It’s the nasty green growth we sometimes see invading our damp bathrooms and creeping along bedroom ceilings, but having mould in your house can be serious cause for health concern.
According to the CEO of the Australian College of Environmental Studies, Nicole Bijlsma, having mould in your house might not only affect your breathing, it can also have serious effects on sleep, brain function and muscles aches.
“It’s been assumed [mould] mainly causes respiratory problems like recurrent colds and flu,” Nicole tells Be. “In children it can manifest as middle ear infections and can exacerbate existing asthma. It can also cause dermatitis in susceptible individuals.”
“But in the last five years, we’ve started to get an understanding that there’s certain genotypes or people who are more susceptible to the biotoxins in a water damaged building.
“Around 24 percent of the population can’t create antibodies to mould, so when they go into a water damaged building, over a long time it can cause chronic fatigue-like symptoms, sleep disturbances, muscular aches and pains and brain fog.”
For a lot of us who might be struggling in a tough rental market or not exactly living in our ideal home situation, mould might just be a reality of your day-to-day living.
Despite this, simply cleaning it away isn’t enough. In fact, if you’re using bleach in an attempt to kill it, Nicole reveals the fungi might be using that as a food source and could actually make things worse.
“The most effective way to deal with it is to get to the source of moisture,” explains Nicole.
“If the moisture is coming from a blocked drain or plumbing issues, then you have to address the source of moisture and dry it out within 48 hours. If there’s mould on the walls, I’d be deeply concerned about what is in the wall cavity.
“Getting rid of it isn’t the issue, you would use micro fibre cloths to remove it, but the real issue is where the moisture coming from to justify that growth. Just removing it will do nothing.”
With mould able to be transferred to your belongings – soft furnishings and porous materials are particularly susceptible – Nicole advises enlisting the help of professionals to get rid of the problem.
“You’ve got building biologists through the Australasian Society Of Building Biologists [who] will help test the home,” she advises.
“In terms of remediation, the mould remediaters you would consider would be from the IICRC and have appropriate accreditation.”
Find more tips on tackling mould here.