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Keywords:

  • building-related symptoms;
  • indoor air quality;
  • nasal lavage;
  • nasal nitric oxide

Abstract

Background

Water damage in buildings has been associated with reports of upper airway inflammation among occupants.

Methods

This survey included a questionnaire, allergen skin testing, nasal nitric oxide, and nasal lavage on 153 participants. We conducted exposure assessments of 297 workstations and analyzed collected dust for fungi, endotoxin, and (1 [RIGHTWARDS ARROW] 3)-β-D-glucan to create floor-specific averages.

Results

Males had higher levels of nasal inflammatory markers, and females reported more symptoms. ECP, IL-8, and MPO were significantly associated with nasal symptoms, flu-like achiness, or chills. Fungi and glucan were positively associated with blowing out thick mucus. Endotoxin was significantly associated with ECP in overall models, and with ECP, IL-8, MPO, and neutrophils among non-atopic females.

Conclusions

In this study, we documented an association between endotoxin and nasal inflammatory markers among office workers. The results of our study suggest that a non-allergic response may contribute to symptoms occurring among occupants in this water-damaged building. Am. J. Ind. Med. 56:522–530, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.