Moulds are a part of the natural environment. They are an essential part of the biosphere because they feed on dead plant matter, breaking it down into useful substances like soil. Every time you breathe you inhale the spores that moulds use to reproduce.
Health issues of mould
Generally our bodies have adapted to cope with mould spores. Unfortunately, health problems can arise where mould spores occur in higher than normal concentrations. This is a particular concern for householders in wet climates such as the UK.
Mould spores can cause:
- Allergic Reactions
- Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis (resembles pneumonia)
- Irritation of the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs
- Opportunistic Infections
In more severe cases, toxins produced by mould spores can cause serious neurological damage and even death.
Causes and prevention of mould
Property owners should be wary of the factors which provide mould with optimal conditions for growth. Basically, mould needs water – none of the many different types of mould can live without it. Controlling moisture and condensation is essential to stemming mould growth.
You can do this by changing behaviours which produce humidity:
- Avoid steaming pans and kettles
- Dry washing outside
- Close kitchen and bathroom doors when cooking or bathing
- Keep curtains and blinds open when possible
- Keep your home warm with effective heating, glazing and insulation, heat reduces condensation
Other common causes in households include rising damp, leaking plumbing or rain water seeping through damaged tiles.