November 3, 2012
Hanging Your Clothes Inside To Dry Raises Respiratory Risks
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Drying clothes indoors could pose health risks to those suffering from asthma, hay fever and other allergies, according to researchers from the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow, Scotland.
The researchers looked at 100 households throughout Glasgow and found 87 of them dried their laundry indoors during periods of cool, potentially wet weather, the UPI news agency explained in a Friday report. In one-quarter of those houses, they detected the presence of mold spores which have been linked to lung infections in individuals with weakened immune systems.
"Draping washing on driers around radiators is common practice nowadays whether because the weather is too bad to hang it outdoors or the cost of using a tumble drier is too great. However, the impact of this seemingly innocuous action is something that more of us need to be aware of, and that house builders need to address," the school said in a news release.
The average load of wet laundry releases approximately 2 liters worth of moisture into the air while it is drying. When those clothes are placed near radiators in poorly ventilated rooms, they can account for up to one-third of the moisture in the air. This creates conditions ideal for both mold spores and dust mites, which the school says are known causes of asthma, and can also increase energy use when heaters are turned up to help dry the clothes.
The research was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
"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 liters of water will be emitted," researcher Rosalie Menon told BBC News.
Menon suggested that special rooms should be created for indoor clothes trying, adding that the areas used for those purposes "should be independently heated and ventilated. It's very much going back to the airing cupboards we saw in more historical types of housing."