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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(6), 5833-5845; doi:10.3390/ijerph120605833

Building-Related Symptoms among Office Employees Associated with Indoor Carbon Dioxide and Total Volatile Organic Compounds

1
School of Post-Baccalaureate Chinese Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung 404, Taiwan
2
Research Center for Traditional Chinese Medicine, Department of Medical Research, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung 404, Taiwan
3
Institute of Environmental Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei 100, Taiwan
4
Institute of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei 100, Taiwan
5
Department of Health Management, I-Shou University, Kaohsiung 824, Taiwan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Gary Adamkiewicz and M. Patricia Fabian
Received: 20 February 2015 / Revised: 10 April 2015 / Accepted: 18 May 2015 / Published: 27 May 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Environmental Quality: Exposures and Occupant Health)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [712 KB, uploaded 27 May 2015]   |  

Abstract

This study investigated whether sick building syndrome (SBS) complaints among office workers were associated with the indoor air quality. With informed consent, 417 employees in 87 office rooms of eight high-rise buildings completed a self-reported questionnaire for symptoms experienced at work during the past month. Carbon dioxide (CO2), temperature, humidity and total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs) in each office were simultaneously measured for eight office hours using portable monitors. Time-averaged workday difference between the indoor and the outdoor CO2 concentrations (dCO2) was calculated as a surrogate measure of ventilation efficiency for each office unit. The prevalence rates of SBS were 22.5% for eye syndrome, 15.3% for upper respiratory and 25.4% for non-specific syndromes. Tiredness (20.9%), difficulty in concentrating (14.6%), eye dryness (18.7%) were also common complaints. The generalized estimating equations multivariate logistic regression analyses showed that adjusted odds ratios (aORs) and 95% confidence interval (CI) per 100 ppm increase in dCO2 were significantly associated with dry throat (1.10, 95% CI = (1.00–1.22)), tiredness (1.16, 95% CI = (1.04–1.29)) and dizziness (1.22, 95% CI = (1.08–1.37)). The ORs for per 100 ppb increases in TVOCs were also associated with upper respiratory symptoms (1.06, 95% CI = (1.04–1.07)), dry throat (1.06, 95% CI = (1.03–1.09)) and irritability (1.02, 95% CI = (1.01–1.04)). In conclusion, the association between some SBS symptoms and the exposure to CO2 and total VOCs are moderate but may be independently significant. View Full-Text
Keywords: carbon dioxide; indoor air quality; sick-building syndrome; volatile organic compounds carbon dioxide; indoor air quality; sick-building syndrome; volatile organic compounds
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Lu, C.-Y.; Lin, J.-M.; Chen, Y.-Y.; Chen, Y.-C. Building-Related Symptoms among Office Employees Associated with Indoor Carbon Dioxide and Total Volatile Organic Compounds. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 5833-5845.

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