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Awaab Ishak – toddler’s death was caused by mould in his home, coroner rules

'How in the UK in 2020 does a two-year-old child die as a result of exposure to mould?'

Daisy Jackson Daisy Jackson - 15th November 2022

Two-year-old Awaab Ishak died as a result of prolonged exposure to mould in his home, a coroner has ruled.

The toddler suffered a severe respiratory condition, leading to him going into respiratory arrest in December 2020.

His father repeatedly raised concerns about the damp and mould in the family’s one-bedroom home with Rochdale Boroughwide Housing (RBH) but he says no action was taken. He was told to paint over the mould.

Coroner Joanne Kearsley said that the case should be a ‘defining moment for the housing sector’, adding that it was ‘not simply a Rochdale problem or a social housing problem’.

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She questioned: “How in the UK in 2020 does a two-year-old child die as a result of exposure to mould?”

After the hearing, Awaab Ishak’s family said they had been ‘left feeling absolutely worthless at the hands of RBH’.

The conclusion at Rochdale Coroner’s Court found that there was insufficient and ineffective ventilation in the kitchen, bathroom and the overall property.

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Ms Kearsley said: “The development of Awaab’s severe respiratory condition, which led to him going into respiratory arrest, was entirely due to the prolonged exposure he had to mould in his home environment.”

Awaab was taken to Rochdale Urgent Care Centre on 19 December with shortness of breath and transferred to Royal Oldham Hospital before being discharged, the court heard.

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After he deteriorated the next day, his parents were advised to take him back to the Rochdale Urgent Care Centre – he went into respiratory arrest and then cardiac arrest while being transferred back to Oldham

She added: “The tragic death of Awaab will and should be a defining moment for the housing sector in terms of increasing knowledge, increasing awareness and a deepening of understanding surrounding the issue of damp and mould.”

Speaking to the child’s parents, Ms Kearsley said: “I hope you know that Awaab will, I am sure, make a difference for other people.”

Featured image: GMP