About 200 of the estimated 50,000 mold species known to man are considered serious health threats to people and animals. These toxic molds, as they are called, produce mycotoxins. Quite literally mold poisons, mycotoxins are released into the environment and can contaminate people through inhalation, ingestion and contact with the skin. Associated with such serious health concerns as chronic respiratory complaints, kidney toxicity and chronic fatigue syndrome, mycotoxin contamination can be tested through the use of a simple urine panel. If the test shows exposure, the findings enable people and their healthcare providers to take action to mitigate the effects the toxins may have on the body.
If a mycotoxin panel comes back positive, people who have been exposed may find these steps advisable to take:
- Working with a doctor to address any health-related concerns – If mycotoxin exposure is the suspected source of illness, such as asthma, working directly with the doctor who ordered the screening panel is important. There isn’t a specific treatment protocol to address exposure, but different methods are available depending on the specific illness in question and the type of mycotoxin found. Anti-fungal medications, for example, may be recommended.
- Isolating the source of contamination – If exposure to mycotoxins is confirmed, it is important to identify the source. Exposure is generally associated with buildings that have suffered water damage that wasn’t properly addressed. In many cases, a current home or office building will be the source. Exposure, however, may have occurred years in the past in some cases.
- Mitigating the source of contamination, if necessary – If a current home or office is the source of contamination, taking steps to ensure proper mediation can be vital for preventing further contamination. An environmental inspector can help confirm mold sources and make recommendations on how to properly and safely address issues. If the building of exposure isn’t personally owned, work with the owner to ensure safe mitigation. It is important, however, to not return to the environment where exposure occurred until the contamination is addressed professionally.
If exposure to toxic mold is suspected, mycotoxin testing can help confirm or deny concerns. Should test results come back positive, working with medical and environmental specialists can be important for safeguarding personal health and the well-being of others exposed to the environment where contamination occurred.