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Environ Res. 2013 Jul;124:67-70. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2013.04.003. Epub 2013 May 14.

Family and home characteristics correlate with mold in homes.

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  • 1University of Cincinnati, Department of Environmental Health, Cincinnati, OH, USA.


Previously, we demonstrated that infants residing in homes with higher Environmental Relative Moldiness Index were at greater risk for developing asthma by age seven. The purpose of this analysis was to identify the family and home characteristics associated with higher moldiness index values in infants' homes at age one. Univariate linear regression of each characteristic determined that family factors associated with moldiness index were race and income. Home characteristics associated with the moldiness index values were: air conditioning, carpet, age of the home, season of home assessment, and house dust mite allergen. Parental history of asthma, use of dehumidifier, visible mold, dog and cat allergen levels were not associated with moldiness index. Results of multiple linear regression showed that older homes had 2.9 units higher moldiness index (95% confidence interval [CI]=0.4, 5.4), whereas homes with central air conditioning had 2.5 units lower moldiness index (95% CI=-4.7, -0.4). In addition, higher dust mite allergen levels and carpeting were positively and negatively associated with higher moldiness index, respectively. Because older homes and lack of air conditioning were also correlated with race and lower income, whereas carpeting was associated with newer homes, the multivariate analyses suggests that lower overall socioeconomic position is associated with higher moldiness index values. This may lead to increased asthma risk in homes inhabited by susceptible, vulnerable population subgroups. Further, age of the home was a surrogate of income, race and carpeting in our population; thus the use of these factors should carefully be evaluated in future studies.

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