Recycled organic building materials are prone to fungal growth

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Fungal growth in buildings is an increasing problem worldwide and with dire consequences both in human and economic terms. Otherwise healthy people experience health problems (headaches, respiratory problems and mucosal irritations) when they live or work in fungal contaminated buildings. Asthmatics and allergy sufferers have their symptoms exacerbated, while hypersensitive people can experience rashes and nose bleeds even after a short stay. The consequences for society are extensive sick leave and the costly renovation of fungal contaminated estates and institutions. The renovation of a single-family house can easily cost several hundred thousand DKK, but a school can easily run up into double-digit millions. Fungal growth is not limited to any specific type of building, but can be found in old buildings and new constructions, in tower blocks and bungalows, in private homes and public institutions.
Organic building materials, such as gypsum wallboard, plywood, OSB, chip wood and paper wool, are popular, because they are cheap, lightweight and flexible. They are, however, also very susceptible to fungal growth, if the buildings are badly designed, shoddily build or used wrongly. Salvaged wood, cardboard and paper are often recycled and manufactured into new building materials, but research has shown that these materials often are ridden with fungal growth when they are collected or become so when stored prior to production (Andersen et al. 2016).
The demand for green and sustainable building materials is increasing and recycling is one of the few options, since both wood and gypsum are limited resources. However, the building materials of the future must not only be affordable and safe, but also robust and resistant to fungal growth.
At Fungal Degradation we work on controlling and preventing fungal growth in indoor environments. We employ the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control
Points (HACCP) approach to find the entry points where fungal spores are introduced and study the conditions where fungi grow and proliferate. We
also test methods and processes to reduce the risk of fungal contamination and eliminate production of mycotoxins.
Andersen B, Dosen I, Lewinska AM, Nielsen KF. (2016).Pre-contamination of new gypsum wallboard with potentially harmful fungal species. Indoor Air. DOI: 10.1111/ina.12298.
StatusUdgivet - 2016
BegivenhedSustain-ATV Conference 2016 - Technical University of Denmark, Kgs. Lyngby, Danmark
Varighed: 30 nov. 201630 nov. 2016


KonferenceSustain-ATV Conference 2016
LokationTechnical University of Denmark
ByKgs. Lyngby


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