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Ann Agric Environ Med. 2004;11(1):75-83.

Trichothecene mycotoxins and their determinants in settled dust related to grain production.

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National Institute of Occupational Health, PO Box 8149, Dep. N-0033 Oslo, Norway.


We hypothesise that inhalant exposure to mycotoxins causes developmental outcomes and certain hormone-related cancers that are associated with grain farming in an epidemiological study. The aim of the present study was to identify and validate determinants of measured trichothecene mycotoxins in grain dust as work environmental trichothecene exposure indicators. Settled grain dust was collected in 92 Norwegian farms during seasons of 1999 and 2000. Production characteristics and climatic data were studied as determinants of trichothecenes in settled dust samples obtained during the production of barley (N = 59), oats (N = 32), and spring wheat (N = 13). Median concentrations of trichothecenes in grain dust were <20, 54, and < 50 mg/kg (ranges < 20-340, < 30-2400, and < 50-1200) for deoxynivalenol (DON), HT-2 toxin (HT-2) and T-2 toxin (T-2) respectively. Late blight potato rot (fungal) forecasts have been broadcast in Norway to help prevent this potato disease. Fungal forecasts representing wet, temperate, and humid meteorological conditions were identified as strong determinants of trichothecene mycotoxins in settled grain dust in this study. Differences in cereal species, production properties and districts contributed less to explain mycotoxin concentrations. Fungal forecasts are validated as indicators of mycotoxin exposure of grain farmers and their use in epidemiological studies may be warranted.

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