Sign up to our Editors Choice newsletter now! Click here

Decent heating and ventilation called for as homes come under asthma threat

Accessibility Menu

Menu Search

24dash - The UK's most up-to-date social housing and public sector news website

Decent heating and ventilation called for as homes come under asthma threat

24DASH.COM Logo

Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Health and also in Housing

Decent heating and ventilation called for as homes come under asthma threat Decent heating and ventilation called for as homes come under asthma threat

Damp and mould in homes could pose a significant asthma hazard, with adequate heating, ventilation and maintenance needed to lessen the threat, a new study has revealed.

The research found that the presence of several types of mould can lead to breathing problems in asthma sufferers, as well as increasing the likelihood of developing the condition.

Published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the study, which was conducted by a team at the University of Exeter Medical School, is the first time all of the information relating to mould and asthma has been gathered and analysed together.

One of the study’s lead authors, Richard Sharpe, said: “Moulds are abundant in our outdoor and indoor environments, with around 10 varieties living in a typical home.

"We’ve found the strongest evidence yet of their potentially harmful effects, with higher levels of some of these moulds presenting a breathing hazard to people suffering from asthma, worsening their symptoms significantly. It also looks as though mould may help to trigger the development of asthma – although research in this area is still in its infancy.”

Critically reviewing the findings from 17 studies in eight countries, the team identified links between a number of different types of fungi and breathing problems in asthma sufferers, such as Aspergillus and the antibiotic-producing Penicillium.

They also highlighted other factors that can contribute to the risk of asthma, including house dust mites, pets and chemicals.

Characterised by typically high humidity, homes with poor heating and ventilation can be a haven for house dust mites and mould.

Dampness is one of the major factors affecting the growth of mould inside homes - a problem which has been on the rise as ageing houses are sealed and retrofitted with new energy efficient technology.

According to the study, little is currently known about how people’s living habits can contribute to indoor air quality, and ultimately affect their health.

Co-author and senior research fellow Dr Nick Osborne added: “This research has highlighted the need for housing providers, residents and healthcare professionals to work together to assess the impact of housing interventions.

"We need to make sure that increasing the energy efficiency of people’s homes doesn’t increase their exposure to damp and mould, and potentially damage their health.”

Comments

Login and comment using one of your accounts...