Washington: Kids staying in mouldy homes have three times greater odds of developing asthma by the age of seven.
"Early life exposure to mould seems to play a critical role in childhood asthma development," says Tiina Reponen, professor of environmental health at the University of Cincinnati who led a study.
Researchers analysed seven years of comprehensive data for 176 children to evaluate the effects of mould exposure in early life, the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology reports.
The children were part of the Cincinnati Childhood Allergy and Air Pollution Study (CCAAPS), a long-term population-based study that included more than 700 children from the Greater Cincinnati area, according to a university statement.
Mould exposure levels were measured using a DNA-based analysis tool developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) -- the environmental relative mouldiness index (ERMI).
Eighteen percent of children enrolled in CCAAPS were found to be asthmatic at age seven.