ArticleLiterature Review

Epidemiology of the sick building syndrome

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Abstract

The sick building syndrome (SBS) has been the subject of serious scientific inquiry only in the past 10 years. It is commonly accepted to represent eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, lethargy, difficulty concentrating, and sometimes dizziness; nausea, chest tightness; and other symptoms. Evidence suggests that what is called the SBS is at least three separate entities, each of which has at least one cause. This review will summarize the epidemiologic investigations of the SBS and present an overview of etiologic hypotheses.

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... This result agrees with many previous studies on symptoms included in the so-called sick building syndrome (SBS). [40][41][42] One explanation could be differences in the indoor or occupational exposure. Women with children can spend more time at home and the job exposure in nonindustrial workplaces (eg, at office work) can be higher among women. ...
... This is in agreement with previous studies on this topic. [40][41][42] Tobacco smoking was not a major determinant of symptoms, except for cough, which is in agreement with conclusions from previous review articles. [40][41][42] Our main results were consistent associations between reported dampness and mold at home and rhinitis as well as nonrespiratory symptoms (eg, eye symptoms, skin symptoms, headache, and fatigue). ...
... [40][41][42] Tobacco smoking was not a major determinant of symptoms, except for cough, which is in agreement with conclusions from previous review articles. [40][41][42] Our main results were consistent associations between reported dampness and mold at home and rhinitis as well as nonrespiratory symptoms (eg, eye symptoms, skin symptoms, headache, and fatigue). Our results concerning an association between dampness and rhinitis are consistent with the conclusions from a recent review article. ...
Article
We studied dampness and mould in China in relation to rhinitis, ocular, throat and dermal symptoms, headache and fatigue. A questionnaire study was performed in six cities including 36,541 randomized parents of young children. Seven self‐reported signs of dampness were evaluated. Multilevel logistic regression models were used to calculate odds ratios (OR). Totally 3.1% had weekly rhinitis, 2.8% eye, 4.1% throat and 4.8% skin symptoms, 3.0% headache and 13.9% fatigue. Overall, 6.3% of the homes had mould, 11.1% damp stains, 35.3% damp bed clothing, 12.8% water damage, 45.4% window pane condensation, 11.1% mould odour and 37.5% humid air. All dampness signs were associated with symptoms (ORs from 1.2 to 4.6; p<0.001), including rhinitis (ORs from 1.4‐3.2; p<0.001), and ORs increased by number of dampness signs. The strongest associations were for mould odour (ORs from 2.3 to 4.6) and humid air (ORs from 2.8 to 4.8). Associations were stronger among men and stronger in Beijing as compared to south China. In conclusion, dampness and mould are common in Chinese homes and associated with rhinitis and ocular, throat and dermal symptoms, headache and fatigue. Men can be more sensitive to dampness and health effects of dampness can be stronger in northern China. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... The first cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID- 19) were related to a large seafood market in this city. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, and fatigue (2,3) and other symptoms include sputum, headache, diarrhea, and indigestion (4). ...
... Many studies on SBS have been performed (19). SBS symptoms have been reported to be associated with personal and indoor environmental factors (20). ...
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Background: Ventilation system besides other prevention strategies such as surface disinfecting and personal protective equipment (PPE) decrease the risk of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection. This study aimed to examine the ventilation system of an intensive care unit (ICU) in a hospital in Tehran, Iran to evaluate the potency of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC) for COVID-19 spread. Materials and methods: Contamination of air turnover caves was evaluated in supplier diffuser and extractor grills of negative pressure HVAC by ten samples. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in the samples was evaluated by the real time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Moreover, air conditioning and sick building syndrome (SBS) was assessed according to MM040EA questioning from health care workers. Results: In the health care workers, respiratory effects were more prevalent compared to other signs. Despite suitable air conditioning, this study highlighted carrier potency of ICU workers for SARS-COV-2. Conclusion: According to our results, although the HVAC of ICU ward had an appropriate air movement, it was not safe enough for health care workers.
... I composti organici volatili presenti nell'aria interna sono stati indicati da alcuni autori, come una possibile causa della Sick Building Syndrome. Tuttavia, in molti dei casi di SBS descritti, anche in Italia, non sono state riscontrate concentrazioni di VOCs tali da giustificare un rapporto causale (Abbritti et al., 1992;Hodgson, 1995). La formaldeide è la più semplice e più comune aldeide reperibile nell'aria interna; è incolore ed ha un forte odore pungente. ...
... Le malattie allergiche ed infettive sopra segnalate sono in genere considerate nell'ambito delle cosiddette "Malattie correlate con gli edifici" (Building Related Illness, BRI), ad eziologia nota. Queste affezioni hanno in comune alcuni aspetti quali una bassa prevalenza fra gli occupanti di un determinato edificio, un agente causale identificabile negli ambienti di lavoro, in particolare negli impianti di condizionamento dell'aria, un quadro clinico ben definito e che non si risolve con l'abbandono dell'edificio (Hodgson, 1995;Menzies e Bourbeau, 1997;Gerardi, 2010). ...
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https://www.siml.it/gruppi-di-lavoro Funzione visiva ed uso occupazionale di videoterminali: orientamenti ed indicazioni pratico-applicative per l’attività professionale del medico del lavoro e del medico competente. "Documento di orientamento professionale per i medici del lavoro."
... The examples of some of the diseases are asthma and pneumonitis due to hypersensitivities, and inflammation of the airways such as laryngitis, bronchitis, sarcoidosis, and dermatitis. Further, there may be poisonings due to gases such as carbon monoxide and radon (Apter et al. 1994). ...
... The increase in the people's productivity is a significant increase which has been well supported by the available research work. Further, the research data has substantially shown that the buildings where the air quality has been better are concerned with the fewer workers being seen with evidence of the syndromal presentation of the disease called "sick building syndrome" and thus savings on the expenditure of health makes the investment in the better indoor air quality measures a prudent one (Apter et al. 1994;Occupational Safety and Health Administration 2015). ...
Chapter
The primary motive of this research study was to investigate and analyze indoor air quality and compress the big data file in CSV format using a suitable compression technique. The data file was collected from the public domain data.gov. Through this study, understanding and application of primarily Snappy technique and secondarily ORC technique have been discussed to compress the given data file. There is an essential requirement to compress the big data to save the cost, ensuring safe storage and convenient management of data. A small comparison has been drawn between the Snappy and other compression techniques. Snappy has been chosen as the suitable compression technique as it is considerably faster as compared to other mentioned data compression techniques like ORC, LZW, LZO, and LZMA. The compression ratio obtained is also a good one (although not too high but also not too low). The analysis of indoor air quality and its compression have a lot of practical implications, as it has been experienced worldwide that there is a magnitudinous increase in data volume. It is estimated that the data of an organization in our modern world is almost doubling every year, thereby creating a massive challenge of storing this big data. So, it becomes mandatory to reduce the size of the data, and the practical implications of compression are for effectively managing, storing, processing, and analyzing the big data.
... SBS is a set of non-specific symptoms (from eyes, upper airways, facial skin, headache, tiredness and nausea) occurring in a particular building (Norback and Edling, 1991). Various indoor factors, such as a low supply rate of outdoor air, high room temperature and low indoor air humidity have been shown to influence the prevalence of SBS-symptoms (Apter et al., 1994;Hodgson, 1995;Mendell, 1993;Norback, 2009). Moreover, personal factors such as female gender and history of allergic disorder have been associated with SBS (Apter et al., 1994;Bjornsson et al., 1998;Hodgson, 1995;Mendell, 1993). ...
... Various indoor factors, such as a low supply rate of outdoor air, high room temperature and low indoor air humidity have been shown to influence the prevalence of SBS-symptoms (Apter et al., 1994;Hodgson, 1995;Mendell, 1993;Norback, 2009). Moreover, personal factors such as female gender and history of allergic disorder have been associated with SBS (Apter et al., 1994;Bjornsson et al., 1998;Hodgson, 1995;Mendell, 1993). ...
... Agentes nocivos da qualidade do ar interior e as suas fontes -De uma forma geral, uma pobre qualidade do ar interior é causada por ventilação inadequada (48,3% dos casos), seguida de fontes interiores de poluentes (17,7%), fontes exteriores (10%), humidade na habitação (4,4%), agentes microbiológicos (3,5%), materiais de construção (3%), entre outros fatores (13,1%). 2 Face a esta informação, conclui-se que renovar o ar através de ventilação é o passo mais importante para garantir uma boa qualidade do ar interior. ...
... Neste artigo, os autores descrevem a Síndrome do Edifício Doente, uma condição médica em que as pessoas expostas de forma prolongada a um edifício sofrem sintomas de doença ou indisposição, sem motivo aparente. Os sintomas tendem a aumentar em gravidade com o tempo que as pessoas passam no edifício e a melhorar com o tempo, ou até desaparecer, após o fim dessa exposição.2 Entres os mais comuns, temos: 1 • Irritação das membranas mucosas (irritação ocular, garganta irritada) • Efeitos neurotóxicos (cefaleias, fadiga, falta de concentração) • Sintomas respiratórios (dispneia, tosse seca, pieira) • Sintomas cutâneos (vermelhidão, prurido, pele seca) • Alterações quimiosensoriais (alteração da perceção odorífera, perturbações visuais) ...
Article
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Em situação de pandemia mundial, devido ao surto causado pelo SARS-CoV-2, os portugueses vão passar muito mais tempo dentro das suas habitações devido ao período de isolamento social estipulado, estando portanto mais expostos a eventuais poluentes da qualidade do ar interior. A exposição prolongada a estes poluentes pode causar o aparecimento de um conjunto de sintomas, que se podem exacerbar à medida que exposição se prolonga. Indivíduos com problemas respiratórios (por exemplo, asma ou doença pulmonar obstrutiva crónica) podem ser especialmente suscetíveis a esta exposição. Por esse motivo, será importante que os ocupantes adotem um conjunto de comportamentos que ajudem a reduzir a concentração desses poluentes. No entanto, ainda não existem recomendações para ajudar a população a manter uma boa qualidade do ar interior nas suas habitações. Para fazer face a esta necessidade, e para evitar a deterioração da saúde dos ocupantes, o Instituto de Saúde Pública da Universidade do Porto compilou recomendações básicas para ajudar a melhorar a qualidade do ar nas habitações, de forma a mitigar problemas de saúde durante o referido período de isolamento social. Acresce o facto de que a sintomatologia associada a uma pobre qualidade do ar incide maioritariamente no sistema respiratório, podendo por um lado levar à exacerbação dos sintomas em doentes com COVID-19 dificultando a sua recuperação, e por outro induzir a suspeita da doença naqueles ainda sem diagnóstico, tendo em conta a semelhança dos sintomas. Estas recomendações foram elaboradas com base na evidência científica e descritas simplificadamente, de forma a que qualquer cidadão as possa adotar e evitar ao máximo o aparecimento de sintomas associados a uma pobre qualidade do ar interior, numa altura em que a capacidade do Serviço Nacional de Saúde se encontra limitada. É importante proteger a nossa casa, para que ela nos possa proteger a nós. Efeitos da qualidade do ar na saúde-Em 1997, Carrie A Redlich, Judy Sparer e Mark R Cullen publicaram no The Lancet aquele que viria a ser um dos artigos clássicos na saúde ocupacional 1. Neste artigo, os autores descrevem a Síndrome do Edifício Doente, uma condição médica em que as pessoas expostas de forma prolongada a um edifício sofrem sintomas de doença ou indisposição, sem motivo aparente. Os sintomas tendem a aumentar em gravidade com o tempo que as pessoas passam no edifício e a melhorar com o tempo, ou até desaparecer, após o fim dessa exposição.
