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NIOSH Dampness and Mold Assessment Tool (DMAT): Documentation and Data Analysis of Dampness and Mold-Related Damage in Buildings and Its Application.

Indoor dampness and mold are prevalent, and the exposure has been associated with various illnesses such as the exacerbation of existing asthma, asthma development, current asthma, ever-diagnosed asthma, bronchitis, respiratory infection, allergic rhinitis, dyspnea, wheezing, cough, upper respiratory symptoms, and eczema. However, assessing exposures or environments in damp and moldy buildings/rooms, especially by collecting and analyzing environmental samples for microbial agents, is complicated. Nonetheless, observational assessment (visual and olfactory inspection) has been demonstrated as an effective method for evaluating indoor dampness and mold. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health developed an observational assessment method called the Dampness and Mold Assessment Tool (DMAT). The DMAT uses a semi-quantitative approach to score the level of dampness and mold-related damage (mold odor, water damage/stains, visible mold, and wetness/dampness) by intensity or size for each of the room components (ceiling, walls, windows, floor, furnishings, ventilation system, pipes, and supplies and materials). Total or average room scores and factor-or component-specific scores can be calculated for data analysis. Because the DMAT uses a semi-quantitative scoring method, it better differentiates the level of damage compared to the binary (presence or absence of damage) approach. Thus, our DMAT provides useful information on identifying dampness and mold, tracking and comparing past and present damage by the scores, and prioritizing remediation to avoid potential adverse health effects in occupants. This protocol-type article describes the DMAT and demonstrates how to apply it to effectively manage indoor dampness and mold-related damage.

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