Our English language listening practice lessons help you build your brain’s language skills so you can have conversations in English. Your brain has an entire language learning toolkit built in. From day 1 of your life, you were learning to process sounds that later became language, before you could read or write. Our English lessons cover a lot of interesting and useful topics to keep you engaged and focused while you learn, and today we talk about the dangers of mould in your home.
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When you listen to our English podcasts, you are building your long-term language memory for automatic language reference (thoughts and ideas into the words needed to express them), and your building the pronunciation, tone and enunciation skills through training your brain to hear correct grammar and pronunciation by listening to native English speakers.
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Enunciation Meaningful Acquisition Mould Ventilate Lungs Mildew Goggles Humidity Moisture Variegated Ivy
Hi there and welcome to this podcast from Adept English. Today I’m going to talk about something which is a health issue, something which you might need to deal with in your home - and about one nice solution to it, which shall we say, ‘kills two birds with one stone’?
I’ll do all of this in English, with explanations of the more difficult words - so that you can practise your English language comprehension. You know what we do - it’s ‘Listen & Learn’ with Adept English. Here goes.
So in the UK and the northern hemisphere, winter is here again. It’s noticeably colder so we are indoors more - and let’s face it, it seems as though we’re going to be at home more in the next few months because of the pandemic again.
So we are spending more time at home. And the health hazard in our homes that I’m talking about today? Well, it’s ‘black mould’. That’s ‘black’, BLACK as in the colour, ‘black’. And ‘mould’ is spelt MOULD in the UK, but more likely MOLD in the US. And ‘mould’ is the type of thing that grows on fruit when it goes off.
A photo of black mould in a room corner indoors. Conversations in English that will help you improve your listening skills so you can easily connect and interact with English speakers.
‘Mould’ is furry, it’s fuzzy and it probably smells a bit. But ‘moulds’ are an important part of our ecosystem - they do an important job. ‘Mildew’, MILDEW is a similar thing - part of the same family. There’s a really interesting documentary at the moment on Netflix called ‘Fantastic Fungi’ - and one of the things this illustrates is the importance of moulds and mildews, which are members of the fungi family.
Normally, seeing a piece of mouldy fruit - yes, ‘mouldy’, MOULDY is the adjective meaning ‘covered with mould’ - this would make me go ‘Ughh! Yuck!’. I might even shudder slightly as I pick up the fruit and throw it away! But having watched this documentary, I’m more of the opinion - ‘yes, there’s mould doing its job!’. Mould has a place - it’s clever and necessary, rather than revolting! But one of the problems that we have in our houses in the UK - is that we have ‘black mould’.
This appears on our windowsills and our walls, usually because there’s a lot of moisture - that’s water droplets in our air, AIR. And because we don’t ventilate enough. ‘To ventilate’, that’s VENTILATE - and that means when you allow air to flow through something. So in the UK in the winter, because it’s cold outside, we don’t ventilate enough.
We don’t ‘air’ our rooms enough and black mould is a problem in people’s houses. Black mould appears on our walls and on our window sills and our window frames. It doesn’t look very nice, but more importantly, it’s actually really bad for your health. Why so? How does it injure your health?
Well, it’s not great for lungs, especially children’s lungs. Your ‘lungs’, LUNGS are the organs that you use to breathe. (Breathing) - that’s the sound of me, using my lungs! And children’s lungs can be badly affected by black mould, especially if they have asthma.
And if your immune system is affected by illness, then black mould can be more serious for you too. Black mould has even been associated with memory problems and brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, though there does seem to be mixed opinion on this. But - ahh! Don’t want that.
Various websites - and I’ve included some links - talk about the dangers of black mould - and some see it as more dangerous, some as less dangerous to your health. But even those websites that say ‘less dangerous’, still advise you to protect yourself, to wear a mask and goggles when removing black mould - something I’ve never done!
A ‘mask’, MASK is what you put over your nose and mouth to protect yourself - you’ll be familiar with masks because of the pandemic. And ‘goggles’, GOGGLES? Goggles are for your eyes - they protect your eyes. You might wear ‘goggles’ for swimming or when you’re doing DIY, jobs on your house.
