Send to

Choose Destination
Indoor Air. 2017 May;27(3):506-517. doi: 10.1111/ina.12342. Epub 2016 Oct 14.

Observation-based metrics for residential dampness and mold with dose-response relationships to health: A review.

Author information

Indoor Air Quality Section, California Department of Public Health, Richmond, CA, USA.


An important proportion of respiratory illness is considered attributable to residential dampness or mold (D/M). Developing health-protective D/M guidelines has been challenging, in part because unhealthy levels of indoor D/M cannot be defined using available microbiological measurements. This review paper explores reported multilevel, observation-based (eg visual or olfactory) D/M metrics for potential in defining unhealthy levels of residential D/M. For many of the 33 multilevel residential D/M metrics identified, health risks generally increased as observed D/M increased. Although some metrics seemed too complex for practical use, simple metrics had among the strongest associations with health outcomes. Available findings suggest the feasibility of setting observation-based D/M thresholds to trigger remedial action, using further improved D/M metrics without microbiological measurements (at least until the actual dampness-related agents that cause illness are better quantified). Additional data would allow setting health-protective D/M thresholds more precisely. Also, metrics could better reflect hidden D/M by more strongly emphasizing mold odor, which has demonstrated strong associations with health effects.


asthma; dampness; fungi; indoor air quality; moisture; mold

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center