Energy-efficient homes may boost asthma risks
A new study has found that certain energy efficiency measures in homes may increase the risk of developing asthma.
Scientists from the University of Exeter Medical School in the U.K. worked with social housing provider Coastline Housing to collect and assess data on residents of 700 properties. They found that those living in energy efficient homes were more at risk of asthma than those not living in energy efficient homes.
In explaining the findings, resaerchers said that some efficiency measures designed to prevent heat loss and curb energy use led to poor ventilation and increased levels of dampness and mold, both of which are known to contribute to asthma. Poor ventilation can also increase exposure to biological or chemical contaminants that can worsen asthma, they said. Researchers added that the use of old heating systems or washing and drying indoors can increase levels of indoor humidity, which is an ideal environment for house dust mites and bacteria that may further increase asthma risk.
While energy efficienct measures are important in reducing energy use, people need to be aware of the potential drawbacks. The new study's findings, published in the journal Environment International, emphasize the need for homeowners to understand the need for good ventilation in their homes.