Healthy housing and good indoor air quality are important goals of public health. However, biological indoor pollution due to dampness, moisture and mold is an emerging environmental health issue, as recognized in EU indoor air policy documents. Prevalence of dampness is remarkable, and may still increase due to demands of energy savings and extreme weather periods and floods associated with climate change. The exposure may lead to long-term impacts such as asthma. The documentation is strong on association between building mold and health, but the causative agents and disease mechanisms are largely unknown, which impedes recognition of a mold-affected patient in health care. Efficient control and regulation are hampered by the insufficient understanding of these causalities. Understanding of the links between building practices and health is lacking. There is an urgent need for European-wide knowledge to form a basis for establishing building-associated criteria for healthy indoor environments. The aim of this proposal is to clarify the health impacts of indoor exposures on children and adults by providing comprehensive exposure data on biological and chemical factors in European indoor environments, and by combining this information with extensive health data obtained from a field study and from existing population cohorts. Modern microbiological, toxicological and immunological techniques will be used that allow the revealing of the links between the harmful exposures and long term impacts on health, and the mechanisms behind. Data on determinants and distributions of indoor microbial agents will be provided for development of avoidance measures and other dissemination for stakeholders. The study networks experts on environmental epidemiology, microbiology, immunology, toxicology and building sciences. They cover the multidisciplinary field needed for adequate risk assessment. This approach has been successfully applied in the previous research.
Fields of science
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