We've updated our Privacy Policy to make it clearer how we use your personal data. We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. You can read our Cookie Policy here.


Mould Indoors Does Not Increase the Risk of Developing Asthma in Children

An asthma pump next to a lip balm.
Credit: Sahej Brar / Unsplash.
Listen with
Register for free to listen to this article
Thank you. Listen to this article using the player above.

Want to listen to this article for FREE?

Complete the form below to unlock access to ALL audio articles.

Read time: 1 minute

Fungi i.e. moulds and yeasts in the indoor environment are not associated with an increased risk of asthma among children. This finding was made in a study conducted by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), which analysed the microbiota of approximately 380 Finnish homes.

From this same birth cohort, it was previously reported that higher levels of specific bacteria, most likely originated from outdoors, may reduce a child's risk of developing asthma. The study also found that the presence of farm-like microbiota in a home protected children from asthma even in urban homes. Based on the new findings, it appears that bacteria in the living environment have a greater role in protecting against asthma than fungi do.

Want more breaking news?

Subscribe to Technology Networks’ daily newsletter, delivering breaking science news straight to your inbox every day.

Subscribe for FREE

Fungi belong to the normal indoor microbiota 

There are moulds and yeasts everywhere in our living environment and they are a natural part of the microbiota of a normal home. In the study, the number of fungal species, the diversity of fungal species or the amount of fungi in the samples were not linked to the risk of developing asthma.  

"Those 13 fungal genera that were related to asthma were inversely associated with asthma rather than being risk factors. Before starting this research, we believed we would find links to both types of fungi, those protecting against development of asthma and those increasing asthma risk. Our results provide a better understanding of fungi in the indoor environment," says Anne Karvonen, Chief Researcher at THL. 

"Moulds and yeasts in the indoor environment have often been linked to moisture damage buildings and the related health hazards. In the future, the aim will be to examine whether those fungi that are associated with moisture damage in the home can explain the connection between moisture damage and asthma. Based on the preliminary results of this study, it does not appear so. In future analyses, we will improve exposure assessment by studying the significance of living and dead microbial cells separately," says Martin Täubel, Chief Researcher at THL.  

Reference: Täubel M, Jalanka J, Kirjavainen PV, et al. Fungi in early-life house dust samples and the development of asthma: a birth cohort study. Annals ATS. 2023:AnnalsATS.202303-187OC. doi: 10.1513/AnnalsATS.202303-187OC

This article has been republished from the following materials. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.