Dry Home

Dampness, Mould & Health

Your damp home could be making you and your family sick

It has long been known that there is a link between mould in our homes and poor health. One of the major reasons for mould growth is a damp house. Moulds love dampness, darkness & poor ventilation.

Below we have added some information which we hope you find useful.

What is mould?

Moulds are simple, microscopic organisms, present virtually everywhere, indoors and outdoors. Together with mushrooms and yeasts, moulds are collectively called fungi.Moulds digest organic material and gradually destroy whatever they grow on - even your furniture, walls and floor if they get wet. When the conditions suit, moulds grow on surfaces with visible discoloration - green, grey, brown, or black, even white and other colours. Moulds release tiny spores and fragments which travel through the air. Often attached to these are mycotoxins and allergens which are the main ways that mould affects humans.

The link between mould and health

There are many many articles on the internet and we could only picked a few. They are all interesting reading and hopefully convince you of what you probably already knew, mould should be avoided at all cost and prevention is better than cure.

1. An extract from Wikipedia explaining how moulds can pose serious health risks.

“Molds are ubiquitous in nature, and mold spores are a common component of household and workplace dust. However, when mold spores are present in large quantities, they can present a health hazard to humans, potentially causing allergic reactions and respiratory problems.
Some molds also produce mycotoxins that can pose serious health risks to humans and animals. Some studies claim that exposure to high levels of mycotoxins can lead to neurological problems and in some cases death. Prolonged exposure, e.g. daily home exposure, may be particularly harmful. Research on the health effects of mold has not been conclusive.[14]The term "toxic mold" refers to molds that produce mycotoxins, such as Stachybotrys chartarum, and not to all molds in general.[15]
Mold in the home can usually be found in damp, dark or steamy areas e.g. bathroom or kitchen, cluttered storage areas, recently flooded areas, basement areas, plumbing spaces, areas with poor ventilation and outdoors in humid environments. Symptoms caused by mold allergy are watery, itchy eyes, a chronic cough, headaches or migraines, difficulty breathing, rashes, tiredness, sinus problems, nasal blockage and frequent sneezing.
Molds can also pose a hazard to human and animal health when they are consumed following the growth of certain mold species in stored food. Some species produce toxic secondary metabolites, collectively termed mycotoxinsincluding, among others, aflatoxins, ochratoxins, fumonisins, trichothecenes, citrinin, and patulin. These toxic properties may be used for the benefit of humans when the toxicity is directed against other organisms e.g. penicillinadversely affects growth of Gram-negative bacteria that cause some diseases.”

For more read the full article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mold#Health_effects

2. An extract from an article on WebMD.

Dehumidifiers for Allergies
Mold, mildew, and dust mites don’t have to make you miserable. A home dehumidifier can help you breathe again.

Where Allergy Triggers Thrive

Mold and mildew grow in moist areas, like a damp basement or the cabinet under your kitchen sink. Molds reproduce through tiny spores that float through the air. If you are sensitive to molds, breathing in these spores can cause:

Nasal stuffiness
Eye or skin irritation
Sneezing or wheezing
Dust mites -- the most common trigger of allergy and asthma symptoms -- also thrive in high humidity. They can live in bedding, curtains, and rugs, as well as the air in your home.

A dehumidifier brings down the level of moisture in your home, making it unfriendly to dust mites and limiting the growth of mold and mildew.

For more read the full article: http://www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/dehumidifiers-for-allergies

3. An extract from About.com highlighting 5 things to look out for in your home

5 Signs You Need a Dehumidifier

A Little Humidity is Fine, But Too Much Can Lead to Big Problems
For health reasons, it's important to maintain a proper humidity level in your home. While too little humidity can cause some discomfort issues such as chapped lips as well as cracks in wooden furniture, the reverse side of the coin - too much moisture, can make your home a breeding ground for mold and mildew, which can lead to some very serious health issues. A dehumidifier can help you remedy excess moisture problems.

For more read the full article: http://housewares.about.com/od/humidifiersdehumidifiers/tp/5-Signs-You-Need-A-Dehumidifier.htm