According to a new YouGov survey, 81 per cent of students believe that their health is seriously influenced by their university accommodations.
YouGov Consumer Survey (2014) Air Quality reveals that full-time students are of the opinion that they are the most in danger of ‘Toxic Home Syndrome’.
Due to ‘Toxic Home Syndrome’, people that are living in houses with poor air quality due to harmful airborne pollutants are very likely to incur respiratory and dermatological diseases.
The most common pollutants that students should be aware of are biological pollutants, such as mould spores, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), gas and building materials.
It was reported by YouGov that 37 per cent of students respondents assert that they were afflicted by breathing problems such as asthma, with another 23 per cent said to have had eczema. Both of them can be caused by inadequate indoor air ventilation.
Allergy experts encourage students to be more aware that living in these conditions puts their health in danger, as, on average, 33 per cent of students have had mould growing in their bathrooms or bedrooms.
Peter Howarth, Professor of Allergy and Respiratory medicine at Southampton University, said: “It is imperative that students are alert to the gravity of household air pollution as they typically spend long periods of time in their university homes.
“As well as mould, other air pollutants found in the student home include everyday household items such as air fresheners, cleaning products and detergents. As students rarely have access to a garden and therefore dry their laundry indoors, they are at risk of unknowingly polluting the indoor environment with the harmful compounds released from the detergent.
“This indoor ‘pollutant soup’ can be particularly hazardous in the winter months when homes get little natural ventilation and are most prone to condensation and mould. I would urge students to take steps to significantly improve their home’s ventilation in winter to minimise their risk of Toxic Home Syndrome.”
Students from the University of Manchester believe that there is poor indoor air quality in halls. Speaking to The Mancunion, Kanae Koike, who lives in Whitworth Park, said ”I agree with the survey’s results. In university halls it’s easy to catch a cold and difficult to recover from it.
“As we share the kitchen and the living room, and due to a bad ventilation and lack of fresh air, if someone has a cold, it’s very likely that also the other flatmates get ill. Furthermore, sometimes I’ve found mould in my kitchen.”
She added, “my room has a window that can be opened, but other rooms that don’t have might have problems of stagnant air.”
In a statement to The Mancunion, a student who lives in Canterbury Court and asked to remain anonymous, commented, “I think that the accommodation is not worth the amount we pay for it considering the size of the room, the awful carpets, the ugly curtains and the brick walls make some flats feel like prison.
“I think this will have a negative impact on students’ life and how they view the city of Manchester and the university.”
More information about Toxic Home Syndrome can be found at www.myhealthmyhome.com.