Awaab Ishak: Mould in Rochdale flat causes 2-year-old boys death, coroner rules

Awaab Ishak

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.

For those with allergies, breathing in or touching mould spores can cause severe reactions, including asthma attacks, fever and shortness of breath, while for others, mould can bring on a runny nose, red or itchy eyes and irritated skin. Screenshot 18

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.Screenshot 17

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.

The longer-term impact of low-quality housing, including people left unable to work or needing care, costs society £18.5 billion pounds every year according to the BRE report. Mould

To read more about this devastating and avoidable tragedy, reports can be found on BBC
News, ITV News and Inside Housing. Mould

To read the Property Care Association (PCA) information on the importance of education and legislation, please click here.

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