Environmental risk factors and work-related lower respiratory symptoms in 80 office buildings: an exploratory analysis of NIOSH data.
Mendell MJ; Naco GM; Wilcox TG; Sieber WK
Am J Ind Med 2003 Jun; 43(6):630-641
We evaluated relationships between lower respiratory symptoms and risk factors for microbiological contamination in office buildings. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health collected data from 80 office buildings during standardized indoor environmental health hazard evaluations. Present analyses included lower respiratory symptom-based outcome definitions and risk factors for potential microbiologic contamination. Multivariate logistic regression models for selected outcomes identified key risk factors. Adjusted odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) for "at least three of four work-related lower respiratory symptoms" were, for debris in ventilation air intake, 2.0 (1.0-3.9), and for poor drainage in air-conditioning drip pans, 2.6 (1.3-5.2). Adjusted associations with risk factors were consistently stronger for outcomes requiring both multiple symptoms and improvement away from work, and somewhat stronger among diagnosed asthmatics. Moisture and debris in ventilation systems, possibly by supporting microbiologic growth, may increase adverse respiratory effects, particularly among asthmatics. Data from more representative buildings are needed to confirm these findings.
Indoor-air-pollution; Air-contamination; Air-quality; Respiratory-infections; Respiratory-irritants; Respiratory-system-disorders; Ventilation-systems; Environmental-contamination; Microorganisms; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Indoor-environmental-quality;
Author Keywords: indoor environmental quality; indoor air quality; sick building syndrome; nonspecific symptoms; respiratory symptoms; respiratory disease; ventilation systems; building-related illness; asthma
Indoor Environment Department, Environmental Energy Technologies Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California 94720, USA
American Journal of Industrial Medicine