Friday, 12 April 2013

AIHA Position: Statement Mold and Dampness in the Built Environment

Damp in homes is a known hazard to human health, potentially increasing the severity of asthma, allergy, sinusitis and several other illnesses that are sensitive to biological dusts & damp. There has been much mention in the media of these illnesses and problems with houses that are damp and mouldy and a consequent proliferation of the amount of remediation work that has to be done.

As in any free market many companies have sprung up to accommodate this demand but there has been a lack of unbiased guidance for all concerned as to what extend expensive remediation is required, Clearly those that stand to benefit financially from such work are unlikely to be best placed to advise!

In some quarters there is confusion as to what is contamination that has to be removed - there are well publicised stories of whole houses being demolished because of mould contamination. There is also a lot of confusion about what illnesses can be caused by a damp home and what is causing them. Science is slowly providing answers for doctors but what about those in the front line of house inspection & remediation?

The American Industrial Hygiene Association have published a statement outlining their vision for the assessment and remediation of damp buildings in a new document. It is a very clear attempt to set the standards of qualification required of inspectors and remediators at an appropriately high level to ensure the protection of the householder and we can only applaud that intent.

It also sets out a principle that the remediator and assessor should be independent and one should not be able to directly recommend the other. I think that that could be an important step to reduce the chances that the householder will be deceived into paying more than is needed. An independent inspector should also reinforce the requirement that the remediator does a good job and charges appropriate fees.

This is surely a step forward in how we aim to deal with the assessment & remediation of damp homes & other buildings.

AIHA Press Release & Statement available here

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