Why Is Mould Dangerous?

Thursday 19th October 2023

Joanna Grimbley-Smith

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Black mould on a window sill CONTENTS

 

As mould is such a common feature of homes in the UK thanks to our cool, wet weather, many people assume a patch of mould is nothing to worry about. But exposure to mould can actually put people's health at risk, particularly if they are very young, elderly, or have pre-existing health problems. 

Here at ICE Cleaning, we offer thorough, fast mould remediation services across the UK. We are a Corporate Member of Dewpoint Professional, and have experience removing mould from domestic, commercial, and industrial properties. If it's an emergency, we can be on site within a matter of hours. 

Read on to learn more about the dangers of mould. 

What is mould?

Mould is a type of fungus that grows in damp and humid environments on organic material. It spreads through spores that can easily float around the air. It is usually found growing in areas like bathrooms, kitchens, or basements where moisture levels are high, whether from high humidity, damp, leaks, or condensation. 

There are a wide number of mould varieties, all of which have a different colour, odour, health effects, and prefer to grow on different surfaces. People tend to confuse it with mildew due to its similar characteristics, but they are different species. You can learn more about the differences between mildew and mould in this blog

Is mould dangerous?

Mould releases allergens, irritants, and toxic chemicals called mycotoxins. Inhaling, ingesting, or touching mould spores can cause allergic reactions in some people. These reactions can include sneezing, a runny nose, red eyes, and skin rashes.

Those with asthma may suffer more severe symptoms, such as wheezing, difficulty breathing, and even asthma attacks if exposed to mould for a prolonged period.

Is black mould dangerous?

Many assume black mould is toxic and can be lethal, but this is not entirely true. "Black mould" is actually an umbrella term for moulds that are dark or black in colour, and not all of them produce mycotoxins. However, there are several types of black mould that can be found in the home which do produce toxic chemicals including:

  • Stachybotrys chartarum: this is linked to serious health issues including sick building syndrome and acute idiopathic pulmonary haemorrhage in infants. It is often known as "toxic black mould". 
  • Alternaria: this type of mould is linked to life-threatening asthma. 
  • Cladosporium: it can cause a range of ailments including eye, ear, and sinus infections. 

How much mould is dangerous?

It depends on the person who is exposed to the mould. If they are sensitive to mould exposure, even a small amount can trigger a serious reaction. You should act on any mould you see as soon as possible to prevent it growing into a big problem. 

Who does mould affect?

Some people are more sensitive to mould exposure than others. To protect everyone's health against the potentially serious effects of mould, you should have any removed as soon as you spot it. 

  • People with respiratory conditions like asthma or COPD: the spores that mould releases can irritate their airways and trigger symptoms.
  • People with weakened immune systems, like people undergoing cancer treatment: they could be vulnerable to serious fungal infections. 
  • Young children: babies and kids are particularly prone to the effects of mould due to their immature immune systems. Mould exposure at an early age might result in lifelong allergies or other health issues.
  • Elderly people: they often have less robust immune responses and can be affected more seriously by mould. You can learn more about how mould affects elderly people here
  • Pregnant women: mycotoxins can potentially harm unborn babies. 

How to prevent mould in your home

The first step towards preventing mould is controlling moisture levels. Utilise a dehumidifier or air conditioner to keep humidity levels low, particularly during humid spells, and don't forget to clean them regularly. 

Maintaining good ventilation is also crucial. Make sure rooms like the kitchen and bathroom are well-ventilated as these tend to be damp, humid spaces which are prone to mould growth. Using exhaust fans while washing and cooking can help. 

Open windows in your home frequently, particularly in the mornings, to get rid of any built-up humid air and encourage air circulation. 

You should keep surfaces dry by promptly fixing leaks and drying out wet areas within 24 hours if possible, too. Letting water sit longer increases the chances of mould appearing.

Cleaning your home regularly helps eliminate any dirt, dead bugs, and dust which provides food for the fungus, enabling it to grow quickly.

Use anti-mould paint or anti-mould paint additives to prevent mould growth on surfaces like the walls and ceiling. 

Get in touch

Our mould cleaners can lower the spore count in your home to a safe level and significantly improve its air quality. With every service, we offer a lifetime guarantee* so if the mould returns, we will remove it for free. Our technicians are available 24/7, 365 days a year, including bank holidays. 

Contact our friendly team today on 0208 066 0360 or via email at enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk to book our technicians for our mould removal services. 

*subject to advisories

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