DAMP AND MOULD
Health risks, prevention and
© World Health Organization 2009
Click here for brochure: http://www.euro.who.int/document/HOH/damp_mould_brochure.pdf
This brochure appears to be designed by and is intended primarily for a European audience, as some of the building features not found in recent American homes, such as plaster interior walls, for example, are referred to. This might change the advise related to removal of mold caused by condensation. Please Click Here to refer to the US EPA and NY Dept of Health (NYDOH) Mold Remediation informaiton regarding mold removal in the United States - but do read this informative brochure, first.
The Center for School Mold Help (SMH) agrees with the following sections of this brochure that refer to health effects:
"WHO is concerned ... because excessive dampness and mould are a threat to health. Occupants of damp or mouldy buildings are at increased risk of experiencing health problems such as respiratory symptoms, respiratory infections, allergic rhinitis and asthma." (WHO Damp and Mould brochure, 2009, page 3)
However, we (SMH) feel this brochure does not go far enough in its warnings regarding health effects. The immunologic health effects mentioned in the WHO Guidelines on Dampness and Mould are not mentioned herein in this brochure, though they were both produced in the same year (2009). Further, gastrointestinal, learning, memory, other cognitive, and neurological problems that are widely reported and appear in many studies are not mentioned. The fact that the toxins emitted by indoor molds can be causes of inflammation and are highly carcinogenic is also not mentioned.
Regarding the recommendations for mold self-removal in buildings, despite the building differences, we feel that WHO has left out several important features that protect the rest of the building and the health of the remediators. These are: use of protective personal equipment that covers the entire body, with entire coverage of face and personal masks utilizing hepa filtration for protecting the lungs, and in addition, the use of air scrubbers or hepa air filtration for the rooms involved, which should be sealed in heavy grade plastic, with negative air in place. Reuse of moldy porous materials, such as clothing and bedding, is absolutely not recommended by any authorities, yet this brochure speaks about taking these for cleaning. We think this brochure needs improvement, but is a step in the right direction, as it does warn people about the hazards of mold and attempts to provide good advice.