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Title: Meta-Analyses of the Associations of Respiratory Health Effectswith Dampness and Mold in Homes

Abstract

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences recently completed a critical review of the scientific literature pertaining to the association of indoor dampness and mold contamination with adverse health effects. In this paper, we report the results of quantitative meta-analysis of the studies reviewed in the IOM report. We developed point estimates and confidence intervals (CIs) to summarize the association of several respiratory and asthma-related health outcomes with the presence of dampness and mold in homes. The odds ratios and confidence intervals from the original studies were transformed to the log scale and random effect models were applied to the log odds ratios and their variance. Models were constructed both accounting for the correlation between multiple results within the studies analyzed and ignoring such potential correlation. Central estimates of ORs for the health outcomes ranged from 1.32 to 2.10, with most central estimates between 1.3 and 1.8. Confidence intervals (95%) excluded unity except in two of 28 instances, and in most cases the lower bound of the CI exceeded 1.2. In general, the two meta-analysis methods produced similar estimates for ORs and CIs. Based on the results of the meta-analyses, building dampness and mold are associatedmore » with approximately 30% to 80% increases in a variety of respiratory and asthma-related health outcomes. The results of these meta-analyses reinforce the IOM's recommendation that actions be taken to prevent and reduce building dampness problems.« less

Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley NationalLaboratory, Berkeley, CA (US)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE; Indoor Environments Division. Office of Radiation andIndoor Air. Office of Air and Radiation of the US EnvironmentalProtection Agency through interagency agreementDW-89-92175001-0
OSTI Identifier:
924852
Report Number(s):
LBNL-59363
Journal ID: ISSN 0905-6947; INAIE5; R&D Project: E26101; BnR: 400408000; TRN: US200809%%593
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Indoor Air; Journal Volume: 17; Journal Issue: 4; Related Information: Journal Publication Date: 08/2007
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54; CONTAMINATION; INDOORS; MEDICINE; RECOMMENDATIONS

