"There should be sufficient and appropriate means of ventilation to deal with moisture generated by normal domestic activities without the need to open windows. Opening windows can result in heat loss, noise, and may be a security risk."
Please find detailed below:
- Click here to see the HHSRS Operating Guidance - Housing Act 2004: Guidance about inspections and assessment of hazards given under Section 9
Housing Act 2004 Guidance about inspections and assessment of hazards given under Section 9
1.01 This category covers threats to health associated with increased prevalence of house dust mites and mould or fungal growths resulting from dampness and/or high humidities. It includes threats to mental health and social well-being which may be caused by living with the presence of damp, damp staining and/or mould growth.Potential for harm
Most vulnerable age group and statistical averages
1.02 The most vulnerable age group is all persons aged 14 years or under.
1.03 The averages for Class I outcomes were calculated from the mortality statistics for England and Wales for respiratory disease in children aged 0 to 14 years. The figures for Class II and III were calculated using the same criteria from data from the Hospital Episode Statistics. The estimates for Class IV outcomes were taken from GP consultation rates for coughs and wheeze.
1.04 Recent research has shown that low levels of background ventilation, without visible mould or dampness, can result in high indoor humidity levels and in greatly increased house dust mite populations. In consequence the average likelihoods given may be an underestimate, and should be considered as conservative.
Physiological health effects
1.05 Both the detritus from house dust mites and mould spores are potent airborne allergens. Exposure to high concentrations of these allergens over a prolonged period will cause sensitisation of atopic individuals (those with a predetermined genetic tendency to sensitisation), and may sensitise non-atopic individuals. Once a person is sensitised relatively low concentrations of the airborne allergen can trigger allergic symptoms such as rhinitis, conjunctivitis, eczema, cough and wheeze. For a sensitised person, repeated exposure can lead to asthma, and it appears that the severity of the asthma intensifies with increasing humidity, house dust mite and mould levels.
1.06 Deaths from all forms of asthma in the UK are around 1,500 a year, of which around 60% has been attributed to dust mite allergy. 20 to 30% of asthma sufferers are sensitised to mould spores. One in eight children suffer with asthma in the UK, compared with one in thirteen adults.
1.07 Allergens associated with house dust mites (found in the mite faecal pellets) are the most common triggers of asthma, and are also implicated as a causal agent of the illness. Around 80% of atopic children who suffer from asthma are sensitised to house dust mites, and about a third of all children, whether asthmatic or not, display some evidence of allergy to them.
1.08 Although less significant statistically in health terms, spores of many moulds and fungi (including timber attacking fungi) can be allergenic. The spores can also be carcinogenic, toxic and cause infections; the potential health effect varying with species. Fungal infection, whilst not common, is usually associated with those vulnerable to infection (such as those on immuno-suppressant drugs). Some fungi, particularly when in very high concentrations, can also colonise the airways of susceptible individuals, particularly asthmatics. Toxins from some moulds (mycotoxins) can cause nausea and diarrhoea, can suppress the immune system, and have been implicated in cancers. Although uncommon, these are serious if they occur.
Social and mental health effects
1.09 The mental and social health effects of dampness and mould should not be under- estimated. Damage to decoration from mould or damp staining and the smells associated with damp and mould can cause depression and anxiety. Feelings of shame and embarrassment can lead to social isolation.
- Click here to see the Housing Health and Safety Rating System: Enforcement Guidance: Housing Act 2004 Part 1: Housing Conditions
- Click here to see the Regulatory Impact Assessment: Housing Act 2004 - Part 1: Housing Conditions