According to a study published Tuesday in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, infants who are exposed to mold inside their homes are twice as likely to develop asthma. This research does not prove that mold causes asthma, but it does suggest that mold exposure at an early age is somehow linked to the development of chronic inflammation of the lung airways, which causes wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing.
Lead study author Tiina Reponen, a professor of environmental health at the University of Cincinnati, says this is the first study to link mold and asthma development. Even more interesting is that the risk of developing it seems to increase if at least one of the parents had asthma.
According to Miriam Falco of CNN, "the study authors found that if children were exposed to mold as infants, they were at a significantly increased risk for asthma at 7 years of age. Being exposed to mold as a child at about 7 years old, (which is when children are old enough to have proper lung-function tests to get a more accurate diagnoses), doesn’t seem to predict if a child will get asthma. Neither was the presence of a dehumidifier, carpets, age of the home or visible mold."
It’s the mold you can’t see that’s the problem, according to Reponen. And Dr. James Sublett, chairman of the Indoor Environments Committee for the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, added that "if you are in a situation where humidity is trapped in your home, you have a higher risk of mold exposure." Moral of the story: get your house checked if you’re concerned, and if there’s a problem, fix it ASAP!