Presence of Household Mold, Children’s Respiratory Health, and School Absenteeism: Cause for Concern


A study examining the relationship between housing conditions, respiratory health, and school absenteeism was conducted in the city of Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada. As part of this study, a survey was completed by 3,424 parents of children in grades 3 and 4 to determine the a) relationship between self-reported visible mold in homes and tested airborne mold; b) relationships of self-reported visible mold, tested airborne mold, and asthma and/or persistent colds; c) school absenteeism rates due to asthma and/or persistent colds; and d) children’s socioeconomic status (SES) and incidence of asthma and/or persistent colds. In addition, a complete inspection of a subset of 715 homes was conducted, including the collection of over 1,400 indoor and 500 outdoor air samples for mold analysis. Results indicate a significant association between self-reported visible mold and airborne mold. Additionally, a significant association was found between Cladosporium levels from air samples (the most common genus type found) and children’s asthma in combination with persistent colds. Children with persistent colds in combination with asthma miss significantly more school than children who have only asthma or only persistent colds. Children from poorer families reported more persistent colds than children from high-income families. No association was found between income and asthma. Furthermore, SES was not a significant factor for number of school days missed.

Speaker / Author: 
Eleoussa Polyzoi, PhD
Dimos Polyzois, PhD, FEC, PEng
Theo Koulis, PhD
Month Year: 
March 2017
Page #: 
Publication Month: 
March 2017