We are deeply saddened to read the recent news about the death of 2-year-old Awaab Ishak, which, according to the coroner’s report, resulted from a severe respiratory condition from prolonged exposure to mould in his home.
Pictures of his family’s one-bedroom housing association flat in Rochdale, where he lived with his parents, show they had a severe problem with mould, despite the family repeatedly raising concerns.
Giving her findings on Tuesday, senior coroner, Joanne Kearsley, made it clear this was far from an isolated case, describing Awaab’s death as a ‘defining moment for the housing sector’.
Moulds are caused by too much moisture in a building and they emit spores which can cause a variety of health effects. Some people are particularly sensitive to them, such as babies and young children, the elderly and those with allergies or asthma.
More than 800,000 properties in England alone are known to have mould and damp problems, the majority of them (409,000) privately rented, however, the Housing Ombudsman thinks this is just the tip of the iceberg and that not enough is being done.
Poor housing is costing the NHS in England £1.4 billion a year, ITV News has revealed, while a new report produced by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) highlights the vast sum of money that is spent treating health problems caused by living in substandard homes.
The BRE report states that many household hazards are “generally, not expensive to rectify compared with the long-term cost to the health services and society if they are ignored”.
The highest cost to the NHS -around £857 million- is spent on treating residents made ill by excessively cold homes, an estimated £38 million is spent on treating the impact of damp, while £374 million is spent on injuries from falls caused by unsafe conditions.
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