How Harmful Is Damp And Mould?

How harmful is damp and mould
How harmful is damp and mould in UK homes? Take a look at the Guardian article on this.

Today the Guardian newspaper published called “How harmful is damp and mould in UK homes and who is most at risk?”  and I wanted to add some key points to this article. 

On the whole the article is useful, although it only briefly addresses why damp and mould occur, nor does it really explain what the difference is between damp and mould. There is a difference and knowing this is very useful for building occupants. 

The article makes some interesting points about health inequality. For example – black and asian households are 2 to 3 times more likely to suffer from damp and mould in their homes. It doesn’t explain why this may happen so I did some digging around online. I found that black households do tend to earn less so perhaps, so perhaps less heating is being used. This would have an impact on the levels of condensation forming and mould as a result of this. 

However, by comparison asian households often make more money than others so the heating argument does not hold water (!) for this group. 

The Guardian article also states that damp and mould are 5 x more common in private rented homes than in owner occupied homes. This is certainly true in my experience with most of our customers being landlords and the Governments English Housing Survey backs this up.

Modelled data of occupied dwellings finds that a relatively small proportion of the overall housing stock has problems with damp, but this is more prevalent in some tenures than others.

  • In 2021, modelled data shows that 4% of the occupied dwelling stock had problems with damp.
  • Problems with damp were most prevalent in the private rented sector, with 11% of dwellings having reported a problem in 2021. A small proportion of owner occupied dwellings (2%) and occupied social rented dwellings (4%) had problems with damp.

Does Damp and Mould Cause Asthma?

This appears to be currently up for debate with the US Environmental Protection Agency attributing 1/5 of all asthma to damp and mould. 

Worryingly, there is now increasing evidence that mould exposure in young children can actually cause asthma to develop, however, this research is in the early stages and no definitive answer yet exists. 

 

Who is Most at Risk?

It is clear that like a lot of illnesses damp and mould exposure affects those who are more vulnerable. This includes the elderly, children, smokers, those with COPD or other lung function issues. 

My own experience with customers suggests that some people are also just more sensitive to mould spores than others. This is anecdotal and by no means hard science, but I do often speak to people who tell me that they simply feel ill in their own home. If they stay away somewhere else, the feeling goes away, when they come home the feeling comes back.  

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