Aflatoxin: A Global Public Health Problem

John Davis Groopman, G. N. Wogan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Aflatoxins are highly toxic and carcinogenic naturally occurring products of spoilage molds that are widely encountered as contaminants of commonly consumed food staples, including cereal grains and nuts. This human exposure scenario is especially prominent in hot, humid environments found in low-income countries. Aflatoxin B1, the most abundant and potent member of a group of related compounds, has been designated as a major risk factor for human liver cancer and an important contributor to nearly 700000 cancer deaths per year. Importantly, in experimental systems, it also induces pleiotropic toxic effects such as growth retardation and immune suppression, but the potential for aflatoxins to induce maternal and early-life toxicities in children has received only limited study. However, this possibility is gaining attention since nutritional interventions alone have had only modest effects in reducing the prevalence of health problems such as stunting and wasting. Thus, mitigation of aflatoxin exposures through primary and secondary prevention strategies holds promise for broadly improving health status in developing countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Food and Health
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9780123849533
ISBN (Print)9780123849472
StatePublished - Sep 14 2015


  • Aflatoxin
  • Child health
  • Liver cancer
  • Mycotoxins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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