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Semi-quantitative mold exposure index predicts building-related respiratory symptoms.

Park-J; Schleiff-PL; Attfield-MD; Cox-Ganser-J; Kreiss-K
Indoor Air 2002 Jun; :27-32
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) investigated 13 college buildings to examine whether a semi-quantitative mold exposure index (EI) could efficiently predict work-related respiratory symptoms. We collected work-related symptom data and room locations/time fractions through questionnaires. Industrial hygienists classified rooms for factors including content of water stain, visible mold, mold odor, and dampness. We estimated 323 individual EIs based on each factor or a combination of the factors weighted by time fraction in particular rooms. In logistic regression models adjusting for age, gender, job position, hire years, smoking, allergies, and use of latex gloves, we found a significant exposure-response relationship for wheeze (Odds Ratio(OR)=2.3) with stain-based EI. EI based on the combined factors showed significant exposure-response relationships for chest tightness (OR=2.2) and shortness of breath (OR=2.7). Our findings suggest that an observational semi-quantitative exposure index can support public health action to prevent risk of building-related respiratory disease.
Molds; Exposure-levels; Epidemiology; Quantitative-analysis; Sampling-methods; Air-quality; Air-quality-control; Industrial-hygienists; Occupational-exposure; Work-environment; Workplace-studies; Respiratory-irritants; Worker-health; Fungi; Microorganisms; Indoor-air-pollution; Indoor-environmental-quality
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Email Address
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Indoor Air 2002, Proceedings: 9th International Conference on Indoor Air Quality and Climate, Montery, California, June 30-July 5, 2002
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division