In recent times press articles have indicated that mould might be the new asbestos. Let’s look at the facts.
Asbestos is a proven human carcinogen with a history of occupational exposures which accounts for hundreds of deaths each year in Australia from mesothelioma and more from lung and other cancers.
Moulds are an important part of our environment breaking down dead organic matter that would otherwise engulf us, they have many beneficial uses in food production such as salami, soy sauce, various cheeses (Brie and Blue cheese) and the manufacture of pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics (penicillin), cholesterol-lowering drugs and immunosuppressants.
However, certain types of mould are associated with respiratory ill health in high-risk groups (children, the elderly, people with respiratory problems), and for this reason moulds are generally considered problematic in the indoor environment when they are allowed to grow unchecked.
The World Health Organisation has stated that there is sufficient epidemiological evidence available from studies conducted in different countries and under different climatic conditions to show that the occupants of damp or mouldy buildings, both houses and public buildings, are at increased risk of respiratory symptoms, respiratory infections and exacerbation of asthma. It is also thought that people with compromised immune systems such as the elderly are more susceptible to illnesses associated with airborne mould spore exposure.
It’s a stretch to state that mould is the new asbestos. Moulds are not a proven carcinogen but one of nature’s greatest decomposers and have been around well before us.
The connection with asbestos could have more to do with the containment measures recommended for mould remediation jobs than any comparative toxicity.
JTA’s practical approach to remediation has provided practicable, permanent solutions to the conditions causing mould growth, while saving our clients many thousands of dollars and producing an environmentally superior result by reducing the waste associated with unnecessary demolition.
JTA have been involved in the identification, assessment and remediation of mould and in the design and implementation of long term prevention strategies including drainage, membrane capping and ventilation systems. In some situations our acoustic experts have been engaged to ensure that ventilation systems don't create noise pollution issues in residential premises.
We have sourced special chemical cleaning and mould prevention compounds to ensure remediation efforts are as effective as possible. However, remediation in terms of mould removal, even with HEPA vacuum systems and chemical cleaning, is not a sustainable solution. Mould spores are opportunistic, ever present, ever ready to colonise habitable environments, so there are no shortcuts, unless the water source is identified and eliminated, the mould will return.