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Elevated symptom prevalence associated with ventilation type in office buildings.
Mendell MJ; Fisk WJ; Deddens JA; Seavey WG; Smith AH; Smith DF; Hodgson AT; Daisy JM; Goldman LR
Epidemiology 1996 Nov; 7(6):583-589
The relationship between work related symptoms and office building ventilation was examined. Questionnaires were administered to the workers of office buildings in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. Of the 12 buildings investigated, three were naturally ventilated, three were mechanically ventilated, and six were air conditioned. Building information was obtained from records, inspections, and interviews. Completed questionnaires were received from 880. Of the respondents, 34.9% reported headache or fatigue, 33.7% reported nose or throat symptoms, 22% reported eye symptoms, and 2.6% reported multiple lower respiratory symptoms. While symptom prevalence varied markedly within each ventilation type, the prevalence was lowest for naturally ventilated buildings and highest for air conditioned buildings. Odds ratios (ORs) were adjusted for building factors, personal factors, psychosocial factors, job factors, and work space factors, and were calculated relative to naturally ventilated buildings. The ORs were elevated for all indoor air related symptoms for both mechanical ventilation and air conditioning. For skin symptoms, the ORs adjusted for problem building status were 5.8 and 6.1 for mechanical ventilation and air conditioning, respectively. For lower respiratory symptoms, the adjusted ORs were 3.2 and 4.1 for mechanical ventilation and air conditioning, respectively. The adjusted ORs for multiple mucous membrane symptoms were 3.1 for mechanical ventilation and 3.5 for air conditioning. The authors conclude that work related symptoms are more prevalent in mechanically ventilated and air conditioned buildings than in naturally ventilated buildings.
NIOSH-Author; Humans; Health-survey; Morbidity-rates; Work-environment; Office-workers; Ventilation-systems; Air-conditioning; Indoor-air-pollution; Closed-building-syndrome; Risk-factors; Indoor-environmental-quality; Author Keywords: indoor air pollution; sick building syndrome; ventilation
Mark Mendell, lndustrywide Studies Branch, N!OSH, 4676 Columbia Parkway, R-16, Cincinnati, OH 45226
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Page last reviewed: November 13, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division