Singapore

Family falls sick after mould grows on wardrobes

In the last 5 years, Case received 38 complaints of mould on furniture


After Ms Ang Hwee Chuin's family moved into their new apartment in Kallang two months ago, all three of them started falling sick.

"My husband had fever, I had rhinitis flare-ups and my kid had a non-stop leaky nose and chesty cough," said the 37-year-old freelance consultant.

Mould, she discovered, had grown on the external back panels of the wardrobes in two of the rooms.

Ms Ang contacted the furniture retailer last Tuesday, and it told her it would not be replacing the two-month-old wardrobes.

It said: "We regret that as the mould existed due to the environment, it is not covered in our store's policy."

In humid Singapore, mould on furniture is not unheard of.

Over the past five years, the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) has received 38 complaints about mould on furniture, said executive director Loy York Jiun.

In a response to queries by The Straits Times, the company that sold Ms Ang the furniture said: "Due to the humid climate in Singapore, we do occasionally have customers coming to us with similar enquiries.

'WELL-VENTILATED'

"As mould grows in damp conditions, rooms should be kept well-ventilated. Each case is looked at on a case-by-case basis, to assess the recovery options for customers."

Ms Ang said the cupboards were assembled and placed in the flat last November, one month before they moved in.

The flat's windows were left slightly ajar during that period.

She paid about $2,000 for the wardrobes and said they were the only furniture items in the apartment to have mould.

Experts said there are many reasons why mould could grow.

Mold Buster's Feng Huinan told ST that mould growth is complex. Determining the origin of an infestation involves many factors, he said. These range from how porous the furniture material is to how often air-conditioning is used, and even how frequently a home owner travels.

Mould, said Mr Feng, could grow within 48 hours.

To prevent it, home owners should avoid introducing moisture into the house.

For instance, the floor should be dried quickly after mopping.

Both the interior and exterior of the home should be kept clean as dust can contain mould.


ILLNESSEShomefurniture