But I hadn’t thought of wearing goggles when removing black mould. Black mould can be removed with bleach or anti-bacterial mould and mildew spray. But you have to ‘keep on top of it’ - that means you have to keep managing the problem, keep working at it, so that it doesn’t come back.
One of the better solutions to this problem is to reduce the humidity in your home. ‘Humidity’, that’s HUMIDITY - that’s how much water is in your air. If you have ‘high humidity’, it means that the air contains a lot of water. And black mould is worse in ‘humid’ homes.
‘Humid’, HUMID is the adjective to go with ‘humidity’. And our homes are more ‘humid’ these days for a number of reasons. They’re better sealed for one - we have double glazing - we have good seals on our windows and doors, so that the air cannot come in or out very easily. It’s also more ‘humid’ in our homes because we take more showers, we wash and dry our clothes more often. And all of that water, all of that moisture, that’s MOISTURE - well, it has to go somewhere.
In our house, it’s also cooking also that seems to increase the black mould. In the summer, we have the doors and the windows open, but in the winter, of course they’re closed because of the cold. So all that steam from the kettle or from making soup or pasta - well, it ends up in the air in our house and so eventually, there’s more black mould. ‘Steam’, STEAM is hot water vapour - if you heat water, ‘steam’ results and makes for greater ‘humidity’ - and black mould loves this.
Before I talk about one interesting solution to this problem, just a quick reminder of our Adept English Most Common Five Hundred Words Course. If podcasts like this one are quite difficult for you to understand - it can be helpful to at least be sure about the most common words in English.
Most sentences, even in a podcast like this one - are made up of a high percentage of common words! If you want to start speaking English, then working on the most common words in English is also a good idea. When you start to speak, you’ll use simple sentences and the most common words. This course contains only the most common 500 English words - and in the last two chapters, only the most common 600 words. This gives you exactly the right practice, just what you need. Back to our topic today.
One solution to this problem that I’ve read about recently - and this touches on another Adept English podcast topic from recent weeks - one solution to black mould is to have more houseplants in your home. Houseplants have the potential to help with your black mould problem, because they reduce the humidity in your home. And according to an article in the Daily Express newspaper recently - not one of my favourite newspapers, let me say (!) - but it says that certain types of houseplant are particularly good for helping to reduce mould.
One of these houseplants is ivy, that’s IVY - and the Latin plant name for this is Hedera, or often Hedera Helix. Ivy is very common - for a houseplant we tend to choose the variegated type of ivy - variegated, VARIEGATED means that it’s not just green, it’s got yellow or white edges to the leaves to make it look more interesting. So that’s one type of plant to help with black mould.
Another is the Peace Lily - they’re green with usually a white flower and they love humid conditions. Their Latin name is Spathiphyllum - I didn’t know that one. I do have one of these - not because I bought one, but because my daughter’s friend had one that was dying, which my daughter rescued and then when she didn’t have any success with it, with this Peace Lily, my daughter passed it to me. It’s actually doing quite well for me, but now I realise, perhaps because of humid conditions in our house!
And the third type of houseplant which is good for mould - well apparently palms. That’s PALM, one of those strange English pronunciations where you don’t pronounce the L - you say ‘palm’ as though there is an R in there instead. ‘Palm’ - and palms are what you find in exotic places.
They can be trees - coconuts are palms. You might see palms growing in the Caribbean. They also grow in the UK - but only in the warmest parts, like Cornwall and the Scilly Isles. But apparently, palms growing as houseplants in your home can help reduce the humidity. Well, if I need any more justification, any more reasons to have lots of houseplants - well, there it is. It’s good for your health and helps with your black mould problem.
If you have black mould in your house, especially if you have children - and you hadn’t realised that it was an issue for your health, I hope that this is useful information for you. And if you’ve never tried houseplants, maybe this will motivate you to ‘have a go’ with houseplants, ‘have a go’ at growing something. I hope it gives you much pleasure!
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
- More interesting listening practice lessons
- Why are British houses so damp and mouldy?
- Why is Exposure To Toxic Black Mold Dangerous?
- Black Mould Spores and More
- Houseplants that can remove mould...
- Hedera helix ‘Halebob’
- How to Grow and Care for Peace Lily Indoors
- Fantastic Fungi Netflix
- Find us on Spotify
- Read along on YouTube
- Apple Podcasts
- Most Common 500 English Words