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Special Issue "Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Alessandra Cincinelli

Università degli Studi di Firenze, Department of Chemistry, Florence, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: indoor air quality, air pollution, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), emerging contaminants, particulate matter
Guest Editor
Dr. Tania Martellini

Department of Chemistry, University of Florence, Via della Lastruccia 3, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino (FI), Italy
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +39(0)554573282
Interests: indoor air quality; volatile organic compounds (VOCs); diffusion of odorous compounds; emerging contaminants; POPs; remote areas; environmental chemisrty; environmental fate of contaminants; environmental distribution of pollutants

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the last few decades, Indoor Air Qualty (IAQ) has received increasing attention from the international scientific community, political institutions and environmental governances for improving the comfort, health and well-being of building occupants. Several studies on this topic have showed both qualitative and quantitative indoor air quality variations through the years, underlining an increase in pollutants and their levels. To this aim, IAQ-related standards and regulations, IAQ policies for non-industrial buildings and monitoring plans have been developed in various countries in the world. It is known that IAQ may have a significant impact on health and general quality of life, and it is estimated that people spend about 90% of their time in both private and public indoor environments, such as homes, gyms, schools, work places, transportation vehicles, etc. Poor air quality has been linked to Sick Building Syndrome (SBS), reduced productivity in offices and impaired learning in schools. For many people the health risks from exposure to indoor air pollution may be greater than outdoor pollution. In particular, poor indoor air quality can be harmful to vulnerable groups such as children, elderly or those suffering chronic respiratory and/or cardiovascular diseases.

The indoor environments are the result of the interaction between the site, climate, construction techniques, building materials and furnishings, moisture processes, activities taking place within the building, outdoor sources, ventilation systems and behaviour of building occupants (i.e., smoking, painting, etc.).

IAQ can be affected by various pollutants, including gases (i.e., carbon monoxide, ozone, radon), Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), particulate matter and fibres, organic and inorganic contaminants, and biological particles such as bacteria, fungi, and pollen.

Pollutant sources include outdoor contaminants from traffic and industry, which enter from infiltrations and/or through natural and mechanical ventilation systems, and indoor contaminants, which are originated within the building, from combustion sources (such as burning fuels, coal and wood, tobacco products and candles), emissions from building materials and furnishings, central heating and cooling systems, humidification devices, electronic equipment, products for household cleaning, pets and individuals. It should be also taken into account that it is difficult to manage the control of IAQ and provide a full list of pollutants and sources applicable to all indoor environments.

The impact of these pollutants on human health may show up after single or repeated exposure episodes and will depend not only on their concentration, toxicity and exposure period but also on the synergic effect of different pollutants. Moreover, the level of indoor pollution is of critical importance for the conservation and preservation of vulnerable materials (i.e., art works, books, documents) in heritage and historic environments.

This Special Issue is open to any subject area affecting IAQ.

Dr. Alessandra Cincinelli
Dr. Tania Martellini
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • indoor air quality (IAQ)
  • air pollution
  • health risk assessment
  • human exposure
  • cultural heritage exposure
  • epidemiological investigations
  • dynamics of indoor air contaminants
  • sources of indoor pollutants
  • inorganic pollutants
  • organic pollutants
  • odorous compounds
  • particulate matter
  • physical pollutants
  • biological agents
  • sources
  • heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems
  • air sampling
  • inhalation
  • climate control
  • sustainable building
  • occupational health safety
  • indoor/outdoor ratio

Published Papers (23 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Indoor Air Quality and Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(11), 1286; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14111286
Received: 16 October 2017 / Revised: 16 October 2017 / Accepted: 19 October 2017 / Published: 25 October 2017
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (232 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the last few decades, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) has received increasing attention from the international scientific community, political institutions, and environmental governances for improving the comfort, health, and wellbeing of building occupants.[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Investigation of Acute Pulmonary Deficits Associated with Biomass Fuel Cookstove Emissions in Rural Bangladesh
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(6), 641; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14060641
Received: 4 April 2017 / Revised: 20 May 2017 / Accepted: 9 June 2017 / Published: 15 June 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (4737 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The use of solid biomass fuels in cookstoves has been associated with chronic health impacts that disproportionately affect women worldwide. Solid fuel stoves that use wood, plant matter, and cow dung are commonly used for household cooking in rural Bangladesh. This study investigates [...] Read more.
