Protecting health from home damp and mould

Exposures to biological agents indoors are a significant health hazard causing a wide range of health effects. Dampness is a strong and consistent indicator of risk for asthma and respiratory symptoms related to indoor environmental conditions. Inadequate ventilation and structural failures as well as problems with thermal comfort are often to blame. Proper ventilation, an important determinant of good indoor air quality, controls humidity and prevents condensation.

Tools and advice to get rid of damp and mould

The prevention and remediation of dampness and mould is a difficult area for public health policy-makers due to the great variety of indoor spaces, fragmentation of responsibilities and the limited mandate of public authorities for interventions especially in private homes.

To support decision-making, WHO collected and reviewed published evidence as well as technical interventions and policy actions taken in countries to address the health effects related to home dampness and mould.

  • Recommendations on the effectiveness of technical interventions and on how policies and regulations can be applied to support and improve actions on damp and mould in indoor settings at local and national level are published in the final project report, which also includes an executive summary and a synthesis of the two project meetings.
  • Key messages on suggested action by residents are provided in a brochure developed for the public by WHO and the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), a project partner.
  • A directory of institutions and agencies acting as advisory bodies on damp and mould problems to the public in European countries was compiled and made available online by HEAL.
  • Case studies on technical measures against dampness and mould have been compiled as a background document for the first project meeting in 2008.