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Household mold, pesticide use, and childhood asthma: A nationwide study in the U.S

To investigate the associations of household mold and pesticide use with risk of childhood asthma and examine the potential effect modification by child’s sex at a national level in the U.S. Nationally representative data were drawn from the cross-sectional 2017 and 2018 National Surveys of Children’s Health. Household mold and pesticide exposures during the past 12 months and physician-diagnosed childhood asthma were assessed by standard questionnaires administered to primary caregivers. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to calculate adjusted odds ratios (aOR) for current asthma, adjusting for child, caregiver, and household covariates. We also examined potential effect modification by child’s sex. Sampling weights accounted for the complex survey design. Among 41,423 U.S. children in 2017-2018, the weighted prevalence of current asthma was 10.8% in household mold-exposed children, compared with 7.2% in non-exposed children (P < 0.001). After adjusting for covariates including child's obesity, children with household mold exposure compared to those with no household mold exposure had a 1.41-fold (95% CI: 1.07, 1.87) higher odds of current asthma. Associations between household mold and current asthma were pronounced among boys (aOR 1.57; 95% CI: 1.03-2.38) but not girls (aOR 1.28; 0.90-1.83; P for interaction <0.001). No significant associations were observed between household pesticide use and current asthma, after adjusting for covariates. Our findings suggest that household mold is associated with current asthma among children, independent of other major risk factors including child's obesity status. Our findings may inform strategies targeting mitigation of household mold as an important indoor environment factor to address childhood asthma.

Authors: Xiao, Siyuan; Ngo, Amanda L; Mendola, Pauline; Bates, Michael N; Barcellos, Anna L; Ferrara, Assiamira; Zhu, Yeyi

Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2021 04;233:113694. Epub 2021-02-06.

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