Mycotoxins are toxic metabolites that are produced by certain moulds. They occur where organic matter is degraded. High and continuous exposure to mycotoxins may be hazardous to health e.g. cause damage to liver and kidney. In the general population, the oral intake of contaminated food is the most important route of exposure. In compost facilities, where biodegradable waste is handled, workers are at risk when they inhale dusts and bioaerosols containing mycotoxins. In this project the workers’ mycotoxin body burden is examined with biological monitoring. Mycotoxins and their metabolites are determined in urine samples of workers exposed to moulds and study participants without occupational exposure.
The results shall enable the evaluation of the mycotoxins' risk potential and thereby improve occupational safety. Furthermore, the general population’s background exposure to mycotoxins is examined. For this purpose, funded by Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU, project no. 153680), mycotoxins and their metabolites are determined in urine samples out of the German Environmental Specimen Bank (UPB). The results shall allow interpreting biomonitoring results of exposed individuals.
Unit 4.2 "Health Surveillance, Biological Monitoring"