Does A Wet Basement Affect Health?
Approximately 34 million Americans have been diagnosed with asthma . The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 15% of people with asthma developed the disease, or it worsened in a damp indoor environment.
The study addressed the issue of workplace exposure. When reviewing indoor environments, researchers found a link between a damp work environment and heightened symptoms in people with existing asthma. They also studied new-onset asthma and found people who started developing symptoms or saw worsened lung function happen to work in a damp environment.
The Institute of Medicine also published a study that ties asthma to dampness in the home. This study found that dampness in a home may lead to the development of asthma and there is a significant association between damp indoor spaces and asthma attacks.
These same researchers also found a correlation between indoor dampness and an increase in two of the top known asthma triggers: mold and dust mites.
Mold and mildew need moisture to survive and to grow. Molds are microscopic fungi that create tiny spores to reproduce and these spores float through the air continually and trigger asthma attacks. When mold spores land on damp places indoors, they begin to grow. Studies suggest a link between mold and the development of asthma while others state that indoor chemicals and pollutants lead to the development of asthma. While they differ in their findings, most studies agree that mold does trigger asthma attacks and asthma symptoms and indoor dampness also impacts people with the disease.
Dust mites are tiny bugs that live in dust and feed on flakes of human skin. The EPA suggests that body parts and droppings from dust mites can trigger asthma attacks especially in people with dust mite allergies. It has also been suggested that exposure to dust mites can cause the development of asthma in children. Researchers and pest control professionals will tell you that a dry basement environment can help you control the infestation of pests and decrease dust mites.
One way to help control dust mites is to use a dehumidifier with relative humidity level set at 50% or lower as a study of Indoor Dampness, Biological Contaminants and Health by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, suggested that dust mites cannot survive at this humidity level.
According to the research, if you eliminate moisture in the home you can eliminate two of the leading asthma triggers though research is not conclusive on whether dampness triggers asthma attacks or whether it merely causes an increase of asthma triggers. Either way there is definitely a link between wet basements and asthma. Controlling moisture problems in the home can reduce the risk of asthma.
Waterproofing your basement is one sure way to eliminate water seepage from the outside coming into your home. A good waterproofing system will help to alleviate the conditions associated with asthma triggers and make your home a little more comfortable. To find out if you have high moisture in your home, call us for a free inspection.