To investigate the association among symptoms of sick building syndrome (SBS). Self-reported questionnaire and indoor environmental surveys of newly build dwellings in Japan were conducted.
The questionnaire included items on symptoms of SBS and lifestyle, and an indoor environmental survey (i.e., mold, mites, and volatile organic compounds (VOC)) was conducted in family rooms of dwellings in Japan (Sapporo, Fukushima, Nagoya, Osaka, Okayama, and Kitakyusyu), from 2004 to 2007.
Data from Osaka in 2004 indicated significant odds ratios for symptoms of SBS for questionnaire items on renovation, air freshener, carpet, use of benzin, use of thinner, use of coating materials, moldiness, smell of house, and feeling of having insufficient sleeping hours. Significant odds ratios were noted for total CFU, Auerbasidum genus, Alternaria alternata, Aspergillus sp., Aureobasidium pullulans, Cladosporium cladosporioides, Fusarium sp., Penicillium sp., Rhodotorula minuta, and Wallemia sebi. Concerning concentrations of VOCs, TVOC, limonene, o,m-tolualdehyde, 2-pentanone, tetrachloroethylene, n-decane, and n-heptane are significantly higher in those who have symptoms of SBS. Significant odds ratios were indicated for questionnaire items on smell of house, stuffiness, moldiness, fustiness, dampness, water leakage, and feeling of having insufficient sleeping hours from data of six areas in Japan in 2004. Continuous data analysis of Osaka from 2004 to 2006 suggested that improvement of symptoms of SBS might be due to lifestyle modification.
Mites, molds, VOCs, renovation, moldiness, stuffiness, feeling of having insufficient sleeping hours, carpet use, benzin, thinner, and coating materials, increase the risk of developing symptoms of SBS, whereas modification of lifestyle and ways of living factors might alleviate them.