Andrea Bartley with her children Aiden (left) and Issac are sick and tired of living in a damp and mouldy house. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Dampness and ''mould dripping down walls'' is a ''respiratory
burden'' on children, Child Poverty Action Group spokeswoman
Dr Nikki Turner says.
The recently released study ''Dampness and moulds in relation
to respiratory and allergic symptoms in children''
studied about 46,000 children aged between 8 and 12 in 20
countries, including New Zealand.
The research revealed ''wheezy children'' more commonly had
had exposure to dampness. Dr Turner said the report provided
extensive evidence that living in damp or mouldy homes caused
health problems including recurrent runny noses, chesty
coughs, wheeziness and eczema.
If a child had asthma, it was made more severe by dampness
and mould, Dr Turner said.
The Government needed to focus on making houses dry because
many houses, particularly rental houses, were damp. Property
owners needed to be ''socially responsible''.
''And quite a few of them have mould dripping down the walls
and it's just so bad for kids' health. We can't be trading
off sick children against capital gains. Change has to
Dunedin mother Andrea Bartley (23) said she paid $290 a week
to rent a two-bedroom South Dunedin house for herself and
sons Aiden (4) and Issac (2).
The Bayview Rd house was a cold and damp ''icebox'' with
mould on the walls, roof and curtains. The material on a pram
was covered in black mould after four days inside the house,
Ms Bartley said.
Her children were constantly sick with flu and infection and
Issac's asthma had returned. She bought a dehumidifier, which
was costly to run and would fill in two hours, she said.
She regularly opened windows but the mould continued to grow.
She had rented the house in December, and for the sake of the
children's health she returned the house keys yesterday after
moving in to her mother's place to look for a dry rental
She was struggling to find somewhere suitable.
Click property management managing director Andrea Elliott
said many Dunedin homes were older, poorly insulated and had
''There are always going to be some `slum lords' who just
want to collect their money but we want to work with
landlords that look after their property and make sure that
the property is being well maintained and cared for.''
Some tenants required education on how to air homes and to
open bathroom windows when having a shower, not to dry
clothes inside and not to use unflued gas heaters.
Landlords should install decent heat pumps and regularly
service them and insulate houses, she firstname.lastname@example.org