A new study reveals that children seem to be more likely to develop asthma if their kitchens, living rooms, or bedrooms have moisture damage or mold. For the study, a trained civil engineer assessed nearly 400 children’s homes in Finland for mold and moisture damage when the children were around 5 months old, and according to a HealthDay news report, almost all of the homes had some level of moisture damage or mold. The engineer recorded the severity of the damage.
The parents also filled out questionnaires regarding the respiratory symptoms of the children and any bronchitis or asthma diagnosed by a physician at 1-year-old, 18 months old, 2-years-old, and each year until age 6. In addition, the research team also tested children’s blood samples at ages 1 and 6 to determine if they had allergies to different environmental substances or foods.
The results of the study showed that children were nearly five times more likely to develop asthma at some point by age 6 if moisture damage with mold was present in their bedrooms. For children with mold in their living room, the risk was 7.5 times higher as compared to no moisture damage. In kitchens, mold damage was up to 2.5 times more likely to be linked to asthma by age 6 compared to no mold, as noted on the HealthDay news report.
The risk for asthma was highest for 1-year-olds who tested positive for allergies compared to those with no allergies, according to HealthDay.
Lead researcher Anne Karvonen states, “The most significant finding was that moisture damage with or without mold in the rooms where children are expected to spend most of their time is associated with increased asthma risk, and it appears to be permanent.”
Dr. Michael Lewis of the University of Kansas Hospital says, “This study isn’t surprising but is significant because it supports what many providers have believed regarding mold and water damage, that it can negatively impact an infant’s or toddler’s lung health.” Lewis suggests parents contact their landlord if moisture damage is discovered and should ask potential landlords about a past history of mold or water damage before signing a lease.
Karvonen adds, “Every sign of moisture damage should be taken seriously. Parents should find out what caused it and renovate the damage properly and as soon as possible, and the reason should be handled so the damage doesn’t recur.”