The prevalence and incidence of sick building syndrome in Chinese pupils in relation to the school environment: a two-year follow-up study
2011 (English)In: Indoor Air, ISSN 0905-6947, E-ISSN 1600-0668, Vol. 21, no 6, 462-471 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
There are few incidence studies on sick building syndrome (SBS). We studied two-year change of SBS in Chinese pupils in relation to parental asthma/allergy (heredity), own atopy, classroom temperature, relative humidity (RH), absolute humidity (AH), crowdedness, CO₂, NO₂, and SO₂. A total of 1993 participated at baseline, and 1143 stayed in the same classrooms after two years. The prevalence of mucosal and general symptoms was 33% and 28% at baseline and increased during follow-up (P < 0.001). Twenty-seven percent reported at least one symptom improved when away from school. Heredity and own atopy were predictors of SBS at baseline and incidence of SBS. At baseline, SO₂ was associated with general symptoms (OR=1.10 per 100 μg/m³), mucosal symptoms (OR=1.12 per 100 μg/m³), and skin symptoms (OR=1.16 per 100 μg/m³). NO₂ was associated with mucosal symptoms (OR=1.13 per 10 μg/m³), and symptoms improved when away from school (OR=1.13 per 10 μg/m³). Temperature, RH, AH, and CO₂ were negatively associated with prevalence of SBS. Incidence or remission of SBS was not related to any exposure, except a negative association between SO₂ and new skin symptoms. In conclusion, heredity and atopy are related to incidence and prevalence of SBS, but the role of the measured exposures for SBS is more unclear. PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: We found high levels of CO₂ indicating inadequate ventilation and high levels of SO₂ and NO₂, both indoors and outdoors. All schools had natural ventilation, only. Relying on window opening as a tool for ventilation in China is difficult because increased ventilation will decrease the level of CO₂ but increase the level of NO₂ and SO₂ indoors. Prevalence studies of sick building syndrome (SBS) might not be conclusive for causal relationships, and more longitudinal studies on SBS are needed both in China and other parts of the world. The concept of mechanical ventilation and air filtration should be introduced in the schools, and when planning new schools, locations close to heavily trafficked roads should be avoided.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 21, no 6, 462-471 p.
Medical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-165175DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0668.2011.00726.xISI: 000297417800004PubMedID: 21615503OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-165175DiVA: diva2:472262