Do Damp and Mould Matter? Health impacts of leaky homes

Philippa Howden-Chapman, Julie Bennett & Rob Siebers


New Zealand houses — including many built in the 1990s Mediterranean style — are too often damp, cold and mouldy. Find out what we can do about it.

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SKU: 978-1-877448-89-8 Category: Tags: ,


New Zealand houses — including many built in the 1990s Mediterranean style — are too often damp, cold and mouldy. In modern leaky buildings, water penetrates the building envelope and stays in the wall cavity, where it rots the wood and enables fungi to grow. This book outlines:

  • the extent of damp, mouldy houses in New Zealand
  • the history of our leaky buildings health effects — and costs — of exposure to indoor mould
  • methods for measuring mould
  • likely costs of fixing leaky homes
  • what we still don’t know about indoor mould, and recommendations for future research

About the author

Philippa Howden-Chapman is a professor of public health at the University of Otago, Wellington, where she teaches public policy. She is a director of He Kainga Oranga/Housing and Health Research Programme, and the New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities. She has conducted a number of randomised community housing trials in partnership with local communities, which have had a major influence on housing, health and energy policy. She has a strong interest in reducing inequalities in the determinants of health and has published widely in this area, receiving awards for her work. She is currently the chair of the WHO housing and Health Guidelines Development Group and was a member of the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty.

Julie Bennet (BSc, MPH, PhD) is a research fellow at He Kainga Oranga/Housing and Health Research Programme. Her current interests are in domestic indoor environments, with a particular focus on the impact that indoor air pollutants have on the health of the occupants. She has first-authored several publications and has contributed to numerous other publications. In 2008 she was awarded the Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago PhD research prize.

Rob Siebers (FIBiol, FNZIMLS, FNZIC) is a senior research fellow in the Wellington Asthma Research Group and directs its research laboratories. His current research interests are in the role of indoor allergens (house dust mite, pets, cockroach, fungi) and bacterial endotoxin in allergic diseases, including asthma and atopy. He is also editor of the New Zealand Journal of Medical Laboratory Science.

Additional information

Dimensions 148 × 210 mm