What are aflatoxins and where and how do they occur? Should we be worried about their effects? If you live in the tropics the answer is a loud YES! Aflatoxins are natural carcinogenic by-products of common fungi on grains and other crops that occur frequently in the tropics, particularly in maize and groundnuts. Aflatoxins thrive in dry or drought prone environments especially close to harvest, which is a common state of things throughout Africa. High levels of Aflatoxin exposure as well as prolonged low level aflatoxin consumption cause a range of dangerous health problems including liver failure, liver cancer, and stunted growth in children, immunosuppression, malnutrition, and jaundice all leading to sudden or protracted death. Caught your attention yet?
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