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Outdoor ozone and building-related symptoms in the BASE study.

Apte MG; Buchanan IS; Mendell MJ
Indoor Air 2008 Apr; 18(2):156-170
Reactions between ozone and indoor contaminants may influence human health and indoor air quality. The U.S. EPA Building Assessment Survey and Evaluation (BASE) study data were analyzed for associations between ambient ozone concentrations and building-related symptom (BRS) prevalence. Multiple logistic regression (MLR) models, adjusted for personal, workplace, and environmental variables, revealed positive relationships (P < 0.05) between ambient ozone concentrations and upper respiratory (UR), dry eyes, neurological and headache BRS (odds ratios ranged from 1.03 to 1.04 per 10 mug/m(3) increase in ambient ozone concentrations). Other BRS had marginally significant relationships with ambient ozone (P < 0.10). A linear dose-response in UR symptoms was observed with increasing ambient ozone (P = 0.03); most other symptoms showed similar but not statistically significant trends. Ambient ozone correlated with indoor concentrations of some aldehydes, a pattern suggesting the occurrence of indoor ozone chemistry. Coupled with the MLR ambient ozone-BRS analysis, this correlation is consistent with the hypothesis that ozone-initiated indoor reactions play an important role in indoor air quality and building occupant health. Replication with increased statistical power and with longitudinal data is needed. If the observed associations are confirmed as causal, ventilation system ozone removal technologies could reduce UR BRS prevalence when higher ambient ozone levels are present. PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: This paper provides strong statistical evidence that supports (but does not prove) the hypothesis that ozone entrained into buildings from the outdoor air is involved in increasing the frequency that occupants experience and a range of upper and lower respiratory, mucosal and neurological symptoms by as much as a factor of 2 when ambient ozone levels increase from those found in low-ozone regions to those typical of high-ozone regions. Although replication is needed, the implication is that reducing the amount of ozone entrained into building ventilation systems, either by ambient pollution reduction or engineered gas-phase filtration, may substantially reduce the prevalence of these symptoms experienced by occupants.
Statistical-analysis; Environmental-exposure; Environmental-hazards; Environmental-health; Environmental-health-monitoring; Environmental-pollution; Work-areas; Work-environment; Workplace-studies; Air-monitoring; Air-quality-measurement; Air-quality-monitoring; Air-sampling; Inhalation-studies; Respiration; Respiratory-hypersensitivity; Respiratory-irritants; Respiratory-rate
Michael G Apte, Ph.D. Acting Group Leader Commercial Buildings and Indoor Environmental Quality Group Indoor Environment Department MS: 90-3058 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 1 Cyclotron Rd Berkeley CA 94720
Publication Date
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Journal Article
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Work Environment and Workforce: Indoor Environment
Source Name
Indoor Air
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University of California, Lawrence Berkeley Lab
Page last reviewed: August 19, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division