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Over the last twelve months I have had increasing callouts from clients following a visit to their doctor regarding eye, nose and throat respiratory tract irritation.


In all the callout cases, the doctor had advised that the problem could be mould spore, radon gas, or effects from VOCs and a home check should be undertaken by a professional.

When attending a survey callout I will always undertake an indoor air quality check with high grade meters, you would be surprised how many homes don't make the the first level good grade.

I must make it clear, it is not a case of cleanness, in fact, in the case of VOCs it can increase the problem.

Lady Coughing

Mould Spore.

The presents of mould in households is still taken too lightly.  There is still the belief that mould can be eradicated with an off-shelf domestic household product.

Yes for sure it will clean away visible black mould patches on walls, but what about the airborne spores, fabrics, sofas, beds, rugs etc.

Mould is an airborne spore which float into your home from outdoor vegetation and decomposing organic matter.  There is only one way to eradicate mould that is professional sterilisation of all rooms.

Clean all you want, but it will not solve the problem entirely.

Radon gas drawn up due to high temperatures

Radon is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer. Radon gas is inert, colourless and odourless. Radon is naturally in the atmosphere in trace amounts. Outdoors, radon disperses rapidly and, generally, is not a health issue. Most harmful radon exposure occurs inside homes. Radon gas becomes trapped indoors after it enters buildings through cracks and other holes in the foundation. 

Breathing radon over time increases your risk of lung cancer. In a report undertaken in the USA, radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer.  Nationally, the EPA estimates that about 21,000 people die each year from radon-related lung cancer. 

Testing is the only way to determine radon levels. BMT is fully equipped to undertake testing for Radon gas.

Possible symptoms include shortness of breath (difficulty breathing), a new or worsening cough, pain or tightness in the chest, hoarseness, or trouble swallowing.

Radon gas filteration


Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) has only recently been taken seriously as a household health risk. They are emitted gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors. VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands.

Organic chemicals are widely used as ingredients in household products. Paints, varnishes and wax all contain organic solvents, as do many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing and hobby products. Fuels are made up of organic chemicals. All of these products can release organic compounds while you are using them, and, to some degree, when they are stored.

EPA's Office of Research and Development's "Total Exposure Assessment Methodology (TEAM) Study" (Volumes I through IV, completed in 1985) found levels of about a dozen common organic pollutants to be 2 to 5 times higher inside homes than outside, regardless of whether the homes were located in rural or highly industrial areas. TEAM studies indicated that while people are using products containing organic chemicals, they can expose themselves and others to very high pollutant levels, and elevated concentrations can persist in the air long after the activity is completed.

Sources of VOCs

Household products, including:

  • Paints, paint strippers and other solvents

  • Wood preservatives

  • Aerosol sprays

  • Air fresheners

  • Cleansers and disinfectants

  • Moth repellents and fabric fresheners

  • Stored fuels and automotive products

  • hobby supplies

  • Dry-cleaned clothing

  • Pesticide

Other products, including:

  • Building materials and furnishings

  • Synthetic flooring

  • Office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper

  • Graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers and photographic solutions.

Health Effects

Health effects may include:

  • Eye, nose and throat irritation

  • Headaches, loss of coordination and nausea

  • Damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system

  • Some organics can cause cancer in animals, some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.

Key signs or symptoms associated with exposure to VOCs include:

  • conjunctival irritation

  • nose and throat discomfort

  • headache

  • allergic skin reaction

  • dyspnea

  • declines in serum cholinesterase levels

  • nausea

  • emesis

  • epistaxis

  • fatigue

  • dizziness

The ability of organic chemicals to cause health effects varies greatly from those that are highly toxic, to those with no known health effect.

As with other pollutants, the extent and nature of the health effect will depend on many factors including level of exposure and length of time exposed. Among the immediate symptoms that some people have experienced soon after exposure to some organics include:

  • Eye and respiratory tract irritation

  • headaches

  • dizziness

  • visual disorders and memory impairment

At present, more information is coming to light about what health effects occur from the levels of organics usually found in homes.

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