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What Types of Household Mould Are Harmful

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What Types of Household Mould Are Harmful

By Ruth MacEachern

Product Manager

Mar 14, 2023

If you do not take steps to stop condensation in your home, it will create damp patches on walls where mould can start to grow.  Dark patches of mould on walls and ceilings are unsightly, but they can also damage the health of people who live in your home.  In this article, we look at what types of household mould are harmful to your health.

How does mould get into your home?

Mould spreads in the form of microscopic spores. These spores are light enough to be carried on the wind and are present in low concentrations almost everywhere.  If the mould spores land on a moist or damp surface and are left undisturbed, they can start to grow.

Mould and its close relative mildew will thrive in excellent damp conditions with limited airflow.  If your bathroom is poorly ventilated, you may start to see the mould develop in small dark patches on the ceiling and around window frames where condensation is most likely to soak into the plasterwork to create a damp patch.

Once mould has become established, it will overgrow, and when the patches of mould mature, they will release their spores, which can spread mould quickly around your home.

If mould is allowed to grow unchecked, it can quickly form large colonies and release large amounts of spores that are often harmful.

How does mould affect your health

Mould can affect your health in two main ways:

  • Allergic reactions to the spores that are released
  • The presence of mycotoxins released by some toxic moulds

Many people have an allergic reaction to mould spores.  In areas with a ssignificant presence of mould, the spores in the air can be quite high.  If they are inhaled or come into contact with mucus membranes such as around your eyes or nose, you may react.

The allergic reaction to mould spores can range in severity.  People with a mild response may notice a runny nose, itches, or streaming eyes.  People with pre-existing immune problems, or asthma can have serious reactions, including difficulty breathing.

Toxic moulds such as Stachybotrys chartarum (toxic black mould) release harmful chemicals called mycotoxins as they mature.  These chemicals are carried around your home in the air, and when inhaled, they can cause a severe response, particularly in younger children and older adults.

Mould is a symptom of a house with a dampness problem.  Damp in your home can also affect your health negatively and will usually result in increased dust mites.  Dust mite waste is another allergen that can be particularly harmful to people with respiratory conditions such as asthma.

Getting rid of mould

Non-toxic moulds can be cleaned from walls and ceilings using dilute bleach or a special fungicidal cleaner.  The cleaning fluid should be sprayed onto the surface and then wiped away.  When cleaning mould from walls or ceilings, you should wear gloves, a face covering and glasses to prevent inhalation of spores.  Once you have finished cleaning the mould, you should dispose of the cleaning materials to prevent the spread of mould.

If you have allergic reactions to mould or suspect it may be toxic black mould, it is best to have your rooms cleaned professionally.

Unfortunately, simply cleaning away the mould is not a long-term solution.  It will grow back unless you remove the conditions that allow it to thrive.

Preventing mould from returning

The only way to stop mould for good is to take away the conditions that allow it to get a foothold.  This means reducing the amount of humidity in your home.

Moisture being released into the air from poorly ventilated bathrooms, kitchens and drying clothes indoors causes condensation, which leads to damp and mould growth.

Ensuring that you have sufficient airflow to remove moist air before the water vapour it carries can settle and soak into surfaces requires ventilation.

Simple extractor fans should be fitted in bathrooms and kitchens and switched on when cooking, bathing or showering.

Whole house ventilation systems such as the EnviroVent ATMOS PIV system work to replenish the fresh air throughout your home.  Fresh air from outside is filtered and drawn in from outside and pushes out the stale and humid air that causes condensation.

We can help you stop mould

If you have discovered mould in your home and are concerned about the risk to your family’s health, we can help.  Enter your postcode below to find a local ventilation specialist.  They can visit your property to conduct a free home survey that will identify the causes of condensation and advise you about the best course of action.

Need help with condensation, mould or damp problems?

One of our local experts will contact you to learn more about your problems, offer free expert advice and make recommendations for a permanent solution.

During the free survey we will

  • check Assess any condensation, damp or mould problems in your property
  • check Take readings of the relative humidity levels
  • check Identify any underlying problems and make recommendations for a permanent solution

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