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Global Indoor Health Network - Statistics regarding indoor air pollution
The research is clear.  Mold and indoor contaminants can cause serious health problems.

The statistics and financial costs relating to the health effects of indoor air contaminants and the impact on our global economy are tremendous.  It is staggering to comprehend the enormous impact on our global society as literally millions of individuals and families are harmed by contaminants inside our homes, schools and workplaces. 

The financial costs are equally staggering with estimates in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

We have numerous research papers, reports by government agencies and other reports posted on our website.

Some of the key statistics are provided below.

From a March 25, 2014 press release by the World Health Organization (WHO):

7 Million Deaths Annually Linked to Air Pollution (Indoor and Outdoor Air Pollution)

In new estimates released (on March 25, 2014), WHO reports that in 2012 around 7 million people died - one in eight of total global deaths – as a result of air pollution exposure. This finding more than doubles previous estimates and confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk. Reducing air pollution could save millions of lives.

In particular, the new data reveal a stronger link between both indoor and outdoor air pollution exposure and cardiovascular diseases, such as strokes and ischaemic heart disease, as well as between air pollution and cancer. This is in addition to air pollution’s role in the development of respiratory diseases, including acute respiratory infections and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.

From the 2011 World Health Organization report:

Environmental Burden of Disease Associated with Inadequate Housing

About 12% of new childhood asthma in Europe can be attributed to indoor mould exposure, which represents approximately 55 842 potentially avoidable DALYs (Disability-Adjusted Life Years) and 83 potentially avoidable deaths per year.

About 15% of new childhood asthma in Europe can be attributed to indoor dampness, which represents approximately 69 462 potentially avoidable DALYs and 103 potentially avoidable deaths per year.

Some 4.8 million (22%) of England’s 22 million dwellings were identified as having a Category 1 HHSRS (Housing Health and Safety Rating System) hazard and thus by our definition deemed to be ‘unhealthy housing’.

The total cost of dealing with HHSRS Category 1 hazards in the English housing stock is some £17.6 billion.

Another paper from the United States shows that remediation of lead paint hazards in housing yields a net benefit of $67 billion (Nevin et al., 2008).

From a January 27, 2010 article posted on Wire Service Canada:

B.C. Company Fights Back Against Sick Building Syndrome

In a survey of 100 U.S. office buildings, 23 percent of office workers experienced frequent symptoms of Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) such as respiratory ailments, allergies and asthma. The impact has been usually hidden in sick days, lower productivity and medical cost, but the economic impact is enormous, with an estimated
decrease in productivity around 2 percent nationwide, resulting in an annual cost to the United States of approximately $60 billion.

William Fisk from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California established a baseline for quantifying benefits from improved IAQ and demonstrated the economic impacts of increased productivity. Findings are showing that improvement in IAQ can: Reduce SBS symptoms by 20 to 50 percent, with estimated savings of $10 to $100 billion; Reduce asthma by 8 to 25 percent, with estimated savings of $1 to $4 billion; Reduce other respiratory illnesses by 23 to 76 percent, with estimated savings of $6 to $14 billion; Improve office worker productivity by 0.5 to 5 percent, with estimated savings of $20 to $200 billion.

From the Mold Resources page on the U.S. EPA website:

One third to one half of all structures have damp conditions that may encourage development of pollutants such as molds and bacteria, which can cause allergic reactions — including asthma — and spread infectious diseases.

From a 1994 report on PROPOSED rules by OSHA (standards addressing indoor air quality in indoor work environments). On December 17, 2011, OSHA withdrew this proposal. 

Based on the information submitted to the docket, OSHA assumed that 30 percent of the buildings have indoor air quality problems.

Based on OSHA's percentage of problem buildings (30 percent), OSHA assumed that 30 percent of employees working indoors are exposed to poor indoor air quality. Therefore, the number of employees potentially affected is 21 million.
From a report by the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission):


Most information about sources and health effects of biological pollutants is based on studies of large office buildings and two surveys of homes in northern U.S. and Canada. These surveys show that 30% to 50% of all structures have damp conditions which may encourage the growth and buildup of biological pollutants. This percentage is likely to be higher in warm, moist climates.

From the 2009 World Health Organization report:


Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould

Indoor air pollution – such as from dampness and mould, chemicals and other biological agents – is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. About 1.5 million deaths each year are associated with the indoor combustion of solid fuels, the majority of which occur among women and children in low-income countries.

The prevalence of indoor dampness varies widely within and among countries, continents and climate zones. It is estimated to affect 10–50% of indoor environments in Europe, North America, Australia, India and Japan. In certain settings, such as river valleys and coastal areas, the conditions of dampness are substantially more
severe than the national averages for such conditions.

From a 1989 report by the Special Legislative Commission on Indoor Air Pollution, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts:

Indoor Air Pollution in Massachusetts

Indoor air pollution is a growing problem in the United States and accounts for up to 50% of all illnesses.

Indoor air pollution seriously threatens public health. Scientific testimony and information provided to the Commission shows that many diseases and symptoms are attributable to indoor air pollution: irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, headaches, fatigue, nausea, asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, lung cancer, heart disease, chemical sensitivity, liver and central nervous system damage and many other ailments. As a result, billions of dollars are spent annually on pollution abatement and health care costs resulting from indoor air pollution.

From a 2010 report by Berkeley Lab:

Health and Productivity Gains from Better Indoor Environments and Their Relationship with Building Energy Efficiency

For the United States, the estimated potential annual economic savings plus productivity gains, in 1996 dollars, are approximately $40 to $200 billion (if we would implement specific scenarios to improve indoor environmental quality in U.S. office buildings).

From a 2007 joint study conducted by the EPA and Berkeley National Laboratory:

Berkeley Lab, EPA Studies Confirm Large Public Health and Economic Impact of Dampness and Mold

Building dampness and mold raised the risk of a variety of respiratory and asthma-related health outcomes by 30 to 50 percent.

Of the 21.8 million people reported to have asthma in the U.S., approximately 4.6 million cases are estimated to be attributable to dampness and mold exposure in the home.

The national annual cost of asthma that is attributable to dampness and mold exposure in the home is $3.5 billion.

From a November 2012 Alert by NIOSH (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health):

Preventing Occupational Respiratory Disease from Exposures Caused by Dampness in Office Buildings, Schools, and Other Nonindustrial Buildings

NIOSH has estimated that 29% to 33% of new-onset adult asthma is attributable to work-related exposures and 23% of existing adult asthma is exacerbated by work. If occupants develop asthma or asthma exacerbation while working in damp buildings, medical treatment may not be effective if the occupant continues to be exposed. An occupant in damp buildings with allergic asthma may experience symptoms after exposure to very low levels of a sensitizing agent that may still be present after remediation; in such cases, an occupant may require relocation to another area.

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