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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008 Mar;121(3):622-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2007.11.022. Epub 2008 Jan 7.

Children's respiratory health and mold levels in New Orleans after Katrina: a preliminary look.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA.



When the federal levee system broke after Hurricane Katrina, 80 percent of New Orleans, approximately 134,000 homes, flooded. As repopulation and revitalization activities continue, exposure to mold and other respiratory irritants has emerged as a major health concern; however, there has been no study examining children's respiratory health and indoor mold levels in the post-Katrina environment.


The Children's Respiratory Health Study was designed as a preliminary examination of indoor air levels of mold, children's lung function, and common indices of respiratory health in a select sample of children returning to live in New Orleans immediately after Hurricane Katrina.


Children were recruited from a private primary school in the Garden District of New Orleans. Respiratory health questionnaire and spirometric data were collected on children 7 to 14 years of age, and mold air sampling was conducted at baseline and again after 2 months.


There was an overall decrease in mold levels and respiratory symptoms over the study period, and indoor mold levels were low despite reported hurricane damage.

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