The severity of the health effects depends on the type or amount of mould and any pre-existing health problems. People with asthma or allergies are more susceptible to mould-related problems.
Mould weakens its host food source and can cause structural damage to buildings. Mould can develop on organic materials if they remain wet for 24 to 48 hours. It is not the quantity of water, but the time the material has been exposed to water or moisture that determines the growth of mould.
Controlling indoor moisture is the number one way to avoid mould and its possible health effects. Other ways you can avoid mould or reduce mould damage
are as follows:
- Do not overuse humidifiers and maintain the moisture level in your home between 30 – 50%.
- Check your house for signs of water leaks at least once a year and repair leaky roofs, eaves troughs and pipes.
- Downspouts should b positioned to drain away from the house.
- Have water damage attended to immediately by a professional.
- Mould growth can start in less than 48 hours.
- Ensure that all kitchen and/or bathroom exhaust fans are clean and that they vent directly to the outside of your home. Remember to turn them on whenever you produce steam.
- If you can smell mould, you probably have a mould problem. Identify the source of the odour and immediately have it attended to.
- Clean and vacuum carpets and furniture frequently and regularly flush basement floor drains and sump pumps.
- Remove moisture-trapping carpets and wallpaper in high-humidity areas such as basements, bathrooms and kitchens.
- Increase ventilation and allow for sufficient airflow, which prevents moisture from getting trapped.
Mould reproduces through spores that can be air, water-, or insect borne and can settle on virtually any surface. Generally, the presence of mould increases or decreases in relation to the amount of air movement; more air movement results in less mould. Damage caused by indoor mould can be minimized if it is properly treated and removed at an early stage.
Common indoor locations for mould include moist areas such as bathroom walls, wood window frames and basements. Mould can enter homes, offices and other buildings through open doors, air vents, windows, cracks and crevices, and can be carried indoors by pets or on shoes and clothing. Often, mould becomes air-borne when materials are
disturbed during renovations. Building materials left outside in the rain are also prone to mould growth.