Mold Linked to Asthma in Children

Published Online: Monday, November 12, 2012
A recent substudy of the Cincinnati Childhood Allergy and Air Pollution Study linked 3 specific mold species with the development of childhood asthma.

The study, which was published in the September 2012 edition of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, looked at 8-month-old infants born between 2001 and 2003 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and northern Kentucky. Researchers collected dust samples from 289 homes. The samples were analyzed for 36 molds that comprise the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI), as well as other factors such as endotoxin, house dust mites, and cat and dog allergens.

At 1 year of age, researchers evaluated the infants’ family asthma history as well as other environmental, home, and family factors, such as exposure to cigarette smoke and the age of the home. At 7 years of age, researchers examined the children for asthma; 24% were diagnosed with the condition. Researchers found that high ERMI values in the child’s home in infancy significantly increased the risk of asthma.

The researchers identified 3 specific molds common to water-damaged buildings, Aspergillus ochraceus, Aspergillus unguis, and Penicillium variabile, that were significantly connected with childhood development of asthma. The study also identified parental asthma, low income, and upper respiratory tract infections at 1 year of age to be strong risk factors for asthma.

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