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Chloroanisoles may explain mold odor and represent a major indoor environment problem in Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
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2016 (English)In: Indoor Air, ISSN 0905-6947, E-ISSN 1600-0668, Vol. 26, no 2, 207-218 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Indoor mold odor is associated with adverse health effects, but the microbial volatiles underlying mold odor are poorly described. Here, chloroanisoles were studied as potential key players, being formed by microbial metabolism of chlorophenols in wood preservatives. Using a three-stage approach, we (i) investigated the occurrence of chloroanisoles in buildings with indoor air quality problems, (ii) estimated their frequency in Sweden, and (iii) evaluated the toxicological risk of observed chloroanisole concentrations. Analyses of 499 building materials revealed several chloroanisole congeners in various types of buildings from the 1950s to 1970s. Evaluation of Swedish records from this time period revealed three coinciding factors, namely an unprecedented nationwide building boom, national regulations promoting wood preservatives instead of moisture prevention, and use of chlorophenols in these preservatives. Chlorophenols were banned in 1978, yet analysis of 457 indoor air samples revealed several chloroanisole congeners, but at median air levels generally below 15ng/m(3). Our toxicological evaluation suggests that these concentrations are not detrimental to human health per se, but sufficiently high to cause malodor. Thereby, one may speculate that chloroanisoles in buildings contribute to adverse health effects by evoking odor which, enhanced by belief of the exposure being hazardous, induces stress-related and inflammatory symptoms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2016. Vol. 26, no 2, 207-218 p.
Keyword [en]
Building-related illness, Sick building syndrome, Asthma, Allergy, Psychology, Olfaction
National Category
Environmental Health and Occupational Health Psychology Respiratory Medicine and Allergy Building Technologies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-118702DOI: 10.1111/ina.12207ISI: 000373209200006PubMedID: 25858592OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-118702DiVA: diva2:915273
Available from: 2016-03-29 Created: 2016-03-29 Last updated: 2016-05-20Bibliographically approved

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Nordin, Steven
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