Are we going to experience the mouldiest Christmas on record?

For those who follow the PCA’s blogs, James identified an issue in his blog last week (the Perfect Storm for Mould Growth) that is giving us grounds for increasing alarm. My own thoughts might be a little more direct, but I do think we have cause for real concern.

Vast sections of the population are the subject of enforced confinement, locked down, with ever growing financial concerns in homes that struggle to deal with airborne moisture. Mould and condensation is a reoccurring issue in normal winters. But times are not normal and it is getting cold outside.

The inevitable result of this unprecedented Government directive to “stay home” is mould, condensation and poor air quality in many homes. In short, conditions well suited to the spread and growth of pathogens (including Covid), fungi and other pests.

We need to keep our homes ‘healthy’

Confining the population to their homes may be necessary to prevent the spread of the pandemic, but we would implore the Government to start a campaign of public information to highlight the need to maintain a healthy home environment.

Ventilation, fresh air, moisture control and adequate heating are fundamental to the health of those who find themselves inside for very long periods of time.

The health of our home workers

Employers must also consider the working conditions of millions of additional homeworkers. They have a legal responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace and if that place is home it follows that it must be warm dry, mould free and safe.

We have heard a lot about the ergonomics of the home working environment but little about the need to ensure that workers breathe clean unpolluted air.

Is it time for HSE to step up?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) must surely include this basic human right within the list of concerns they set out in their weekly bulletins to employers/employees. This is especially important during the winter months of this pandemic.

Mould and condensation is a symptom of an unhealthy environment and we can do a great deal more through education and awareness to prevent its effects. When it does occur we have the tools and experience to recognise it, understand and then correct the moisture imbalance that has occurred. Surely the Government must recognise this and act swiftly, with all its agencies to prevent another public and building health emergency.

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