Citation Formats

Fisk, William J., Lei-Gomez, Quanhong, and Mendell, Mark J.. Meta-Analyses of the Associations of Respiratory Health Effectswith Dampness and Mold in Homes. United States: N. p., 2006. Web.
Fisk, William J., Lei-Gomez, Quanhong, & Mendell, Mark J.. Meta-Analyses of the Associations of Respiratory Health Effectswith Dampness and Mold in Homes. United States.
Fisk, William J., Lei-Gomez, Quanhong, and Mendell, Mark J.. Sun . "Meta-Analyses of the Associations of Respiratory Health Effectswith Dampness and Mold in Homes". United States. doi:. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/924852.
@article{osti_924852,
title = {Meta-Analyses of the Associations of Respiratory Health Effectswith Dampness and Mold in Homes},
author = {Fisk, William J. and Lei-Gomez, Quanhong and Mendell, Mark J.},
abstractNote = {The Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences recently completed a critical review of the scientific literature pertaining to the association of indoor dampness and mold contamination with adverse health effects. In this paper, we report the results of quantitative meta-analysis of the studies reviewed in the IOM report. We developed point estimates and confidence intervals (CIs) to summarize the association of several respiratory and asthma-related health outcomes with the presence of dampness and mold in homes. The odds ratios and confidence intervals from the original studies were transformed to the log scale and random effect models were applied to the log odds ratios and their variance. Models were constructed both accounting for the correlation between multiple results within the studies analyzed and ignoring such potential correlation. Central estimates of ORs for the health outcomes ranged from 1.32 to 2.10, with most central estimates between 1.3 and 1.8. Confidence intervals (95%) excluded unity except in two of 28 instances, and in most cases the lower bound of the CI exceeded 1.2. In general, the two meta-analysis methods produced similar estimates for ORs and CIs. Based on the results of the meta-analyses, building dampness and mold are associated with approximately 30% to 80% increases in a variety of respiratory and asthma-related health outcomes. The results of these meta-analyses reinforce the IOM's recommendation that actions be taken to prevent and reduce building dampness problems.},
doi = {},
journal = {Indoor Air},
number = 4,
volume = 17,
place = {United States},
year = {Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2006},
month = {Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2006}
}
  • Dampness and mold have been shown in qualitative reviews to be associated with a variety of adverse respiratory health effects, including respiratory tract infections. Several published meta-analyses have provided quantitative summaries for some of these associations, but not for respiratory infections. Demonstrating a causal relationship between dampness-related agents, which are preventable exposures, and respiratory tract infections would suggest important new public health strategies. We report the results of quantitative meta-analyses of published studies that examined the association of dampness or mold in homes with respiratory infections and bronchitis. For primary studies meeting eligibility criteria, we transformed reported odds ratios (ORs)more » and confidence intervals (CIs) to the log scale. Both fixed and random effects models were applied to the log ORs and their variances. Most studies contained multiple estimated ORs. Models accounted for the correlation between multiple results within the studies analyzed. One set of analyses was performed with all eligible studies, and another set restricted to studies that controlled for age, gender, smoking, and socioeconomic status. Subgroups of studies were assessed to explore heterogeneity. Funnel plots were used to assess publication bias. The resulting summary estimates of ORs from random effects models based on all studies ranged from 1.38 to 1.50, with 95% CIs excluding the null in all cases. Use of different analysis models and restricting analyses based on control of multiple confounding variables changed findings only slightly. ORs (95% CIs) from random effects models using studies adjusting for major confounding variables were, for bronchitis, 1.45 (1.32-1.59); for respiratory infections, 1.44 (1.31-1.59); for respiratory infections excluding nonspecific upper respiratory infections, 1.50 (1.32-1.70), and for respiratory infections in children or infants, 1.48 (1.33-1.65). Little effect of publication bias was evident. Estimated attributable risk proportions ranged from 8% to 20%. Residential dampness and mold are associated with substantial and statistically significant increases in both respiratory infections and bronchitis. If these associations were confirmed as causal, effective control of dampness and mold in buildings would prevent a substantial proportion of respiratory infections.« less
  • The public health risk and economic impact of dampness and mold exposures was assessed using current asthma as a health endpoint. Individual risk of current asthma from exposure to dampness and mold in homes from Fisk et al. (2007), and asthma risks calculated from additional studies that reported the prevalence of dampness and mold in homes were used to estimate the proportion of U.S. current asthma cases that are attributable to dampness and mold exposure at 21% (95% confidence internal 12-29%). An examination of the literature covering dampness and mold in schools, offices, and institutional buildings, which is summarized inmore » the appendix, suggests that risks from exposure in these buildings are similar to risks from exposures in homes. Of the 21.8 million people reported to have asthma in the U.S., approximately 4.6 (2.7-6.3) million cases are estimated to be attributable to dampness and mold exposure in the home. Estimates of the national cost of asthma from two prior studies were updated to 2004 and used to estimate the economic impact of dampness and mold exposures. By applying the attributable fraction to the updated national annual cost of asthma, the national annual cost of asthma that is attributable to dampness and mold exposure in the home is estimated to be $3.5 billion ($2.1-4.8 billion). Analysis indicates that exposure to dampness and mold in buildings poses significant public health and economic risks in the U.S. These findings are compatible with public policies and programs that help control moisture and mold in buildings.« less
  • This report briefly summarizes, based on recent review articles and selected more recent research reports, current scientific knowledge on two topics: assessing unhealthy levels of indoor D/M in homes and remediating home dampness-related problems to protect health. Based on a comparison of current scientific knowledge to that required to support effective, evidence-based, health-protective policies on home D/M, gaps in knowledge are highlighted, prior questions and research questions specified, and necessary research activities and approaches recommended.
  • This report briefly summarizes, based on recent review articles and selected more recent research reports, current scientific knowledge on two topics: assessing unhealthy levels of indoor D/M in homes and remediating home dampness-related problems to protect health. Based on a comparison of current scientific knowledge to that required to support effective, evidence-based, health-protective policies on home D/M, gaps in knowledge are highlighted, prior questions and research questions specified, and necessary research activities and approaches recommended.