Mould is the common word for any fungus that grows on food or damp materials. Mould can be black, white or almost any colour. It often looks like a stain or smudge and it may smell musty. In order to grow, mould needs moisture and a material it can live on. It then releases “spores” into the air which are small enough that people can actually breathe them in. Breathing in large amounts of these spores and the by-products they produce can negatively impact your health.
They are most often associated with areas that have:
Buildings Located Close Together
No Air Conditioning Systems
Sampling for bacteria and mould is often a useful way to isolate and identify the causes of and origins of occupational health problems. Not all people exposed to bacteria and mould will have a health problem, these depend on the quantity and susceptibility of the individual. For example: the young, old and those with reduced immune systems are typically the most at risk.
Some moulds produce mycotoxins – These can be toxic to humans and animals. They are toxic primarily by ingestion.
Moulds produce various allergens – substances that can cause allergic reactions. Allergic reactions to mould are common. Inhaling or touching mould may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash.
Inhaling mould fragments or spores can inflame the airways, causing nasal congestion, wheezing, chest tightness, coughing and throat irritation. Prolonged exposure to high levels of indoor dampness can reduce lung function and cause chronic health problems such as asthma.
The most infamous type of mould is “black mould” (Stachybotrys chartarum), which can grow on water-damaged building materials and produce toxic spores. In 1994, it was linked to a serious respiratory illness after 10 children experienced idiopathic pulmonary haemosiderosis (bleeding from the lung) and one subsequently died.
If you suffer neurological symptoms such as headaches, trouble concentrating, shortened attention span, memory loss and dizziness it could be a sign that there is toxic mould growing somewhere in your house which is poisoning you.
Mycotoxins from toxic moulds such as Stachybotrys chartarum can have a mental effect on people much more severe than the allergic symptoms caused by other non-toxic moulds.
The most infamous type of mould is “black mould” (Stachybotrys chartarum), which can grow on water-damaged building materials and produce toxic spores.
There are a number of mould types in homes that are either black or grey in colour. These include Cladosporium, Pithomyces, Stemphydium, Ulocladium, Aureobasidium, Alternaria, and Stachybotrys. Stachybotrys is known to produce mycotoxins, which produce a potential exposure hazard when infested materials are disturbed. Stachybotrys infestations typically only occur on repeatedly wetted materials that contain cellulose. These include the paper on gypsumboard, cardboard, ceiling tile, cellulose insulation, wood, and other organic materials
Mould can be found in the following:
Mould will not grow in your home if moisture is not present. If you clean up the mould but don’t fix the water/moisture problem then, most likely, the mould problem will return. Follow these steps to prevent mould:
Fix leaks and seepage.
Wipe away excessive moisture build-up on windows and doors.
Cover dirt under the house with a plastic cover to prevent moisture coming up from the ground.
Ensure the crawl space is well ventilated.
Use extractor fans in bathrooms and kitchens to remove moisture to the outside (not into the ceiling cavity).
Dry clothes outside rather than inside.
Turn off certain appliances (e.g. unflued gas heaters) if you notice moisture on windows and other surfaces.
Open windows and doors between rooms during the day to increase air circulation.
Open curtains to allow sunlight to penetrate the home.
Ensure adequate heating and insulation