In advising workplaces on the risk to mould, we get all sorts of questions from the workforce. Many of these repeatedly come up in conversation, usually informed by a quick search on the web. So, we’ve decided to bust some of the most common myths about mould and managing it in your workplace.
Myth 1 – Mould can only grow where there is water or moisture.
Water is critical to sustaining mould growth. While mould initially needs moisture to start growing, it can continue to grow even if the surface completely dries out. Mould draws moisture from the surrounding air to help support further growth.
Myth 2 We can hire a contractor to paint over the mould.
Unfortunately, this one is a myth. It can be tempting to use paint to cover up mould, but the mould remains and in a few short months it is almost certain that the mould will re-appear. Mould can actually eat paint (including mould resistant paint) and use it as a food source for growth. It’s important to remove the mould (and the root cause) before considering doing any painting.
Myth 3 – Bleach cleans mould.
Unfortunately, regular cleaning chemicals, such as bleach, are completely ineffective against mould remediation. The chemical will kill some mould, but the remaining mould is simply stained as an illusion that it is gone. Without addressing the underlying issue, in a few short weeks the mould will again be visible.
Myth 4 – Only black mould is dangerous.
The truth is toxicity can’t be determined by just colour alone. There are over 100,000 species of mould around the world, coming in a range of colours, presenting different hazards and varying levels of toxicity. While some black moulds are very dangerous, others are mostly benign. Regardless of its colour, all areas with visible mould should be remediated as soon as possible. Over time mould can impact building structures beyond repair and can significantly impact people’s health. It’s important to remember, whether the mould is black or green, it’s important to have it addressed as quickly as possible to avoid any potential health concerns.
Myth 5 – All mould is harmful.
Mould is a naturally occurring organism and can pretty much be found everywhere. We are constantly breathing in mould and mould by-products. Some moulds come in quite handy and are used to help create all kinds of things, including cheese, antibiotics and food flavouring. However, the mould you find growing on the wall or bathroom in your workplace isn’t going to provide too many benefits. Depending on its type, mould can be benign or present a serious health risk. It’s best to engage a professional to understand the type of mould through scientific testing and what your next steps are.
Myth 6 – It’s ok to do mould remediation yourself.
While some small occurrences of mould can be easily handled, for larger problems it is important for mould remediation to be carried out by a qualified professional. These professionals are trained to address the root cause and to safely remove the mould contamination. Many of the well-known treatments for managing mould (such as scrubbing with bleach) are actually ineffective and can sometimes make the problem worse.
Myth 7: Mould is always visible
Unfortunately, mould is not always able to be seen. Not all types of mould are visible and mould can grow in wall cavities and spaces that are difficult to inspect. A good rule of thumb to follow is that if you can detect a musty odour, further investigation into the possible presence of mould is needed.
It’s important to assess and remediate any mould contamination as soon as possible. The earlier you intervene, the better. This will help to preserve the structural integrity of the building and reduce the risk of anyone experiencing negative health impacts as a result of the mould.
Want to know more about safely managing mould in the workplace?
GCG’s Mould Awareness online training is designed to help learners identify mould, understand the conditions that can promote mould growth and develop an awareness of the steps for safely managing the presence of mould.
For more information or to enrol click here.