... Sick building syndrome (SBS) is a term used to describe nonspecific symptoms such as eye, nose, throat symptoms, headache, and fatigue linked to the indoor environment. 19,20 We found no previous publications on such symptoms in relation to the home environment in Thailand. In the school year 2017-2018, we performed a repeated epidemiological questionnaire study in wet and dry seasons among junior high school students in four cities in upper northern Thailand. ...
... Two previous review articles have concluded that gender and allergy are important risk factors for symptoms included in the SBS. 19,20 We found that students from families with academic education had less headache, possibly due to less social stress at higher socioeconomic status. Moreover, rhinitis was more common in dry season, a season characterized by low outdoor relative air humidity and outdoor particulate air pollution from biomass burning. ...
Article
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We performed a repeated questionnaire study on home environment and health (six medical symptoms) in 1159 junior high school students (age 12.8 ± 0.7 years) in upper northern Thailand in wet and dry seasons. Data on outdoor temperature, relative humidity (RH), and air pollution were collected from nearest monitoring station. Odds ratios (OR) were calculated by multi‐level logistic regression. Most common symptoms were rhinitis (62.5%), headache (49.8%), throat (42.8%), and ocular symptoms (42.5%). Ocular symptoms were more common at lower RH and rhinitis more common in dry season. Water leakage (28.2%), indoor mold (7.1%), mold odor (4.1%), and windowpane condensation (13.6%) were associated with all six symptoms (ORs: 1.3–3.5). Other risk factors included cat keeping, environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), other odor than mold odor, gas cooking, and cooking with biomass fire. Biomass burning inside and outside the home for other reasons than cooking was associated with all six symptoms (ORs: 1.5–2.6). Associations between home environment exposure and rhinitis were stronger in wet season. In conclusion, dampness‐related exposure, windowpane condensation, cat keeping, ETS, gas cooking, and biomass burning can impair adolescent health in upper northern Thailand. In subtropical areas, environmental health effects should be investigated in wet and dry seasons.
... This includes building-related allergic disease mainly from fungi and uncommonly from actinomycetes, inflammatory disease resulting from exposures to accumulated endotoxin and glucan, as well as infectious disease from Legionella. The final category, nonspecific building-related symptoms, includes mucous membrane complaints, headache, and difficulty concentrating-the so-called sick building syndrome (SBS) (10)(11)(12)(13). ...
... This syndrome was defined by a working group of the WHO and involves various nonspecific symptoms such as eye, skin and upper airway irritation, headache, and fatigue (10)(11)(12)(13). The SBS is a group phenomenon (affecting a group of people in the building), not a syndrome as it is normally defined in medicine, and individual diagnostics is a difficult issue. ...
Chapter
Norbäck D, Miller JD (2013) Building-Related Illnesses and mold related conditions. In Bernstein DI, Malo J-L, Chan Yeung M, Bernstein L (2012) Asthma in the Workplace, 4th edition. Taylor & Francis, New York. pp. 406-417.
... This includes building-related allergic disease mainly from fungi and uncommonly from actinomycetes, inflammatory disease resulting from exposures to accumulated endotoxin and glucan, as well as infectious disease from Legionella. The final category, nonspecific building-related symptoms, includes mucous membrane complaints, headache, and difficulty concentrating-the so-called sick building syndrome (SBS) (10)(11)(12)(13). ...
... This syndrome was defined by a working group of the WHO and involves various nonspecific symptoms such as eye, skin and upper airway irritation, headache, and fatigue (10)(11)(12)(13). The SBS is a group phenomenon (affecting a group of people in the building), not a syndrome as it is normally defined in medicine, and individual diagnostics is a difficult issue. ...
... The term "sick building syndrome" (SBS) has been used to describe symptoms (ocular, nasal, throat and dermal symptoms, headache and tiredness) that can be influenced by the indoor environment [1]. Epidemiological studies have indicated that microbial compounds, volatile organic compounds (VOC)) and low ventilation flow can be associated with SBS symptoms [2][3][4][5]. Moreover, female gender, allergy (atopy) and asthma can been associated with SBS symptoms [5][6][7]. ...
Article
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There are few studies on rhinitis and sick building syndrome (SBS) among students in tropical countries. We studied associations between levels of five fungal DNA sequences, two mycotoxins (sterigmatocystin and verrucarol) and cat allergen (Fel d 1) levels in schools and rhinitis and other weekly SBS symptoms in the students. Fungal DNA was measured by quantitative PCR and cat allergen by ELISA. Pupils (N = 462) from eight randomly selected schools in Johor Bahru, Malaysia participated (96%). Dust samples were collected by cotton swabs and Petri dishes exposed for one week. None of the schools had a mechanical ventilation system, but all classrooms had openable windows that were kept open during lectures and indoor CO2 levels were low (mean 492 ppm; range 380-690 ppm). Weekly nasal symptoms (rhinitis) (18.8%), ocular (11.6%), throat (11.1%), dermal symptoms, headache (20.6%) and tiredness (22.1%) were common. Total fungal DNA in swab samples was associated with rhinitis (p = 0.02), ocular symptoms (p = 0.009) and tiredness (p = 0.001). There were positive associations between Aspergillus versicolor DNA in Petri dish samples, ocular symptoms (p = 0.02) and tiredness (p = 0.001). The level of the mycotoxin verrucarol (produced by Stachybotrys chartarum) in swab samples was positively associated with tiredness (p = 0.04). Streptomyces DNA in swab samples (p = 0.03) and Petri dish samples (p = 0.03) were negatively associated with tiredness. In conclusion, total fungal contamination, measured as total fungal DNA) in the classrooms, Aspergillus versicolor and verrucarol can be risk factors for rhinitis and SBS symptoms among students in the tropical country Malaysia.
... A number of studies have found some important indoor factors that are closely associated with SBS, such as building dampness, ventilation flow, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), mold or microbial contaminations, and indoor climate factors (room temperature and relative humidity) (Bakke et al., 2008;Brinke et al., 1998;Fang et al., 2004;Jaakkola et al., 1991;Molhave et al., 1993;Norback and Nordstrom, 2008;Reinikainen and Jaakkola, 2001;Sundell et al., 2011;Teeuw et al., 1994;Wolkoff, 2008;Zhang et al., 2012). Most previous studies on sick building syndrome (SBS) have dealt with symptoms among office workers (Apter et al., 1994), but only a few studies have addressed SBS in relation to the home environment. Bornehag et al., 2003;Kanazawa et al., 2010;Kishi et al., 2009;Sahlberg et al., 2010;Sahlberg et al., 2013;Saijo et al., 2009;Takigawa et al., 2010). ...
Article
Indoor environment is associated with the sick building syndrome (SBS), but little is known about the contribution of outdoor air pollution and meteorological conditions to SBS. We studied associations between outdoor air pollution, meteorological parameters and selected indoor exposure and building characteristics at home and weekly SBS symptoms in a standardized questionnaire study among 3485 randomly selected adults in China. Outdoor factors included particulate matters with diameter <10μm (PM10), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), outdoor temperature (T), relative air humidity (RH), and wind speed (WS) during last three months. Multiple logistic regression was applied calculating odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence interval (95% CI). Asthma or allergic rhinitis (atopy) was associated with all types of SBS symptoms except fatigue. Indoor factors played a major role in SBS symptoms. Mold/dampness on the floor/ceiling was associated with fatigue OR=1.60 (1.11-2.30) and headache OR=1.80 (1.07-3.04). Moldy odor was associated with fatigue OR=1.59 (1.07-2.37) and dermal symptoms OR=1.91 (1.21-3.02). Window pane condensation in winter was associated with fatigue OR=1.73 (1.30-2.31) and throat symptoms OR=1.53 (1.01-2.31). Damp bed clothing was related with throat symptom OR=1.62 (1.09-2.40). Home redecoration was associated with fatigue OR=1.49 (1.07-2.06). Frequent window opening was associated with less nose symptoms OR=0.54 (0.36-0.82) and mechanical ventilation in the bathroom reduced dermal symptoms OR=0.66 (0.44-0.99). Females were more susceptible to redecoration and window pane condensation than men. No associations with SBS were observed for outdoor air pollutants or meteorological parameters in the final models combining indoor and outdoor factors, although SO2, T, and RH were associated with some SBS symptoms (fatigue, eyes and nose symptoms) in the separate outdoor models. In conclusion, indoor mold/dampness, air pollution from redecoration and poorer ventilation conditions in dwellings can be risk factors for SBS symptoms in an adult Chinese population, especially among females.
... In addition to their ecological roles, microbial VOCs have also been posited to contribute to building related illness (BRI) and its symptoms [13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20]. Occupants of buildings in which there is suspected or known mold growth are at increased risk of various respiratory ailments [21][22][23], in addition to other symptoms such as fatigue, headache, skin irritation, gastrointestinal tract problems, reproductive effects as well as rheumatologic and other immune diseases [24][25][26][27]. Mold VOCs are responsible for the characteristic musty odors associated with enclosed indoor spaces, and are produced at fluctuating concentrations depending on the species or group of species, substrate, length of incubation and other environmental parameters, including ventilation rate, relative humidity, and area of the building sampled [28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35]. ...
Article
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Background: Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are gaseous at room temperature, readily dissipate throughout the environment, and may be of anthropogenic or biogenic origin. Despite an increasing scientific interest in the role VOCs play in interspecific interactions, there remains a limited understanding of the impact of VOCs on fungi living in a shared space. Objective: In this study, we aimed to determine the sensitivity of the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae (yeast) in response to exposure to VOCs, collectively or singularly produced by bacteria, fungi, plants, and in industrial processes, and containing various chemical functional groups. Methods: Using a serial dilution spot assay with yeast wild-type strain BY4741, 27 compounds were screened at 10 ppm for 48 hr to determine their impact on yeast growth. Results: We found that gas-phase formaldehyde, three common microbial VOCs, 1-octanol, 1-octen-3-one, and trans-2-octenal, and a common plant VOC, trans-2-hexen-1-al, completely inhibited yeast growth at 10 ppm, while 1-octen-3-ol, 2-methylpropanal and benzene were significantly limiting. Additionally, we identified 2 common microbial VOCs, 3-methyl-1-butanol and 3-octanone, that significantly increased yeast growth. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that yeast provides a useful tool to study the effects of VOCs in shared spaces, serving as a model for other eukaryotic species in the built environment.
... Whenever possible, changes such as ventilation improvements and the reduction of sources of environmental contamination should be initiated, even if specific aetiological agents have not been identified [15]. Several studies in buildings such as schools, office buildings etc. confirm this problem [16,17,18]. ...
Article
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The paper is focused on degradation caused by microorganisms, a process called biodegradation, and on risks for human health caused by them. Bacteria and algae are the primary microorganisms on external building surfaces. These pioneer microorganisms have an enriched space of organic carbon, which is necessary for the growth of any subsequent microorganism which is often mold. Biodegradation is a synergic process of chemical reactions (chemical biodegradation) and physical effects of microbial bodies on building materials (biophysical degradation). The paper is a summary of the current state of art and knowledge in the field of biodegradation.
... SBS tycks ha uppstått eller åminstone kommit att uppmärksammans tämligen abrupt. Från att ha varit ett närmast okänt fenomen fram till slutet av 1970-talet uppstår det då något som beskrivits som närmast en epidemi av SBS (Apter, Bracker, Hodgson, Sidman & Leung, 1994). ...
