Pamela Connellan

Home & Garden

Why clean indoor air is so important

Why clean indoor air is so important

It's a fact that clean indoor air is every bit as important as the air quality outside of your home - in fact, it can be more important according to a recent study of air pollution, published by The World Health Organisation (WHO).

An important finding of this study was that clean indoor air, or rather lack of it, is associated with air pollution, and it needs be addressed in both first and third world countries. This covers everything from how we prepare our food, to how we heat our homes and the products we use on our clothes or in our cleaning.

It also cover something we rarely think about unless it’s in plain sight – and that's mould.

Can mould in your home affect your health?

The Who Guidelines for indoor air quality: dampness and mould (2009) state that one of the leading factors in poor indoor air quality is mould. Often, people are not aware of how quickly mould can grow in the home and the harmful health effects it then causes for those who are living with mould in their environment. Sometimes you can’t even see that it’s there. However, its spores can be everywhere.

If you have any kind of water damage in your home, such as a drip, flood or a leaking pipe, this can lead to mould growth in as little as 24-48 hours. Mould grows very quickly in wet or moist environments, so it’s important to clean up any leaking water and prevent it from growing or spreading as soon as possible.

Mould’s a bit of a scourge, to say the least. Did you know that each year, mould destroys more wood around the world than all the fires and termites combined? 

Mould contamination is far more common than we think

It’s estimated at least 45 million buildings in the US have unhealthy levels of mould. Well, with Australia’s humid and tropical climate in our highly-populated coastal areas, we are particularly susceptible to mould growth as well.

Even if your home is safe, who knows if you’re breathing in mould spores at your office or gym? Mould is often hard to find and can remain hidden behind a wall, in the ceiling or under carpet for years.

Getting rid of mould by professionals can often often expensive and the price can soar into the tens of thousands if the problem is severe. While mould removal is difficult and expensive, it’s worth it because the long-term health consequences can be even more costly.

What is mould illness like?

Biotoxin illness, or mould illness, is quite common. If you’re living in a home with a mould infestation, mycotoxins from the mould usually spread to other parts of your home, as well especially any textiles you have such as curtains, lounges, beds and clothes.

These mycotoxins can affect your immune system severely and lead to health conditions like allergies, hypersensitivity, respiratory problems (asthma, wheezing, coughing) and some other serious conditions such as memory loss, depression, anxiety and reproductive problems.

Mould can impact more than just our respiratory system – it can even cause serious psychological issues like memory loss and depression.

What are we doing about mould illness?

In Australia, the identification and indeed diagnosis of mould illness seems to be slower than other parts of the world, simply as many of our doctors and medical profession don’t have the necessary training yet to identify this condition.

A 2019 Parliamentary Inquiry into biotoxin illness recognised the disease, but the training and expertise to handle this illness is still developing.

However globally, the lack of recognition of mould illness still occurs. Dr Scott McMahon MD from Roswell in New Mexico specialises in mould related illness. He said in 2017: “Possibly every doctor in the United States is treating mould illness and they just don’t realise it.”

Clean indoor air is vital for improving your air quality

If you can smell a musty or mouldy smell in your home or work environment, it can signify mould.

  • Have a professional mould company visit and assess it

    You may think you can’t see any mould but if you can smell it, there’s every chance there’s some it’s hiding somewhere.

  • Reach for natural solutions
  • There are many products you can use to clean your home of mould. One Australian company making a more natural solution is called San Air. The products are plant-based but they help control bacteria – including mould – in the air. It helps to provide clean indoor air. It was created by the ex-head of a pharmaceutical company, using only plant-based ingredients. San-Air is blended to produce microbial reduction properties at low dosage. In other words, you won’t know it’s working, but you’ll enjoy the clean indoor air!
Photo: Getty Images

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