Mould, Mildew & Fungus In Our Homes
Virtually everyone has one type or another of mould somewhere in their homes. Although not all types are toxic, any exposures to non-toxic mould types pose a health risk (allergies and asthma). It is often difficult to distinguish species without laboratory testing. Areas that are always or often damp, such as Kitchens, Bathrooms, Laundry/Utility rooms, and Basements, are common locations for mould growth in homes. Spores from dried mould are very dangerous and should be cleaned with caution. Never scrape or scratch dried mould, because the spores will become airborne and create a serious inhalation risk. Most mould infested areas are relatively small and are usually the result of small leaks or plumbing problems. If the problem is more internal such as on insulation or throughout a carpet, the only solution is to have the items professionally removed before being replaced. Mouldy areas more than 600mm2 are considered “heavily infested” and professional removal is strongly advised. Some insurance companies cover the cost of mould removal or remediation under certain circumstances. Check with your insurance agent to find out if you are covered.
CAN MOULD CAUSE HEALTH PROBLEMS?
Moulds have the potential to cause health problems. Moulds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mould or mould spores may cause allergic reactions in
sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mould are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Additionally, mould exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mould-allergic and non-allergic people.