Mould Health Alert on Today Tonight

by SSFV on February 13, 2012

The homegrown hangover left behind by the wet summer has meant the perfect breeding conditions for a new mould epidemic in our homes.

If your home has been hit with mould, you’re not alone.

The combination of torrential rain followed by steamy temperatures has created a dangerous recipe for mould. It’s the insidious growth on the march across the country, and one in three people are allergic to it.

Mother of five Sarah Hunter has watched in frustration as mould has spread throughout her cupboards.

“Once you’ve got rid of it, well you think you’ve got rid of it, but it keeps coming back, and its comes back worse,” Hunter said.

Over the past month Hunter hasn’t been able to keep up with the mould’s rapid spread.

“With all the rain we’ve had, this is the worst I’ve ever seen. It’s heartbreaking that someone has to live like this,” she said.

Hunter blames the mould for her children’s medical conditions, including her son’s chest infection.

“When we moved in here my children’s health was a lot better.”

Respiratory physician Dr Lynda Schachter explains how mould can cause serious lung problems, saying “you can actually get a direct affect from the mould itself, so you can get itchy eyes, an itchy nose, or runny nose from that, or even a cough or wheeze. They can come on very quickly, like anybody that’s allergic to something, gets exposed to it.”

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For those with pre-existing respiratory conditions mould can be extremely dangerous.

“It really affects people at the extremes of age – so the young, and the very old; as well as people with lung disease – so anybody with asthma and anybody with chronic lung disease, such as emphysema,” Dr Schachter said.

Mould is a fungus. It likes to have moist conditions, and it needs food to grow – like wood or paper. It can grow anywhere in the house, and different types of mould can grow under the house. When the mould spores are released, it spreads throughout the home.

Dave Kennedy is the Commercial Director of Ventis, a company that helps ventilate homes to get rid of mould for good.

“At the moment because of the rain and the heat, we’ve received a 50 per cent increase in calls,” Kennedy said.

Helen Gage has had enough of mould. She’s had to replace ceilings and skirting boards, and yet it keeps coming back. The dehumidifier in her room fills twice a day with water removed from the air in Gage’s home.

According to Kennedy there is no point in Gage continuing to clean the mould off.

He says the three steps to getting rid of mould are:
1. Drying out the house
2. Killing the mould
3. Ventilating the house to stop it coming back.

The Australian engineered and developed ventilation system that Ventis sells costs about $400.

“We install a fan inside the roof space in the house, and it measures the temperature in the roof, and the temperatures in the house, and when the conditions are ideal, it will start pushing in fresh air, which pushes out the damp air,” Kennedy said.

Hunter estimates she’s spent $300 on cleaning products, and over $1000 on medical expenses, not to mention the damage the mould has caused.

“My wedding dress has got mould on it, flower dresses got mould on it, clothing and shoes with mould, some of the furniture also got mould on it, children’s toys and some of my linen,” she said.

The only solution for the family is to move out of their rental property, and Hunter gives this word of warning to anyone fighting mould: “Don’t put up with it. If it keeps coming back after you’ve cleaned and aired it, keep fighting, or if you can, move away from it.”

View original story on Today Tonight

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