Market hit with Fungus and Mould Plague

21/06/2012 17:12

Consumers must be vigilant when buying masonite, plywood, hardboards and watch-out for mould and fungus infestation, warns the Consumer Council of Fiji.

The Council is issuing a stern warning to all hardware traders to cease the sale of boards infested with mould, fungus and swells.

This call comes in light of complaints received by the Council from a number of consumers who purchased sheets of   masonite board, plywood, and hardboard in recent months, which were plagued with mould and fungus.  

Consumers who have fallen victim to the infested wood began noticing the fungus, black mould, and swells on the boards days after installing them as ceilings, partition walls, and other interior built-ins. The Council recorded one case in which fungus infestation was to an extent that it had mushroomed all over the house. In another instance, the complainant had to sweep the house half a dozen times in a day because the fungus kept falling from the ceiling as dust. In all cases, the fungus and moulds became only noticeable after the boards were exposed to open air after being installed. There were complainants who painted or polished the boards in anticipation that the infestation would be contained but the exercise was futile.

The Council has sought the assistance of the Ministry of Fisheries and Forests for expert advice on the matter and according to Forestry Department, mould, fungus, and swells are a natural phenomenon, which will grow if there is moisture.  The Forestry Department met with the Council and stated that moulds and fungus are closely associated with moisture and to avoid such infestation, the sheets have to be stored in a dry place. They stated fungus formed due to moisture and spread along the wood and this was noticeable when they attended to similar complaints around the Navua, Suva and Nausori corridor.

Thus, the Council is reiterating to the hardware retailers to step up their storage facilities for the masonite boards, plywood, hardboard and other wood, which can be easily infested by mould and fungus. It is the responsibility of the hardware retailers to scrutinize the quality and standard of these boards when they receive the consignment from their suppliers because at the end of the day, it is they who are answerable to the consumers for selling boards infested with mould.

The consumers’ do not wish to hear excuses such as the rainy season as a justification for the mould and fungus plagued wood as this problem has emerged just recently and leads one to question the quality of the boards. Consumers are also advised to be cautious while buying the boards and take the responsibility of storing the boards in a dry place after purchase.