Endotoxin levels in settled airborne dust in European schools: the HITEA school study

Authors

  • J. H. Jacobs,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Environmental Epidemiology, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
    • J. H. Jacobs

      P.O. Box: 80178

      3508 TD Utrecht

      The Netherlands

      Tel.: +31 30 253 9523

      Fax: +31 30 253 9499

      e-mail: j.h.jacobs@uu.nl

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    • Both authors contributed equally to this manuscript.
  • E. J. M. Krop,

    1. Division of Environmental Epidemiology, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
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    • Both authors contributed equally to this manuscript.
  • A. Borras-Santos,

    1. Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain
    2. Hospital del Mar Research Institute (IMIM), Barcelona, Spain
    3. CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Barcelona, Spain
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  • J.-P. Zock,

    1. Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain
    2. Hospital del Mar Research Institute (IMIM), Barcelona, Spain
    3. CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Barcelona, Spain
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  • M. Taubel,

    1. Department Environmental Health, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Kuopio, Finland
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  • A. Hyvarinnen,

    1. Department Environmental Health, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Kuopio, Finland
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  • J. Pekkanen,

    1. Department Environmental Health, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Kuopio, Finland
    2. Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
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  • G. Doekes,

    1. Division of Environmental Epidemiology, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
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  • D. J. J. Heederik,

    1. Division of Environmental Epidemiology, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
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  • and on behalf of the HITEA schools study consortium


Abstract

Indoor exposure to microbial agents is known to influence respiratory health. Besides home exposure, exposure in schools can affect respiratory health. In this study, we measured endotoxin in settled dust in primary schools in three European countries from three different geographical regions with different climates. Our aim was to characterize endotoxin levels in primary schools and evaluate associations with potential determinants. Endotoxin levels were repeatedly assessed in 23 schools in Spain (= 7), the Netherlands (= 10), and Finland (= 6) using electrostatic dustfall collectors. In total, 645 measurements were taken in 237 classrooms. Endotoxin levels differed significantly between countries; Dutch schools had the highest levels, while Finnish schools showed the lowest levels. In each country, differences in endotoxin levels were observed between schools and over the sampling periods. Estimates improved after adjustment for sampling period. Factors affecting endotoxin levels in a school differed per country. In general, endotoxin levels were higher in lower grades and in classrooms with higher occupancy. School endotoxin levels may contribute significantly to total endotoxin exposure in children and teachers. As the correlation between the repeated measurements is reasonable, single endotoxin measurements form a reasonable basis for estimating annual endotoxin levels in schools.

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