Health Effects of Moldy Buildings – Remediation Results

 

 

This page lists medical journal articles discussing the extent to which remediation of moldy buildings may help in addressing health problems.

The Health Effects of Moldy Buildings page of the Paradigm Change site provides further information on this topic.

 

Park JH, Cho SJ, White SK, Cox-Ganser JM. Changes in respiratory and non-respiratory symptoms in occupants of a large office building over a period of moisture damage remediation attempts. PLoS One. 2018 Jan 11;13(1):e0191165. PMID: 29324816

We examined changes in respiratory and non-respiratory symptoms in 1,175 office building occupants over seven years with multiple remediation attempts. Separate analyses showed increases in the odds of severe respiratory symptoms for wheezing and shortness of breath on exertion, due to worsening of participants in the mild symptom group. For non-respiratory symptoms, we found no changes in the odds of severe symptoms but improvement in severity scores and the odds for mild fever and chills, excessive fatigue, headache, and throat symptoms. Our study suggests that after the onset of respiratory and severe non-respiratory symptoms associated with dampness/mold, remediation efforts might not be effective in improving occupants’ health.

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Breysse J, Dixon SL, Jacobs DE, Lopez J, Weber W. Self-reported health outcomes associated with green-renovated public housing among primarily elderly residents. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2015 Jul-Aug;21(4):355-67. PMID: 25679773

The study assessed the benefits of green renovation on self-reported health of primarily elderly residents of a low-income public housing apartment building. Green healthy housing renovation may result in improved mental and general physical health, prevented falls, and reduced exposure to tobacco smoke.

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Haverinen-Shaughnessy U, Hyvärinen A, Putus T, Nevalainen A. Monitoring success of remediation: seven case studies of moisture and mold damaged buildings. Sci Total Environ. 2008 Jul 25;399(1-3):19-27. PMID: 18455755

Based on seven case studies of buildings that underwent different degrees of moisture and mold damage remediation, we aimed to develop methodology for assessment of the success of the remediation process. Based on technical monitoring, remediation was successful in three cases, with partial improvement noted in three cases, whereas no remediation was conducted in one case. Based on microbial monitoring, improvement was detected in one, partial improvement in two and no improvement in two cases, whereas no follow-up was conducted in two cases. Health effect studies (mainly self-reported health status) showed improvement in one case, partial improvement in two cases, and no improvement in two cases, whereas no follow-up was conducted in one case, and in one case, follow-up failed due to low response rate. The results illustrate that in some cases, no improvement could be observed in IAQ or occupant health, even if the remediation was considered technically successful, i.e. the remediation was fully completed as recommended.

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Martyny JW, Harbeck RJ, Pacheco K, Barker EA, Sills M, Silveira L, Arbuckle S, Newman L. Aerosolized sodium hypochlorite inhibits viability and allergenicity of mold on building materials. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2005 Sep;116(3):630-5. PMID: 16159635

Both dilute bleach and Tilex inhibited A Fumigatus recognition by ELISA. Skin testing supported the result of the ELISA and demonstrated loss of skin test reactivity to the sodium hypochlorite-treated mold solutions in most of the subjects. Of the four individuals who had a positive skin test result to mold grown on oriented strand board building material, three no longer reacted to extracts from bleach-treated boards.

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Ebbehøj NE, Hansen MØ, Sigsgaard T, Larsen L. Building-related symptoms and molds: a two-step intervention study. Indoor Air. 2002 Dec;12(4):273-7. PMID: 12532759

In a poorly maintained building with moisture problems and mold growth, the staff had a number of irritative and general symptoms. The first renovation eradicated most visible signs of molds and gave a decreased number of symptoms. The second renovation sufficiently cleaned the building, and the rate of symptoms and peak-flow variability fell to normal levels. A thorough cleaning after renovation seems necessary for the eradication of symptoms.

 

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