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Black Mould

Toxic Black Mould Inspection

In Britain there is a lack of awareness and understanding of black mould growth in the home and the health implications that could be involved. In many parts of the world on the other hand, mould growth in the home is taken extremely seriously because the public are aware.

Mould, condensation and the possible health risks

Mould growth will appear on any damp surfaces such as plaster, wallpaper and timber and is associated with condensation problems in many buildings. It is unacceptable because of appearance ,odour and fears of health and hygiene. This typically occurs in poorly ventilated areas such as behind furniture and pictures, behind the glazing of pictures, in soft furnishings or carpets, and in poorly ventilated cupboards or corners of rooms, both at ceiling and floor level.

A paper in the British Medical Journal, Vol. 298, June 1989, stressed the higher incidence of ill health in damp buildings with accompanying mould growth and it is now accepted that air pollution is a major reason for the huge increase in asthma sufferers of whom children are often the most vulnerable.

 The Problem

 Every dwelling, irrespective of its construction, contains within its fabric mould spores which are inactive and completely harmless.

However, given the right conditions these spores will germinate resulting in widespread growth of disfiguring black mould i.e. Aspergillus Niger.

Black mould needs very little nutrient to form and will grow on untreated walls and ceilings regardless of the decorative finish. Mould spores will also be released into the air which may be a serious health risk, and give off a nasty, musty smell. Clothes, furnishings and carpets, (particularly natural materials such as leather) can also be ruined by unsightly black mould.

The Cause

Black mould in the home occurs from dampness, mostly caused by condensation. However, a small proportion of the problem occurs due to other forms of dampness - rising damp, penetrating damp, bursts and leaks. The incidence of condensation in domestic dwellings has increased tremendously in the last decade and is attributable to various factors - lack of heating, inadequate ventilation, use of paraffin and LPG heaters and poor insulation. The modernisation of properties making homes virtually airtight and draught free with new windows and the removal of open fires, is also a fundamental factor.

The health risks

Black mould is microscopic fungi, a group of organisms which also includes mushrooms and yeasts. Fungi are highly adapted to grow and reproduce rapidly, producing spores and mycelia in the process. In the home black mould may be a risk to you and your family's health

Black mould releases toxins and spores, which can be found in the millions dependent on the amount of mould growing within the area.

According to health experts the health implications of mould may range from being insignificant to causing allergic reactions and illness depending on the type of mould present in the home, the amount and degree of exposure, and the health condition of the occupant.

Pregnant women, infants, the elderly and those with health problems, such as respiratory disease or a weakened immune system, are particularly at risk when exposed to black mould.

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03 December 2020
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