Facts about Mould and Dampness. There is always some mould everywhere – in the air and on many surfaces. Moulds have been on the Earth for millions of years. Mould grows where there is moisture.
Mould and Your Health
Exposure to damp and mouldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Some people are sensitive to moulds. For these people, moulds can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases, skin irritation. People with allergies may have more severe reactions. Immune-compromised people and people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may get serious infections in their lungs when they are exposed to mould. These people should stay away from areas that are likely to have mould, such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas.
In 2004 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mould with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition. The IOM also found limited or suggestive evidence linking indoor mould exposure and respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children.
In addition, in 2004 the IOM found sufficient evidence to link exposure to damp indoor environments in general to upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people and with asthma symptoms in people with asthma. The IOM also found limited or suggestive evidence linking exposure to damp indoor environments in general to shortness of breath, to respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children and to potential development of asthma in susceptible individuals. In 2009, the World Health Organization issued additional guidance. Other recent studies have suggested a potential link of early mould exposure to development of asthma in some children, particularly among children who may be genetically susceptible to asthma development, and that selected interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies, but more research is needed in this regard.
A link between other adverse health effects, such as acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage among infants, memory loss, or lethargy, and moulds, including the mould Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra), has not been proven. Further studies are needed to find out what causes acute idiopathic hemorrhage and other adverse health effects.
Mould and Your Home
Mould is found both indoors and outdoors. It can enter your home through open doorways, windows, vents, and heating and air conditioning systems. Mould in the air outside can also attach itself to clothing, shoes, bags, and pets can and be carried indoors.
It will grow in places with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows, or pipes, or where there has been flooding. Mould grows well on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. It can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.
You Can Control Mould
Inside your home you can control mould growth by:
- Controlling humidity levels;
- Promptly fixing leaky roofs, windows, and pipes;
- Thoroughly cleaning and drying after flooding;
- Ventilating shower, laundry, and cooking areas.
If it is growing in your home, you need to clean up the mould and fix the moisture problem. Mould growth can be removed from hard surfaces with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of household laundry bleach in 1 gallon of water.
Mould growth, which often looks like spots, can be many different colors, and can smell musty. If you can see or smell mould, a health risk may be present. You do not need to know the type of mould growing in your home, and CDC does not recommend or perform routine sampling for moulds. No matter what type of mould is present, you should remove it. Since the effect of mould on people can vary greatly, either because of the amount or type of mould, you can not rely on sampling and culturing to know your health risk. Also, good sampling for mould can be expensive, and standards for judging what is and what is not an acceptable quantity of mould have not been set. The best practice is to remove the mould and work to prevent future growth.
If you choose to use bleach to clean up mould:
- Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products will produce dangerous, toxic fumes.
- Open windows and doors to provide fresh air.
- Wear non-porous gloves and protective eye wear.
- If the area to be cleaned is more than 10 square feet, contact is here >> IBX.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using bleach or any other cleaning product.
MOULD PREVENTION TIPS
- Keep humidity levels as low as you can — no higher than 50% – all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. Bear in mind that humidity levels change over the course of a day with changes in the moisture in the air and the air temperature, so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.
- Be sure your home has enough ventilation. Use exhaust fans which vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.
- Fix any leaks in your home’s roof, walls, or plumbing so mould does not have moisture to grow.
- Clean up and dry out your home thoroughly and quickly (within 24–48 hours) after flooding.
- Add mould inhibitors to paints before painting.
- Clean bathrooms with mould-killing products.
- Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried promptly. Consider not using carpet in rooms or areas like bathrooms or basements that may have a lot of moisture.
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