The use of solid biomass fuels in cookstoves has been associated with chronic health impacts that disproportionately affect women worldwide. Solid fuel stoves that use wood, plant matter, and cow dung are commonly used for household cooking in rural Bangladesh. This study investigates the immediate effects of acute elevated cookstove emission exposures on pulmonary function. Pulmonary function was measured with spirometry before and during cooking to assess changes in respiratory function during exposure to cookstove emissions for 15 females ages 18–65. Cookstove emissions were characterized using continuous measurements of particulate matter (PM2.5—aerodynamic diameter <2.5 μm) concentrations at a 1 s time resolution for each household. Several case studies were observed where women ≥40 years who had been cooking for ≥25 years suffered from severe pulmonary impairment. Forced expiratory volume in one second over forced vital capacity (FEV1/FVC) was found to moderately decline (p = 0.06) during cooking versus non-cooking in the study cohort. The study found a significant (α < 0.05) negative association between 3- and 10-min maximum PM2.5 emissions during cooking and lung function measurements of forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), and FEV1/FVC obtained during cooking intervals. This study found that exposure to biomass burning emissions from solid fuel stoves- associated with acute elevated PM2.5 concentrations- leads to a decrease in pulmonary function, although further research is needed to ascertain the prolonged (e.g., daily, for multiple years) impacts of acute PM2.5 exposure on immediate and sustained respiratory impairment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
Human Indoor Exposure to Airborne Halogenated Flame Retardants: Influence of Airborne Particle Size
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(5), 507; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14050507
Received: 15 March 2017 / Revised: 28 April 2017 / Accepted: 3 May 2017 / Published: 9 May 2017
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (1008 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Inhalation of halogenated flame-retardants (HFRs) released from consumer products is an important route of exposure. However, not all airborne HFRs are respirable, and thus interact with vascular membranes within the gas exchange (alveolar) region of the lung. HFRs associated with large (>4 µm), [...] Read more.
Inhalation of halogenated flame-retardants (HFRs) released from consumer products is an important route of exposure. However, not all airborne HFRs are respirable, and thus interact with vascular membranes within the gas exchange (alveolar) region of the lung. HFRs associated with large (>4 µm), inhalable airborne particulates are trapped on the mucosal lining of the respiratory tract and then are expelled or swallowed. The latter may contribute to internal exposure via desorption from particles in the digestive tract. Exposures may also be underestimated if personal activities that re-suspend particles into the breathing zone are not taken into account. Here, samples were collected using personal air samplers, clipped to the participants’ shirt collars (n = 18). We observed that the larger, inhalable air particulates carried the bulk (>92%) of HFRs. HFRs detected included those removed from commerce (i.e., polybrominated diphenyl ethers (Penta-BDEs: BDE-47, -85, -100, -99, and -153)), their replacements; e.g., 2-ethylhexyl 2,3,4,5-tetrabromobenzoate (TBB or EH-TBB); bis(2-ethylhexyl) 3,4,5,6-tetrabromophthalate (TBPH or BEH-TEBP) and long-produced chlorinated organophosphate-FRs (ClOPFRs): tris(2-chloroethyl)phosphate (TCEP), tris(1-chloro-2-propyl)phosphate (TCPP or TCIPP), and tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl)phosphate (TDCPP or TDCIPP). Our findings suggest estimates relying on a single exposure route, i.e., alveolar gas exchange, may not accurately estimate HFR internal dosage, as they ignore contributions from larger inhalable particulates that enter the digestive tract. Consideration of the fate and bioavailability of these larger particulates resulted in higher dosage estimates for HFRs with log Koa < 12 (i.e., Penta-BDEs and ClOPFRs) and lower estimates for those with log Koa > 12 (i.e., TBB and TBPH) compared to the alveolar route exposure alone. Of those HFRs examined, the most significant effect was the lower estimate by 41% for TBPH. The bulk of TBPH uptake from inhaled particles was estimated to be through the digestive tract, with lower bioavailability. We compared inhalation exposure estimates to chronic oral reference doses (RfDs) established by several regulatory agencies. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) RfD levels for several HFRs are considered outdated; however, BDE-99 levels exceeded those suggested by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) by up to 26 times. These findings indicate that contributions and bioavailability of respirable and inhalable airborne particulates should both be considered in future risk assessments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
Chemical Characterization of the Indoor Air Quality of a University Hospital: Penetration of Outdoor Air Pollutants
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(5), 497; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14050497
Received: 24 March 2017 / Revised: 27 April 2017 / Accepted: 4 May 2017 / Published: 8 May 2017
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (2614 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
For healthcare centers, local outdoor sources of air pollution represent a potential threat to indoor air quality (IAQ). The aim of this study was to study the impact of local outdoor sources of air pollution on the IAQ of a university hospital. IAQ [...] Read more.
