Will Seippel | October 30, 2023

Health specialist Dr. Wendie Trubow mycotoxins health hazards
Health specialist Dr. Wendie Trubow (left) answers how those dealing with antiques can take precautions, although the nature of treasure hunting leads to potential health hazards like toxin exposure.

As collectors and pickers know, finding great antique treasures may lead you to some damp and dusty locations. But rooting around in these places with poor ventilation and without protection may be a greater risk than you realize.

Earlier this year, I came across an extraordinary ninety-pound collection of paper collectibles and ephemera that had long been kept in a basement. But this find came with a cost—I wound up in the hospital with cardiac complications likely due to mold exposure from dealing with the papers in an enclosed space.

Luckily, in a recent conversation with health specialist Dr. Wendie Trubow, I got the chance to learn all about these “mycotoxins” found in mold and mildew and how collectors and pickers can best protect themselves from them. As Dr. Trubow and I discussed, you may not even be able to see these health hazards before they begin to negatively impact you. Just keeping an eye out for black mold spores is not enough—mycotoxins can accumulate in your body without you even knowing.

Listen to our entire conversation and Dr. Trubow’s tips and tricks for safely handling antiques here.

Will Seippel is the CEO and founder of WorthPoint, the world’s largest provider of information about art, antiques, and collectibles. Individuals and organizations use WorthPoint, an Inc. 500 Company, to seek credible valuations on everything from cameras to coins. WorthPoint counts the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, and the IRS among its clients.