Perth, WA, Australia — With the warming of temperatures and the change of season, it is not only the plants and flowers that are starting to bloom. Mycologia, an environmental consultancy specialising in indoor air quality, mould and asbestos, has noticed a surge in calls from mums and dads complaining of health effects ranging from runny noses, persistent cough, itchy eyes and lethargy, potentially as a result of mould exposure in their homes or workplaces. A recent WHO European study across 8 European cities found that depression is linked to homes that are mouldy and water damaged.
Prevention is by far the most effective and cost efficient solution for managing mould outbreaks. Below are some simple tips for mums and dads and property managers to prevent mould outbreaks in your home and work environment.
Act quickly when your home or building gets wet.. When a spill occurs, because of a broken pipe, flooding or an open window, etc, fix the source of the moisture as soon as possible and dry immediately. Under the right conditions, mould can grow in as little as four hours, so the quicker we remove the moisture source, and start the drying process, the faster we can prevent mould from spreading.
Ensure comfortable indoor temperature and humidity levels. This does not mean cranking the air conditioner down to 16 degrees when the outdoor temperature is 40 degrees. Control relative humidity to below 60%. Managing condensation issues and preventing surfaces from dipping below dew point temperatures (temp. at which condensation first starts to form) is critical in avoiding condensation. Appropriate external heating and cooling with mechanical or natural ventilation and appropriate insulation in walls, ceilings (check more details here) and on equipment/pipes will prevent condensation.
Ensure appropriate hygiene conditions within the property. This does not mean sterilising your entire home and workplace and living in a sanitised bubble. Mould requires moisture and organic matter, in the form of dust, debris, soilage and cellulose material, to grow. With time, if left unchecked, mould will then flourish. So keep on top of your basic housekeeping around the property, to ensure that organic matter build up do not accumulate and provide a source of nutrients for the mould to grow.