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Indoor laundry drying "poses a health risk"

Drying laundry in the home poses a health risk to those prone to asthma, hay fever and other allergies, according to new research.

The Mackintosh School of Architecture carried out a study which found that many homes had too much moisture indoors.  Up to a third of this moisture was attributed to drying laundry.

A study of 100 homes found that 87% dried their washing indoors in colder weather.  Hanging washing on airers and radiators is common practice and with winter approaching many households will have little choice over the next few months.

Researcher Roasalie Menon said people were not aware how much moisture this added to the air.  She said, "Going into people's homes, we found they were drying washing in their living rooms, in their bedrooms.  Some were literally decorating the house with it, but from just one load of washing two litres of water will be emitted".

A total of 75% of households had moisture levels which would contribute to the development of harmful mould and the growth of dust mites.

"People are sealing their homes more tightly to be energy efficient and more comfortable, but this is not accompanied by ventilating them accurately", report author Prof Colin Porteous stated.

Mould in the home is a common health problem, affecting tens of thousands of people in the UK, according to Malcolm Richardson, Professor of Medical Mycology at the University of Manchester.  He said, "It can form in any poorly ventilated house, no matter how grand or ordinary".

The research funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council was the first to track the implications of drying laundry passively.

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