Understanding Mold Testing
A family of fungi strains that affect plant products, aflatoxins have been linked to liver cancer, hepatitis, cirrhosis, and other health issues. Exposure occurs when consuming contaminated plant products, eating meat or dairy from animals that have eaten contaminated feed, or inhaling dust while working with contaminated products.
- Aflatoxin B1 – Of the four aflatoxins that cause cancer in humans and animals, aflatoxin B1 is the most toxic, and is classified by the World Health Organization as a class 1 carcinogen. Though it primarily attacks the liver, this mycotoxin can also affect the kidneys, lungs, and other organs.
- Aflatoxin B2 – Like aflatoxin B1, aflatoxin B2 is produced by the fungi Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus. It’s also a toxin and carcinogen that contaminates food products, primarily affects the liver and kidneys, and enters the body through the lungs, mucous membranes (nose and mouth), or even the skin, but is less potent than aflatoxin B1.
- Aflatoxin G1 – Born from a soil-borne fungus-like the other aflatoxins, G1 also contaminates a wide range of food products including peanuts, cottonseed meal, oilseeds, vegetable oils, corn, and other grains in human food and animal feed. Aflatoxin contamination is most common in humid environments, especially tropical and subtropical regions.
- Aflatoxin G2 – The least toxic aflatoxin, G2 is still dangerous to humans and animals. Though less lethal than some of the other aflatoxins, G2 can also cause liver problems (including cancer, chronic hepatitis, and jaundice) and appears to play a role in Reye’s syndrome. Like all aflatoxins, it can also adversely affect the immune system.
Produced by at least five types of fungi, this group of mycotoxins includes around 170 types of toxins. Some types contaminate plants, including grains, fruits, and vegetables. Others thrive in soil and decaying organic material. Several types of trichothecenes are infamously produced by Stachybotrys chartarum, also called black mold.
- Satratoxin G – Though all of the trichothecenes are highly toxic, tests have determined that Satratoxin G is the most dangerous to people and animals. The black mold Stachybotrys chartarum produces several types of trichothecenes, but produces Satratoxin G and H in greater amounts than other toxins./li>
- Satratoxin H – Not all strains of black mold (Stachybotrys chartarum) produce mycotoxins, but the ones that do typically produce more than one kind, including Satratoxin H. The mold is found on some agricultural materials, and in damp or water-damaged environments. Evidence suggests that mold is a serious problem in North America.
- Isosatratoxin F– Another trichothecene mycotoxin produced by Stachybotrys chartarum, Isosatratoxin F is one of the contributors to “sick building syndrome,” where health issues of building occupants are directly tied to time spent in mold-infected buildings. A 1984 World Health Organization Committee report suggested that up to 30 percent of new and remodeled buildings are possible causes of health problems due to poor air quality.
- Roridin A – Like other macrocyclic trichothecenes, Roridin A is produced by mold, and is associated with a number of acute and chronic respiratory tract health problems. Experiments have shown that exposure to Roridin A can cause nasal inflammation, excess mucus secretion, and damage to the olfactory system.
- Roridin E – Like many of the mycotoxins, Roridin E can cause the above respiratory and olfactory issues, and may also disrupt the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and protein, which can impact every cell in the body. Roridin E grows in moist indoor environments, but can also be produced by a soil fungus that contaminates foodstuffs, and is passed down the food chain to animals and then to humans.
- Roridin H – Affecting human and animal health in much the same ways as other trichothecene mycotoxins, Roridin H is produced by mold, especially Stachybotrys chartarum, which grows well on many building materials subject to damp conditions, including wood-fiber, bards, ceiling tiles, water-damaged gypsum board, and air conditioning ducts.
- Roridin L-2 – This mycotoxin is also produced by molds, including black mold. Interestingly, environmental tests cannot always detect Stachybotrys, since its spores are large and heavy and not easily dispersed into the air. Unfortunately, mycotoxin molecules, including the very toxic Rorodin l2, are light and easily airborne and inhaled by occupants of an infested building.
- Verrucarin J – Yet another mycotoxin produced by Stachybotrys chartarum, Verrucarin molecules are small enough to be airborne and easily inhaled. Experiments have determined that inhalation is the most dangerous form of exposure, but trichothecene mycotoxins can easily cross cell membranes, which means they can also be absorbed through the mouth and even the skin.
- Verrucarin A – One of the most toxic trichothecenes, Verrucarin A is also produced by fungi and mold. Like Roridin E, Verrucarin A is found not only in molds in damp environments but also in molds that occur naturally on a variety of crops intended for human and animal consumption.
- Gliotoxin – The most common cause of mold diseases in humans is Aspergillus fumigatus, which produces gliotoxin, a mycotoxin that suppresses the immune system. Found in many homes and buildings, A. fumigatus typically only infects individuals with compromised immune systems but can be deadly: Invasive Aspergillosis (IA) is the leading cause of death in immunocompromised people.
- Ochratoxin A (OTA) – A toxin produced by different Aspergillus and Penicillium species — is one of the most-abundant food-contaminating mycotoxins. It is also a frequent contaminant of water-damaged houses and of heating ducts. Exposure can also come from inhalation in water-damaged buildings.
Other Available Mold Testing Options
- Blood testing
- Organic Acid Test (OAT)
- Food Sensitivity panels
- Metals Hair Test
- Stool testing
- FRAT testing