attempt should be made to improve the quality of indoor air, including avoidance of molds, the human illnesses attributed to fungal exposure are, with the exception of invasive infections and mold allergy, relatively rare. In this review we discuss selected aspects of the microbiology of mycotoxin-producing molds and their potential role in human immunopathology with respect to wet building environments.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine