The issue of damp indoor air conditions is truly a global one. Ireland is currently in the middle of a controversy surrounding housing conditions for residents of Dublin’s Dolphin House flats.
At a hearing conducted by the Irish Human Rights Commission last May, residents of the 1950s housing complex reported water dripping down walls and windows, sewage backing up into sinks and baths, and mold growing on walls, curtains, and clothes.
According to an article in the Irish Times, tests carried out by the National University of Ireland Maynooth’s biology department found “the level of fungal contamination in the flats represented a significant threat to health and could prove fatal for those with lung disorders.”
The article goes on to report:
A survey of the residents of 72 flats found 84 per cent regularly experienced sewage coming up through pipes and sinks, 72 per cent had damp in their flats, 64 per cent had mould growing in bathrooms and bedrooms, 93 per cent reported foul smells, 91 per cent of those who had damp or sewage problems said it was affecting their health, and 86 per cent said they were dissatisfied with the response from Dublin City Council.
The article further states:
Adults and children had a number of medical conditions associated with their environment including asthma, respiratory infections, skin infections and stomach bugs.
Recent tests in a number of flats carried out by NUI Maynooth microbiologist Dr. Kevin Kavanagh found evidence of Aspergillus fumigatus, a fungus known to cause lung disease.
“The fungal contamination evident in these houses is far greater than I have ever recorded in domestic dwellings [and] is a significant threat to the health of the occupants,” he said.
Dr. Maurice Manning, president of the Irish Human Rights Commission, believes these living conditions put the State and its agent, Dublin City Council, in breach of the UN Convention on Economic Social and Cultural Rights.
The City Council responded that it would “continue to work through the options with the community, until solutions acceptable to the community, and which the council could afford to implement, were reached.”