Young children being exposed to potentially life-threatening mould

A photo of a window covered with condensation and a large amount of mould growing in the dampness

New figures reported in The Independent reveal that one in three young families in the UK are stuck in homes with a recurring mould problem.

The new data is based on research for the Warm This Winter campaign and suggests that around 850,000 (9.6%) of people who have a child under 6 or who are pregnant (or their partner is pregnant) are exposed to mould frequently.

The numbers increase further to 3.4m (38%) people who have frequent or occasional exposure to mould and who have a child under 6 or who are pregnant.

The tragic case of Awaab Ishak highlighted the need to take the issue of mould in UK homes seriously and the NHS advises all young children to be kept away from damp and mould.

Not only does damp and mould produce mould spores and other toxins that are harmful to health, but even excessive moisture can lead to the growth of mould and other fungi, certain species of house dust mites, bacteria or viruses. 

John McGowan, General Secretary of the Social Workers Union, told the Independent:

“Across the country social workers report seeing families struggling in living conditions that are more like Victorian novels than modern day Britain. It’s clear that households – especially those most at risk from the health complications of living in cold damp homes – need more support.”

The coordinator of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition commented:

“These chilling findings underline why we need further urgent action from the Government to step in and help households stay warm this winter. 

“Vulnerable households, including young families and expectant mothers, are struggling because of Ministers’ failure to provide emergency financial assistance this winter and longer term failures to invest in the permanent solutions to fuel poverty, such as insulation and reform of energy pricing.

“Instead of help from the Government, in the form of an Emergency Energy Tariff for vulnerable households and a Help To Repay scheme for those in energy debt, all parents got from the Chancellor in the Autumn Statement was the cold shoulder.

“The real life impact of decisions made in Westminster are now clear to see.”

Petitions calling for more action to help end the crisis in cold, damp homes will be handed into 10 Downing Street this week.