Cold, damp and mouldy housing arises from the degradation of the housing stock over time due to weathering and a lack of maintenance. Living in such houses is associated with many adverse impacts on human health, especially for those with existing health issues. This paper presents a systematic review, using the PRISMA protocol, consisting of an exploratory analysis of housing-related risk factors associated with respiratory disease. The review consisted of 360 studies investigating 19 risk factors associated with respiratory conditions. Each fall into one of four categories, namely, (1) outdoor environment-related factors; (2) indoor air pollution-related factors; (3) housing non-structure-related factors; or (4) housing structure-related factors. The results show that effects of poor housing conditions on occupants’ respiratory health is a growing research field, where poor indoor air quality, mainly due to a lack of adequate ventilation, was found to be the most influential risk factor. Usage of solid fuel and living in an urban area without a pollutant-free air filtration system are the main risk factors related to inadequate ventilation. Therefore, an adequate and reliable ventilation system with air-infiltration was considered to be the main mitigation solution to improve indoor air quality. It is suggested that government organisations and health practitioners could use the identified risk factors to measure the healthiness of existing dwellings and take measures to improve existing conditions and develop regulations for new housing construction to promote the healthy home concept. Further research is needed for risk mitigation strategies to reduce the respiratory health burden attributed to housing.
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