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Mycotoxin Research

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 151–164 | Cite as

The significance of mycotoxins in the framework of assessing workplace related risks

  • S. MayerEmail author
  • S. Engelhart
  • A. Kolk
  • H. Blome
Article

Abstract

Mycotoxins are fungal metabolite which may in some cases exhibit a high health hazard potential. Mycotoxins can show carcinogenic, mutagenic, toxic, teratogenic or immunotoxic effects. Mycotoxin exposure in the workplace may occur through inhalation and skin contact,e.g. during occupational handling of organic matter such as livestock feed, food products, or waste. Various studies suggest that both acute and chronic effects can occur, depending at least on the exposure level. The magnitude of the potential health risks associated with a respiratory or dermal intake of mycotoxins has largely remained unclear to date. However, according to the directive 2000/54/EC on biological agents and the corresponding German Biological Agents Ordinance, employers are also required to consider the potential hazards posed by toxic effects of biological agents when assessing workplace risks. The aim of this article, therefore, is to present some basis information that should facilitate an evaluation of the significance of mycotoxins in the context of assessing workplace risks. It also provides suggestions for occupational health and safety measures.

Keywords

workplace exposure respiratory intake risk assessment prevention research needs 

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Copyright information

© Society of Mycotoxin Research and Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Hygiene and Public HealthUniversity HospitalBonnGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of German Association of Statutory Accident InsuranceBGIASankt AugustinGermany
  3. 3.Institution for Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention in the Trade and Goods DistributionMannheimGermany

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