For healthcare centers, local outdoor sources of air pollution represent a potential threat to indoor air quality (IAQ). The aim of this study was to study the impact of local outdoor sources of air pollution on the IAQ of a university hospital. IAQ was characterized at thirteen indoor and two outdoor locations and source samples were collected from a helicopter and an emergency power supply. Volatile organic compounds (VOC), acrolein, formaldehyde, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), respirable particulate matter (PM-4.0 and PM-2.5) and their respective benz(a)pyrene contents were determined over a period of two weeks. Time-weighted average concentrations of NO2 (4.9–17.4 μg/m3) and formaldehyde (2.5–6.4 μg/m3) were similar on all indoor and outdoor locations. The median concentration VOC in indoor air was 119 μg/m3 (range: 33.1–2450 μg/m3) and was fivefold higher in laboratories (316 μg/m3) compared to offices (57.0 μg/m3). PM-4.0 and benzo(a)pyrene concentration were lower in buildings serviced by a >99.95% efficiency particle filter, compared to buildings using a standard 80–90% efficiency filter (p < 0.01). No indications were found that support a significant contribution of known local sources such as fuels or combustion engines to any of the IAQ parameters measured in this study. Chemical IAQ was primarily driven by known indoor sources and activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
A Pilot Study to Examine Exposure to Residential Radon in Under-Sampled Census Tracts of DeKalb County, Georgia, in 2015
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(3), 332; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14030332
Received: 30 December 2016 / Revised: 14 February 2017 / Accepted: 18 March 2017 / Published: 22 March 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2339 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
While DeKalb County, Georgia, offers free radon screening for all eligible residents, portions of the county remain relatively under-sampled. This pilot study focused on 10% of the census tracts in the county with the lowest proportion of radon testing; most were in southern [...] Read more.
While DeKalb County, Georgia, offers free radon screening for all eligible residents, portions of the county remain relatively under-sampled. This pilot study focused on 10% of the census tracts in the county with the lowest proportion of radon testing; most were in southern DeKalb County. In total, 217 households were recruited and homes were tested for indoor radon concentrations on the lowest livable floor over an eight-week period from March–May 2015. Tract-level characteristics were examined to understand the differences in socio-demographic and economic factors between the pilot study area and the rest of the county. The pilot study tracts had a higher proportion of African Americans compared to the rest of DeKalb County (82% versus 47%). Radon was detected above 11.1 Bq/m3 (0.3 pCi/L) in 73% of the indoor samples and 4% of samples were above 148 Bq/m3 (4 pCi/L). Having a basement was the strongest predictive factor for detectable and hazardous levels of radon. Radon screening can identify problems and spur homeowners to remediate but more research should be done to identify why screening rates vary across the county and how that varies with radon levels in homes to reduce radon exposure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
Health and Wellbeing of Occupants in Highly Energy Efficient Buildings: A Field Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(3), 314; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14030314
Received: 30 December 2016 / Revised: 21 February 2017 / Accepted: 15 March 2017 / Published: 19 March 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (474 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Passive houses and other highly energy-efficient buildings need mechanical ventilation. However, ventilation systems in such houses are regarded with a certain degree of skepticism by parts of the public due to alleged negative health effects. Within a quasi-experimental field study, we investigated if [...] Read more.
