|Making Practical Changes with Present Evidence|
It would be ideal if all indoor exposures were supported by strong scientific evidence that establishes a definite causal link between the exposure and specific health effects. It would also be helpful if such evidence had been reproduced by multiple researchers over time. It would also be comforting if such conclusions had achieved a reasonable degree of medical and scientific acceptance and consensus.
Such is not the case, reports a recent Lung Association study (see below). While much of the evidence is compelling, most of it establishes an association between an indoor environmental factor and respiratory illness, and not a confirmed causal connection. While this begs for further research in each area to unearth or confirm the actual causal mechanisms, it does not prevent practical action in the interim which could reduce the incidence of respiratory illness.
For example, it will be interesting and useful to ultimately learn the relative role of dust mites, moulds, bacteria, bacterial endotoxins and other agents in respiratory illness associated with dampness in housing. But it is possible without knowing all of the details, to make changes in housing that will avoid, reduce or eliminate dampness, and that will correspondingly reduce the risk of adverse respiratory health associated with it.
Likewise, eliminating dampness and extensive fungal exposure in housing would be safer (in terms of unknowns) and likely more effective than eliminating only Stachybotrys chartarum or bacterial endotoxin exposure. In this case, the action would be based on a strong general association (dampness in housing and respiratory illness), but would still assist in protecting people from specific hazards that may only later be proven to have definite causal connection to specific forms of illness. (e.g. Stachybotrys chartarum and pulmonary haemorrhage, bacterial endotoxin and development of asthma).
There have been a number of areas highlighted in a report by the Ontario Lung Association (clickable under references below), where remedial measures could improve respiratory health:
|Record #135, revised 6/11/2002|
Related Topics (click for further information)
Related Case Studies
|TO PRINT THIS PAGE||
Select PRINT under your FILE menu,
or click the PRINT button at the top of your