Positive associations between respiratory outcomes and fungal index in rural inhabitants of a representative sample of French dwellings

Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2013 Mar;216(2):155-62. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2012.02.011. Epub 2012 Mar 30.


Our study aims at estimating exposure to molds at home, based on microbial Volatile Organic Compounds (MVOCs) assessment, and evaluating its effect on respiratory diseases in a representative sample of dwellings. In the framework of a national campaign, indoor pollution was monitored in a sample of the 24 million dwellings of metropolitan France (n=567). 727 subjects answered to a standardized questionnaire on respiratory diseases and had MVOCs sampled in their bedrooms and a fungal index (FI) defined. Among the 431 dwellings with complete data, one out of three was contaminated by molds as assessed by a positive FI: 27.0% in urban, 38.2% in periurban and 34.9% in rural dwellings respectively. Positive associations were observed between fungal index and current asthma (8.6%) and chronic bronchitis-like symptoms (8.4%), especially in rural areas (OR=2.95, 95%CI (1.10; 7.95) and 3.35, 95%CI (1.33; 8.48) respectively). Our study, based on objective assessments of fungal contamination, is in agreement with previous results suggesting mold-related respiratory effects. Moreover associations found among rural population could indicate specific pollution and impact in this environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / analysis*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Fungi*
  • Housing
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Rural Population
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / analysis*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Volatile Organic Compounds