Institute at which work was performed: Data collection, analysis, and most of the production of this manuscript were performed while all authors were with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Cincinnati, OH.
Article first published online: 21 MAY 2003
Published 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Volume 43, Issue 6, pages 630–641, June 2003
How to Cite
Mendell, M. J., Naco, G. M., Wilcox, T. G. and Sieber, W. K. (2003), Environmental risk factors and work-related lower respiratory symptoms in 80 office buildings: An exploratory analysis of NIOSH data. Am. J. Ind. Med., 43: 630–641. doi: 10.1002/ajim.10211
This article is a US Government work and as such is in the public domain in the United States of America.
- Issue published online: 21 MAY 2003
- Article first published online: 21 MAY 2003
- Manuscript Accepted: 23 DEC 2002
- The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
- The Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Office of Building Technology, State, and Community Programs, Office of Building Research and Standards of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Grant Number: DE-AC03-76SF00098
- indoor environmental quality;
- indoor air quality;
- sick building syndrome;
- nonspecific symptoms;
- respiratory symptoms;
- respiratory disease;
- ventilation systems;
- building-related illness;
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. Am. J. Ind. Med. 43:630–641, 2003. Published 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.