Gyprock solutions for asthma and allergy sufferers

Gyprocksupreg Sensitive for Homes

If you or someone in your family suffers from asthma or allergies and you are building a home, extending or planning a renovation, Gyprock Sensitive is an ideal solution for your internal walls and ceilings.

Gyprock Sensitive is approved by the National Asthma Council Australia's Sensitive Choice® program as a better plasterboard choice for asthma and allergy sufferers.

It's about Breathing

Sensitive Choice® is a program created by the National Asthma Council Australia as a guide for asthma and allergy sufferers to identify products and services that may benefit their health and wellbeing. The blue butterfly signifies a better choice and companies earn the right to display it on products that the National Asthma Council Australia approves, based on strict criteria.

National Asthma Council Australia - Sensitive Choice  

You'll find that reassuring blue butterfly on hundreds of products – from bedding to paint, from cleaning agents to carpets, from air purifiers and vacuum cleaners to insulation and Gyprock® plasterboard.

Visit the Sensitive Choice® website for full details as well as healthy tips for asthma and allergy sufferers.

Indoor air quality

There are around 2.3 million asthmatics in Australia who are sensitive to a range of pollutants including mould, VOCs and dust mite allergens. These common pollutants are asthma triggers that can cause the airways to become narrow and inflamed – leading to asthma symptoms.1 In fact, exposure to mould allergens has been found to cause asthma in people who are genetically predisposed to it.2 Infants and children are also vulnerable to respiratory illnesses associated with Nitrogen Dioxide, cigarette smoke and dust mites.

These can be responsible for significant health problems:

Indoor air quality

Gyprock Sensitive plasterboard is treated with a powerful but gentle antifungal agent throughout the board's core which penetrates through the paper liner and paint coating.

Mould is a major concern

Mould is a very common asthma trigger.

A recent review by the World Health Organisation concludes that the most important effects of moisture and mould in buildings are increased instance of respiratory symptoms, allergies and asthma and other disturbances of the immune system. It recommends that the most important way to avoid these adverse health effects is the prevention (or minimisation) of persistent dampness and microbial growth on interior surfaces and in building structures.3

Mould  

Breakthrough independent research conducted for CSR Gyprock into mould in Australian homes uncovered some astounding statistics4:

  • 35% of Australian households surveyed had experienced mould in their homes
  • 82% of these, who were also looking at purchasing a new home or renovating in the next 12 months, expressed concern about the presence of mould
  • 51% felt that it may have contributed to health issues within the home, in particular allergies, asthma and other respiratory problems

Mould requires 70% – 90% humidity to thrive, which is common in many of Australia's coastal regions where the majority of the population lives. Apart from atmospheric humidity, activities within a home contribute to much higher levels of humidity:

  • Moisture in bathrooms and laundries that can permeate throughout the house
  • Unflued gas appliances
  • Steam from cooking
  • Occupants' breath and perspiration5
Humidity

Room Types

Gyprock's research also identified those rooms in a home where mould was more commonly experienced. These are the areas most likely to have the conditions where mould growth is more likely, but mould can grow anywhere the humidity conditions are right for it.

Areas of Home  
House  

Building solutions for asthma and allergy sufferers

By better understanding what causes humidity buildup and the associated risk of mould growth in a home, builders and renovators can build better to reduce or eliminate the risk altogether.

Gyprock Sensitive

Gyprock Sensitive has been developed with a specially formulated core to provide exceptional mould and moisture resistance. The product is also very low in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC).

A powerful but gentle antifungal agent throughout the board's core also penetrates the paper liner and paint coating.

Repeated independent laboratory tests to the internationally recognised film fungal resistance measure ASTM G21 have been conducted on treated plasterboard samples manufactured over two years ago. This extreme test inoculates samples with a mixed fungal spore suspension. While the standard board sample developed fungal growth as expected, the treated sample showed zero growth.

Mould Test  

This proven protection provides long-term peace of mind for asthma and allergy sufferers.

Download a copy of the Gyprock Sensitive brochure from the Resources page.

Gyprock Ultra-Base 60

Gyprock Ultra-Base 60 is a low VOC, dry powder compound manufactured by Gyprock in Australia to stringent product specifications. It is used for jointing Gyprock plasterboards and is manufactured with a powerful anti-fungal agent that provides added mould resistance for the whole joint. Gyprock Ultra-Base 60 also features the National Asthma Council Australia's Blue Butterfly logo, signifying that it is approved as a better choice for asthma and allergy sufferers.

Choosing other building materials

Be aware of the types of materials, which can add to the level of pollutants in the air and choose better alternatives such as low VOC paints and flooring.

Locally manufactured timber composites used in flooring and cabinetry are more likely to have lower VOC emissions than imported alternatives.

Improving ventilation

Fresh, dry air is an important way to improve indoor air quality and minimise the chance of mould and dust mites.

Modern homes contain more insulation than in the past and this can stifle air flow. CSR’s building studies show that ideally, outside air should flush out the indoor volume no less than seven to twelve times in every 24 hours. In most homes, around 50% of this recommended rate occurs incidentally through gaps in the building fabric so active ventilation is required to make up the difference.

Select natural ventilation or air conditioning systems that introduce fresh air over split systems and consider mechanical ventilation in areas with potentially poor airflow.

Controlling indoor temperature

Indoor temperature also has a major impact on condensation and mould growth. As external humidity is brought into the home with fresh air, it is difficult to manage humidity levels indoors by ventilation alone. Temperature control by active or passive heating is also required to manage humidity to levels that inhibit condensation and allergens.

A constant minimum indoor temperature of 20 degrees is required to inhibit the growth of mould on interior surfaces. In most parts of Australia, significant energy use would be required to achieve this outside of the summer months so building a well insulated home or extension is very important.

Indoor Air Quality in Australia, a White Paper

CSR Gyprock recently commissioned a study paper on issues of relevance to asthma and allergy sufferers.

The publication brings together the findings of a number of research studies to provide some practical suggestions for builders and homeowners.

Many of the points have been summarised above but the full White Paper can be downloaded from the Resources page..

Useful links

Further information of interest for asthma and allergy sufferers can be found at:

Sensitive Choice®www.sensitivechoice.com

National Asthma Council Australia – www.nationalasthma.org.au

Asthma Australia – www.asthmaaustralia.org.au

World Health Organisation – www.who.int

Australian Building Codes Board – www.ABCB.gov.au

References

  1. National Asthma Council website, What is Asthma?
  2. Asthma Australia website, Does Mould Cause Asthma?
  3. Guidelines for indoor air quality: dampness and mould, WHO, 2009
  4. Mould Research Study: Prepared by Australia Online Research for CSR Gyprock, 2014
  5. S.C. Hite and JL Bray, Research in Home Humidity Control. Research Series No. 106, The Engineering Experiment Station, Purdue University, Urbana, November 1948.