Last year’s Senate Inquiry into Australia’s Biotoxin-related illnesses has revealed extensive mould damage that could be resulting in illnesses for homeowners.
Holes, leaks, poor construction, and rotted gutters and bad weather, all can result in the development of black mould. Locally, more mould and water-damaged buildings are being discovered throughout Australia. The existence of mould can lead to asthma, congestion, sinuses, and many other ailments.
A comprehensive study performed by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) revealed that condensation may be present in one third of Australian homes. And the World Health Organisation estimated in 2009 that dampness may affect from 10 to 50 percent of Australian indoor environments.
Late last year, the Senate Inquiry made a number of recommendations to alleviate the black mould issue. These included:
- Additional research into the health effects of mould and dampness in the built environment.
- Research regarding testing for mould testing standards.
- Rental tenants should be notified regarding mould issues prior to leasing their homes.
- Research into the adequacy of current regulations regarding the prevention and remediation of dampness and mould in buildings.
- The improvement of diagnosis and improvement of diagnosis and treatment of mould-bourne illnesses.
- Homeowners can help by wiping up excess condensation and ventilation, and maximising evaporation and ventilation through increased exposure to sunlight.
On a general basis, experts point out that mould can be introduced to a homestead through building materials and environmental sources, and can stem from anything from old insulation to plumbing issues. They recommend inspections in ceilings, walls, floors, and air-conditioning units. On a national scale, they recommend the adoption of energy efficient and vapour management standards. And, overall, the building design community should regard mould as a significant issue to be addressed and resolved wherever possible—not only a construction problem, but a public health issue.