Many of us expect that first cup of coffee of the day to make us come alive. But according to new research, particularly if you brew it yourself, your morning coffee may be making you sick.
Read more: The 12 Worst Coffee Drinks to Order
French researchers found that steam emitted from some coffee machines, kettles and other water-heating appliances can cause toxic fungus to grow in your home. Breathing in that toxic fungus (sounds lovely, doesn’t it?) can contribute to sick building syndrome — an illness caused by exposure to a variety of toxic or unhealthy substances. Symptoms may include fatigue and other symptoms, including headache, eye, nose or throat irritation, dry cough, dizziness and nausea. Yikes! All this from a cup of coffee?
Not exactly: It’s true that coffee makers and other water-heating appliances release steam indoors and increase the water and humidity that may help fungi to grow. But researchers found that wallpaper is actually a prime breeding ground for fungi and mold — which could be potentially problematic if the area near a steamy appliance is covered with wallpaper.
For the study, researchers measured the growth of three different species of fungus commonly found growing on wallpaper that could make people sick if they were to inhale any toxic airborne particles.
“Most of the airborne toxins are likely to be located on fungal spores, but we also demonstrated that part of the toxic load was found on very small particles — dust or tiny fragments of wallpaper — that could be easily inhaled,” said Dr. Jean-Denis Bailly, co-author of the study published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
In other words, the steam from your coffee machine is making fungus grow, and air flowing over that fungus is sending toxic particles into the air that can subsequently be inhaled and cause sickness.
But before you start ripping down your trendy wallpaper and tossing your new electric teakettle in the trash, keep in mind that this study was done in a laboratory and not in a real-life kitchen. So until further research is done you should be in the clear — just use your coffee machine in a well-ventilated area. Consider using a dehumidifier to keep air moisture down and getting some indoor plants to help purify the air.
If mold and/or fungus is a cause for concern in your home, here are some great tips on getting rid of them.
What Do YOU Think?
Did you know wallpaper could be a breeding ground for fungus? Does this study surprise you? Will it impact the way you brew coffee?