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  • Writer's pictureCliff L'Aimable _Chartered Surveyor & Building Engineer

Fungi in homes linked to myriad of human ailments

Updated: Jan 27, 2023

My building inspectors blog today again highlights and hopefully draws homeowners and occupiers attention to the health hazards associated to finding mould in the home.

A building inspector's comment or observations highlighting the existence of fungus in the home should be taken seriously, especially if communicated to you in a commissioned report or even as part of a general inspection of your home during a routine condition survey.

Our building inspectors carry out thousands of building inspections a year, observing and reporting on many instances of mould found within the home.

Finding evidence of fungal growth in the home is indicative of a potential health hazard to occupants of your home.


Fungi can produce mycotoxins, which can cause serious health problems when inhaled or ingested over long periods of time. The presence of such fungi in a home environment can be especially dangerous for vulnerable populations such as infants or elderly individuals.

Fungus in the home can be a truly frightening thing, and having to deal with it can feel like a nightmare. Fungus is a type of living organism that reproduces through tiny spores that are released into the air. These spores can linger in damp, dark areas such as basements or bathrooms, creating ideal conditions for the growth of fungus. Unfortunately, once fungus takes hold in your home it can be difficult to remove without professional help. The two most common types of fungus found in homes include mould and mildew.

Fungus_building inspectors
Fungus_building inspectors

Mould presents initially as a thin patchy growth spread, that often appears black, blue, gray, green or white on surfaces.

It typically grows on walls and other surfaces when moisture is present. Mould doesn’t just look unpleasant; it has been known to cause serious health problems when inhaled over long periods of time. Allergic reactions are common but more severe cases can include respiratory issues such as asthma or even mental health concerns due to ongoing exposure.

Black mould presents health risk
Black mould in room corners

Mildew is similar to mould but has a lighter colour and powdery texture that usually appears on organic materials like fabrics and leathers.

Mildew may not have as many long term health effects as mould but it can still

cause irritation if left unchecked in your home. In some very rare cases mildew

may even produce toxins which could affect humans and animals if they come into

contact with them directly or indirectly through an infected item brought into

the house.

Mould Mildew building inspectors
Child with respiratory ailments

Getting rid of fungus in your home requires careful attention and effort; professional help may be needed if the infestation is extensive enough - contact a building inspector

You should begin by identifying any possible sources such as water leaks or high humidity levels in order to stop the spread of spores from continuing throughout your home's environment.

Eliminating these causes will give you a chance to reduce moisture levels which will create an unfavourable environment for potentially harmful fungi residing inside your home.

Additionally, using proper cleaning techniques such as vacuuming up debris or wiping down affected surfaces with bleach solutions can help significantly reduce the risk for further contamination from occurring again in the future.

Fungus in the home can cause a variety of health issues for humans, with effects ranging from mild to severe. Inhalation and ingestion of fungal spores can cause respiratory symptoms including wheezing, difficulty breathing, coughing, and chest tightness. Additionally, contact with the skin or eyes may lead to allergic reactions such as rash, itching, redness and swelling. Some types of fungus may also be toxic, with ingestion leading to nausea, dizziness and vomiting.

Spore particles moving through the air
Spore particles moving through the air can enter human lungs

The effects of fungi on human anatomy are not limited to physical symptoms. Exposure to certain types of fungi can be linked to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and other psychological disorders.

These mental health issues may arise due to the presence of mycotoxins released by the fungus which is capable of disrupting hormones in the brain that regulate moods. Furthermore, people exposed to indoor moulds have been shown to have a higher risk for developing cognitive dysfunction or neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease over time.

Sick man breathing difficulties
Sick man breathing difficulties

It is important for individuals who believe their home is infested with fungal growth to contact an expert for inspection and testing in order to determine if a problem does exist. Taking steps early on can help

protect against potential risks associated with exposure such as long-term health consequences or damage to property from mould growth. Remediation measures should be taken as soon as possible in order to contain any spread of harmful spores throughout the home environment before they become a serious


One of the most common types of fungi found in homes is Aspergillus, which is an airborne fungus that can affect surfaces like carpets, upholstery, and walls. Aspergillus spores are highly resilient, and can survive in a wide range of temperatures and humidity levels making them ideal for indoor conditions. This fungus can cause allergic reactions and respiratory distress if inhaled or ingested. In severe cases, it can even lead to infection.

Fungus attacking timber wall in house found
Fungus attacking timber wall in house found

Another common type of fungi found in homes is Cladosporium, which is most often found on wet surfaces or in damp areas such as bathrooms and basements. Cladosporium thrives when exposed to moisture and warm temperatures, so it is important to keep these areas clean and dry to prevent its growth. This type of fungi may cause allergic reactions as well as asthma attacks if breathed in.

Yet another species commonly found in households is Stachybotrys (also known as black mould), which typically grows on moist surfaces such as wallpapers or insulation materials. Stachybotrys produces dangerous toxins that can be hazardous when inhaled over a long period of time, so prompt removal is

necessary once it has been identified.

Penicillium is also another species that can be present indoors; however, it tends to thrive on organic matter rather than on wet surfaces like other fungi do. Its most common locations are air ducts or other ventilation systems where it feeds on dust particles made up of dead organic material such

as skin cells or hair dander. Penicillium produces allergens that could trigger asthma symptoms if inhaled by susceptible individuals, so proper ventilation should be maintained at all times to avoid potential health risks related to this fungus’ presence.

Finally, Fusarium is a pinkish-white mould that usually grows on fabrics such as carpets and clothing fibers when exposed to excess water from flooding or sewage backups. It produces mycotoxins which have been linked with neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease over time when exposed for long periods of time through inhalation or ingestion of contaminated material. Remediation measures should be taken immediately if Fusarium appears in your home environment in order to protect against any potential health consequences associated with exposure to this fungus’ toxins.

Building Inspectors
Care for your home with professional help

In conclusion, it is important to be aware of the potential presence of fungus in your home environment. From mould and mildew which can cause respiratory issues due to their spores, to Fusarium which produces toxins that have been linked with neurological conditions when exposed for long periods of time; these fungi should not be taken lightly. Taking quick action when any type of fungal growth appears will ensure you are able to protect yourself and family from the potentially hazardous effects associated with its presence. Best practice is to stay vigilant about monitoring moisture levels in your home and addressing any signs of water damage immediately as a preventative measure against all types harmful fungi.

As always for private sector based building regulation approvals and inspections contact us by calling tel : 01992 710 763 Email for competitive fee quotes visit our website at Blog post written by Cliff L'Aimable Chartered Surveyor a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a Registered Chartered Building Engineer

Cliff L'Aimable - Construction Blogger (right)
Cliff L'Aimable - Construction Blogger (right)


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