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Den bærende ideen bak universell utforming er å søke en best mulig tilrettelegging av våre omgivelser slik at alle mennesker kan inkluderes i normalsamfunnet - uansett funksjonsnivå. Universell utforming har lenge vært et viktig satsningsområde i Norge, noe som bl.a. gjenspeiles i innføringen av diskriminerings- og tilgjengelighetsloven i 2009. God funksjonalitet og tilgjengelighet for alle er derfor ikke bare et ønske, men et lovbestemt krav på mange samfunnsområder i Norge. Det er også en ambisiøs politisk målsetting om at Norge skal være universelt utformet i alle sektorer innen 2025. Satsningen på universell utforming har gjort at man har fått en diskusjon omkring hva begrepet egentlig betyr, hva det bør omfatte og ikke minst, hva som ikke lar seg universelt utforme. Fra mange hold er det blitt hevdet at universell utforming egentlig dekkes av ergonomibegrepet, mens andre mener at begrepet representerer noe unikt som går ut over ergonomi og human factors. Denne grunnleggende begrepsdiskusjonen er viktig fordi det også peker noe annet grunnleggende: Hva er fenomenet vi studerer? Denne grunndiskusjonen er viet en del plass i boken. Andre sider er også selvfølgelig omtalt, både mer teoretiske, metodiske og praktiske. Flere av artiklene har et kritisk perspektiv på universell utforming, noe vi har savnet i faglige debatten. Denne boken inneholder 17 bidrag fra ulike fagmiljøer. Det er naturlig siden universell utforming er et utpreget flerfaglig område og kunnskap «på tvers» er viktig for alle som arbeider med dette. Felles for alle er imidlertid at Mennesket i all sin variasjon er i fokus. Flere artikler tar for seg faglig basiskunnskap om universell utforming må bygge på (eks. persepsjon), andre er mer konkrete og praktisk rettet (trafikk, bomiljøer, innemiljøer). Noen bidrag er mer perifere, men viktige nettopp fordi de sier noe om hva som ikke kan eller bør utformes universelt (natur). Nye fagområder etableres i Utdannings-Norge og flere av disse er relevante for universell utforming. Et av disse er miljøpsykologi – den delen av psykologifaget som dreier seg om forholdet mellom mennesket og omgivelser – inne, ute og på det virtuelle området. Miljøpsykologisk kunnskap blir svært viktig i tiden framover og på mange områder. Noen av bidragene kommer fra dette feltet.
... Indoor air purification is a major health issue as well as a rising market. In 1983, World Health Organization has defined Sick building syndrome (SBS), usually reported by occupants in certain buildings or specific rooms 5,6 . Sources located inside the building, such as adhesives, carpeting, wood products and cleaning products may emit VOCs 7 . ...
Article
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Sorbent-TRACK is a new device developed to monitor adsorption and surface oxidation of pollutants under direct plasma exposure. It is based on direct transmitted Fourier Transformed Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. A pyrex reactor under controlled gas pressure and composition is inserted on the infrared beam of a commercially available Nicolet 5700 FTIR spectrometer. A substrate holder is located on the optical path of the infrared beam. A thin pellet of a dedicated catalyst (CeO2 in the present work) is inserted in a substrate holder and can be exposed to direct plasma treatment using a Dielectric Barrier Discharge. The time resolution of Sorbent-TRACK is limited by the time resolution of the Nicolet 5700 FTIR spectrometer and close to 30 s. The dynamic of the adsorption and plasma oxidation of acetone and isopropanol on CeO2 are studied and intermediates are monitored. Performances and sensitivity of Sorbent-TRACK are reported Adsorption and oxidation of acetone leads to production of adsorbed isobutene and acetic acid, where oxidation of isopropanol gives mainly to adsorbed acetone, mesityl oxide and acetate. An increase of the plasma power leads to an increase of the isopropanol and acetone oxidation rate and a related increase of the production of adsorbed intermediates.
... 7 Despite extensive research, the causal association between molds and BRI remains weak and unproven, particularly with respect to mycotoxins. [8][9][10] Both atopic and normal people exhibit statistically significant physiological and psychological effects when exposed to the odorant compounds emitted by fungi, so it has been hypothesized that these odorants may cause or contribute to BRI. [11][12][13] Mold odors are caused by mixtures of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), low molecular mass compounds with high vapor pressure that exist in the gaseous state at room temperature. 14 Different species and strains of filamentous fungi produce different VOC profiles. ...
Article
Full-text available
Super Storm Sandy provided an opportunity to study filamentous fungi (molds) associated with winter storm damage. We collected 36 morphologically distinct fungal isolates from flooded buildings. By combining traditional morphological and cultural characters with an analysis of ITS sequences (the fungal DNA barcode), we identified 24 fungal species that belong to 8 genera: Penicillium (12 species), Fusarium (4 species), Aspergillus (3 species), Trichoderma (2 species), and one species each of Metarhizium, Mucor, Pestalotiopsis, and Umbelopsis. Then we used a Drosophila larval assay to assess possible toxicity of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by these molds. When cultured in a shared atmosphere with growing cultures of molds isolated after Hurricane Sandy, larval toxicity ranged from 15−80%. VOCs from Aspergillus niger 129B were the most toxic yielding 80% mortality to Drosophila after 12 days. The VOCs from Trichoderma longibrachiatum 117, Mucor racemosus 138a, and Metarhizium anisopliae 124 were relatively non-toxigenic. A preliminary analysis of VOCs was conducted using SPME-GC-MS from two of the most toxic, two of the least toxic, and two species of intermediate toxicity. The more toxic molds produced higher concentrations of 1-octen-3-ol, 3-octanone, 3-octanol, 2-octen-1-ol, and 2-nonanone; while the less toxic molds produced more 3-methy-1-butanol and 2-methyl-1-propanol, or an overall lower amount of volatiles. Our data support the hypothesis that at certain concentrations, some VOCs emitted by indoor molds are toxigenic. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... Global environmental impact from the built environment has seldom been the subject of public battles, like pollution from cars or factories, or public concern over food, medical or pollution issues (Woolley, 2000), even though local problems with buildings have been recognised such as sick building syndrome (Apter et al., 1994;Redlich et al., 1997). Market demand for environmental buildings has not increased as much as the growing demand for ecological food. ...
Thesis
This thesis explores Neighbourhood and Building Environmental Assessment Tools’ (NBEATs) function as assessment tools and decision support, and their relation to environment, architecture and architects. This is done by analysing, testing, and discussing a number of NBEATs (LEED-NC, Code for Sustainable Homes, EcoEffect, LEED-ND, BREEAM-C, and ENSLIC-tool), their manuals and use. Moreover, professionals’ (architects’) self-rated opinions regarding use and knowledge of NBEATs and environmental aspects are surveyed. Similarities and differences in NBEATs are found regarding: content, structure, weighting and indicators used. Indicators distinguished as procedure, performance and feature are used to varying extents to assess social, environmental and technical aspects. NBEATs relation to environmental sustainability has limitations due to: non-transparency, tradable indicators, relative measures, low criteria levels, limited life cycle perspective, and exclusion of relevant environmental aspects, such as embedded toxic substances, nutrient cycles, land use change, and ecosystem services. Ratings and architecture are influenced by NBEATs in varying ways. Higher criteria levels would probably increase their impact on architecture. Thus more research regarding NBEATs and links to architectural design, theory and practice is welcomed. There is limited use of NBEATs as decision support in early design phases such as in architectural competitions. Architects rate the importance of environmental aspects high, but few rate their skill in handling environmental aspects high. This calls for increasing knowledge and know-how of environmental strategies and solutions among architects and adaptation of NBEATs to early design processes. The values NBEATs reflect and the values we want them to create is also important. To support ‘environmental’ architecture, an increased socio-eco-technological system perspective is put forward, and other measures besides NBEATs are needed. Link to the thesis: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-192939
... The most common SBS symptoms are dry, itchy, sore and burning eyes alongside an irritated nose and sinusitis symptoms. Other symptoms include respiratory irritation, headaches, lethargy and mental fatigue [99,100]. Global observation of these symptoms and illnesses has led to research efforts towards understanding indoor air quality and its components. ...
Conference Paper
The purpose of this paper is to draw an understanding of the relationship between indoor environmental quality factors and occupant productivity in an office environment. Employee productivity has an enormous impact on organisational performance. There is a need to understand indoor environment quality to provide conducive and efficient work environment. This paper investigates the physical environment in an office and limits its focus to indoor air quality, thermal comfort, lighting and daylighting and noise and acoustics. The study reviews a broad range of literature focusing the indoor environment, occupant productivity and green buildings. A wide range of books, journals and conference papers were examined to investigate the topic. The study indicates that green building design helps to enhance the indoor environment quality for occupants. Indoor environment quality parameters like temperature, relative humidity, air temperature, air movement highly affect occupant comfort and productivity. The pollutants in the air along with inefficient ventilation reduce the indoor air quality and may lead to diseases like SBS (Sick Building Syndrome) and Asthma. Noise and acoustic design strategy and daylighting design strategy also play a crucial role in defining a healthy indoor environment. Ignoring these indoor factors could lead to a decrement in occupant comfort and productivity, thus resulting in financial loss to the employer. The paper provides a good starting point for future researchers interested in the area of indoor environmental quality, occupant productivity and green building design.
... Health conditions related to unconducive indoor air or atmosphere has been attracting concerns in respect to non-specific symptoms. These non-specific symptoms are more common among people in buildings with indoor air problems, generally referred to as ''sick buildings'' and the symptoms as sick building syndrome (Sidman and Leung, 1994). ...
Article
Full-text available
This study aimed to determine the prevalence of sick building syndrome symptoms among office workers in selected buildings in Nairobi. This cross-sectional study was conducted among 153 office workers from selected buildings in Nairobi. The SBS symptoms were assessed by using questionnaires. The study findings showed that the list prevalent SBS symptom was eczema (3%) while allergy to dust (24%), eye irritation (21%), headache (27%), sore throat (25%) and fatigue (31%) were among the most prevalent symptoms. The findings also showed that asthma (X2 6.805, P<0.05), eczema (X2 7.75, P<0.05), hay fever (X2 34.306, P<0.01), fatigue (X2 16.337, P<0.01) and dizziness (X2 9.504, P<0.01) were significantly associated with building category Keywords: Sick building syndrome (SBS), New building, Average building and Old buildings
... Factors contributing to perceived indoor air quality include temperature, humidity, odors, air movement, ventilation, bioaerosols, and volatile organic compounds (VOC), such as formaldehyde, xylene, toluene, and methylene chloride. 4,8 Several studies have reported the prevalence of ocular manifestations in SBS patients. [9][10][11][12][13] In other studies, ocular disorders were analyzed in relation to nasal or respiratory symptoms, with special consideration of the mucosal characteristics of SBS. ...
Article
Purpose The disease concept of sick building syndrome (SBS) is still unclear. Ocular mucous membrane irritation is one of the major symptoms of SBS. However, the immunological aspects of the ocular complications of SBS are not yet clarified. The clinical and allergological aspects of SBS cases with ocular disorders with special reference to allergic conjunctival diseases (ACD) were analyzed, especially with respect to local immunological features. Methods Twelve cases of SBS with ocular findings and 49 cases of ACD (allergic conjunctivitis [AC], atopic keratoconjunctivitis [AKC], and vernal keratoconjunctivitis [VKC]) for comparison were evaluated. The clinical findings in SBS and ACD were scored, and tear film breakup time (BUT) was measured. Cytokine (interferon-γ [IFN-γ], interleukin [IL]-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-8, and IL-13) concentrations in tears were analyzed by cytometric bead arrays. Eosinophil count in peripheral blood, total IgE in serum, and multiple allergen simultaneous test (MAST) for antigen-specific IgE were also measured. Results In SBS, conjunctival lesions were observed in all cases, and corneal abnormalities were found in two-thirds of the cases. Limbal lesions were observed in 2 pediatric cases. Mean serum total IgE level in SBS was significantly higher than that in AC; however, it was significantly lower than that in AKC and VKC. Eosinophil count in peripheral blood and number of positive allergens in MAST were significantly lower in SBS than in AKC and VKC. Significant elevation of tear IL-4 was observed in SBS and ACD. However, in contrast to ACD, elevation of other cytokines in tears was not observed in SBS. Mean tear BUT in SBS was in the normal range. Conclusion From these results, SBS is thought to be partially induced by an allergic response. However, clinical dissociation of the ocular clinical findings and local immunological features in tear cytokines may suggest that SBS belongs to a different entity from ACD.