Passive houses and other highly energy-efficient buildings need mechanical ventilation. However, ventilation systems in such houses are regarded with a certain degree of skepticism by parts of the public due to alleged negative health effects. Within a quasi-experimental field study, we investigated if occupants of two types of buildings (mechanical vs. natural ventilation) experience different health, wellbeing and housing satisfaction outcomes and if associations with indoor air quality exist. We investigated 123 modern homes (test group: with mechanical ventilation; control group: naturally ventilated) built in the years 2010 to 2012 in the same geographic area and price range. Interviews of occupants based on standardized questionnaires and measurements of indoor air quality parameters were conducted twice (three months after moving in and one year later). In total, 575 interviews were performed (respondents’ mean age 37.9 ± 9 years in the test group, 37.7 ± 9 years in the control group). Occupants of the test group rated their overall health status and that of their children not significantly higher than occupants of the control group at both time points. Adult occupants of the test group reported dry eyes statistically significantly more frequently compared to the control group (19.4% vs. 12.5%). Inhabitants of energy-efficient, mechanically ventilated homes rated the quality of indoor air and climate significantly higher. Self-reported health improved more frequently in the mechanically ventilated new homes (p = 0.005). Almost no other significant differences between housing types and measuring time points were observed concerning health and wellbeing or housing satisfaction. Associations between vegetative symptoms (dizziness, nausea, headaches) and formaldehyde concentrations as well as between CO2 levels and perceived stale air were observed. However, both associations were independent of the type of ventilation. In summary, occupants of the mechanically ventilated homes rated their health status slightly higher and their health improved significantly more frequently than in occupants of the control group. As humidity in homes with mechanical ventilation was lower, it seems plausible that the inhabitants reported dry eyes more frequently. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
Urban Pollutant Transport and Infiltration into Buildings Using Perfluorocarbon Tracers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 214; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14020214
Received: 9 December 2016 / Revised: 25 January 2017 / Accepted: 14 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2451 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
People spend the majority of their time indoors and therefore the quality of indoor air is worthy of investigation; indoor air quality is affected by indoor sources of pollutants and from pollutants entering buildings from outdoors. In this study, unique perfluorocarbon tracers were [...] Read more.
People spend the majority of their time indoors and therefore the quality of indoor air is worthy of investigation; indoor air quality is affected by indoor sources of pollutants and from pollutants entering buildings from outdoors. In this study, unique perfluorocarbon tracers were released in five experiments at a 100 m and ~2 km distance from a large university building in Manchester, UK and tracer was also released inside the building to measure the amount of outdoor material penetrating into buildings and the flow of material within the building itself. Air samples of the tracer were taken in several rooms within the building, and a CO2 tracer was used within the building to estimate air-exchange rates. Air-exchange rates were found to vary between 0.57 and 10.90 per hour. Indoor perfluorocarbon tracer concentrations were paired to outdoor tracer concentrations, and in-out ratios were found to vary between 0.01 and 3.6. The largest room with the lowest air-exchange rate exhibited elevated tracer concentrations for over 60 min after the release had finished, but generally had the lowest concentrations, the room with the highest ventilation rates had the highest concentration over 30 min, but the peak decayed more rapidly. Tracer concentrations indoors compared to outdoors imply that pollutants remain within buildings after they have cleared outside, which must be considered when evaluating human exposure to outdoor pollutants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
Volatile Profiles of Emissions from Different Activities Analyzed Using Canister Samplers and Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) Analysis: A Case Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14020195
Received: 10 January 2017 / Accepted: 7 February 2017 / Published: 15 February 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1070 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The objective of present study was to identify volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from several sources (fuels, traffic, landfills, coffee roasting, a street-food laboratory, building work, indoor use of incense and candles, a dental laboratory, etc.) located in Palermo (Italy) by using canister [...] Read more.
The objective of present study was to identify volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from several sources (fuels, traffic, landfills, coffee roasting, a street-food laboratory, building work, indoor use of incense and candles, a dental laboratory, etc.) located in Palermo (Italy) by using canister autosamplers and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) technique. In this study, 181 VOCs were monitored. In the atmosphere of Palermo city, propane, butane, isopentane, methyl pentane, hexane, benzene, toluene, meta- and para-xylene, 1,2,4 trimethyl benzene, 1,3,5 trimethyl benzene, ethylbenzene, 4 ethyl toluene and heptane were identified and quantified in all sampling sites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
Perceptions of Improved Biomass and Liquefied Petroleum Gas Stoves in Puno, Peru: Implications for Promoting Sustained and Exclusive Adoption of Clean Cooking Technologies
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 182; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14020182
Received: 12 December 2016 / Revised: 1 February 2017 / Accepted: 7 February 2017 / Published: 13 February 2017
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (637 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Many households in low- and middle-income countries cook with inefficient biomass-burning stoves, which cause high levels of household air pollution and threaten long-term health. Although clean stoves and fuels are available, uptake and consistent use has been low. Using observations and in-depth interviews, [...] Read more.
