Building dampness and mold in European homes in relation to climate, building characteristics and socio-economic status: The European Community Respiratory Health Survey ECRHS II
We studied dampness and mold in homes in relation to climate, building characteristics and socio-economic status (SES) across Europe, for 7127 homes in 22 centers. A subsample of 3118 homes was inspected. Multilevel analysis was applied, including age, gender, center, SES, climate, and building factors. Self-reported water damage (10%), damp spots (21%), and mold (16%) in past year were similar as observed data (19% dampness and 14% mold). Ambient temperature was associated with self-reported water damage (OR=1.63 per 10°C; 95% CI 1.02-2.63), damp spots (OR=2.95; 95% CI 1.98-4.39), and mold (OR=2.28; 95% CI 1.04-4.67). Precipitation was associated with water damage (OR=1.12 per 100 mm; 95% CI 1.02-1.23) and damp spots (OR=1.11; 95% CI 1.02-1.20). Ambient relative air humidity was not associated with indoor dampness and mold. Older buildings had more dampness and mold (P<.001). Manual workers reported less water damage (OR=0.69; 95% CI 0.53-0.89) but more mold (OR=1.27; 95% CI 1.03-1.55) as compared to managerial/professional workers. There were correlations between reported and observed data at center level (Spearman rho 0.61 for dampness and 0.73 for mold). In conclusion, high ambient temperature and precipitation and high building age can be risk factors for dampness and mold in homes in Europe.