As I have covered in my university courses and seminars on ‘Sick Building syndrome’ and environmental toxins, in addition to man-made toxins, naturally occurring toxins like molds and fungi are often facilitated and perpetuated by human behavior. This is such a case. Because both man-made and naturally occurring toxins can be lurking in multiple sources, those people who are experiencing health problems from an unknown origin and who are actively searching out all possible offenders in the food, personal care products and home care products, may be wise to include an examination of the physical environments of the home milieu (and work/school environs) as well.
Your wallpaper might be making you sick
Fungus growing on wallpaper might contribute to ‘sick building syndrome’, causing symptoms similar to flu and allergies.
Wallpaper may contribute to “sick building syndrome”, a new study suggests.
Sick building syndrome is the name given to the phenomenon when people who regularly occupy a building (like office workers) experience different symptoms whenever they spend time in the building.
Toxins from fungus growing on wallpaper can easily become airborne and pose an indoor health risk, the researchers said.
For the study, the researchers simulated airflow over a piece of wallpaper contaminated with three species of fungus often found indoors.
How can wallpaper be toxic?
“In laboratory tests we demonstrated that mycotoxins could be transferred from a moldy material to air, under conditions that may be encountered in buildings.
“Thus, mycotoxins can be inhaled and should be investigated as parameters of indoor air quality, especially in homes with visible fungal contamination.”
-Dr. Jean-Denis Bailly, study coauthor
What are the symptoms people can experience from toxic wallpaper?
The symptoms of sick building syndrome are similar to flu and allergies, and may include headaches, burning or itching eyes, stuffy nose, sneezing, coughing, sore throat, tight chest, dry or itchy skin, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, nausea and fatigue. People prone to asthma or allergies may find that their usual symptoms worsen while they’re in a certain building.
No wallpaper? Sick building syndrome may still be present:
Here are other common sources of toxins in your home and work environments…
- Poorly maintained air conditioning systems
- Indoor chemical pollution from cleaning agents, varnish on office furniture etc.
- Mold and bacteria in damp areas such as leaky pipes
- Poor ventilation
Journal reference: Brankica Aleksic et al. Aerosolization of mycotoxins after growth of toxinogenic fungi on wallpaper. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, June 2017.