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PVC – as flooring material – and its association with incident asthma in a Swedish child cohort study


M Larsson
Karlstad University
Health and Environmental Sciences
S-651 88 Karlstad
Tel.: +46 54 700 25 34
Fax +46 54 700 22 20


Abstract  The Dampness in Buildings and Health study (DBH) started in the year 2000 in Värmland, Sweden, with a baseline questionnaire sent to all children (n = 14,077) aged 1–6. Five years later, a follow-up questionnaire was sent to the children who were 1–3 years at baseline. A total of 4779 children participated in both the baseline and the follow-up studies and constitute the study population in this cohort study. The aim of this study was to examine the association between exposure to PVC-flooring in the child’s and parent’s bedroom in homes of children aged 1–3 and the incidence of asthma, rhinitis, and eczema during the following 5-year period. Adjusted analyses showed that the incidence of asthma among children was associated with PVC-flooring in the child’s bedroom (AOR 1.52; 95% CI 0.99–2.35) and in the parent’s bedroom (1.46; 0.96–2.23). The found risks were on borderline of significance and should therefore be interpreted with caution. There was further a positive relationship between the number of rooms with PVC-flooring and the cumulative incidence of asthma. PVC-flooring was found to be a stronger risk factor for incident asthma in multifamily homes when compared with single-family houses and in smoking families compared with non-smoking families and in women.

Practical Implications

These longitudinal data from the DBH study found an association between the presence of PVC-flooring in the home and incident asthma in children. However, earlier results from the DBH study have shown that PVC-flooring is one important source for phthalates in indoor dust, and exposure to such phthalates was found to be associated with asthma and allergy among children. This emphasizes the need for prospective studies that focus on the importance of prenatal and neonatal exposure to phthalates in the development of asthma and allergy in children.