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Event on 01 May, 2021

Seminar: Dr Michael Taylor, Mycologist

Topic: Mould - recognising and dealing with mould, and more.

Michael Taylor

Michael has a PhD in Microbial Ecology/Environmental Health. He is Principal Consultant/Mycologist at Greencap and a researcher and lecturer at Flinders University.
Michael provides expert advice as a consultant in the area of indoor air quality, indoor mould and bioaerosols. He has worked with organisms of public health concern and carried out a 12-month survey of the indoor air quality of buildings in Adelaide, identifying the range and concentration of fungal spores most commonly present in workplaces.

Seminar

Michael spoke on the topic of Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) and biotoxin-related illnesses, covering areas such as indoor air quality, indoor mould, bioaerosols and fungal spores and the links to people with ME/CFS.

He was an interesting speaker and provided a thorough, informative, and detailed talk, demonstrating significant experience and a broad knowledge of the topic.

Members can access a written summary of his talk, as well as the slides from his presentation, in Member Resources. The video will be uploaded soon.


Other information

Chair's Foreword
Indoor mould growth is a common problem in homes and workplaces which is usually easy to treat, and generally does not impact on human health. In some cases, human contact with mould can cause health issues, such as worsening asthma symptoms, an allergic response, and (in rare cases) an infection.

Report on the Inquiry into Biotoxin-related Illnesses in Australia cover image

In addition to these health effects, the Committee received evidence that buildings that have been exposed to water damage (and subsequently experienced high levels of mould and dampness) may contribute to ill health in susceptible individuals. Health effects described by inquiry participants were varied, often debilitating, and included cognitive and physical symptoms.

The link between water damaged buildings and a range of health effects has been termed Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). There is consensus that there are people who suffer from a range of complex symptoms that are debilitating, difficult to diagnose and treat effectively. For these people, being unable to obtain a definitive diagnosis and consequently recover from conditions often ascribed to CIRS can have a significant and ongoing impact on their quality of life.

The Committee has put forward recommendations aimed at supporting medical professionals to identify, diagnose, treat, and/or support patients with complex and/or unexplained conditions such as CIRS. Clinical guidelines, outlining a clear path for medical practitioners to follow, could assist in this regard. Guidelines may also ensure patients receive adequate support from the first medical professional they encounter, and reduce the incidence of ‘doctor shopping’ and the potential for possible exploitation of vulnerable individuals.

In addition to investigating the medical process of identifying and treating CIRS-like syndromes, the Committee received information about the mould testing and remediation industries. In particular, the Committee found that greater iv oversight of these industries and the methods used for testing and remediation is needed to ensure consistency of standard and advice.

The Committee also considered that tenants of rental properties should be provided with information regarding any history of mould or water damage to a property before signing a tenancy agreement. This would serve to ensure potential= renters can make an informed decision about where they choose to live.

I would like to extend the Committee’s thanks to the organisations, agencies, and individuals who participated in this inquiry by providing submissions and attending public hearings. In particular, I would like to thank the many individuals who provided personal accounts of their symptoms and experiences, or those of a friend or family member. I would also like to thank my Committee colleagues for their contribution to this inquiry.

Mr Trent Zimmerman MP
Chair

© Commonwealth of Australia
No changes have been made to the document.

Last edited: 10 August, 2021