Building-related respiratory symptoms can be predicted with semi-quantitative indices of exposure to dampness and mold.
Park-J-H; Schleiff-PL; Attfield-MD; Cox-Ganser-JM; Kreiss-K
Indoor Air 2004 Dec; 14(6):425-433
Using a semi-quantitative mold exposure index, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) investigated 13 college buildings to examine whether building-related respiratory symptoms among employees are associated with environmental exposure to mold and dampness in buildings. We collected data on upper and lower respiratory symptoms and their building-relatedness, and time spent in specific rooms with a self-administered questionnaires. Trained NIOSH industrial hygienists classified rooms for water stains, visible mold, mold odor, and moisture using semi-quantitative scales and then estimated individual exposure indices weighted by the time spent in specific rooms. The semi-quantitative exposure indices significantly predicted building-related respiratory symptoms, including wheeze [odds ratio (OR) = 2.3; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.14.5], chest tightness (OR = 2.2; 95% CI = 1.14.6), shortness of breath (OR = 2.7; 95% CI = 1.26.1), nasal (OR = 2.5; 95% CI = 1.34.7) and sinus (OR = 2.2; 95% CI = 1.24.1) symptoms, with exposureresponse relationships. We found that conditions suggestive of indoor mold exposure at work were associated with building-related respiratory symptoms. Our findings suggest that observational semi-quantitative indices of exposure to dampness and mold can support action to prevent building-related respiratory diseases.
Molds; Respiratory-system-disorders; Respiratory-irritants; Exposure-assessment; Indoor-air-pollution; Questionnaires; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Visual-perception; Odors; Microorganisms; Indoor-environmental-quality
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, Field Studies Branch, 1095 Willowdale Road, Morgantown, WV 26505
Disease and Injury: Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease