PURPOSE OF THE STUDY.
To determine whether the extent and location of moisture damage and mold growth were related to asthma.
The study included a birth cohort of 442 children born 2002–2005, with 214 from Finland rural areas and 228 from suburban areas.
Home inspection by a trained civil engineer, including assessment of moisture damage and mold, was undertaken when the child was 5 months of age and children were followed to 6 years of age. There were periodic evaluations of the child, including allergy testing at age 6 years.
Signs of moisture damage with or without mold at an early age in the child’s main living areas were associated with having physician diagnosed asthma “ever,” persistent asthma, and respiratory symptoms during the first 6 years of life. Moisture damage and mold found in other areas such as the bathroom or other interior spaces not usually occupied by the child was not related to the child’s outcomes. Asthma “ever” was most strongly associated with moisture damage and visible mold in the child’s bedroom (adjusted odds ratio 4.82; 95% confidence interval, 1.29–18.02) and in the living room (adjusted odds ratio 7.51; 95% confidence interval, 1.49–37.83). No relationships of moisture or mold were found for allergen sensitization. However, the associations with asthma ever were stronger in the earlier part of the follow-up and among atopic children.
Asthma development is related to moisture damage and mold exposure in early infancy in the child’s man living areas. Atopic children may be more vulnerable to these exposures.
The mechanism underlying the finding that mold exposure is associated with asthma outcomes is unlikely to be immunoglobulin E mediated given that only a small proportion were sensitized to mold, although it is intriguing that the risk was greater for atopic children. The study is limited by exposure assessment being undertaken only in early infancy, and some intrinsic limitations of the assessments themselves. However, the study adds to the literature in specifying the risk of mold and moisture damage according to location within the home, showing that areas occupied by the child are pertinent.
- Copyright © 2015 by the American Academy of Pediatrics