Many households in low- and middle-income countries cook with inefficient biomass-burning stoves, which cause high levels of household air pollution and threaten long-term health. Although clean stoves and fuels are available, uptake and consistent use has been low. Using observations and in-depth interviews, we assessed the attitudes, preferences, and beliefs about traditional versus liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) stoves in rural Puno, Peru. A total of 31 in-depth interviews were conducted with primary cooks and their families, health workers, community leaders, and improved stove contractors. Six in-home observations of meal preparation were also conducted. Six major barriers to consistent use of clean stoves were identified: (1) perceived differences in food taste and nutrition by stove type; (2) cooking niches filled by different stoves; (3) social norms related to cooking practices; (4) safety concerns; (5) comparative costs of using different stoves; and (6) lack of awareness and concern about long-term health risks. These findings suggest that to successfully reduce household air pollution, clean cooking programs and policies must consider the many factors influencing adoption beyond health, such as cost, taste, fears, and cultural traditions. These factors could be incorporated into community-based and national efforts to scale-up sustained and exclusive adoption of clean cooking. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
Review and Extension of CO2-Based Methods to Determine Ventilation Rates with Application to School Classrooms
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 145; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14020145
Received: 23 December 2016 / Revised: 25 January 2017 / Accepted: 28 January 2017 / Published: 4 February 2017
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (1202 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The ventilation rate (VR) is a key parameter affecting indoor environmental quality (IEQ) and the energy consumption of buildings. This paper reviews the use of CO2 as a “natural” tracer gas for estimating VRs, focusing on applications in school classrooms. It provides [...] Read more.
The ventilation rate (VR) is a key parameter affecting indoor environmental quality (IEQ) and the energy consumption of buildings. This paper reviews the use of CO2 as a “natural” tracer gas for estimating VRs, focusing on applications in school classrooms. It provides details and guidance for the steady-state, build-up, decay and transient mass balance methods. An extension to the build-up method and an analysis of the post-exercise recovery period that can increase CO2 generation rates are presented. Measurements in four mechanically-ventilated school buildings demonstrate the methods and highlight issues affecting their applicability. VRs during the school day fell below recommended minimum levels, and VRs during evening and early morning were on the order of 0.1 h−1, reflecting shutdown of the ventilation systems. The transient mass balance method was the most flexible and advantageous method given the low air change rates and dynamic occupancy patterns observed in the classrooms. While the extension to the build-up method improved stability and consistency, the accuracy of this and the steady-state method may be limited. Decay-based methods did not reflect the VR during the school day due to heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system shutdown. Since the number of occupants in classrooms changes over the day, the VR expressed on a per person basis (e.g., L·s−1·person−1) depends on the occupancy metric. If occupancy measurements can be obtained, then the transient mass balance method likely will provide the most consistent and accurate results among the CO2-based methods. Improved VR measurements can benefit many applications, including research examining the linkage between ventilation and health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
Electrosurgical Smoke: Ultrafine Particle Measurements and Work Environment Quality in Different Operating Theatres
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14020137
Received: 24 October 2016 / Accepted: 13 January 2017 / Published: 30 January 2017
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1171 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Air cleanliness in operating theatres (OTs) is an important factor for preserving the health of both the patient and the medical staff. Particle contamination in OTs depends mainly on the surgery process, ventilation principle, personnel clothing systems and working routines. In many open [...] Read more.