... Lack of adequate ventilation in these buildings could cause an accumulation of harmful indoor air pollutants such as VOCs and formaldehyde, which are emitted from various building materials, furniture, etc. [1][2][3]. Some experimental chamber studies such as Mølhave et al. [4] and epidemiological studies such as Apter et al. [5] have shown that exposure to excessive levels of VOCs in indoor air may cause sick building syndrome (SBS). And some of these pollutants such as formaldehyde and benzene are carcinogenic [6,7]. ...
Article
Porous adsorption materials can adsorb harmful gases in indoor air. In this paper, an evaluation method of adsorbents on the adsorption performance to low concentration volatile organic compounds was established. By fast breakthrough experiment, equivalent partition coefficient and mass diffusion coefficient were obtained. This method was more efficient than traditional methods but with the same accuracy. Silica gel, activated alumina and 13X zeolite were tested and evaluated by adsorbing benzene, toluene and formaldehyde of typical indoor level.
... Among the IAPs postulated to be associated with office workers symptoms, a particular attention was paid to VOCs from the 1990s onwards, despite an association with airborne particles and SBS cannot be discarded (Apter et al. 1994). Some VOCs and semi-VOCs are indeed well known for their sensory irritation and neurotoxic potential at high doses from the accumulated knowledge in the field of toxicology and industrial hygiene, while the relevance of total VOCs as a risk index for health and discomfort effects in buildings was somewhat refuted by the scientific literature (Andersson 1997). ...
Chapter
Since multiple studies have addressed IAQ and associated exposure-related symptoms in office workers, a careful assessment and management of indoor air quality (IAQ) in office-like environments is important for the protection of human health and to ensure optimal comfort and well-being for office workers. For this purpose, the development of appropriate monitoring strategies is crucial to properly characterize the chemical and physical complexity of IAQ dynamics and subsequent potential impacts on office occupants. To obtain comprehensive and representative conclusions about IAQ problems in office-like environments, and to prioritize the order of management interventions, a multilevel approach should be implemented. The assessment process should include a general survey of the building and of the offices, occupants’ questionnaire surveys (concerning IAQ, symptoms, and psychosocial working aspects), and environmental mea�surements. IAQ monitoring and assessment, combined with source identification and control and adjustment of ventilation rates, has been recognized as the prioritized strategy for improving IAQ in office-like environments and reducing the combined health risks associated with indoor exposures.
... BRSs relate to situations in which building occupants suffer from respiratory (stuffy and irritated nose, rhinitis, cough, sore throat, and shortness of breath), ocular, skin, and general (fatigue, headache, and fever) symptoms, and these symptoms are relieved when the person is away from the building [2,3]. Personal factors, including gender [4,5] and personality traits [6]; environmental factors, such as poorly maintained ventilation systems and poor humidification systems [7,8]; indoor environmental quality; the work environment [4,[9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19]; and occupational stress [5,14,[20][21][22][23] have been found to be associated with BRSs. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background Psychosocial and environmental factors at the workplace play a significant role in building-related symptoms (BRSs). Environmental factors change during summer cooling and winter heating using air-conditioning systems. Thus, significant risk factors in each season need to be clarified. MethodsA nationwide cross-sectional study was conducted during summer in Japan and seasonal differences between summer and winter were evaluated. Self-administered questionnaires were distributed to 489 offices. Possible risk factors for BRSs associated with the work environment, indoor air quality, and job stressors were examined by multiple regression analyses. ResultsAmong people having at least one BRS, the prevalence of BRSs in summer (27.8%) was slightly higher than that in winter (24.9%). High prevalence was observed for eye and nasal symptoms related to dryness and general symptoms related to psychological distress in both seasons. Analyses revealed that dryness of air was an important and significant risk factor associated with BRSs, and job stressors were significantly associated with general symptoms in both seasons. Conversely, humidity was a significant risk factor of general symptoms in summer (odds ratio, 1.20; 95% confidence interval, 1.02–1.43). Carpeting, recently painted walls, and unpleasant chemical odors in summer and noise, dust and dirt, and unpleasant odors such as body or food odors in both seasons were significant risk factors for BRSs. Conclusions Improvements in the physical environmental qualities in an office throughout the year are important along with the reduction in psychological distress related to work.
... However, the mechanism of how VOCs and oxidative stress are related to decreased lung function is unclear. No studies have been performed on airway inflammation induced by exposure to VOCs during ordinary life, and longitudinal studies about SBS are rare, although there are a large number of cross-sectional studies [6]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Exposure to low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in ordinary life is suspected to be related to oxidative stress and decreased lung function. This study evaluated whether exposure to ambient VOCs in indoor air affects airway inflammation. Methods: Thirty-four subjects from the hospital that had moved to a new building were enrolled. Symptoms of sick building syndrome, pulmonary function tests, and fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) were evaluated, and random urine samples were collected 1 week before and after the move. Urine samples were analyzed for VOC metabolites, oxidative stress biomarkers, and urinary leukotriene E4 (uLTE4) levels. Results: The level of indoor VOCs in the new building was higher than that in the old building. Symptoms of eye dryness and eye irritation, as well as the level of a xylene metabolite (o-methylhippuric acid) increased after moving into the new building (p = 0.012, p = 0.008, and p < 0.0001, respectively). For the inflammatory markers, FeNO decreased (p = 0.012 and p = 0.04, respectively) and the uLTE4 level increased (p = 0.005) after the move. Conclusion: Exposure to a higher level of VOCs in everyday life could affect airway inflammation.
... Most previous studies on SBS have been performed in offices [17] . Moreover, there is only limited knowledge of relevant air pollutants and their relationship to SBS symptoms. ...
Article
To study the association of indoor air quality and ventilation in Chinese homes with occupants’ sick building syndrome (SBS) symptoms, we performed a study in 32 homes over four seasons in Tianjin, China. Measured indoor environmental parameters were ventilation rate, and concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), formaldehyde, PM2.5, ultrafine particle and ozone. Occupants reported any sick building syndrome symptoms for the previous three months. Ventilation rates at night in bedrooms were 0.35 h⁻¹, 0.78 h⁻¹, 0.37 h⁻¹ and 0.41 h⁻¹ in spring, summer, autumn and winter, respectively. A low ventilation rate at night (below the median value of 0.45 h⁻¹) significantly increased the risk (adjusted odds ratio, aOR) of mucosal symptom to 2.65 (95% Confidence Interval (CI): 1.16–6.06). The aOR of ultrafine particle for mucosal symptom was 2.37 (95% CI: 1.02–5.49) and for dermal symptoms 3.96 (95% CI: 1.63–9.60). The aOR of ozone for dermal symptoms was 5.86 (95% CI: 1.19–28.99). Dry air perception that indicated a polluted indoor environment was a risk factor for SBS symptoms in Chinese homes.
... Following the energy crisis in the 1970s and resulting one-directional attention to building energy conservation measures, we have witnessed the appearance of Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) symptoms and more severe, cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses. Common SBS symptoms include headache, tiredness, respiratory and eye irritations and other illnesses [1,2], which come with enormous costs through the loss of human productivity and health [3]. These costs far exceed the potential benefits related to energy savings in buildings [3,4]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Recent green building certification programs have put a strong emphasis on occupant health and well-being. For recently emerged WELL certification, we lack evidence about its effectiveness in relation to occupant satisfaction, productivity and health. Here, we compared the results of occupant satisfaction with the indoor environmental quality (IEQ) obtained from the same cohort of employees who transitioned from three non-WELL (two BREEAM and one conventional) to three WELL-certified office buildings. For two out of three building pairs, we found a statistically significant increase in building and workspace satisfaction after relocation to WELL buildings. However, for 55 % of compared cases, there was insignificant difference as the result of relocation. The positive effect of WELL certification was evident for parameters such as building cleanliness and furniture, but there was no difference in satisfaction with noise and visual comfort. Relocation from BREEAM to WELL buildings had insignificant effect on satisfaction with IEQ, except for air quality in one case. Regardless of the certification label, buildings usually did not attain the 80 % standard satisfaction threshold. The satisfaction scores did not alter during the first year of working in WELL buildings. We also observed that the level of certification did not scale with the overall building satisfaction scores. Comparisons between the occurrence of Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) symptoms and self-reported productivity scores revealed insignificant differences between WELL and non-WELL buildings, except for symptom of tiredness that was lower in WELL buildings. The effect of Covid-19 measures interfered with the self-reported work abilities of 78 % of occupants.
... On the off chance that you don't give a decent workplace to representatives, the finest may dispensation at the primary chance. Purchasing the bestsuitable mechanical assembly, equipment and instruments isn't sufficient; workers additionally should be prepared on the most proficient method to utilize these merchandise (Sullivan, 1995;Feare, 2001 (Apter, et al, 1994). ‗Old building disease' is the reason of apparently high occurrence of illness in the middle of inhabitants of impenetrable, instinctively publicized office block. ...
Article
The current study is aimed at exploring the relationship between physical work environment, sick building syndrome and mental health of factory workers. Sample of the study consisted of (N =300) men and women factory workers by using purposive sampling technique. It was hypothesized that there will likely to be a relationship between physical work environment, sick building syndrome and mental health of factory workers, Physical work environment will likely to be a predictor of mental health. Further it was hypothesized that Sick building syndrome will be a mediator between physical work environment, and mental health of factory workers. Other hypothesis was that Female will likely to be higher on physical work environment, sick building syndrome and mental health than males. Descriptive statistics were calculated to assess means, standard deviations and frequencies of the variables. Pearson product moment correlation was used to find out relationship among work environment, sick building syndrome and mental health and hierarchical regression was used for prediction. The mediating role of variables was assessing through Process Macro. Independent sample t test was used to analyses the gender differences among study variables. Physical Work Environment Scale (PWES) (Erikson, 1999), Sick building Syndrome Survey Questionnaire (SBSSQ) (Israeli & Pardo, 2011), and Subjective well-being Scale (SWBS) (Stone & Christopher, 2013) were used for assessment. The result indicated that Physical Work environment had a negative relationship with sick building syndrome and mental health of factory workers. Indoor air quality had a negative relationship with mental health of factory workers. All the other dimensions of physical work environment (Lighting, ergonomics and acoustics) had a positive relationship with mental health of factory workers. Physical Work environment 559 had a positive predictor of mental health of factory workers. Sick building syndrome had a negative predictor of mental health of factory workers. Demographic variables (age, gender, family system, number of children, region) were predictor of mental health. Sick building syndrome had a mediator between physical work environment and mental health of factory workers. Sick building syndrome had a mediator between dimension of physical work environment (indoor air quality, ergonomics and lighting) and mental health of factory workers. Females were high on physical work environment, sick building syndrome and mental health than male. This research can provide help for managers understanding multi dimensions of environment of work and impact of dimensions on employee for job satisfaction. This research can also understand the work environment of employees. It helps organizations to create effective work environment.
... Many researchers have hypothesized that fungal VOCs have negative effects on human health with reference to processes like composting (Herr et al., 2003). In particular, it is thought that these VOCs may contribute to the symptoms of a poorly understood health condition called "sick building syndrome" (Mølhave et al., 1993;Hodgson, 1999;Heseltine and Rosen, 2009;Mølhave, 2009;Hosseini et al., 2020;Zuo et al., 2020). ...
