|Home | About | Journals | Submit | Contact Us | Français|
OBJECTIVE: To equip medical practitioners with up-to-date scientific and medical information on the health effects of exposure to fungi in indoor air, clinical evaluation of these health problems, and possible preventive measures. QUALITY OF EVIDENCE: MEDLINE was searched from 1985 to 2000 using the MeSH words mould (mold), fungus, indoor air, and health effects. Nearly all studies were case reports, case-control studies, and cross-sectional studies. Evidence of an association between respiratory problems and the presence of fungi and dampness is strong. MAIN MESSAGE: Recent well designed studies and literature reviews indicate that exposure to dampness and fungi in indoor air brings on or exacerbates asthma and other respiratory complaints. More studies are required, however, before a definite conclusion on other potential effects of such exposure (such as systemic and long-term effects and pulmonary hemorrhage in infants) is possible. The various health problems that can result from exposure to dampness and fungi in indoor air make such exposure unacceptable from a public health perspective. Physicians are important in treating and preventing such problems; various resources are available to help them. CONCLUSION: Even though some scientific issues remain to be resolved concerning the health effects of exposure to dampness and fungi in indoor air, family physicians can identify potential problems and refer patients to appropriate resources.