Is Mould Bad For My Health?

Last Updated 23 August 2018

Mould on walls

Mould is the most obvious and distressing symptom of damp in a building. While surface mould can be cleaned with commercial products, materials that have developed internal mould growth need to be destroyed and replaced.

But the damage that mould causes to a property is only half of why you should be concerned by the presence of mould in a home or business. Mould also releases spores which can cause allergic reactions, and continuous exposure can lead to serious illness.

How can mould be harmful?

Mould releases microscopic spores in order to reproduce, and these spores can develop into mould wherever they come into contact with a food source and moisture.

Most of the time, it’s contact with these spores which causes hay fever-like allergic reactions when they are inhaled or come into contact with skin.

Symptoms include coughing, sneezing, congestion or rashes. Vulnerable people are also at risk of respiratory infections, and mould spores can also cause asthma attacks.

The adverse effects of mould exposure are well-documented by the NHS in the UK and the CDC in the United States.

What is toxic black mould?

Some moulds, such as toxic black mould (which can be identified by its slimy appearance and texture, and is usually found in damp wallpaper) produce mycotoxins which harm other microorganisms, reducing competition in their environment.

Unfortunately, these mycotoxins can also damage cells in our bodies.

Prolonged exposure to mycotoxins or eating contaminated food can lead to a severe illness called mycotoxicosis. Symptoms include blistering rashes; irritation of skin, lungs and intestines; inhibited protein and white blood cell production; nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Mycotoxins are so dangerous they have been used as chemical weapons, though it is very rare for there to be enough toxic mould in a UK household for such severe illnesses to occur.

How do I safely clean mould?

Firstly, whenever you attempt to clean or remove mould, you should always wear protective gloves and a breathing mask to limit your contact with allergenic spores.

For surface mould, a simple solution of bleach and water can kill the mould. If the mould has penetrated the building material or fabric, it needs to be destroyed.

However, mould will keep growing again if the damp in the property isn’t addressed. Mould is always present in the environment, and will grow wherever they find moisture and a food source – in this case, building materials and fabrics.

Wiping away mould or trying to paint over it (no matter how “damp proof” the paint promises to be) is not a long-term solution, especially if the building materials beneath are still damp.

How do I permanently remove mould?

Mould won’t grow if it doesn’t have water, so resolving the causes of your damp is your first priority if you want to wipe out mould in your property for good.

Getting rid of damp ranges from quick and cheap to difficult and expensive depending on the cause. Condensation can be reduced by simply installing a PIV unit, while rising damp requires fixing or replacing the building’s damp proof course.

The first step is accurate diagnosis of your causes of damp, which we’re happy to provide with a free, no obligation damp survey.

To book your damp survey, or if you have any questions about mould, feel free to get in touch by calling now or requesting your call back today.

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