Mould can worsen the health of residents and seriously impact an individual’s quality of life. Children and the elderly are among those particularly sensitive to mould growth but others may also experience a negative impact to their health issues when mould goes unaddressed. What should Canadian residents know about the ways in which mould may negatively impact their health?
Without properly addressing the underlying issue, mold growth can spread and reoccur after an initial attempt to treat a small area. Make your health a priority. Understand how mold may affect your well-being today.
What to Know About Mould
Mould is a term used for different types of fungus growing on damp building materials or on food. Mould may or may not be visible but is often accompanied by a musty odour. When left unchecked, it can affect the air quality in a home and cause or worsen health problems.
The Government of Canada notes the potential health risks for those living in a residence with damp conditions and mould. Such people are at an increased risk of having:
- Allergic reactions;
- Worsening of asthma symptoms;
- Shortness of breath;
- Coughing and Phlegm build-up; and
- Irritation of the eye, nose and throat.
Those who may be more susceptible to a health issue related to the consequences of mould growth include people with medical conditions, seniors and children. In a review of studies, children growing up in a home with high levels of mould were more likely to develop asthma as early as the age of 7.
Currently, there is no “safe” limit established for mould exposure. Some forms of mould have been known to result in severe lung infections in individuals with a severely weakened immune system, such as transplant recipients and those with leukemia. If you’re ever looking to purchase a home, make sure to get a thorough inspection, as any signs of mould (or anything else harmful to your health or investment) should be seen as a red flag for buyers. Sellers should be willing to rectify this issue in order to make the sale.
Mould and Your Health
A number of researchers believe that exposure to certain forms of mould can result in illness. Studies indicate that those living in a home with active mould may are at heightened risk of developing harmful immune responses, irritation from mould by-products, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and have an increased exposure to toxic substances. Asthma and a type of sinusitis are among the four types of allergies directly related to mould spore inhalation.
How to Address Your Mould Problem
EACO Mould Abatement Guidelines offers detailed information on mould removal to building owners, contractors and workers to allow them to safely remove mould in affected areas. Guidelines are regularly updated and it is best for all of those involved in mould removal to be aware of the latest guidelines and take all necessary precautions for the safe and effective removal of mould in a home or other building. It is also necessary that all of those handling mould remediation be aware of Canadian regulations and the Occupational Health & Safety Act in Canada.
Homeowners dealing with a mould problem should follow all recommended guidelines when attempting to treat small and moderate areas. The Government of Canada lays the steps out for residents when addressing such mold problems, including what to wear, how to isolate the area, what to use to vacuum the area before and after cleaning and what to use to clean the mould. It may be necessary to take additional steps, such as using a dehumidifier and repairing water leaks in a home to prevent additional mould growth.
Professional assistance is recommended for treating large areas, addressing issues with recurring mould growth and mould growth due to a larger problem. Mould spores can attach to fabric, furniture, clothes, building materials, insulation, drywall and more. A specialist can inform property owners how to address current mould issues and to prevent future mould growth.