No one can fail to be touched by the death of Awaab Ishak in Rochdale from mould in the flat he lived in, but this was entirely preventable (Death of two-year-old from mould in flat a ‘defining moment’, says coroner, 15 November). As a young architect in the late 1960s, I began to work with tenants living in appalling damp and mouldy conditions, and the landlords and councils always blamed the tenants for their lifestyles, and told them to paint over the mould.
Housing managers need to be criminally liable for their determined ignorance about how to maintain satisfactory indoor air quality, which they have ignored for years. We can insulate houses with breathable and hygroscopic materials that can mitigate, and even prevent, mould, but these methods are not used in housing maintenance and retrofit.
Just as the campaign for “Ella’s law” following nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah’s death from asthma induced by air pollution, we also need “Awaab’s law” to end the scourge of mould growth.
Dr Tom Woolley
Crossgar, County Down
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