Mould, the health threat lurking in your home

By Tan Ai Leng / EdgeProp Malaysia | December 10, 2018 11:36 AM SGT
Mould is something we often see but never really notice. Whether in public places, our office or even at home, it is so common that we usually ignore its existence.
In the United States, a Daytona State College Deland Campus building was shut down temporarily on Nov 12 this year until spring of next year for thorough cleaning and mould treatment, due to mould overgrowth which contributed to unhealthy indoor air quality.
According to news reports, 16 rooms in the 30-year-old Business Hall building have elevated levels of mould.
Based on the Industrial Codes of Practice of Indoor Air Quality 2010, the Acceptable Limit of fungus count is 1,000 colony forming units per cubic meter (cfu/m3). The air quality report for the campus building showed that two of the offices in the Business Hall had fungus count levels exceeding 10,000, with one over 27,000 cfu/m3!
Kuan: Moisture control must take place prior to decontamination work for effective mould control or prevention.
Wayne Restoration and Engineering Sdn Bhd principal Kuan You Wai tells EdgeProp.my that healthy individuals will not face issues due to mould. However, those who are chronically and terminally ill, pregnant women as well as the elderly, infants and children with weak immune systems may be affected by these microorganisms.
Healthy individuals may be affected if mould levels exceed 30,000 cfu/m3, while those who suffer from allergies, have respiratory problems or a weak immune system may be affected in an indoor environment with levels as low as 3,000 cfu/m3.
“As a general rule of thumb, once you see the mould forming at your home or office, it’s better to remediate it immediately. Moisture control must take place before any decontamination works for effective mould control or prevention,” says the specialist contractor on inter-floor leakage and indoor environment quality.
Mould spores that spread in the air may cause symptoms such as sneezing, a runny and stuffy nose, coughing, itchy eyes, nose and throat, watery eyes as well as dry and scaly skin.
For asthma patients, exposure to high levels of mould may cause wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness.
In more serious cases, mould may cause pulmonary fibrosis which increases the likelihood of lung cancer.