Other Health Effects of Mycotoxins

Little is known about the prolonged human effects of exposure to mycotoxins. One reason so little research has been done on its association with chronic disease is the difficulty and expense. Airborne exposure levels at coffee, cocoa bean, and spice processing plants resulted in increased blood levels of ochratoxin A, a secondary metabolite of Aspergillis and Penicillium (also common in grains and vine fruit), which has been found carcinogenic, genotoxic, teratogenic, immunotoxic and nephrotoxic in animals. The nephrotoxin affect has been shown in agricultural workers and rural residents in several Eastern European countries, and the rare urothelial tumor is 50 to 100 times more likely to occur in these countries (23-26).

Linseed and peanuts are associated with A. flavus and its aflatoxin B1, which is associated with lung cancers among some workers and liver cancer in others. Pregnant women working with grain production have a twofold increased risk of preterm births or late abortions compared to non-grain farmers, particularly during humid climate conditions (27-30).

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