Article
Full-text available
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are low molecular mass organic compounds that easily evaporate at room temperature. Fungi produce diverse mixtures of VOCs, some of which may contribute to “sick building syndrome,” and which have been shown to be toxigenic in a variety of laboratory bioassays. We hypothesized that VOCs from medically important fungi might be similarly toxigenic and tested strains of Aspergillus fumigatus, Candida albicans, Cryptococcus neoformans, Cryptococcus gattii, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae in a Drosophila melanogaster eclosion bioassay. Fungi were grown in a shared microhabitat with third instar larvae of D. melanogaster such that there was no physical contact between flies and fungi. As the flies went through metamorphosis, the numbers of larvae, pupae, and adults were counted daily for 15 days. After 8 days, ~80% of controls had eclosed into adults and after 15 days the controls yielded 96–97% eclosion. In contrast, eclosion rates at 8 days were below 70% for flies exposed to VOCs from six different A. fumigatus strains; the eclosion rate at 15 days was only 58% for flies exposed to VOCs from A. fumigatus strain SRRC 1607. When flies were grown in a shared atmosphere with VOCs from S. cerevisiae, after 15 days, 82% of flies had eclosed into adults. Exposure to the VOCs from the medically important yeasts Candida albicans, Cryptococcus neoformans, and Cryptococcus gattii caused significant delays in metamorphosis with eclosion rates of 58% for Candida albicans, 44% for Cryptococcus neoformans, and 56% for Cryptococcus gattii. Using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, the VOCs from the most toxic and least toxic strains of A. fumigatus were assayed. The two most common VOCs produced by both strains were 1-octen-3-ol and isopentyl alcohol; however, these compounds were produced in 10-fold higher concentrations by the more toxic strain. Our research demonstrates that gas phase compounds emitted by fungal pathogens may have been overlooked as contributing to the pathogenicity of medically important fungi and therefore deserve more scrutiny by the medical mycology research community.
... Poor indoor environmental quality (IEQ) is often blamed for causing SBS. Although it is difficult to determine the single cause of a particular symptom, interdisciplinary studies (Berglund and Lindvall, 1986;Hedge et al., 1989;Au Yeung et al., 1991;Burge, 1992;Apter et al., 1994;Bachmann and Myers, 1995;Hedge et al., 1995;Burt, 1996;Crawford and Bolas, 1996;Ooi et al., 1998;Bholah et al., 2000;Berglund et al., 2002;Cheong et al., 2006;Gül et al., 2007;Gupta et al., 2007) explored the prevalence of SBS in office buildings and related it to specific indoor environmental conditions. These studies showed a wide variance in the prevalence of SBS symptoms. ...
Article
The design factors (indoor plants, workstation partitions, and operable windows) that predict sick building syndrome (SBS) were described for architects and interior designers. For facility management, the indoor environmental characteristics (thermal comfort, air quality, noise and lighting) that contribute to SBS symptoms were investigated. This study used a standard Building Use Studies (BUS) questionnaire that included sick building syndrome symptoms, environmental satisfaction and perception, and background information about the respondent and their office space. There were 469 Chinese office workers who participated. More than half of the participants reported one or more sick building syndrome symptoms. The most common symptoms were head symptoms, whereas skin symptoms were least common. Indoor plants and operable windows were related to a reduction of SBS symptoms. Workstation partitions did not affect the incidence of SBS symptoms. There were fewer sick building syndrome symptoms reported in the more satisfied respondents. This study highlights a perception-based IEQ solution for SBS issues, which has been validated through identified relationships between the perceived IEQ and the SBS symptoms. By examining these responses, the facility management can change influential IEQ aspects. For design professionals, indoor plants and operable windows should be used to reduce SBS symptoms.
... There are many different types of materials that are used in construction such as plasters, binders, insulating panels, paints etc. The preparation of which requires the use of components that often do not reconcile with respect and protection towards the environment, such as the use of adhesives and paints that in time may release harmful substances and thus creating a potentially dangerous environment health wise giving rise to the so-called Sick Building Syndrome [10][11][12][13][14][15]. This is why over the last years, many studies have turned towards the research of innovative materials that are, above all, prepared with possible natural and safe components [16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this project is to investigate the behaviour of several special types plasters specifically designed to degrade the most common pollutants which are present in the atmosphere. In particular, specific additives have been added to these plasters, in order to obtain a broad spectrum of active and synergic response, each of which have peculiar functions: - microporous materials, such as clinoptilolite, a natural zeolite, that promotes the adsorption of air pollutants thanks to its porous nature; - nano-fillers, such as carbon nanotubes, that behave both as reinforcing agents as well as adsorbent materials; - photochemical agents, such as titanium oxide, that degrade air pollutants, previously adsorbed on carbon nanotubes and zeolites, thanks to the action of light that activates photodegradation reactions. All the samples were also characterized in terms of mechanical properties, adhesion to supports and water absorption. Furthermore, photodegradation tests were carried out by exposing plaster surfaces, wetted with a Rodamine solution, to Ultraviolet rays (UV) for different times. Plasters photodegradative capacity was evaluated and the results highlighted the fact that the designed admixtures showed an important photodegradative action, strictly dependent on the types and specific ratios of the selected additives.
Article
A cross-sectional study was carried out to investigate the occurrence of the sick building syndrome (SBS) among office workers in Mauritius. A walk-through inspection and a questionnaire survey were carried out in 21 office building complexes to evaluate the prevalence of risk indicators for SBS symptoms among 302 office workers. Indoor climatic variables monitored were: carbon diox ide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, air temperature, relative humidity, air movement, noise and light. All data collected were analysed using the EPI-info software. Re sults showed that symptoms of SBS were significantly higher among occupants of buildings with mechanical ventilation than those of the naturally ventilated build ings. Among personal factors assessed, there were gen erally consistent findings associating increased symp toms with age and female gender. The results also revealed that certain SBS symptoms such as a headache across the forehead, nervousness, nausea, irritated sore eyes and sneezing were more widespread among wom en in these offices. However, measurements of the se lected indoor variables were not found to be reliable pre dictors of the symptoms.
Chapter
This chapter aimed at throwing light on the Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) in Libraries, and the extent to which it is influenced by the internal environment of libraries. This was conducted through a case study of the main library of Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), located in both the old and the new buildings. To achieve this objective, the study adopted a descriptive survey methodology for the collection and description of the data, as well as a case-study methodology applied to the library building of SQU. The most important findings of the chapter showed that both the old and the new buildings of the library suffer from SBS. Sinusitis, dryness of the throat, and eye-inflammations were some of the most prominent SBS problems which librarians of the SQU library suffer from in both buildings. The chapter concludes with the recommendation that it is essential to observe environmental dimensions when designing library buildings, taking into consideration the expected impact of SBS in library buildings on librarians. It is hoped that this chapter will contribute to the enrichment of the scarce Arab intellectual output concerning this topic.
Article
Full-text available
With all benefits of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) therapy in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)-infected patients, oral candidiasis (OC) remains a significant health problem in these patients. The aim of the study was to determine the impact of smoking on oral candidiasis in HIV patients. We retrospectively analysed a group of 84 HIV-infected patients with OC, hospitalised and monitored in Clinic of Infectious Diseases Timisoara, Romania. Positive diagnosis was based on physical examination and laboratory data. Identification was performed by API Candida system, ATB Fungus 2 for antifungal susceptibility testing and direct microscopic examination of fungal species. There were registered 50 patients (59.52%) smokers, and 34 (40.47%) nonsmokers. In smoking group were recorded: 13 patients with lingual erythematous candidiasis, 14 with lingual pseudomembranous candidiasis, 6 with pharyngeal candidiasis, 12 with cheilitis and other 8 with oral hairy leukoplakia. In non smoking group there were 30 patients with erythematous candidiasis and 4 with lingual pseudomembranous candidiasis. Candida albicans was isolated in majority cases in both studied groups. Candida nonalbicans was isolated in 13 patients from smoking group, and in 4 patients from nonsmoking group. Association of smoking with increasing number of OC clinical forms, required implementation of antismoking counseling programs in HIV-infected patients.
Article
Adsorption is widely used in indoor VOC removal. The common parameters of evaluating the adsorption performance are often strongly restricted to the testing conditions, and difficult to extend to many practical conditions. In this study, a mass transfer model was developed to evaluate the VOC removal performance of adsorbents. Dimensionless analysis was applied to make the model and the results to be generally applied despite of concrete environmental conditions. A new dimensionless parameter representing the normalized adsorbed gas volume was defined as an evaluation indicator of adsorption performance. The influencing factors were studied by dimensionless analysis. By using this evaluation parameter, several commonlyused commercial adsorbents (activated carbon, silicon gel, zeolite, and activated alumina) to remove toluene, benzene and formaldehyde were evaluated and compared. Using this method, the performance of adsorbents at different operation conditions can be estimated and adsorbents can be sorted and selected for different indoor applications.
Article
Risk factors at home for ocular, nasal, throat and dermal symptoms, headache, and fatigue were studied in a nationwide questionnaire survey in Sweden, the BETSI study in 2006. Totally, 5775 adults from a stratified random sample of multi‐family buildings participated. Associations between home environment factors and weekly symptoms were analyzed by multi‐level logistic regression. In total, 8.3% had ocular symptoms; 11.9% nasal symptoms; 7.1% throat symptoms; 11.9% dermal symptoms; 8.5% headache and 23.1% fatigue. Subjects in colder climate zones had more mucosal and throat symptoms but less fatigue and ocular symptoms. Rented apartments had poorer indoor environment than self‐owned apartments. Those living in buildings constructed from 1961 to 1985 had most symptoms. Building dampness, mold and mold odor were risk factors, especially headache and ocular symptoms. Lack of mechanical ventilation system was another risk factor, especially for headache. Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), electric radiators, and crowdedness were other risk factors. Oiled wooden floors, recent indoor painting, and new floor materials were negatively associated with symptoms. In conclusion, building dampness, mold, poor ventilation conditions, crowdedness, ETS, and emissions from electric radiators in apartments in Sweden can increase the risk of ocular, nasal, throat and dermal symptoms, headache, and fatigue.
Article
In recent decades, variously identified nebulous disorders such as sick-building syndrome, electrical hypersensitivity, and chronic fatigue syndrome, characterized by combinations of nonspecific symptoms and absence of demonstrable signs have appeared. Their similar nonspecific etiologic attributions have given rise to generic names such as "modern-age disease" and "symptom-based conditions." The lack of demonstrable biological correlates as well as the vagueness of the etiologic attributions makes modern age diseases unusually problematic to study with epidemiologic methods, potentially leading to serious biases. Case studies of sick-building syndrome demonstrate that qualitative methods can help to elucidate the dynamic processes involved in syndrome development.
Chapter
Investigation of sick building syndrome needs to determine the relationship between building related exposures and health outcomes. The most reliable way of demonstrating this relationship is through epidemiologic investigation and field study. However, methodological design of investigation is crucial to the evaluation of outcomes and risk factors. Standard and validated data collection methodology, as well as detailed data management procedure, plays an important role in the final outcome and success of the investigation. Sick building syndrome in public building presents complex multiple exposure factors and variables, which create a challenge for field investigators. In this chapter, the epidemiologic methodology of the field studies and their practical applications and exposure assessment from occupational epidemiology perspective in sick building syndrome will be discussed.
Article
The indoor environment influences occupants’ health. From March 1, 2018, to February 28, 2019, we continuously monitored indoor temperature (T), relative humidity (RH), and CO2 concentration in bedrooms via an online system in 165 residences that covered all five climate zones of China. Meanwhile, we asked one specific occupant in each home to complete questionnaires about perceived air quality and sick building syndrome (SBS) symptoms at the end of each month. Higher CO2 concentration was significantly associated with a higher percentage of perceived stuffy odor and skin SBS symptoms. Higher relative humidity was associated with higher percentage of perceived moldy odor and humid air, while lower RH was associated with a higher percentage of perceived dry air. Occupants who lived in residences with high RH were less likely to have mucosal and skin SBS symptoms (adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 0.73–0.78). However, the benefit of high humidity for perceived dry air and skin dryness symptoms is weaker if there is a high CO2 concentration level.
