The World Health Organization (WHO) released a set of guidelines in 2009 targeting damp indoor environments. The guidelines state that "the most important means for avoiding adverse health effects is the prevention or minimization of persistent dampness and microbial growth on interior surfaces and in building structures." This is a significant conclusion and will prove pivotal in the days ahead.
The accompanying press release stated, "In many EU countries, 20–30% of households have problems with dampness. Strong evidence indicates that this is a risk to health. In damp conditions, hundreds of species of bacteria and fungi grow indoors and emit spores, cell fragments and chemicals into the air. Exposure to these contaminants is associated with the incidence or worsening of respiratory symptoms, allergies, asthma and immunological reactions."
The document is extensive and is the result of a rigorous two-year review of the research done by 36 leading experts worldwide.
The guidelines also conclude that occupants of damp or moldy buildings, both private and public, have up to a 75 percent greater risk of respiratory symptoms and asthma.