Mould grows on damp materials that support mould growth such as paper, wallpaper, ceiling tiles, carpets and underlay, insulation material, wood and drywall.
Exposure to mould can cause harmful health effects depending on an individual’s overall health, their age and the amount of time they spend exposed to mould. The elderly, pregnant women, infants and young children, people with allergies, chronic respiratory illness and/or chemical sensitivities and those with weakened immune systems are most likely to experience health effects from mould. The most common health problems associated with exposure to mould are:
- Eye, nose and throat irritation
- Runny nose, sinus congestion, frequent cold symptoms
- Increased asthma attacks
- Allergic reactions
- Try to control the humidity in the home
- Get rid of material that cannot be cleaned and properly dried (drywall, insulation, books, etc.)
- Eliminate moisture and seek to thoroughly dry by using wet vac’s, hand drying and dehumidifiers and fans;
- Turn on exhaust fans, especially when bathing, showering, cooking and doing laundry; and
- Open screened windows and doors to increase ventilation/air flow when using fans.
A professional service may be required to properly get rid of mould, if it comes back after cleaning, or if there’s a family member living in the household whose asthma or respiratory problems seem to be aggravated when they are in the home.
To learn more about removing mould, please see After the Flood — A Homeowner’s Checklist, adapted from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation outlines the recommended steps in cleaning an area with mould.
If you are cleaning the area, the Health Unit recommends you:
- Put on protective eye wear (e.g., goggles, safety glasses), rubber gloves and rubber boots;
- Make sure the area is well ventilated by opening windows and using fans;
- Clean mouldy areas with a detergent solution;
- Once the area is clean, then use a bleach solution to sanitize the area: prepare a bleach solution of 1 cup of bleach to 1 large bucket of water to sanitize the area; and
- Dry the area completely using a dehumidifier