Okanagan 2010 IAQ mould specific residential study
Healthy Homes has conducted more than 600 site assessments in the Okanagan British Columbia and received hundreds of calls pertaining to mould specific indoor air quality and occupant ill health since 2006. We have named the analysis of this database the "Okanagan 2010 IAQ Mould specific Residential Study". The multi-faceted study of this database is intended to advance the understanding of mould related indoor environmental impacts on occupants and society at large, and determine ways to educate and implement economical easy to access solutions to the most simple of reversible issues. Analysis to date has empirically drawn the following hypotheses, concepts, ideas. Future assessment of the data will bring this information into the scientific field of indoor air quality.
Empirical statements from study and further research to date:
1. Complaints about mould in homes where there is sickness, or a fear of sickness may exceed 30% in new or remodelled homes ( EPA 2010). In fact 38% of Canadian homes are damp or mouldy (Dales, 1991). These fears appear to be well founded from our study, but not well supported by the medical profession or IAQ industry as a whole. Our study characterizes more than 90% of requests for IAQ assessment initially or ultimately pertain to mould relates issues.
2. Our study shows that the vast majority of sick occupants with visible mould issues or medical symptoms of mould exposure that choose not to commence site assessment after being debriefed on the adverse health effects of mould do so because of lack of fiscal resources. This is a very serious problem, particularly with rental accommodations. Sick people end up in the hospital or worse, at a fraction of their capable health levels which lead to adverse mental health impacts, all because they either don't have the awareness or the means for correction.
3. Our experience over the past decade, and from this study, places over 90% of residential IAQ related client health concerns relating primarily to "mould" in their home yet they have little to no knowledge of how it is caused and how it is remedied. This can lead to emotion based irrational responses.
4. Since most occupants know little about the cause and remedy of indoor environmental contamination that can make them sick, education was a large component of the service we provided.
5. People don't generally or easily make the link between their ill-health and indoor air quality in their homes but do rely on the medical profession for proper assessment and procedural accuracy. Unfortunately, the medical profession is not geared to identify poor indoor air quality on homes as a health related issue and tend to pass the resulting ill-health onto other causes such as the flu, asthma triggers, or general environmental allergies until they become chronic and significantly health threatening.
6. Our study shows that indoor environmental concerns do not register with home occupants until they become sick to the point of impairment – physically, socially, or psychologically. When they do, the concept of mould can become the focal point of an emotion driven concern not supported by relevant science based fact.
7. Many of these site delivered assessments have been measured and found to have a high success rate in reversing the incidence of toxic environments going un-noticed through a prescription of training and knowledge transfer in easy to understand language delivered economically to the household
8. The study and further research appears to indicate that mould related environmental issues tend to happen more often with marginal income households who tend to be renters and who may not have sufficient discretionary income for even basic testing/ site assessment.
9. Further, it appears from the research and studies that it is more often than not that until the occupant becomes significantly debilitated – either physically, socially, and/or psychologically; not until all customary health treatments and assessments are considered, or until it is brought to their attention by the more informed professional, that the home environment as last resort is considered a possible cause of illness.
10. Our study and research indicates that basic ( and economical) non-viable air testing for mould is a good indicator of indoor air quality in building environments and good first step in assessment, among other avenues.
These will be further researched and scientifically assessed where able.
Click here for a statistics based study that identifies house related sickness and poor ventilation as a major indicator of possible mould growth in homes.