The Health Risks of Building Dampness and Mold
Building dampness health risks are a concern for homeowners. They worry about cause of building dampness and the influence of damp conditions on the health of their families. Of course, there are preventative and remediation measures available. Let’s take a closer look at building dampness.
Causes of Indoor Dampness
Building dampness is generally defined as the conditions within a building being damp enough to sustain the growth of mold or cause material damage. There are a variety of sources that can contribute to building dampness. Everything from water intrusion to insufficient dehumidification can be the culprit. One tell-tale sign is condensation on cold surfaces such as windows and walls.
Building Dampness IAQ Concerns
Dampness in a building can permeate almost everything within the indoor environment. If materials and furnishings are damp for a long enough period, mold and bacteria can often begin to grow on them. Other areas that can be a host to microbial colonies can be the HVAC and duct systems. Molds and bacteria produce microscopic airborne particles. These particles can contain allergens or other chemicals that cause respiratory issues. They also contribute to musty and foul odors.
High relative humidity inside of buildings can also contribute to dust mite populations, which in turn can cause allergic reactions. Finally, damp materials and furnishings can increase the emission of gaseous chemicals, like formaldehyde. It’s always a good idea to monitor the indoor environment of your facility for changes in dampness, relative humidity and to test microbial or VOC issues.
Occupant Health Risks
Microbial growth in the form of bacteria, fungi, and mold is prevalent with building dampness. These biologicals trigger asthma attacks, allergic reactions, and other upper respiratory issues like bronchitis, cough, infection, and rhinitis. High indoor humidity can increase the spread of dust mites which are a known allergen with respiratory implications. About one in six people who suffer from allergies do so because of microbial growth in their HVAC and duct systems. It is critical to test to identify the source of both the dampness and microbial growth to develop a management plan to fix the conditions.
Building Dampness Health Risks: Find the Source
So, how do home owners reduce building dampness? First and foremost, if there has been an event that has caused water intrusion find it and fix it. This includes, outside leaks like from a roof or groundwater entry, and inside leaks from water systems. Then clean and dry the affected area. If the area went undetected or uncleaned for a significant amount of time then testing the air and surfaces in the vicinity helps detect microbial growth.
Test, Don’t Guess
One way to get started with the detective work of identifying microbial or other IAQ issues to test the air and surfaces of your indoor environment. Indoor Air Test offers a variety of Do-It-Yourself IAQ Screen Check test kits, as well as other all in one testing kits. These inexpensive kits are easy to use and include laboratory analysis with a detailed report.
Don’t wait for building dampness to impact your health. The DIY test kits available from indoorairtest.com give you the results you need to address IAQ issues. Order your test kits today. Still have questions? Call 727-572-4550.