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Mould: a harmful organism to health

In a previous article we discussed the very varied forms of indoor air pollution. Among these forms, microorganisms, and in particular moulds, are one of the main air pollutants.

In France, the national "Housing" campaign carried out between October 2003 and December 2005 by the Observatoire de la Qualité de l'Air Intérieur (OQAI) in nearly 600 dwellings revealed that about 40% of the residential stock was contaminated by mould, which represents more than 9 million dwellings nationwide, of which more than 610,000 had visible contamination of more than 1m². mould, which represents more than 9 million dwellings nationwide, among which more than 610,000 had visible contamination of more than 1m².

Source

What is mould?

Mold is a living organism, specifically a microscopic fungus that often grows when moisture is present and causes a chemical reaction where it grows.

Mould is often noticeable by its black or green patches as well as a musty smell. Mould emits spores in large quantities. The spores are the pollen of the mould, i.e. particles that spread through the air and allow the mould to grow. in the air and allow the mould to grow. Spores are small, in the micrometre range, and move easily through the air.

Spores spread through the air

To get into your home, spores use humans, including deposition on clothing, and all other available "vehicles" such as drafts and animals. Once in your home, moulds use these spores again to proliferate throughout your home. The spores grow quickly, especially in moist environments, and are very resilient. These spores are a real air pollutant, which is why it is generally considered These spores are a real air pollutant, which is why it is generally considered that moulds are one of the main sources of indoor air pollution.

The causes of indoor mould

Mould needs moisture to grow. Certain situations are favourable to them:

  • a flood
  • a leak: roof, basement, pipes
  • waterproofing problems: they prevent the evacuation of accumulated moisture
  • inadequate ventilation which prevents the evacuation of moisture and creates condensation

These moulds are most often found on walls, drywall, furniture, wallpaper, and degrade them.

The effects of mould on health and allergies:

  • With regard to the allergic risk, the health effects associated with fungal exposure by inhalation relate to asthma and allergic rhinitis. The symptoms observed when an allergic reaction is triggered result The symptoms observed when an allergic reaction is triggered are the result of a specific immune response with the production of antibodies. The threshold of allergic reactivity varies from one individual to another and the severity of the allergic reaction is not proportional to the dose of exposure.
  • The toxic or inflammatory risk is related to exposure to mould components (fungal spores, β-glucans and other components of the mycelium cell wall) and/or their metabolic products (mycotoxins, mVOCs).The effects The effects observed are of variable severity, either acute or chronic. It is not always easy to distinguish allergic effects from inflammatory effects called "non-allergic" corresponding to identical symptoms but involving a specific immune response in the case of an allergic reaction, and non-specific in the case of an inflammatory reaction.
  • The infectious risk associated with inhalation exposure to moulds in indoor environments, i.e. the multiplication of the fungus in the host organism associated with the appearance of symptoms, mainly concerns the development opportunistic fungal infections. The development of these pathologies depends mainly on the immune status of the host: state of immunodepression related to a pathology or to the taking of drug treatments.

Moisissure et problème respiratoire

Mould can therefore have adverse effects on your health. To diagnose you, your doctor may ask you to identify the variety(s) of mould present in your home. There are very many varieties of moulds. Here are the most common in mainland France:

  • Alternaria is very common (especially in summer); it gives colonies ranging from grey to black, rather fluffy. It parasitizes decaying plants.
  • Aspergillus is found everywhere. Depending on the species (there are nearly 300), the colonies range from white to grey through shades of yellow, green and blue. It is found in soil, compost, organic debris.
  • Cladosporium is the most abundant of the moulds. Its colonies, more or less brownish, range from dark olive green to black and readily grow in the soil, on food, window frames, textiles, painted surfaces, even on dying plants.

Precautions to take when mould appears in your home

How should you react to mould?

If you have identified mould in your home, the first thing you need to know is what is causing it: damp? Water leakage? Try to treat the source of the problem.

When it comes to removing mould, if the affected area is small, you can remove it by scrubbing, using an all-purpose cleaner, diluted soap or detergent. Dry well after cleaning. Keep hard-to-clean objects away from the area. If the mould covers a large area, more than 1m² for example, you may need to call in a specialist building moisture treatment company.

Things not to do when you have mould in your home

When cleaning up your mould, be careful not to add pollutants to pollutants!

  • Avoid bleach, as it is toxic to you and bad for your furniture.
  • Do not use fungicides unless advised by a specialist.
  • Avoid encouraging the spread of spores in the air. For example, do not break the mould support, especially if the contamination is severe.

It is important to pay attention to mould and not leave it lying around. Take care of it!

Preventing mould in your home

Some tips to make sure you never run into a nasty surprise:

  • Fix leaks as soon as you can.
  • Use a hood in the kitchen.
  • Keep the humidity in your home below 50% in summer and between 30 and 35% in winter.
  • Try to keep your home clean and dry, check the humidity fairly regularly. Think of airing your home, or even equip yourself with a dehumidifier.

Spores can withstand extreme conditions, be vigilant!

How to prevent polluted air?

Humidity, mould, pollution, all contribute to unhealthy air. Why should you breathe polluted and dangerous air when you are at home? TEQOYA has answered this question by creating a TEQOYA has answered this question by creating a range of air purifiers based on negative ions that will purify up to 99% of polluting particles. They consume virtually nothing and make no noise. These ionisers will help you feel better in your home, without the clutter. Your TEQOYA purifier will help you fight the spread of mold, by limiting the airborne movement of spores. Preventing yourself from polluted air means taking care of your health.

More information on the best purifier comparator.

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