Article
The indoor environment of a mechanically ventilated hospital building controls infection rates as well as influences patients’ healing processes and overall medical outcomes. This review covers the scientific research that has assessed patients’ medical outcomes concerning at least one indoor environmental parameter related to building Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems, such as indoor air temperature, relative humidity, and indoor air ventilation parameters. Research related to the naturally ventilated hospital buildings was outside the scope of this review article. After 1998, a total of 899 papers were identified that fit the inclusion criteria of this study. Of these, 176 papers have been included in this review to understand the relationship between the health outcomes of a patient and the indoor environment of a mechanically ventilated hospital building. The purpose of this literature review was to summarize how indoor environmental parameters related to mechanical ventilation systems of a hospital building are impacting patients. This review suggests that there is a need for future interdisciplinary collaborative research to quantify the optimum range for HVAC parameters considering airborne exposures and patients’ positive medical outcomes. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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Sum total of eighty samples were collected from Eleme and Port Harcourt for this study using forty (40) sterile swap sticks for each location. Two (2) different media (MacConkey Agar and Chocolate Agar) were used for the culture isolation of the microorganisms. Each swab stick was introduced on the surface of the media by streaking on the solid agar for microbial identification and biochemical analysis was done for specific identification of the microbes. Plasmid profiling of the isolated microorganisms to evaluate plasmid DNA was done by culturing in LB media with antibiotic selective pressure. This study identify four (4) microorganisms with Escherichia coli having the highest occurrence percentage of 46.30% from both location while 3.45% of Serratiam arcescen, 11.82% of Bacillus cereus and 38.43% of Staphylococcus aureus were isolated from both locations. The population of Escherichia coli isolated from Eleme and Port Harcourt was significantly high with percentage occurrence of 19.21% and 27.09 % respectively. This study implicated Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus to be responsible for degradation of coated surface. Isolated from Eleme had plasmid of molecular weight 23.13kbp while Port Harcourt had plasmid of molecular weight 23.13kbp, and 4.361kbp showing significant change on their plasmid morphology.
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Die Nase stellt die vorderste Verteidigungslinie der Lunge dar. Sie erfüllt die Aufgabe, täglich etwa 10 000–20 000 1 Luft zu reinigen, zu erwärmen und zu befeuchten. Sie hat sich dabei mit einer kontinuierlichen Deposition von Fremdstoffen und Keimen auseinanderzusetzen, gegen die sich die Nasenschleimhaut durch physikalische Maßnahmen wie die mukoziliäre Clearence, durch chemische Maßnahmen in Form der Synthese verschiedener Enzyme und durch immunologische Abwehrmaßnahmen auf zellulärer und humoraler Basis wehrt. Gleichwohl ist die Nase das am häufigsten entzündete Organ des Menschen und dient auch systemischen Infektionen des Körpers wie Masern und Windpocken als Eintrittspforte.
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The data presented in this work has been obtained from experimental research aiming towards the usage of natural resources of the National Park of Sila in Calabria, Southern Italy. Such resources are: “Laricio” pine resin, beeswax, mineral inert and charcoal to make natural glues. Furthermore, research has been done to find out if by using small quantities of carbon nanotubes, the strength of adhesion of prepared glues improves. Raw materials were characterized by physico-chemical techniques. In particular, the “Laricio” pine resin was characterized through the NMR techinique. The data obtained have shown that each utilized component plays a specific role: the pine resin on the fundamental binding properties, the beeswax on the plasticity ofthe material, the coal and the mineral inert on raising the melting temperature, the carbon nanotubes on improvement ofthe adhesion resistance. © 2017, Gh. Asachi Technical University of Iasi. All rights reserved.
Conference Paper
With the rapid development of economy in China, environmental problems are increasingly affecting people's daily life and work. Xuecheng area of Shandong Zao Zhuang is one of the oldest coal towns in China. Coal income is one of the main sources of local economy. Heavy dusts, produced by the coal mines and large cement plants, are seriously affecting the air quality index (AQI) and impairing local residents' health. Consequently, people in this area have to reduce their outdoor activities, which has led to loss of the town's vitality. In this paper, based on design strategy, the source of inspiration and medium and from the overall perspective, we design an innovative ecological Street Community Park, applying the concept of "Cradle to Cradle".
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The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to examine whether psychosocial working conditions may be a mediator between indoor physical working conditions and the type of vague general health symptoms included in the diagnosis of sick building syndrome (SBS). The study was based on survey data from 1505 British white-collar workers from 20 different organizations. A path analysis revealed that there was a significant direct relation between physical working conditions and vague symptoms and also psychosocial job strain (Effort-Reward Imbalance ratio), which in turn also strongly related to the vague symptoms. The findings thus suggested a mediating role between physical working conditions and symptoms for psychosocial job strain. Due to the cross-sectional study design no conclusions on causality can be drawn.
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Few studies exist from China on associations between home environment and adult health. We studied associations between home environment factors (other than dampness and mould) and rhinitis, throat and dermal symptoms and headache and fatigue among young parents in six cities across China (N = 36,541). They were recruited as parents from day care centers selected randomly and answered a questionnaire on medical symptoms and the home environment. Odds ratios (OR) were calculated by multilevel logistic regression adjusting for gender, atopy, smoking, home size and dampness/mould. Overall, 4.8% had skin symptoms 3.1% rhinitis, 2.8% eye, 4.1% throat symptoms, 3.0% headache and 13.9% had fatigue (all as weekly symptoms). Redecoration was associated with rhinitis, eye and skin symptoms, headache and fatigue. New furniture was associated with eye, throat and skin symptoms and fatigue. Gas cooking was associated with eye and throat symptoms, headache and fatigue. Biomass cooking was associated with eye and throat symptoms and headache. Burning incense was associated with eye, throat and skin symptoms, headache and fatigue. Presence of cockroaches and mosquitos or flies was associated with all six symptoms. Rats or mice were associated with eye and dermal symptoms. Cat keeping was associated with eye symptoms while dog keepers had less fatigue. Living near major roads was associated with rhinitis, eye, throat and skin symptoms and fatigue. Daily cleaning, a mechanical ventilation system in the kitchen or in the bathroom, living in older buildings and living in less urbanized areas were protective factors. In conclusion, urbanization, traffic exhaust, indoor emissions from redecoration and new furniture, gas cooking and air pollution from burning incense and biomass may cause dermal and mucosal symptoms, headache and fatigue among adults in China. Indoor animals (cats, mice/rats, cockroaches) were other risk factors. Daily cleaning, mechanical ventilation and living in older buildings can be protective.
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The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of air humidification on (a) the dryness of the skin and mucosa, (b) allergic and asthmatic reactions, and (c) the perception of indoor air quality. A total of 290 office workers at the Pasila Office Center were included in a six-period cross-over trial. One wing of the building was operated with 30-40% humidification, and the other wing operated under conditions of no air humidification (relative humidity from natural conditions was 20-30%). The length of each study period was 1 work wk. The workers were instructed to keep a structured daily diary of their symptoms, their perception of the indoor air, and potential determinants of the symptoms. A total of 211 (72.6%) workers who returned at least two weekly diaries, and who had experienced both humidified and nonhumidified conditions, were included in the analyses. The primary outcome--dryness symptom score--was characterized by dryness, irritation or itching of the skin and eyes, dryness or irritation of the throat, and nasal dryness. Means of the daily symptom scores and perception ratings during the humidified and nonhumidified periods were calculated for each participant, and intraindividual differences in the means were used to assess the effect of air humidification. The dryness symptom score was significantly smaller during the humidified phase than during the reference phase (paired t test; p less than .05). Allergic symptoms that were considered as a separate outcome, a sensation of dryness, and draft were also significantly less frequent during the humidification phase (p less than .05).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
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Possible relations between incidence and prevalence of sick building syndrome (SBS), indoor exposures, and personal factors were studied in a four year longitudinal study among personnel (n = 129) in six primary schools. The mean concentration of carbon dioxide was above the recommended value of 0.08 microliter/l (800 ppm) in all schools, indicating a poor outdoor air supply. Indoor concentration of volatile hydrocarbon (VOC) was enhanced at high room temperatures. Respirable dust, but not concentration of VOC was enhanced at lower ventilation rates and high air humidity. Chronic SBS was related to VOC, previous wall to wall carpeting in the schools, hyper-reactivity, and psychosocial factors. Incidence of new SBS was related to concentration of respirable dust, current smoking, and the psychosocial climate. Remission of hyperreactivity, decrease in sick leave owing to airway illness, removal of carpeting in the schools, and moving from new to old dwellings resulted in a decrease in SBS score. It is concluded that SBS is of multifactorial origin, related to a variety of factors and exposures. The total concentration of hydrocarbons is a simple and convenient measure of exposure, which also seems to be a predictor of chronic symptoms. Further investigations on the effect of temperature, ventilation, and air humidity on SBS should consider how these factors may influence the chemical composition of the air. Because poor air quality in schools could also affect the children, it may have implications for the state of health of a large proportion of the population.
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The objectives of this chapter are to explore the economic impact of unacceptable environmental control in buildings and to propose some initial steps that might be taken to improve health and productivity through cost effective control of the indoor environment. To address these objectives, the existing stock of buildings is characterized for its ability to provide for the health and comfort of occupants. Costs associated with owning and operating these buildings are then discussed on a micro- and macroeconomic scale.
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The American Thoracic Society respiratory symptom questionnaire (ATS-Q) is widely used and has provided valuable information in epidemiologic studies. To determine the influence of psychological status on respiratory symptoms, we compared subjects' ATS-Q responses to their Ilfeld Psychiatric Symptom Index (PSI) scores. To minimize the potential confounding effect of respiratory disease on the association between respiratory and psychological status, from a population-based survey of 3,628 subjects, we studied only the 600 "healthy" subjects, defined by the following characteristics: between 14 and 55 yr of age; never-smokers; no diagnoses of respiratory, heart, kidney, thyroid disease, or anemia; and normal spirometry (defined as an FEV1 and FVC greater than 80% of predicted). Associations were found between respiratory symptoms (cough, phlegm, wheeze, dyspnea) and PSI subscales (anxiety, anger, depression, and cognitive disturbance). Adjusted odds ratios for respiratory symptoms ranged from 1.13 to 2.15 for every 10% increase in PSI score. Psychological status is an important determinant of respiratory symptoms and therefore must be taken into consideration when interpreting results of epidemiologic studies using questionnaire information.
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Random samples or the entire workforce in nine offices in which similar clerical work was being performed were studied using a doctor administered questionnaire that inquired into symptoms that have been linked with the "sick building syndrome." Five of the offices were fully air conditioned, one had recirculation of air and mechanical ventilation, and three were naturally ventilated. Workers in three air conditioned and three naturally ventilated buildings were interviewed blind. Seven of the buildings were studied at our request in the absence of any known problem. Comparison of prevalences of symptoms between the naturally ventilated and the other buildings showed a repeated pattern of nasal, eye, and mucous membrane symptoms with lethargy, dry skin, and headaches. There were highly significant excesses of these six symptoms in the air conditioned buildings when compared by chi 2 tests with the naturally ventilated buildings. It is suggested that these six symptoms represent the sick building syndrome and that the size of the problem is probably greater than is currently recognised. Possible causes are discussed.
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Reported cases of building-related asthma and hypersensitivity pneumonitis among workers in a Denver office building prompted an epidemiologic investigation. A cross-sectional, self-administered survey of employees in the office building of the reported cases was compared with that of employees in a comparison building. A significant excess of respiratory disease existed among 512 Denver workers (case building) compared with 281 office workers in a suburban agency (control building). Denver employees had a higher prevalence of respiratory symptoms, and the prevalence of physician-diagnosed asthma with onset or exacerbation since building occupancy was 4.9 times greater for Denver employees than for suburban employees. Asthma was not associated with any particular ventilation system in the building. Water incursion from a below-grade wall may have contributed to the problem, but the etiology is unknown. This investigation provided evidence of office building-related asthma. Individual cases may be sentinel events for other cases of work-related asthma or hypersensitivity pneumonitis and may indicate a need for public health investigation of remediable causes.
