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'Felt like I was on fire': The Hidden Danger Of Mould Illness

Black mould can infest homes and even schools, putting potentially millions of Australians at risk of serious illness.

Federal MP Lucy Wicks is leading the charge for a national inquiry into the hidden danger of black mould.

Ms Wicks, who represents the New South Wales electorate of Robertson for the Liberal Party, said her Central Coast home was damaged in a storm and sustained heavy water damage.

mould illness

Federal MP Lucy Wicks is pushing for a national inquiry into mould illness

"Within a week or two I began to get some very strange symptoms, pneumonia, asthma, got very tired," she said.

She was diagnosed with chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS).

"My skin would feel like I was on fire, my brain would feel like it wasn't working properly," she said.

black mould

About 25 percent of Australians carry a gene that leaves them susceptible to mould illness.

"I started writing my speeches down in parliament to avoid the embarassment of not being able to remember the words that suddenly just might not be there. It was a really tough time."

School student Mariah, 11, was seriously ill for three years before she was diagnosed with a mould-related illness.

Her mother Hayley told A Current Affair "every organ in her body was pretty much inflamed".

mould health problems

Mariah, 11, was seriously ill for three years before being diagnosed.

She said Mariah also suffered severe nausea and chronic weightloss - down to just 26 kilograms at her lowest.

At her worst, she was too ill to attend school, play sport or go to the beach.

Shockingly, doctors traced the diagnosis to a mould-infested classroom at her public school.

mould related problems

Mariah's mum Hayley said her daughter suffered from inflamed organs and chronic weight loss.

"I felt like I was going to faint and I started getting cramps in my stomach when I would sit in the classroom," Mariah said.

A mould-infested public housing residence in Western Sydney has been home to Michelle, her partner and her seven children for 12 years.

"It's making my kids very sick on a regular basis," she said.

mould health related sickness

Doctors traced her illness to time spent in a mouldy classroom.

"They get a regular amount of chest infestions, he gets group quite often, he used to get croup all the time."

Her son Lachlan, who had mould in his room, said he woke up exhausted "most of the time" and had trouble breathing during winter.

She and her family contacted A Current Affair looking for help.

mould affiliated illness

Michelle lives in a mould-infested public housing residence in Sydney's west.

Mould expert Vince Neil inspected the residence and his judgement was succinct.

"I wouldn't be living here," he said.

It is believed about 25 percent of people carry a gene that makes them susceptible to mould illnesses.

mould serious health problem

She said her children's health had been affected by the mould.

Specialist doctors believe CIRS can lead to a range of symptoms affecting everything from brain function to respiratory problems.


Ms Wicks wants knowledge of mould diseases to be more widespread.


"If there are guidelines for GPs, we would one day see anybody be able to walk into any GP clinic around Australia," she said.


"You would be able to go in, be diagnosed, get treatment and be well."


Mariah, who is recovering since her family moved to Queensland, agrees.


"The general public don't know enough about it and general practitioners don't know enough about it either," she said.


© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2018

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