A mum who says her home is overrun with mould has claimed the problem could become “fatal” for her daughter if it continues.
Tracie Yarnton, 41, is worried about how the mould could affect her teen daughter, who has ulcerative colitis.
She said her youngest child has to wear a face mask in the bath because of the extent of the problem which re-emerged in November, 2020, after repairs were carried out.
She told Wales Online: “You can smell the damp, you can feel it. It feels like death, it smells like death.”
The mother-of-two moved into her two-bedroom housing association accommodation in Brynmawr in 2008.
Tracie said she first raised issues with mould and damp at the start of her tenancy.
In 2017 work was undertaken by Tai Calon Community Housing to fit a new roof, windows, kitchen, bathroom, internal doors and extractor fans over 12 months, as well as installing new insulation and re-pointing the outside walls.
But Tracie said the issue had returned with a vengeance faster than she could clean and repaint the walls in her bathroom, hallway, landing and daughter’s bedroom, leaving her home smelling and feeling like “death”.
She said: “The worst thing is this is the second time around as well. This time it’s twice as bad.
“We can’t keep anything in the bathroom. It comes up through the floor, this time around it spreads twice as fast, you can see the fur.
“I was wiping it every other day but now it’s so bad I’m frightened to do anything because it will release it all. You open the bathroom door and it’s that bad, the spores are flying everywhere.
“We sit in here sometimes and I have an Avon spray and it’s that cold it freezes. It shouldn’t be like that because they insulated everything but it’s like an ice cube.”
She said the issue had been made worse following her 15-year-old daughter’s recent ulcerative colitis diagnosis, a long-term condition affecting the large intestine.
The illness means that during a flare up the teenager has to take up to 12 steroids a day which suppresses her immune system, making her particularly vulnerable to health conditions caused by the mould, according to her mum.
Tracie said: “What worries me is my daughter was diagnosed last year with a bowel disease so she has to sit in the bath with a face mask on.
“When she has a flare up she has to take steroids, up to 12 a day which lowers your immune system which mould loves to attack.
“It can be fatal if [you’re] in an environment with damp and the black toxic mould I have growing upstairs.”
She added: “Over the years we were having frequent, really bad headaches, eye infections which would lead to conjunctivitis, we just didn’t put two and two together.
“I was in my thirties when it first started but I would have no energy. I sleep on the sofa, I always have done because Tai Calon promised me a bigger house, but I feel about 100.
“I suffer from depression anyway but my mental health took a total decline. When my mental health was really bad I locked myself away and I got into arrears.
“I paid £2,000 of my arrears back but for what I don’t know. I wouldn’t have anyone in the house, I was embarrassed.
“I almost want to get evicted because I’d get a home straight away but I have a 15-year-old daughter and a 22-year-old daughter and the thought of not being able to put a roof over their heads…it’s devastating.
“I can’t provide them with a safe, warm, non-hazardous house. “
An environmental report on the property was carried out before the repairs in 2017, blaming mould and damp on inadequate ventilation.
At the time of the inspection the external doors and frames were described as being in “poor repair” as well as “poor condition” external render before improvements were made.
Tracie said she now spent as much time out of the house as possible walking due to the situation.
She claimed she had contacted Tai Calon multiple times but had not heard back prior to contacting WalesOnline.
The housing association said it had arranged an inspection of the house on March 24.
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Tracie said: “This time they just ignored every bit of help that I’m asking for. Last year it has been hard because of lockdown but in the night time I would go out for an hour just to walk.
“The thought of my kids upstairs knowing they have to go into that bathroom – the mould grows in the toilet, I’ve never seen that before.
“Since everything’s got worse it seems like there’s a cloud over everything. Every time they have asked me to do something, when my garden was overhanging I got rid of that, I’ve done everything they’ve asked.”
Howard Toplis, chief executive of housing association Tai Calon, said: “We are really sorry that Ms Yarnton has had mould return to her home.
“Resolving this damp problem quickly has been made more difficult by Covid-19 restrictions in the way we work.
“However, with the recent reduction in infection rates, it has enabled us to agree with Ms Yarnton an inspection date of 24 th March 2021.
“We are confident that we can then resolve the mould in her home to her satisfaction”