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The sick building syndrome is the term given to a constellation of symptoms reported by workers in modern office buildings, hypothesized to occur when the supply of outdoor air is reduced, because of the accumulation of contaminants arising from within the building. We undertook this study to determine the effect of changing the supply of outdoor air in four office buildings on the symptoms reported by workers and their perception of the indoor environment. Within each of three consecutive two-week blocks, the ventilation systems in each building were manipulated, in random order, to deliver to the indoor environment an intended 20 or 50 ft3 (0.57 or 1.4 m3) of outdoor air per minute per person for one week at a time. Each week, the participants, unaware of the experimental intervention, reported symptoms and the indoor environment was thoroughly evaluated. Of 1838 eligible workers in the four buildings, 1546 (84 percent) participated in the study. The supply of outdoor air averaged 7 percent and 32 percent in the ventilation systems and 30 and 64 ft3 (0.85 and 1.8 m3) per minute per person in the work sites at the lower and higher ventilation levels, respectively. These changes in the supply of outdoor air were not associated with changes in the participants' ratings of the office environment or in symptom frequency (crude odds ratio, 1.0; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.9 to 1.1). After work-site measures of ventilation, temperature, humidity, and air velocity were included in the regression analysis, the adjusted odds ratio was also 1.0 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.8 to 1.2). Increases in the supply of outdoor air did not appear to affect workers' perceptions of their office environment or their reporting of symptoms considered typical of the sick building syndrome.
Article
Measurements of the indoor climate were performed in 14 town halls in Greater Copenhagen, Denmark, together with a questionnaire study and a clinical study of 4369 employees in the town halls and 14 affiliated buildings. The return rate for the questionnaire study was 80% and the participation rate for the clinical study 77%. The many indoor climate factors determined resulted in values mainly at the levels normally considered acceptable or in values in accordance with levels previously reported. The prevalence of work-related mucosal irritation and of work-related general symptoms in the employees differed highly between the individual town halls. The lowest prevalences of symptoms were found for the oldest town halls, whereas there were no statistically significant difference between naturally and mechanically ventilated buildings. The preliminary analyses showed that sex, job category, photoprinting, working with video display terminals, and handling carbonless paper correlated significantly with the presence of work-related mucosal irritation and general symptoms.
Article
As Bauer et al. (1992) have indicated, psychological variables may play a prominent role in work-place-related disorders, like sick building syndrome. To place their work in a broader context, a spectrum of workplace disorders is described that encompasses sick building syndrome, building-related illness, neurotoxic disorders, and mass psychogenic illness. For each disorder, the authors identify both the building-(or exposure-) related variables and the psychological variables believed to trigger or maintain the unique pattern of somatic and neuropsychiatric symptoms. Strategies to aid in diagnostically differentiating the four syndromes are also discussed.
Article
In recent years, employees at the three headquarters buildings of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the Washington, D.C. area have expressed concerns about air quality and work environment discomforts. As part of a large-scale study of health and comfort concerns, environmental monitoring was carried out in March 1989 at approximately 100 sites (rooms) within these buildings. Employees in the vicinity of the monitors were administered a brief questionnaire to elicit information regarding their work environment, comfort levels, odors noticed, health symptoms, mood states, and perceptions of overall air quality. Statistical analyses were carried out for the 191 males and the 192 females for whom both questionnaire and monitoring data were available. The analyses entailed estimation of linear regression and logistic regression models aimed at testing for associations between the employees' responses and the environmental measurements, which included temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, and particlate concentrations (100 sites), and various microbiologic and volatile organic compound concentrations (subset of 56 sites). Principal component analyses were used to develop some of the outcome and explanatory variables used in the models. In the paper, the authors describe the study design, the study limitations, the statistical models and methods, and the results and implications of the data analysis.
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Introduction Prevalence of Exposures to Volatile Organic Compounds Health and Volatile Organic Compounds Prevalence of the Sick Building Syndrome Dose–Response Relationships for Health Effects Caused by Low-Level VOC Exposure Guidelines for Volatile Organic Compounds in Nonindustrial Indoor Environments-Principles for Establishment of Guidelines References
Article
Psychophysical measurements of odor, supplemented with certain physical measurements, were taken to examine ventilation requirements during smoking and nonsmoking occupancy in an environmental chamber. The facility provided the means to compare impressions of visitors (persons who inhaled air from the chamber only briefly) with impressions of occupants. For nonsmoking occupancy, 47 combinations of temperature, humidity, ventilation rate and occupancy density were examined. Odor level depended entirely on ventilation rate per person irrespective of the number of persons in the chamber. The ventilation necessary to satisfy 75 % of visitors equalled only about 4 ℓ s−1 per person. Occupants, however, were satisfied with far less. In an array of 38 conditions of smoking occupancy, the ventilation deemed necessary to satisfy 75 % of visitors under customary conditions of occupancy equalled 17.5 ℓ s−1 per person. For both smoking and nonsmoking conditions, a combination of high temperature (25.5°C) and humidity (r.h. > 70 %) exacerbated the odor problem. During smoking, carbon monoxide rarely reached dangerous levels, but suspended particulate matter often reached levels considered unacceptable outdoors. The results highlight the energy penalty incurred in ventilation for smoking occupancy.
Article
Pollution sources were quantified by the new olf unit in 20 randomly selected offices and assembly halls in Copenhagen. The spaces were visited three times by 54 judges, who assessed the acceptability of the air: (1) while unoccupied and unventilated to quantify pollution sources in the space; (2) while unoccupied and ventilated to quantify pollution sources in the ventilation system; and (3) while occupied and ventilated to determine pollution caused by occupants and smoking. Ventilation rates, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, particulates, and total volatile organic compounds were measured, but did not explain the large variations in perceived air quality. For each occupant in the 15 offices there were on average 6–7 olfs from other pollution sources; 1–2 olfs were situated in the materials in the space, 3 olfs in the ventilation system, and 2 olfs were caused by tobacco smoking. The ventilation rate was 25 l/s per occupant, but due to the extensive other pollution sources only 4 l/s per olf. This explains why an average of more than 30% of the subjects found the air quality in the offices unacceptable. The obvious way to improve indoor air quality is to remove pollution sources in the spaces and in the ventilation systems. This will at the same time improve air quality, decrease required ventilation and energy consumption, and diminish the risk of draughts.
Article
Two new units, the olf and the decipol, are introduced to quantify air pollution sources and air pollution perceived by humans indoors and outdoors. The olf is introduced to quantify pollution sources. One olf is the emission rate of air pollutants (bioeffluents) from a standard person. Any other pollution source is quantified by the number of standard persons (olfs) required to cause the same dissatisfaction as the actual pollution source. The olf unit is analogous to lumen and watt for light and noise sources. The decipol is introduced to quantify the concentration of air pollution as perceived by humans. The perceived air pollution is that concentration of human bioeffluents that would cause the same dissatisfaction as the actual air pollution. One decipol is the pollution caused by one standard person (one olf), ventilated by 10 l/s of unpolluted air. The decipol unit is analogous to lux and decibel (A) for light and noise. The percentage of dissatisfied as a function of the perceived air pollution in decipols is presented here, based on bioeffluents from more than one thousand occupants, judged by 168 subjects. A method for measurement of pollution sources and perceived air pollution is described. The new units provide a rational basis for the identification of pollution sources, for the calculation of ventilation requirements and for the prediction and measurement of air quality indoors and outdoors.
Article
During the winter of 1988/1989, the relationships between the prevalence of work-related health and indoor climate complaints and a number of building, management, workplace and personal characteristics have been investigated in a study in more than 60 office buildings located throughout the Netherlands. To collect the information, a questionnaire was prepared on health and indoor climate complaints and personal and workplace characteristics. A checklist was used to obtain information on building characteristics More than 7000 questionnaires were completed by the regular users of the buildings investigated. The results showed that the prevalence of symptoms was higher in air-conditioned buildings than in naturally or mechanically ventilated buildings. some other variables were also related with most work-related complaints after adjustment for selected management, personal, workplace and job characteristics. These included gender, work satisfaction in general, presence of allergies and/or respiratory symptoms, and personal control over temperature at the workplace. No differences were found in symptom prevalences between buildings with spray and steam humidification. The combination of air-conditioning and humidification did not lead to further increases in the prevalence of complaints as compared to buildings with only airconditioning or only humidification.
Article
This study extends prior research on occupational stress and health by examining the cross-sectional association of 12 measures of perceived stress to five indicators of self-reported symptoms of ill health and five medical conditions in a population of blue-collar workers. Net of a variety of confounding factors, including exposure to noxious physical-chemical agents, perceived stress is consistently positively related to self-reported angina, ulcers, and neurotic symptoms and to medical evidence of hypertension and other heart disease risk factors. Perceived stress is also positively associated with self-reported respiratory and dermatological symptoms but only among workers who report exposure to potentially noxious physical-chemical agents. That is, stress seems to exacerbate the deleterious effects of such exposure. The results suggest that occupational stress may affect a wide range of workers and health outcomes. Limitations of the study indicate a need for future longitudinal studies with more medical data on health status and fuller assessment of environmental and genetic factors that may interact with stress in determining health.
Article
Field studies of the sick building syndrome have generally used questionnaires developed to define symptoms present over weeks and months, such as those asking ". . . do you usually . . .?" Although such studies have implicated ventilation systems as a major contributor to indoor air quality complaints, no specific exposures have been identified. An alternative approach is based on the short-term quantification of symptoms and characterization of the indoor environment with direct-reading or short-term sampling techniques. This paper summarizes the development of such a method in two studies in problem buildings and its subsequent application in a study in nonproblem buildings. The method correctly identified the postulated cause in a first building and generated a hypothesis for intervention in the second. In the nonproblem buildings, the levels of complaints appear related to the levels of VOCs, lighting, hours spent at desks, and crowding. This approach has suggested that dose-response relationships do exist in the sick building syndrome. Weaknesses of this approach include an inability to adequately address microbial characterization of indoor environments and the social and organizational predictors of complaints that are recognized to be of importance.
Article
As Bauer et al. (1992) have indicated, psychological variables may play a prominent role in workplace-related disorders, like sick building syndrome. To place their work in a broader context, a spectrum of workplace disorders is described that encompasses sick building syndrome, building-related illness, neurotoxic disorders, and mass psychogenic illness. For each disorder, the authors identify both the building- (or exposure-) related variables and the psychological variables believed to trigger or maintain the unique pattern of somatic and neuropsychiatric symptoms. Strategies to aid in diagnostically differentiating the four syndromes are also discussed.
Article
Sick building syndrome (SBS) is an increasingly common problem, although continued skepticism exists regarding its validity. Because of this, the attribution of complaints to psychogenic causes or mas hysteria persists. In this study (N = 111), self-report measures of psychopathology (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory [Hathaway & McKinley, 1983] and SCL-90-R [Derogatis, 1983]) and physical symptom reports failed to discriminate symptomatic from nonsymptomatic workers in an affected building but could more generally differentiate workers in the target building from control subjects. These results suggest that SBS cannot be justifiably attributed to psychological factors alone, although working in a contaminated environment appeared to have deleterious psychological consequences for some workers. Smoking history (in pack/years [packs per day x number of years smoked]) was reliably associated with the development of symptoms in exposed workers. Issues related to the assessment of psychological complaints in SBS are discussed.
Article
The sick building syndrome has been the subject of research for approximately 10 years. Although it is often suggested that symptoms in office workers are due to circulating micro-organisms or particles, epidemiological studies investigating the relationship between them have been lacking. This cross-sectional study has combined medical and aerobiological assessments of offices in Great Britain and has found that, although airborne particulates and micro-organisms are unlikely to be the sole cause of the sick building syndrome, positive associations between symptom prevalence rates and levels of airborne viable bacteria and fungi within groups of buildings with similar ventilation systems, suggest a possible causal link that should be explored.
