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Surface and passive/active air mould sampling: A testing exercise in a North London housing estate

Aktas, YD; Ioannou, I; Altamirano, H; Reeslev, M; D'Ayala, D; May, N; Canales, M; (2018) Surface and passive/active air mould sampling: A testing exercise in a North London housing estate. Science of the Total Environment , 643 pp. 1631-1643. 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.06.311. Green open access

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Abstract

Despite indoor mould being one of the most common problems in residential properties in the UK, there are not any widely accepted methodologies for its measurement. This paper focusses on this problem of measurement and reports on the findings from a rigorous testing scheme carried out to quantify air and surface mould concentrations and particle counts within 71 rooms from 64 properties in North London, some with and some without visible mould. The aim was to investigate the potential of passive and active air sampling strategies (sampling from still and actively mixed air, respectively) to explain visible mould, and understand how home/room characteristics correlate with the obtained readings. Airborne mould levels were quantified using an Andersen sampler (passively and actively), as well as by a chemical method based on the quantification of the N-acetylhexosaminidase (NAHA) activity (actively), which was also used to quantify surface mould. The mould levels were then correlated against physical characteristics of the tested homes/rooms, collected by means of survey sheets developed as part of this study. The findings did not reveal any independent variable governing all or most of the response variables, but a complex analysis suggested that whether it is a house or a flat could depict mould levels in the air and on the surfaces. It was also shown that a robust testing protocol should combine air and surface based methods, and an active air sampling strategy leads to a more accurate appraisal of airborne mould levels. Finally, the results showed that while there is some correlation between visible mould (and other moisture induced problems such as condensation) and measured air mould concentrations, lack of visible mould within a room does not necessarily mean low air mould concentrations, and thus one should not rely solely on visual inspection.

Type: Article
Title: Surface and passive/active air mould sampling: A testing exercise in a North London housing estate
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.06.311
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.06.311
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Keywords: Mould, Residential indoor environment, Active/passive sampling, NAHA, Andersen sampler, Particle count
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Civil, Environ and Geomatic Eng
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10052379
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