A study published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology has identified coffee machines as one of a number of factors that could increase our exposure to fungal toxins in the home.
“Coffee makers are just an example of a machine that may release steam indoors and increase the water and humidity that may help fungi to grow,” Co-author Dr Jean-Denis Bailly explains.
“'Everything that may increase humidity may help fungi to grow since temperature and building materials are in most cases favourable.”
Their study found that ‘toxigenic fungi’ present in indoor environments can produce toxic, airborne compounds which can be inhaled by residents.
“We demonstrated that mycotoxins could be transferred from a moldy material to air, under conditions that may be encountered in buildings,” Bailly said. “Thus, mycotoxins can be inhaled and should be investigated as parameters of indoor air quality, especially in homes with visible fungal contamination.”
The health impacts of mould have been a particular issue in Australia recently, after the past few weeks of wet weather resulted in huge outbreaks of the fungi.
NSW Health says if inhaled, spores make cause running or blocked nose, irritation of the eyes and skin and wheezing, with some suffering from more severe reactions. In very rare occasions people make develop a mould infection in the lungs. However they stress the infrequency of these cases.
If you’re concerned that mould is affecting your health always consult a doctor. And when it comes to combating any negative impacts of your coffee consumption, always ensure the area around your machine is well ventilated and cleaned regularly.