Article
Complaints in modern buildings have been attributed to inadequate ventilation for the last 20 years. Few data exist to support this claim. In fact, few studies have actually looked at ventilation and complaints at the same time. These missing studies indicate a failure of three groups of professionals, physicians and health scientists, architects and engineers, and scientists knowledgeable in exposure assessment, to study the topic together. This article will provide a conceptual framework for each of the three approaches and give some guidance on preventing problems.
Article
It has been suggested that supplementation of indoor air with negative ions can improve air quality. This study examined the effects of a "negative ion-generator" device on air contaminants and symptom reporting in two office buildings. Separate sets of functional and nonfunctional negative ion generators were monitored using a double blind, crossover design involving two 5-week exposure periods. There were no detectable direct or residual effects of negative ion generator use on air ion levels, airborn particulates, carbon dioxide levels, or symptom reporting. Symptom reporting declined at both sites initially and appeared to be consistent with placebo effect. Job dissatisfaction was an apparent contributor to symptom reporting, with a magnitude comparable to presumed effects of air quality. Further testing of such devices is needed before they should be considered for office air quality problems.
Article
Symptoms commonly defined as the sick building syndrome were studied in a cross-sectional investigation of 147 office workers in five building areas using a linear-analog self-assessment scale questionnaire to define symptoms at a specific point in time. At the same time, the environment in the breathing zone was characterized by measuring thermal parameters (dry-bulb temperature, relative humidity, air speed, and radiant temperature), volatile organic compounds, respirable suspended particulates, noise and light intensity, and carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide levels. Demographic characteristics of the occupants and building characteristics were recorded. Up to 25% of the variance in regression models could be explained for mucous membrane irritation and central nervous system symptoms. These two symptom groups were related to the concentrations of volatile organic compounds, to crowding, to layers of clothing, and to measured levels of lighting intensity. Chest tightness was also related to lighting intensity. Skin complaints were related only to gender. Gender, age, and education failed to demonstrate a consistent relationship with symptom categories. This study suggests that the sick building syndrome may have specific environmental causes, including lighting and volatile organic compounds.
Article
The influence of indoor climate factors on symptoms of the sick building syndrome was investigated in Greater Copenhagen, Denmark. Altogether, 2369 office workers in 14 buildings, where indoor climate measurements were made, filled out a questionnaire. Multivariate logistic regression analyses of the multifactorial effects on the prevalence of work-related mucosal irritation and work-related general symptoms among the office workers showed that the concentration of macromolecular organic floor dust, the floor covering, the number of workplaces in the office, the age of the building, the type of ventilation, and two easily recognizable factors, the shelf factor and the fleece factor, were associated with the prevalence of symptoms.
Article
The "sick building syndrome" involves symptoms such as eye, skin and upper airway irritation, headache, and fatigue. A multifactorial study was performed among personnel in consecutive cases of sick buildings to investigate relationships between such symptoms, exposure to environmental factors, and personal factors. The total indoor hydrocarbon concentration was significantly related to symptoms. Other indoor exposures such as room temperature, air humidity, and formaldehyde or carbon dioxide concentration did not correlate with the symptoms. Personal factors such as reported hyperreactivity and sick leave due to airway diseases were strongly related to the sick building syndrome. Other factors associated with the sick building syndrome were smoking, psychosocial factors, and experience of static electricity at work. Neither atopy, age, sex, nor outdoor exposures correlated significantly with the number of symptoms. It was concluded that the sick building syndrome is of multifactorial origin and related to both indoor hydrocarbon exposure and individual factors.
Article
Published studies of the relation between type of building ventilation system and work-related symptom prevalence in office workers have been contradictory. A reanalysis was performed of six studies meeting specific eligibility criteria, combining published data with unpublished information obtained from study authors. Five eligible studies were from the United Kingdom, and one was from Denmark. Standardized categories of building ventilation type were created to allow comparison of effects across studies. Within each study, prevalence odds ratios (PORs) were calculated for symptoms in each ventilation category relative to a baseline category of naturally ventilated buildings. Air-conditioned buildings were consistently associated with increased prevalence of work-related headache (POR = 1.3-3.1), lethargy (POR = 1.4-5.1), and upper respiratory/mucus membrane symptoms (POR = 1.3-4.8). Humidification was not a necessary factor for the higher symptom prevalence associated with air-conditioning. Mechanical ventilation without air-conditioning was not associated with higher symptom prevalence. The consistent associations found between type of building ventilation and reported symptom prevalence have potentially important public health and economic implications.
VOCs are generally present in indoor air at concentrations greater than, and not infrequently much greater than, those of outdoor air. These VOCs cover a broad spectrum of compounds, ranging from about 20 to several hundred in any given sample of indoor air. However, the concentrations observed in nonindustrial indoor air samples are generally much lower than occupational health standards. Still, the sources of VOCs indoors are varied and ubiquitous, and the health effects of exposure to VOC are varied and range from irritant effects associated with SBS, to carcinogenic and reproductive effects. A recent study of the health effects of exposure to low concentrations of VOCs has produced surprising results and insight into some of the more subtle health effects. However, additional study is needed to confirm these effects. Many general techniques for mitigating exposures to VOCs are available; the difficulty lies in obtaining the specific information necessary to apply these techniques effectively to a given problem. In some cases this information relates to diagnostics, either to the cause of particular symptoms in individuals or about the particular source or sources of VOCs. In other cases, this information is related to the application and efficacy of a particular mitigation technique for a particular problem. Bake-out is a promising technique for reducing exposures to VOCs in new office buildings. However, further effort in delineating its utility is necessary before it can be recommended.
The recent epidemiology of major building-related complaints and illness is summarized. The variety of symptoms that have been attributed to building environments in sick building syndrome and in building-related illness are described, including their likely pathophysiology and their implications for remedial action and prevention.
Article
Office lighting has been suggested as one of the possible factors in producing 'building sickness'. Health questionnaires were completed by 106 out of 109 (97%) workers in six randomly sampled multi-occupied offices in each of two buildings, one air-conditioned and one naturally ventilated. There was a significantly higher prevalence of work-related headache and work-related lethargy in the air-conditioned building than in the naturally ventilated one. There was also less daylight in the air-conditioned building and lower mean luminance and illuminance of the work positions despite there being more lights on (p less than 0.01). The workers had a greater dislike of fluorescent lighting (p less than 0.01) and overall found the lighting to be less comfortable (p less than 0.01) and glare readings were higher. The workers perceived their control of lighting as poorer (p less than 0.001) and consequently there was less agreement about it (p less than 0.001). Those with work-related headache found the lighting less comfortable (p = 0.059) and perceived more glare (p less than 0.05). This study suggests the need to maximize the use of natural light from untinted windows, to reduce the impingement of fluorescent tubes on the line of sight and to return the control of levels of lighting to each individual worker.
Article
The influence of personal characteristics, life-style, job-related factors, and psychosocial work factors on symptoms of the sick building syndrome was investigated in Greater Copenhagen, Denmark. The buildings were not characterized beforehand as "sick" or "healthy." Of the 4369 employees sent a questionnaire, 3507 returned them. Multivariate logistic regression analyses of the multifactorial effects on the prevalence of work-related mucosal irritation and work-related general symptoms among the office workers showed that sex, job category, work functions (handling of carbonless paper, photocopying, work at video display terminals), psychosocial factors of work (dissatisfaction with superiors or colleagues and quantity of work inhibiting job satisfaction) were associated with work-related mucosal irritation and work-related general symptoms, but these factors could not account for the differences between the buildings as to the prevalence of the symptoms. The building factor (i.e., the indoor climate) was strongly associated with the prevalence of the symptoms.
Since the early 1970s, the health effects of indoor air pollution have been investigated with increasing intensity. Consequently, a large body of literature is now available on diverse aspects of indoor air pollution: sources, concentrations, health effects, engineering, and policy. This review begins with a review of the principal pollutants found in indoor environments and their sources. Subsequently, exposure to indoor air pollutants and health effects are considered, with an emphasis on those indoor air quality problems of greatest concern at present: passive exposure to tobacco smoke, nitrogen dioxide from gas-fueled cooking stoves, formaldehyde exposure, radon daughter exposure, and the diverse health problems encountered by workers in newer sealed office buildings. The review concludes by briefly addressing assessment of indoor air quality, control technology, research needs, and clinical implications.
Article
Symptoms of building sickness were studied among 4373 office workers in 42 different office buildings and 47 different ventilation conditions. The overall response rate was 92%. Assessments of buildings were also made. Work-related symptoms were common in all work groups. The mean number per worker (maximum 10) was significantly greater in women than in men (3.66 vs 2.75) and independently greater in clerical or secretarial workers (3.65) than techanical or professional workers (2.85) who in turn reported more symptoms than managers (2.50). Overall, buildings with ventilation from local or central induction/fan coil units had more work-related symptoms per worker than buildings with 'all air' systems, which in turn had more than naturally or mechanically ventilated buildings. There was, however, wide variation between the building sickness indices of buildings within each ventilation category which was only partially explained by differences in jobs and gender of their workforces. Symptoms increased substantially once the air supply was chilled or humidified. Microbiological contamination of the supply air from chillers as well as humidifiers may account for some of the symptoms found. The commonest work-related symptom was lethargy (57%) closely followed by blocked nose (47%), dry throat (46%) and headache (46%). The least common symptoms were chest tightness and difficulty in breathing (9%); however, the symptoms were more than twice as frequent in buildings with local and centrally supplied induction/fan coil units compared with the naturally ventilated buildings. This study shows that the symptoms of building sickness are widespread and are not related to a few problem buildings, and that design characteristics of the building and its plant are associated with substantial differences in the reported frequencies of symptoms in those working within them.
Article
This paper reports data from the Tecumseh Community Health Study relating measures of occupational characteristics and stresses collected in 1967-69 to biomedical and questionnaire assessments of health behavior and morbidity taken at the same time, and to mortality over the succeeding nine-to-twelve- year period. Overall, our findings show only slight evidence of associations between job characteristics or stresses and health behavior and morbidity. Consistent with prior research, however, the few positive associations found among the employed - irrespective of sex - are strongest between job pressures or demands, and health behavior and morbidity. By contrast, job rewards and satifactions and occupation-education discrepancies show little consistent relation to health behavior and morbidity, while differences by occupation and self-employment are modest. None of the 1967-69 reported job characteristics and stresses, all of which were ascertained in a single data collection, predicts mortality by 1979. However, in a subsample of 288 men first interviewed in 1967-69 and still working and reinterviewed in 1970, those with moderate to high levels of job pressures or tensions at both interview points were three times as likely to die between 1970 and 1979 as men who level of pressure or tension was low on at least one interview point, even if high at the other. Future research must monitor subjectively experienced stress over time if we are to relate such stress to types of morbidity or mortality that have a long etiology.
Article
A survey of office workers at four sites was conducted by Columbia University School of Public Health during 1981 and 1982 to explore the relationships between office working conditions and employee health. Walk through surveys of each site were conducted by the research team with joint labor-management sponsorship. A total of 2074 non-managerial office workers filled out a 30-minute self-administered questionnaire at their respective workplaces. Multiple item scales were tested and constructed to measure indoor air quality and ergonomic factors. Significant differences in ergonomic conditions and air quality between the sites were observed. These differences corresponded with researcher observations prior to the surveys. Significant associations between the reported air quality and respiratory symptoms and between ergonomic factors and musculoskeletal symptoms were found. Specificity of the relationship between reports about the environment and health symptoms was demonstrated. The implications of this approach for industrial hygiene investigations of non-industrial environments are discussed.