SBS Punjabi

What is mould and how dangerous is it?

SBS Punjabi

The task of clearing mould is best left to the professionals.

The task of clearing mould is best left to the professionals. Source: Getty Images/Heiko Küverling.


Published 22 April 2022 at 12:10pm
By Magica Fossati, Domenico Gentile
Presented by Paras Nagpal
Source: SBS

Mould is common in Australian homes as it thrives in warm, moist environments, especially in areas of above-average humidity. The recent severe rainfalls and floods that ravaged various parts of Australia’s eastern coast could be followed by an unprecedented spread of mould, which will cause dangerous health problems.


Published 22 April 2022 at 12:10pm
By Magica Fossati, Domenico Gentile
Presented by Paras Nagpal
Source: SBS


Mould is a type of fungi that grows best in damp and poorly ventilated areas and reproduces by making spores. Spores are carried in the air and may cause health problems if inhaled by people who are sensitive or allergic to them.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that mould is present in up to fifty per cent of Australian homes and it can cause serious health problems to people exposed to it, even for a short period.

Mould can also damage fabrics, clothes, and other personal items which, in many cases, must be destroyed.

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The main concern for authorities is the effect on public health.

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) vice-president Dr Chris Moy says the most vulnerable are people suffering from allergies, an existing respiratory problem, or a weakened immune system.

"The commonest would-be allergies… It is people who have asthma or have bad hay fever or eczema are allergic to mould. These conditions could get much worse. That’s probably the most common. For others it may just be a direct irritation because of the mould, that is irritation of the eyes, irritation of the nose and throat. Then in a rare number of cases we’ll have much more severe reactions such severe lung disease or direct infection of the lungs themselves or sinuses."

Sydney University researcher and Senior Lecturer in Architecture, Dr Arianna Brambilla, recently published a book on Moisture and Buildings.

She says that one in three homes, on average, suffers from excessive dampness and mould proliferation resulting in a significant impact on human health and repair costs.

Dr Brambilla explains that our behaviour in enclosed spaces could encourage the formation of mould in all types of buildings, old and new.

"If we look at new buildings, it could be also the way we live indoors. So, it means ventilation of the spaces, and if you are doing particularly active activities, works-out for example or if we just leave clothes drying indoor. So, we can say that both old buildings and new buildings can suffer from mould growth equally."

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