Association of Airborne Moisture-Indicating Microorganisms with Building-Related Symptoms and Water Damage in 100 U.S. Office Buildings: Analyses of the U.S. EPA BASE Data
Metrics of culturable airborne microorganisms for either total organisms or suspected harmful subgroups have generally not been associated with symptoms among building occupants. However, the visible presence of moisture damage or mold in residences and other buildings has consistently been associated with respiratory symptoms and other health effects. This relationship is presumably caused by adverse but uncharacterized exposures to moisture-related microbiological growth. In order to assess this hypothesis, we studied relationships in U.S. office buildings between the prevalence of respiratory and irritant symptoms, the concentrations of airborne microorganisms that require moist surfaces on which to grow, and the presence of visible water damage.