Damp Indoor Spaces and Health


Report at a Glance

  • Report Brief (PDF)

Almost all homes, apartments and commercial buildings will experience leaks, flooding or other forms of excessive indoor dampness at some point. Excessive dampness is not only a problem by itself but also a contributor to several potentially problematic exposures. Molds and other microbial agents favor damp indoor environments, and excess moisture may initiate chemical emissions from damaged building materials and furnishings.

This book by the Institute of Medicine examines the health impact of exposures resulting from damp indoor environments and offers recommendations for public health interventions.

Damp Indoor Spaces and Health covers a broad range of topics. The book not only examines the relationship between damp or moldy indoor environments and adverse health outcomes, but discusses how and where buildings get wet, how dampness influences microbial growth and chemical emissions, the ways to prevent and remediate dampness, and the elements of a public health response to the issue.

A comprehensive literature review finds sufficient evidence of an association between damp indoor environments and some upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, wheeze, and asthma symptoms in sensitized persons. This important book will be of interest to a wide-ranging audience of science, health, engineering and building professionals, government officials, and members of the public.