Home dampness and molds as determinants of allergic rhinitis in childhood: a 6-year, population-based cohort study

Am J Epidemiol. 2010 Aug 15;172(4):451-9. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwq110. Epub 2010 Jul 16.


The authors assessed the relation between exposure to dampness and molds in dwellings and the development of allergic rhinitis in childhood in a 6-year, population-based prospective cohort study of 1,863 children aged 1-7 years at baseline in 1991 (follow-up rate, 77%) from Espoo, Finland. The studied exposures were history of water damage, presence of moisture and visible mold, and perceived mold odor in the home, based on parent-administered questionnaire. A total of 246 (13.2%) children developed physician-diagnosed allergic rhinitis during the study period, resulting in an incidence rate of 440 cases per 10,000 person-years (95% confidence interval (CI): 387, 499). In logistic regression adjusting for confounding, any mold or dampness exposure indicator at baseline (adjusted odds ratio = 1.55, 95% CI: 1.10, 2.18), at follow-up (adjusted odds ratio = 1.62, 95% CI: 1.21, 2.18), or both (adjusted odds ratio = 1.96, 95% CI: 1.29, 2.98) was an important independent determinant of the risk of allergic rhinitis. Of the individual indicators, water damage and moisture on the surfaces were consistent determinants of allergic rhinitis. The results of this cohort study, which assessed exposure before the onset of allergic rhinitis, strengthen considerably the evidence of the role of indoor dampness problems as determinants of allergic rhinitis in children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Fungi*
  • Housing*
  • Humans
  • Humidity*
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / epidemiology*
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / etiology*
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial / microbiology