Abstract This study investigated the possible relationships between exposures to mite allergen and airborne fungi with sick building syndrome (SBS) symptoms for residents living in newly built dwellings. We randomly sampled 5709 newly built dwellings in six prefectures from northern to southern Japan. A total of 1479 residents in 425 households participated in the study by completing questionnaire surveys and agreeing to environmental monitoring for mite allergen (Der 1), airborne fungi, aldehydes, and volatile organic compounds. Stepwise logistic regression analyses adjusted for confounders were used to obtain odds ratios (OR) of mite allergen and fungi for SBS symptoms. Der 1 had a significantly high OR for nose symptoms. Rhodotorula had a significantly high OR for any symptoms, and Aspergillus had significantly high OR for eye symptoms. However, the total colony-forming units had a significantly low OR for throat and respiratory symptoms. Eurotium had a significantly low OR for skin symptoms. In conclusion, dust-mite allergen levels and indoor airborne Rhodotorula and Aspergillus concentrations may result in SBS symptoms in newly built dwellings.
Various factors can cause sick building syndrome symptoms. This study focused on biologic factors such as dust-mite allergen and airborne fungi in newly built dwellings in Japan. Dust-mite allergen levels were significantly associated with higher rates of nose symptoms, airborne Rhodotorula concentrations were significantly associated with higher rates of any symptoms, and Aspergillus concentrations were significantly associated with higher rates of eye symptoms. Measures should be taken to reduce mite allergen levels and fungal concentrations in these dwellings.