Damp housing conditions and respiratory symptoms in primary school children

Pediatr Pulmonol. 1997 Aug;24(2):73-7. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1099-0496(199708)24:2<73::aid-ppul1>3.0.co;2-j.


There is evidence that indoor air pollution contributes to the development of respiratory symptoms. This study examined the relationships between dampness in houses and respiratory symptoms in 4,164 primary school children in the subtropical rural areas of the Kaohsiung region, Taiwan. Dampness in homes was assessed by questionnaires that reported 1) general dampness, 2) mold or mildew inside the home, or 3) flooding (appearance of standing water within the home, water damage, or leaks of water into the building). Evidence for upper and lower respiratory symptoms were also collected by questionnaires. Recorded symptoms included cough, wheezing, pneumonia, bronchitis, and asthma. Degrees of dampness were reported as 12.2%, 30.1%, and 43.4%, respectively by the parents or guardians of the study population. The prevalence of respiratory symptoms was consistently higher in homes with indications of dampness than in non-damp homes. After adjustments for potential confounders, selected respiratory symptoms among the childhood population were significantly higher in damp than non-damp homes, with the exception of pneumonia. We conclude that dampness in the home is a strong predictor of and risk factor for respiratory symptoms and constitutes a significant public health problem in subtropical area.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • China / epidemiology
  • Housing*
  • Humans
  • Humidity*
  • Prevalence
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / etiology*