According to the most recent scientific research, a whopping 50 percent of all homes in Canada test positive for the presence of dampness and mould.
That is a lot of mould!
Even more concerning, however, is that wherever there is mould, you will inevitably find a number of additional worrisome indoor air quality and health risks.
What is driving this uptick in indoor dampness and mould? There is no doubt that climate change and global warming throughout North America play a part. Another part can be chalked up to new eco-friendly airtight construction standards that have a negative impact on ventilation.
In this post, find out what to do now to protect your home or workplace from this increasing threat.
3 Powerful Toxins That Love Damp Homes
If you were a dust mite, mould spore or gaseous micro-particle, and you had to choose between migrating to an area with dry or damp indoor air, guess which area you would choose?
Yep. You would choose damp air every time.
Damp air acts like a magnet for fungi like mould and mildew, bacteria, viral matter and other microbes and microorganisms.
These spores, fragments and microorganisms need damp to survive, reproduce and spread. This is why they are often found in areas of a home or workplace where damp is consistently elevated.
Dust mites also love damp air. This is because these tiny insects don’t actually drink water to hydrate – they absorb it by osmosis directly from the surrounding air.
As long as the indoor air humidity is below 50 percent, dust mites can’t absorb enough moisture to survive and reproduce. But when dampness increases inside a space, watch out for a dust mite colony explosion.
Gaseous particulate matter
As indoor air becomes increasingly damp and humid, this enacts changes in household items and furnishings that can release tiny toxic particulates into the air.
One good example is treated manufactured wood. The resins used to treat and seal these wood products often contain formaldehyde-urea resin, which is humidity-sensitive.
Flooring and other materials that contain plastics and plastic softening agents react similarly by releasing particulate micro-toxins into the air when humidity escalates.
Health Hazards That Arise in Damp Spaces
It nearly goes without saying that when mould, mildew, bacteria, dust mites and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) invade any indoor air, poor health symptoms are sure to follow.
In fact, recent statistics from damp-testing in homes, workplaces and schools throughout North America indicate these symptoms can increase by 30 to 70 percent as indoor air dampness increases.
However, if you don’t know you have a problem with damp inside your home or workplace, you may be struggling to put a “face with a name,” so to speak, in identifying the root cause of your health symptoms.
These are some of the most commonly reported health issues that often arise when indoor air humidity increases.
Allergies and asthma
Allergies, including allergic rhinitis (hay fever) are perhaps the most well-known and frequent health symptoms associated with exposure to mould, mildew and other organic matter such as pollen.
Asthma onset or increase in attacks is also directly linked to exposure to mould, bacteria, organic chemicals and dust mites.
Upper respiratory infections, bronchitis, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes and congestion are all linked to exposure to mould, mildew, dust mites and organic chemicals.
Shortness of breath, wheezing and other respiratory symptoms are more frequently found in people who spend significant time in damp or mould-infested spaces.
Eczema and atopic dermatitis
It is not just the respiratory system that is sensitive to exposure to toxic organic matter. The skin, which is not just the body’s largest organ but also the first line of defense against toxins, can be extraordinarily sensitive to exposure.
The frequency of eczema and atopic dermatitis outbreaks increases after exposure to damp air that is hosting dust mites, mould or mildew, bacteria and other particulate microbials.
Why Dehumidification Isn’t Enough to Protect Your Home & Health
As you read through this laundry list of damp-attracted toxins and accompanying health symptoms, you are probably thinking that a dehumidifier will make short work of these issues.
We wish it was that simple!
Installing a dehumidifier as a preventive measure can definitely lessen the need to take additional remediation action. However, in airtight new construction spaces in particular, this will only work if a heat recovery ventilator is installed at the same time.
Overall, once the air has become humid consistently and organic matter has begun to reproduce and colonize your home, workplace or school, the level of treatment needed to remedy the issue increases correspondingly.
Here is what we recommend to protect your space and health from the negative impact of damp and humidity over the long term.
- If you suspect a black mould infestation, always contact a mould specialist for an assessment before you take any other action!
- Schedule a professional indoor air duct cleaning and sanitizing service to remove particulates trapped inside your air ducts.
- Install a heat recovery ventilator to move damp, stale air and toxins back outside.
- Consider installing a whole-home dehumidifier to control escalating humidity seasonally.
- Add a HEPA air filtration system to trap and remove tiny toxic particulates from your indoor air.
- Add an ultraviolet air purification system to neutralize airborne gaseous and liquid micro-toxins and chemicals.
Get in Touch
Do you need help to control rising humidity levels inside your space? We can help!
Contact us online or give us a call at 905-544-2470.