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Moisture damage and childhood asthma - a population-based incident case-control study.

Eur Respir J. 2006 Nov 15; Pekkanen J, Hyvarinen A, Haverinen-Shaughnessy U, Korppi M, Putus T, Nevalainen A. National Public Health Institute, Kuopio, Finland; and School of Public Health and General Practice, University of Kuopio, Kuopio, Finland.

Most previous studies on the association between moisture damage and asthma have been cross-sectional and relied on self-reported exposure and health. We studied the association by doing careful home inspections among new, clinically determined cases of asthma and controls.

We recruited prospectively new cases of asthma aged 12-84 months (n=121) and matched them for year of birth, sex and living area with two randomly selected population controls (n=241). Trained engineers visited all homes. Both cases and controls had lived at least 75% of their lifetime or the past two years in their current home. Risk of asthma increased with severity of moisture damage (OR 2.11, 95%CI 1.06-4.21 for minor damage and 2.46, 95%CI 1.09-5.55 for major damage) and presence of visible mold (adjusted OR 2.59, 95%CI 1.15-5.85) in the main living quarters, but not in other areas of the house. Cases had more often any damage in their bedroom (OR 1.97, 95%CI 1.00-3.90). Associations were comparable for atopic and non-atopic asthma and for children above or below 30 months of age.

Present results using standardized assessment of both exposure and asthma suggest that moisture damage and mold growth in the main living quarters is associated with development of asthma in early childhood.

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