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Meta‐analysis of mould and dampness exposure on asthma and allergy in eight European birth cohorts: an ENRIECO initiative

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To cite this article: Tischer CG, Hohmann C, Thiering E, Herbarth O, Müller A, Henderson J, Granell R, Fantini MP, Luciano L, Bergström A, Kull I, Link E, von Berg A, Kuehni CE, Strippoli M‐PF, Gehring U, Wijga A, Eller E, Bindslev‐Jensen C, Keil T, Heinrich J & as part of the ENRIECO consortium. Meta‐analysis of mould and dampness exposure on asthma and allergy in eight European birth cohorts: an ENRIECO initiative. Allergy 2011; 66: 1570–1579.

Background:  Several cross‐sectional studies during the past 10 years have observed an increased risk of allergic outcomes for children living in damp or mouldy environments.

Objective:  The objective of this study was to investigate whether reported mould or dampness exposure in early life is associated with the development of allergic disorders in children from eight European birth cohorts.

Methods:  We analysed data from 31 742 children from eight ongoing European birth cohorts. Exposure to mould and allergic health outcomes were assessed by parental questionnaires at different time points. Meta‐analyses with fixed‐ and random‐effect models were applied. The number of the studies included in each analysis varied based on the outcome data available for each cohort.

Results:  Exposure to visible mould and/or dampness during first 2 years of life was associated with an increased risk of developing asthma: there was a significant association with early asthma symptoms in meta‐analyses of four cohorts [0–2 years: adjusted odds ratios (aOR), 1.39 (95%CI, 1.05–1.84)] and with asthma later in childhood in six cohorts [6–8 years: aOR, 1.09(95%CI, 0.90–1.32) and 3–10 years: aOR, 1.10 (95%CI, 0.90–1.34)]. A statistically significant association was observed in six cohorts with symptoms of allergic rhinitis at school age [6–8 years: aOR, 1.12 (1.02–1.23)] and at any time point between 3 and 10 years [aOR, 1.18 (1.09–1.28)].

Conclusion:  These findings suggest that a mouldy home environment in early life is associated with an increased risk of asthma particularly in young children and allergic rhinitis symptoms in school‐age children.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Helmholtz Centre Munich, German Research Centre for Environmental Health, Institute of Epidemiology I, Neuherberg, Germany 2: Institute of Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics, Charité University Medical Centre, Berlin, Germany 3: Institute of Environmental Medicine and Hygiene, Faculty of Medicine, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany 4: Department Proteomics, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig, Germany 5: School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK 6: Department of Medicine and Public Health, University of Bologna, Alma Mater Studiorum, Bologna, Italy 7: Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden 8: Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, IUF – Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine, Düsseldorf, Germany 9: Department of Paediatrics, Marien-Hospital Wesel, Wesel, Germany 10: Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM), University of Bern, Division, Bern, Switzerland 11: Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands 12: Centre for Prevention and Health Services Research, National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands 13: Department of Dermatology and Allergy Centre, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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