Health effects of exposure to mould or dampness upon children

Health effects of exposure to mould or dampness upon children

A report has been released explaining the connection between adverse respiratory health in children and mould or dampness in the home. The group of scientists investigated the association between exposure to visible mould or dampness at home and sleep problems in children.

The German-based study studied 1,719 10-year old children against reported current mould or dampness problems at home and sleep issues.

“The presence of visible mould or dampness at home was assessed by questionnaire.”

“Prevalence estimates of reported signs of dampness in buildings worldwide have a wide range, but the majority of studies indicate that at least 20% of buildings are affected (National Research Council, 2004, WHO, 2009. WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould, Regional Office for Europe.).

“In general, indoor humidity in buildings is increased by its residents by breathing or perspiration or by the use of water for showering, cooking or washing (National Research Council, 2004). Exchange of air by ventilation or by opening windows can reduce the humidity level.”However, insufficient ventilation, inadequate building insulation or water damage such as water leakage or water-pipe bursts can lead to excess moisture in buildings and to a condensation of water on surfaces such as floors or walls (National Research Council, 2004).

“These humid conditions favour the growth of many microbial species such as fungi or bacteria which release spores, cell fragments or microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs), which are related to a mould-related odour, into the air and have possible adverse health consequences for the inhabitants (National Research Council, 2004).

“Some of these components are potential allergens and living in homes with visible mould or dampness has been associated with current asthma, asthma development or exacerbation, respiratory infections, upper respiratory tract symptoms, wheeze, cough and dyspnoea in adults and children (Mendell et al., 2011, Tischer et al., 2011, Tischer et al., 2011, WHO, 2009. WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould, Regional Office for Europe.).

“A recent study in children from 20 countries further supported an association of exposure to dampness at home and an increased risk for reported eczema (Weinmayr et al., 2013). Furthermore, living in homes with reported visible mould was associated with decreased cognitive function in children (Jedrychowski et al., 2011).”

The full report, which indicates a link between ongoing health and sleep issues in children and the presence of mould and dampness, is available in full here.

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