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Mycotoxins as potential occupational hazards.
Dev Ind Microbiol 1990 Jan; 31(Suppl 5):205-211
A review was provided to examine the exposure of workers to fungi and the various effects such exposures have on human health. Fungi were noted to affect humans through direct infections, allergy and hypersensitivity and by the production of toxic metabolites. Farmer's lung disease was described as a hypersensitivity reaction which occurs in the lung in response to inhaled thermophilic actinomycetes and certain fungi. Organic dust toxic syndrome was noted to be a new syndrome, possibly associated with the presence of fungi and/or mycotoxins. It was noted that various fungi produce numerous volatile compounds, some of which can be very hazardous. Studies have indicated the inhalation of aflatoxin contaminated dust by chemical engineers working with contaminated peanut dust and biochemists working to purify aflatoxins by preparative thin layer chromatography. Mortality for total cancer and respiratory cancer was shown to be higher than expected among peanut-oil press workers. Airborne dust around combine harvesters of cereal in England has been revealed to consist predominantly of fungus spores and hyphal fragments with spore concentrations as high as 200 million spores/cubic meter. Relatively little information was noted available in the literature pertaining to the effects of specific mycotoxins on the cells and tissues of the lung. A additional studies are needed to determine whether exposure to fungus spores may constitute a significant health risk by virtue of their mycotoxins as well as by their ability to stimulate adverse immunologic response.
NIOSH-Author; Food-contaminants; Allergic-reactions; Inhalants; Respiratory-system-disorders; Lung-irritants; Lung-disease; Plant-dusts; Dust-inhalation; Occupational-exposure
Developments in Industrial Microbiology
Page last reviewed: September 22, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division