Introduction and Summary: Workshop on Children's Health and Indoor Mold Exposure

Ragnar Rylander1 and Ruth Etzel2

1Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; 2Division of Epidemiology and Risk Assessment, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Washington, DC USA

To evaluate the health consequences for children of indoor exposure to molds, an international workshop was organized with 15 scientists from eight countries. The participants agreed that exposure to molds may constitute a health threat to children resulting in respiratory symptoms in both the upper and lower airways, an increased incidence of infections, and skin symptoms. Allergy, either to molds or to other indoor agents, also presents a health risk. At very high exposure levels to specific molds, nose bleeding, hemoptysis, and pulmonary hemorrhage have been documented. Pediatricians and allergists need to obtain information about mold and dampness in the home environment when examining children with chronic respiratory symptoms, recurrent infections, or persistent fatigue and headache. Measurement techniques are available to determine exposure. Most important, the source of dampness must be eliminated and the indoor environment must be thoroughly cleaned of molds. Key words: asthma, inflammation, molds, prevention, sampling. -- Environ Health Perspect 107(suppl 3):465-468 (1999).


This article is based on a presentation at the International Conference on Indoor Mold and Children held 21-24 April 1998 in Alexandria, Virginia.

Address correspondence to R. Rylander, Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Gothenburg, Box 414, 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden. Telephone: 46 31 773 3601. Fax: 46 31 82 5004. E-mail:

Received 3 September 1998; accepted 4 November 1998.

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