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Indoor Air. 2019 Jan;29(1):30-42. doi: 10.1111/ina.12517. Epub 2018 Nov 21.

Dampness and mold in homes across China: Associations with rhinitis, ocular, throat and dermal symptoms, headache and fatigue among adults.

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Institute of Environmental Science, Shanxi University, Taiyuan, China.
Department of Medical Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
School of Architecture, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.
Key Laboratory of Three Gorges Reservoir Region's Eco-Environment, Chongqing University, Chongqing, China.
Department of Environmental Health, Fudan University, Shanghai, China.
Department of Building Environment and Energy Engineering, School of Environment and Architecture, University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, Shanghai, China.
XiangYa School of Public Health, Central South University, Changsha, China.
School of Energy Science and Engineering, Central South University, Changsha, China.
School of Energy & Environment, Southeast University, Nanjing, China.
College of Life Sciences, Central China Normal University, Wuhan, China.
School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Tianjin University, Tianjin, China.


We studied dampness and mold in China in relation to rhinitis, ocular, throat and dermal symptoms, headache and fatigue. A questionnaire study was performed in six cities including 36 541 randomized parents of young children. Seven self-reported signs of dampness were evaluated. Multilevel logistic regression models were used to calculate odds ratios (ORs). Totally, 3.1% had weekly rhinitis, 2.8% eye, 4.1% throat and 4.8% skin symptoms, 3.0% headache and 13.9% fatigue. Overall, 6.3% of the homes had mold, 11.1% damp stains, 35.3% damp bed clothing, 12.8% water damage, 45.4% window pane condensation, 11.1% mold odor, and 37.5% humid air. All dampness signs were associated with symptoms (ORs from 1.2 to 4.6; P < 0.001), including rhinitis (ORs from 1.4 to 3.2; P < 0.001), and ORs increased by number of dampness signs. The strongest associations were for mold odor (ORs from 2.3 to 4.6) and humid air (ORs from 2.8 to 4.8). Associations were stronger among men and stronger in Beijing as compared to south China. In conclusion, dampness and mold are common in Chinese homes and associated with rhinitis and ocular, throat and dermal symptoms, headache and fatigue. Men can be more sensitive to dampness and health effects of dampness can be stronger in northern China.


dampness; home environment; mold odor; rhinitis; sick building syndrome; water damage


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