Children are at 2 times the risk of developing asthma if they live in homes withmold and dampness. For more than 6 years, the researchers followed 2000 Finnishchildren aged 1 to 7. Of the participants, 138 children (7%) went on to develop asthmaover the study's duration.
The results of the study revealed increased asthma susceptibility in children witha parent with a history of allergies. Also, odor of mold in the home raised the risk ofasthma, independent of parents'medical histories. During the initial phase of thestudy, children who lived in homes with mold odor were >2 times as likely to developasthma in the following 6 years, compared with other children. Children exposedto mold or dampness were also more prone to exposure to other allergens such assecondhand tobacco smoke or pet birds, cats, or dogs.
The researchers concluded, "This study is important for families everywhere.Anyone with young children in the home should be aware of the potentially harmfuleffects of long-term exposure to mold and this potential link to asthma in children,"reported Jim Burkhart, PhD, science editor for Environmental Health Perspectives(March 2005).