Asthma's Moldy Evidence

Asthma increases when children come from homes with mold

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Protecting an infant from diseases and illness is natural for most parents. Could shielding them from asthma be as easy as committing themselves to a cleaner, less moldy environment?

A recent study from University of Cincinnati indicates that babies who live in moldy homes are three times more likely to have asthma by 7 years old.

"Clean your home thoroughly because molds are linked to asthma."

Tina Reponen, Ph.D., lead study author and University of Cincinnati (UC) professor of environmental health reports that babies exposed to mold are much more likely to develop asthma. Genetics are also an important consideration because babies whose parents have allergies and/or asthma are most likely to develop asthma.

Allergist David Bernstein, M.D., study co-author, UC professor of internal medicine and American Colllege of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI ) fellow reports that symptoms of pediatric asthma range from a nagging cough that lingers for days or even weeks to sporadic, unexpected episodes involving shortness of breath and wheezing that may require emergency treatment. If these symptoms become a common occurence, it could indicate the child has asthma.

Researchers retrospectively analyzed seven years of data from 176 children to evaluate the effects of early life exposure to mold.

All the study participants were part of the Cincinnati Childhood Allergy and Air Pollution Study (CCAAPS), a long-term study that included more than 700 children from the Greater Cincinnati area. CCAAPS looked at the effects of environmental particles on childhood respiratory health and allergy development. All participants were thought during infancy to be at high risk to develop allergies. This risk assessment was based on family history.

Mold exposure levels were measured in all the children's homes using a DNA-based analysis tool that measures the environmental relative moldiness index (ERMI). The index determined the amount of mold exposure health that children inhaled.

Of the children enrolled in CCAAPS, 18 percent were diagnosed with asthma by the age of 7.

The current estimate is that about nine percent of school-aged children in the United States will develop asthma. Study after study indicates that rates are often higher in children from the poor, urban children. Presently, this disease cannot be accurately diagnosed until age 7 and all the causes are still not completely known.

The study was published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
August 3, 2011
Last Updated:
August 5, 2011