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Methodological aspects of unspecific building related symptoms research
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Dermatology and Venerology. Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Occupational and Enviromental Medicine. (KLUCK-projektet)
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis deals with methological issues in the study of chemical exposure and sick building syndrome (SBS). SBS is a combination of general, mucosal and skin symptoms that some people experience when staying in specific buildings. The aim was to find chemical patterns associated with SBS, but also to address methological problems in such study.

The plan was to conduct a case-control study comparing the two groups’ chemical exposure, where cases were defined as those having at least one general, one mucosal and one skin symptom each week the last three months. For the planning it was necessary to know if cases and controls could be selected from the same building. If everyone in a building have the same chemical exposure it is no use to compare exposure between two persons at the same workplace. In the first paper exposure to more than 100 compounds is compared between 79 participants working in eight buildings. It was found that for the majority of compounds the variation in exposure was larger within buildings than between buildings, which means that cases and controls could be allowed to work in the same building.

The second paper is a comparison of three adsorbents usability in finding differences in chemical exposure between SBS cases and controls. This was done by using chemometrical methods but comparisons of sampled amounts, blank values and reproducibility were also done. Tenax TA was found to be the best adsorbent, hence used in the case-control study.

In recent years ozone and ozone reaction products with unsaturated volatile organic compounds (VOCs) has been in focus. Nitrogen dioxide is another gas affecting oxidation of reactive VOCs. Formaldehyde is an irritant formed when unsaturated VOCs are oxidised, and in some studies a relation with SBS has been found. In paper three the relation between personal exposure to formaldehyde, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, terpenes and SBS has been investigated among more than 200 office workers in a case control study in Umeå and Vasa. Cases (based on symptoms during the week of measurements) had lower ozone exposure than controls. No further associations were found at present exposure levels. A planed analysis of relations to VOCs could not be done due to analytical problems, and problems due to difficulties with consistent identification of compounds in a very large data set. These problems are further discussed in the thesis.

In the case-control, study participants answered questionnaires about symptoms during "the past three months", "right now" (when answering the questionnaire), and during the week of exposure measurements. In the fourth paper the stability of symptoms were compared by answers at different occasions. It was found that the case/control concept was as stable as individual symptoms. More participants with atopic disease and those 41 years old or younger changed class compared with those without atopic disease and older participants. Measurement activities appeared to make participants report more symptoms. Fatigue, dry eyes and dry skin are suggested to be symptoms with strongest, and illness/dizziness to be weakest association with IAQ.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå university , 2010. , 72 p.
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1315
Keyword [en]
Sick building syndrome, SBS, exposure measurement, GC-MS, questionnaire, symptom, variability, PCA, PLS-DA
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-30640ISBN: 978-91-7264-903-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-30640DiVA: diva2:285169
Public defence
2010-03-04, Hörsal B, 9tr, Tandläkarhögskolan, NUS, Umeå, 09:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
KLUCK-projektet
Available from: 2010-01-19 Created: 2010-01-11 Last updated: 2010-01-20Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Variability of personal chemical exposure in eight office buildings in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Variability of personal chemical exposure in eight office buildings in Sweden
Show others...
2004 (English)In: Journal of Exposure Analysis And Environmental Epidemiology, ISSN 1053-4245, E-ISSN 1476-5519, Vol. 14, no Suppl 1, S49-S57 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Keyword
Air Pollution; Indoor/*analysis, Aldehydes/analysis, Amines/analysis, Environmental Exposure, Environmental Monitoring, Epidemiologic Studies, Facility Design and Construction, Humans, Nitrogen Dioxide/analysis, Organic Chemicals/analysis, Ozone/analysis, Particle Size, Reproducibility of Results, Sick Building Syndrome/etiology, Sweden, Workplace
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-13409 (URN)10.1038/sj.jea.7500358 (DOI)15118745 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2008-01-03 Created: 2008-01-03 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
2. A novel approach to evaluation of adsorbents for sampling indoor volatile organic compounds associated with symptom reports
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A novel approach to evaluation of adsorbents for sampling indoor volatile organic compounds associated with symptom reports
2008 (English)In: Journal of Environmental Monitoring, ISSN 1464-0325, E-ISSN 1464-0333, Vol. 10, no 11, 1297-1303 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article addresses problems that complicate attempts to compare methods when several factors may be associated with an effect, but it is not known which factors are relevant. Chemicals that may contribute to 'sick building syndrome' (SBS), and thus should be sampled in investigations of SBS, are not currently known. A study was undertaken to compare the utility of three adsorbents (Carbopack B, Chromosorb 106 and Tenax TA) for detecting differences in personal chemical exposure to volatile organic compounds in indoor air, between persons with and without SBS symptoms (cases and controls). On the basis of office workers' responses to a questionnaire, 15 cases and 15 controls were chosen. They simultaneously carried diffusive samplers with adsorbents during a week at work, and the acquired samples were analysed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). The adsorbents were then compared in terms of their ability to separate cases and controls in partial least square discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) models. This method of comparison takes into account detected differences in chemical exposure between cases and controls measured with the different adsorbents. Tenax TA gave the best PLS-DA models for separating cases and controls, but a combination of measurements with Tenax TA and Carbopack B gave better PLS-DA models than models based on measurements from either adsorbent alone. Adding measurements from Chromosorb 106 did not improve the results.

Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-18837 (URN)10.1039/b808654k (DOI)18974898 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2009-02-25 Created: 2009-02-25 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
3. Association of exposure to ozone, formaldehyde, NO2 and terpenes with reported symptoms in office workers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Association of exposure to ozone, formaldehyde, NO2 and terpenes with reported symptoms in office workers
(English)Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

A number of risk factors for “sick building syndrome” (SBS) are known, including poor ventilation, but the associated substances in the air that are removed by ventilation are unknown. In this study the exposure of office workers to formaldehyde, d-limonene, nitrogen dioxide, ozone and α-pinene at work and at home was measured during a working week. Data on symptoms were obtained by analyzing responses to a questionnaire and participants were divided into cases and controls. We found no significant differences in chemical exposure between cases and controls. However, correlations were found between a number of individual symptoms and exposure to specific substances or combinations of substances.

Keyword
Sick building syndrome, Office; Formaldehyde; Nitrogen dioxide; Ozone
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-30634 (URN)
Projects
KLUCK-projektet
Available from: 2010-01-11 Created: 2010-01-11 Last updated: 2010-01-19Bibliographically approved
4. The stability of office workers’ unspecific building-related symptom reports
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The stability of office workers’ unspecific building-related symptom reports
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The stability of reported unspecific building-related symptoms, or sick building syndrome (SBS) was investigated in this study. In Umeå and Vasa, two cities in northern Sweden and Finland, 172 subjects were asked about their symptoms in two questionnaires. The first contained questions about symptoms during the past three months, right now (when answering the questionnaire), and if any symptom ameliorated when they were not at their workplaces. Later on, all of the workers took measurements of their personal chemical exposure at work and at home during one week, and at the end of the week they were asked about symptoms during the week.

The stability of a case/control concept was investigated as well as individual symptoms. It was found that 67 % of cases and controls did not change class if classifications were based on answers on symptoms during both the past three months and the week of measurements. Corresponding proportions for general, mucosal and skin symptoms were 71 %, 71 % and 78 % respectively. However, measurement activities appeared to increase symptom reports; on average 43 % of controls reported symptoms compatible with the case definition and 53 % of individual symptoms during the week of chemical measurements were not experienced when asked about symptoms during the past three months. Classification of participants with atopic disease and those 41 years old, or younger, were least stable. Nausea/dizziness does not seem to be strongly associated with indoor air quality while other general symptoms, dry eyes and facial skin symptoms are often attributed to staying within the workplace building

Keyword
Sick building syndrome, symptom reports, stability, office
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-30639 (URN)
Projects
KLUCK-projektet
Available from: 2010-01-11 Created: 2010-01-11 Last updated: 2010-01-19Bibliographically approved

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