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Identification of mold and dampness-associated respiratory morbidity in 2 schools: comparison of questionnaire survey responses to national data.

Authors
Sahakian-NM; White-SK; Park-J-H; Cox-Ganser-JM; Kreiss-K
Source
J Sch Health 2008 Jan; 78(1):32-37
NIOSHTIC No.
20033173
Abstract
Background: Dampness and mold problems are frequently encountered in schools. Approximately one third of US public schools require extensive repairs or need at least 1 building replaced. This study illustrates how national data can be used to identify building-related health risks in school employees and students. Methods: School employees (n = 309) in 2 elementary schools (schools A and B) with dampness and mold problems completed standardized questionnaires. Responses were compared with participant responses from the 3rd National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and were indirectly standardized for gender, age, smoking status, and (for school B) race. Uncontrolled comparisons were made to responses from a study of office workers, as well as between responses from school employees in different sections of the school buildings designated by decade of construction. Results: Employees from both schools had excess work-related throat and lower respiratory symptoms, as well as eye, nasal, sinus, and wheezing symptoms. School B employees also had excess physician-diagnosed asthma and work-related fatigue, headache, and skin irritation. Employees in sections of the school buildings that were categorized as having greater dampness and mold contamination had more frequent upper and lower respiratory symptoms than employees working in other building sections. Conclusions: This noncostly type of analysis of indoor air quality complaints can be used to motivate and prioritize building remediation in public schools where funds for building remediation are usually limited.
Keywords
Respiratory-system-disorders; Molds; Education; Questionnaires; Morbidity-rates; Public-health; Indoor-air-pollution; Information-retrieval-systems; Environmental-health; Chronic-exposure; Bronchial-asthma; Environmental-contamination; Indoor-environmental-quality
Contact
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Respiratory Disease Studies, Field Studies Branch,1095 Willowdale Road, Morgantown, WV 26505
CODEN
JSHEA2
Publication Date
20080101
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
nsahakian@cdc.gov
Fiscal Year
2008
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Issue of Publication
1
ISSN
0022-4391
NIOSH Division
DRDS
Source Name
Journal of School Health
State
WV
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