Infants who live in homes with mold are three times more likely to develop asthma by age 7. Horrid news, especially since most homes in the Northeast contain some type of mold. And with this weekend’s visit from Hurricane Irene, many of us will be facing new mold!
The alarming statistic about infants comes from a study conducted at the University of Cincinnati and just published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Researchers analyzed seven years of data gathered on 176 children enrolled in the Cincinnati Childhood Allergy and Air Pollution Study (CCAAPS).
Eighteen percent of children in CCAAPS were asthmatic by age 7, a staggering statistic since current estimates say only 9 percent of school-age children in the United States will develop asthma.
In light of the study, if expectant or new parents suspect there is mold in their homes, it would be prudent to have their home tested immediately. In addition, there are some actions we can all take to make our homes healthier places.
- First and most important: Fix all leaks immediately.
- Check all washing machine hoses and fittings for leaks and kinks.
- Insulate basement and bathroom pipes that “sweat.”
- Keep basement drains clean and unclogged.
- Be sure window air conditioners have proper exterior drainage; keep filters clean.
- Use exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms.
- Keep humidity low in your home by running dehumidifiers in damp spaces.
- If basement walls are finished with Sheetrock, install vents near floors and ceilings to allow air to flow.
- In places where moisture is a problem, use easily washable area rugs rather than wall-to-wall carpeting.
- Test your home for mold by calling in a certified mold inspector. Do-it-yourself mold kits are often inaccurate.
- Grade soil around the house to direct water away from the foundation.
- Keep gutters and downspouts free of debris and ice.
- Keep bushes and shrubs at least 12 inches from home siding.
- Check roof shingles, vents and flashing for proper seal.
- Check siding also – and point the lawn sprinkler away from the house.