Indoor mildew odour in old housing was associated with adult allergic symptoms, asthma, chronic bronchitis, vision, sleep and self-rated health: USA NHANES,2005-2006

A recent systematic review and meta-analysis has shown the effect of indoor mildew odour on allergic rhinitis risk, but its relation to other common chronic health outcomes in adults has not been investigated. Therefore, this study aimed to examine the relationship of indoor mildew odour and common health outcomes in adults in a national and population-based setting. Data was retrieved from the United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, 2005-2006, including the available information on demographics, housing characteristics, self-reported health conditions and urinary concentrations of environmental chemicals. T test, chi-squared test and survey-weighted logistic regression modelling were performed. Of all American adults (n=4979), 744 (15.1%) reported indoor mildew odour or musty smell in their households. People who reported indoor mildew odour or musty smell also reported poorer self-rated health, sleep complaints, chronic bronchitis, asthma attack, itchy rash, sneezing and poor vision. In addition, people who reported indoor mildew odour or musty smell also tended to reside in older housing that were built 20 years earlier. However, there were no significant statistical associations found between indoor mildew odour or musty smell and urinary concentrations of environmental chemicals, which was also found to be associated with old housing. People who lived in older housing with indoor mildew odour or musty smell tended to have chronic health problems. To protect occupants in old housing from chronic illnesses associated with indoor mildew odour, elimination of the odour sources should be explored in future research and therefore public health and housing programmes.

Authors: Shiue I. ;Full Source: Environmental Science & Pollution Research International. 2015 May 14. [Epub ahead of print] ;