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Airborne moulds and bacteria, microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOC), plasticizers and formaldehyde in dwellings in three North European cities in relation to sick building syndrome (SBS)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Sciences, Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

There are few studies on associations between airborne microbial exposure, formaldehyde and plasticizers in dwellings and symptoms compatible with the sick building syndrome (SBS). Within the follow-up of the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS II), indoor measurements were performed in homes in three north European cities. The aim was to examine if volatile organic compound of possible microbial origin (MVOC), and airborne levels of bacteria, moulds, formaldehyde and two plasticizers in dwellings were associated with the prevalence of SBS, and to study associations between MVOC and reports on dampness and mould.

The study included homes from three centres from ECRHS II. In total, 159 adults (57% females) participated (19% from Reykjavik, 40% from Uppsala and 41% from Tartu). A random sample and additional homes with a history of dampness were included. Exposure measurements were performed in the 159 homes. MVOC was analysed by GCMS with selective ion monitoring (SIM). Symptoms were reported in a standardized questionnaire. Associations were analysed by multiple logistic regression.

 

Totally 30.8% reported any SBS (20% mucosal,10% general and 8% dermal symptoms) and 41% of the homes had a history of dampness and moulds There were positive associations between any SBS and levels of 2-pentanol (p=0.002), 2-hexanon (P=0.0002), 2-pentylfuran (P=0.009), 1-octen-3ol (P=0.002), formaldehyde (P=0.05), and 2,2,4-trimethyl-1,3-pentanediol monoisobutyrate (Texanol) (P=0.05). 1-octen-3ol was associated with mucosal symptoms. In dwelling with dampness and moulds, the levels of total bacteria (P=0.02), total mould (p=0.04), viable mould (p=0, 02), 2-methylfuran (p=0.008) and etyl-iso-butyrate (p=0.02) were higher.

In conclusion, some MVOC such as 1-octen-3-ol, formaldehyde and the plasticizer Texanol may be a risk factor for sick building syndrome. Moreover concentration of airborne moulds, bacteria and some other MVOC were slightly higher in homes with reported dampness and mould.

Keyword [en]
Microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOC), indoor environment, sick building syndrome (SBS), dwelling, dampness, mould.
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Research subject
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-172537OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-172537DiVA: diva2:514901
Available from: 2012-04-11 Created: 2012-04-11 Last updated: 2012-08-01
In thesis
1. Indoor Environment in Dwellings and Sick Building Syndrome (SBS): Longitudinal Studies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Indoor Environment in Dwellings and Sick Building Syndrome (SBS): Longitudinal Studies
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

People spend most of their time indoors and mostly in the dwelling. It is therefore important to investigate associations between indoor exposure in dwellings and health. Symptoms that may be related to the indoor environment are sometimes referred to as the "sick building syndrome" (SBS). SBS involves symptoms such as eye, skin and upper airway irritation, headache and fatigue. Three longitudinal studies and one prevalence study on personal and environmental risk factors for SBS in adults were performed. The prevalence study included measurements of indoor exposures in the dwellings. The longitudinal studies, with 8-10 years follow-up time, showed that smoking and indoor paint emissions were risk factors for SBS. Moreover, building dampness and moulds in dwellings were risk factors for onset (incidence) of general symptoms, skin symptoms and mucosal symptoms. In addition subjects living in damp dwellings have a lower remission of general symptoms and skin symptoms. Hay fever was a risk factor for onset of skin symptoms and mucosal symptoms, and asthma was a risk factor for onset of general and mucosal symptoms. Biomarkers of allergy and inflammation (bronchial reactivity, total IgE, ECP and eosinophil count) were predictors of onset of SBS symptoms, in particular mucosal symptoms. In the prevalence study, any SBS-symptom was associated with some individual volatile organic compounds of possible microbial origin (MVOC) e.g. 2-pentanol, 2-hexanon, 2-pentylfuran and 1-octen-3ol. Moreover, there were associations between indoor levels of formaldehyde and the plasticizer Texanol and any SBS. The result from the study indicates that individual MVOC are better indicators of SBS than the total value of MVOC. A final conclusion is that smoking, dampness and moulds and emissions from indoor painting may increase the onset of SBS. The indoor environment in dwellings over time has improved, but there is still a need for further improvements of the indoor environment in dwellings. More longitudinal SBS studies are needed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2012. 63 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 783
Keyword
Indoor environment, sick building syndrome (SBS), dwelling, longitudinal cohort study, building dampness, mould, microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOC), biomarkers, asthma, risk factors
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Research subject
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-172769 (URN)978-91-554-8393-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-06-13, Frödingsalen, Ulleråkersvägen 40, Uppsala, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-05-23 Created: 2012-04-13 Last updated: 2012-08-01Bibliographically approved

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