Tuesday, 7 April 2009

HHSRS & Mould



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Along with blossom, daffodils and warm spring weather comes the perennial delight of fungus in the communal parts. The carpet is so soggy now it squelches when you walk on it. 

On the subject of mould and fungus in the home, the Government's Housing Health and Safety Rating System Operating Guidance (Housing Act 2004) booklet says:

Description of the hazard
1.01 This category covers threats to health associated with increased prevalence of house dust mites and mould or fungal growths resulting from dampness and/or high humidities. It includes threats to mental health and social well-being which may be caused by living with the presence of damp, damp staining and/or mould growth.

Potential for harm

Most vulnerable age group and statistical averages
1.02 The most vulnerable age group is all persons aged 14 years or under.
[
The neighbours downstairs have a small baby]

Mould growth
1.08 Although less significant statistically in health terms, spores of many moulds and fungi (including timber attacking fungi) can be allergenic. The spores can also be carcinogenic, toxic and cause infections; the potential health effect varying with species. Fungal infection, whilst not common, is usually associated with those vulnerable to infection (such as those on immuno-suppressant drugs). Some fungi, particularly when in very high concentrations, can also colonise the airways of susceptible individuals, particularly asthmatics. Toxins from some moulds (mycotoxins) can cause nausea and diarrhoea, can suppress the immune system, and have been implicated in cancers. Although uncommon, these are serious if they occur.

Social and mental health effects
1.09 The mental and social health effects of dampness and mould should not be under-estimated. Damage to decoration from mould or damp staining and the smells associated with damp and mould can cause depression and anxiety. Feelings of shame and embarrassment can lead to social isolation
.

Regulations relating to Housing Health & Safety are enforced by local government.

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