Damp Houses Up Chances of Asthma: Study

It appears that damp houses do a lot more damage than what appears on the face of it. The furniture is spoiled, the air stinks, the walls crack, and dust mites thrive in such homes. However there is a bigger cause of concern if one has a clammy house.

Findings of a new international study have revealed that there is a direct link between child asthma and damp houses.

The study, being termed as the largest on the subject, involved 46,000 children in 20 countries. It establishes that dampness, per se, and not the dust mites is responsible for the medical condition in children.

The study revealed that the condition of an asthmatic child aggravated in a damp house.

Important for New Zealand
Professor Julian Crane, director of Otago University’s Wellington Asthma Research Group who was a part of the international research team that conducted the study opined that the findings are of monumental importance for New Zealand given that the country has attached a lot of importance on children’s health and welfare in recent times.

“It is perhaps not surprising given this data that we have so much serious respiratory illness in children in New Zealand – we have such poor quality housing and so many children living in damp, cold, mouldy poorly heated often rented accommodation,” stated Professor Crane.

The problem of damp, mouldy houses has hitherto been ignored while making policies for public health and welfare. The latest findings will hopefully draw the requisite attention of the policy makers on this aspect.

Housing Minister Nick Smith paid immediate attention to the study findings, “This report further points to the importance of the Government’s work on a housing warrant of fitness, which was announced as part of this year’s Budget, and I am progressing work with officials on its development,” stated the minister.

’Every Child Counts’ Campaign
Authorities have launched the Every Child Counts healthy homes campaign. The said campaign that will run till next year is a mechanism to urge all political parties to make plans and policies that ensure that every child in the country is able to live in a warm, dry and ventilated home.

“Frankly, given the health costs associated with poor housing, there’s every reason for them to get on and do it, and there’s no excuse really to sit on their hands and not do more,” Every Child Counts manager Deborah Morris-Travers said.

The findings of the study have been published in the latest issue of the journal Clinical and Experimental Allergy.