(HealthDay News) — Indoor air pollution, specifically mold and environmental tobacco smoke, is associated with asthma and asthma-related respiratory symptoms in middle-aged adults, according to a study published online February 12 in Respirology.

Desiree Mészáros, from the University of Tasmania in Hobart, and colleagues examined correlations between indoor air pollution sources with asthma phenotypes and asthma-related respiratory symptoms in a cohort of 5,729 middle-aged adults. Participants had completed respiratory and home environment questionnaires as part of the 2004 survey of the Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study.

The researchers identified significant correlations for recent mold in the home with current asthma, wheeze, and nocturnal chest tightness (odds ratios [ORs], 1.26, 1.34, and 1.30, respectively). Significant trends for current asthma, wheeze, and nocturnal chest tightness correlated with more rooms affected by mold. On stratification by atopy and gender, the correlation between recent mold and current non-atopic asthma was only seen in males (OR, 3.73). Significant correlations were seen for home environmental tobacco smoke with doctor-diagnosed asthma (OR, 1.25), wheeze (OR, 1.69), nocturnal chest tightness (OR, 1.54), and with current asthma only in non-smokers (OR, 2.09) and males (OR, 1.74). There was a negative correlation for reverse cycle air conditioning with doctor-diagnosed asthma (OR, 0.84; 95% confidence interval, 0.70 to 1.00). No correlations were seen for electric or gas stove use with asthma phenotype or asthma-related respiratory symptoms.

“In middle age, reducing home exposure to mold and environmental tobacco smoke might reduce asthma and asthma-related respiratory symptoms,” the authors write.

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