People ask me all the time what the repercussions are with living in a house with mould. To answer this question properly I think the most important thing to do is look at the occupants in the house of concern and determine whether or not any of the occupants are considered to be high risk. |
A high risk occupant would be considered someone who is under 2 years of age of over 60, has had a recent surgery or suffers from a serious disease, has asthma or some other allergic type disease or is pregnant. Anybody who falls under this category of being a high risk occupant has their immune system compromised or working overtime already and has a more limited capability to fight off mould allergens or toxins. Thus, mould prevention is necessary in every house.
This does not mean that there are no issues for healthy people in an environment that has indoor mould growth. Health Canada recognizes mould to be an allergen. Healthy people can become sensitized to mould allergens and after chronic exposure can become allergic to mould. When you factor in the fact the mould is ubiquitous, this means that mould can make even healthy people chronically sick.
If visible mould is seen in a home it is important not to panic. It is yet to find a home that had no mould in it. However you should determine whether or not the mould is a common by-product of living in a house or is a result of water damage.
Mould that results from water intrusions and the subsequent water damage of a home is often toxic mould. These moulds are often saprophytic moulds, which means they grow on organic materials like drywall (paper), wood, beams, joists, plywood, natural fiber carpet and rugs and other plant based materials. It is accepted that mould does take time to grow. Even under optimal conditions mould will take 24-48 hours to start growing and 48-72 hours to see visible evidence of it. If mould is found at the same time as water damage or intrusion has just occurred the mould is almost certainly preexisting.
Besides time, mould requires other specific conditions to grow, they are: moisture, stagnant air, a source of food and the right temperature. Many species of mould do not like light either.
If you find mould on the caulking of a window or bathtub or on the tiles of your shower stall this is a situation that requires more diligent cleaning. This can easily be cleaned away with a surfactant based cleaner like mild dish soap or a specially formulated fungicide cleaner. There are other products that can be sprayed on after cleaning that prevent mould from growing on the surface again. Bleach is no longer considered an appropriate cleaner for mould growth.
If mould is found to be growing on porous or permeable structural items, especially plant based structural building materials, a service of mould removal in Sydney should be consulted. There are many people who claim to be "mould inspectors". Don't be afraid to question their credentials and experience.
Some of the requirements might seem a bit over the top by some people. You must always remember that mould spores are invisible to the eye and are easily aerosolized and then transported all over the home.
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