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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(2), 194;

Prevalence of Residential Dampness and Mold Exposure in a University Student Population

Department of Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, QC J1H 5N4, Canada
Eastern Township's Public Health Department, 300, King Est street, Sherbrooke, QC J1G 1B1, Canada
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Gary Adamkiewicz and M. Patricia Fabian
Received: 1 October 2015 / Revised: 17 January 2016 / Accepted: 29 January 2016 / Published: 5 February 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Environmental Quality: Exposures and Occupant Health)
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The impact of residential dampness or mold on respiratory health is well established but few studies have focused on university students. This study aims to: (a) describe the prevalence of exposure to residential dampness or mold in university students according to socio-geographic factors and (b) identify associated housing characteristics. A web survey was conducted in 2014 among the 26,676 students registered at the Université de Sherbrooke (QC, Canada). Residential dampness and mold being closely intertwined, they were considered as a single exposure and assessed using a validated questionnaire. Exposure was compared according to socio-geographic and housing characteristics using chi-square tests and logistic regressions. Among the 2097 participants included in the study (response rate: 8.1%), over 80% were tenants. Residential exposure to dampness or mold was frequent (36.0%, 95% CI: 33.9–38.1). Marked differences for this exposure were noted according to home ownership (39.7% vs. 25.5% among tenants and owners respectively; OR = 1.92%, 95% CI: 1.54–2.38). Campus affiliation, household composition and the number of residents per building were associated with exposure to dampness or mold (p < 0.01), while sex and age were not. Exposure was also associated with older buildings, and buildings in need of renovations and lacking proper ventilation (p < 0.001). This study highlights the potential risk of university students suffering from mold-related health effects given their frequent exposure to this agent. Further research is needed to fully evaluate the mold-related health impact in this at risk group. View Full-Text
Keywords: dampness; mold; housing; student population dampness; mold; housing; student population

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Lanthier-Veilleux, M.; Généreux, M.; Baron, G. Prevalence of Residential Dampness and Mold Exposure in a University Student Population. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 194.

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