Prevalence and Risk Factors for Damp Housing Results From the French 2002 Housing Survey
Objective: Because scientists and policy makers now acknowledge the relationship between living in a moldy dwelling and health, prevalence of moldy dwellings and risk factors should be better known. Design: A French nationally representative survey performed by trained interviewers using a face-to-face validated questionnaire. The questionnaire included items on housing characteristics and socio-economic variables. Besides, data on local meteorological variables were gathered. The logistic regression analysis related reported indoor mold to each predictive variable. Participants: Among the target population, 32,000 (79%) agreed to participate. Results: Among housing characteristics, 9 happened to be statistically significantly related to moldy surfaces: type of building, building age, heating system, cold in dwelling during last 12 months, seepage/flooding in dwelling during the last 12 months, number of rooms, low storey level and frontage and / or windows in poor condition. Among socio-economic variables, 6 turned out to be significant predictors: young age, overcrowding, low living standard, tenancy, labour force participation and short time of residence. Meteorological data, which demonstrated relevance, were number of days of rainfall and mean outdoor temperature. Conclusion: In this large national French survey, dampness in housing was reported in 24% of households. It is by far the most prevalent defect in housing. It is a multi-factorial issue. Some predictive variables might be altered. Others are related to building age and occupant's behaviour. Future surveys should focus on the relevance of living habits.