Air cleanliness in operating theatres (OTs) is an important factor for preserving the health of both the patient and the medical staff. Particle contamination in OTs depends mainly on the surgery process, ventilation principle, personnel clothing systems and working routines. In many open surgical operations, electrosurgical tools (ESTs) are used for tissue cauterization. ESTs generate a significant airborne contamination, as surgical smoke. Surgical smoke is a work environment quality problem. Ordinary surgical masks and OT ventilation systems are inadequate to control this problem. This research work is based on numerous monitoring campaigns of ultrafine particle concentrations in OTs, equipped with upward displacement ventilation or with a downward unidirectional airflow system. Measurements performed during ten real surgeries highlight that the use of ESTs generates a quite sharp and relevant increase of particle concentration in the surgical area as well within the entire OT area. The measured contamination level in the OTs are linked to surgical operation, ventilation principle, and ESTs used. A better knowledge of airborne contamination is crucial for limiting the personnel’s exposure to surgical smoke. Research results highlight that downward unidirectional OTs can give better conditions for adequate ventilation and contaminant removal performances than OTs equipped with upward displacement ventilation systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
Microbiological Contamination at Workplaces in a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Station Processing Plant Biomass
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010099
Received: 9 November 2016 / Revised: 6 January 2017 / Accepted: 17 January 2017 / Published: 21 January 2017
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (862 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of the study was to evaluate the microbial contamination at a plant biomass processing thermal power station (CHP). We found 2.42 × 103 CFU/m3 of bacteria and 1.37 × 104 CFU/m3 of fungi in the air; 2.30 [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to evaluate the microbial contamination at a plant biomass processing thermal power station (CHP). We found 2.42 × 103 CFU/m3 of bacteria and 1.37 × 104 CFU/m3 of fungi in the air; 2.30 × 107 CFU/g of bacteria and 4.46 × 105 CFU/g of fungi in the biomass; and 1.61 × 102 CFU/cm2 bacteria and 2.39 × 101 CFU/cm2 fungi in filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs). Using culture methods, we found 8 genera of mesophilic bacteria and 7 of fungi in the air; 10 genera each of bacteria and fungi in the biomass; and 2 and 5, respectively, on the FFRs. Metagenomic analysis (Illumina MiSeq) revealed the presence of 46 bacterial and 5 fungal genera on the FFRs, including potential pathogens Candida tropicalis, Escherichia coli, Prevotella sp., Aspergillus sp., Penicillium sp.). The ability of microorganisms to create a biofilm on the FFRs was confirmed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). We also identified secondary metabolites in the biomass and FFRs, including fumigaclavines, quinocitrinines, sterigmatocistin, and 3-nitropropionic acid, which may be toxic to humans. Due to the presence of potential pathogens and mycotoxins, the level of microbiological contamination at workplaces in CHPs should be monitored. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in Conventional and High Performance School Buildings in the U.S.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010100
Received: 12 December 2016 / Revised: 13 January 2017 / Accepted: 17 January 2017 / Published: 21 January 2017
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1909 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) has been an indoor environmental quality (IEQ) concern in schools and other buildings for many years. Newer designs, construction practices and building materials for “green” buildings and the use of “environmentally friendly” products have the promise of [...] Read more.
Exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) has been an indoor environmental quality (IEQ) concern in schools and other buildings for many years. Newer designs, construction practices and building materials for “green” buildings and the use of “environmentally friendly” products have the promise of lowering chemical exposure. This study examines VOCs and IEQ parameters in 144 classrooms in 37 conventional and high performance elementary schools in the U.S. with the objectives of providing a comprehensive analysis and updating the literature. Tested schools were built or renovated in the past 15 years, and included comparable numbers of conventional, Energy Star, and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified buildings. Indoor and outdoor VOC samples were collected and analyzed by thermal desorption, gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy for 94 compounds. Aromatics, alkanes and terpenes were the major compound groups detected. Most VOCs had mean concentrations below 5 µg/m3, and most indoor/outdoor concentration ratios ranged from one to 10. For 16 VOCs, the within-school variance of concentrations exceeded that between schools and, overall, no major differences in VOC concentrations were found between conventional and high performance buildings. While VOC concentrations have declined from levels measured in earlier decades, opportunities remain to improve indoor air quality (IAQ) by limiting emissions from building-related sources and by increasing ventilation rates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
Investigation of Indoor Air Quality in Houses of Macedonia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14010037
Received: 27 September 2016 / Accepted: 19 December 2016 / Published: 1 January 2017
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (2006 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
People who live in buildings are exposed to harmful effects of indoor air pollution for many years. Therefore, our research is aimed to investigate the indoor air quality in family houses. The measurements of indoor air temperature, relative humidity, total volatile organic compounds [...] Read more.
People who live in buildings are exposed to harmful effects of indoor air pollution for many years. Therefore, our research is aimed to investigate the indoor air quality in family houses. The measurements of indoor air temperature, relative humidity, total volatile organic compounds (TVOC), particulate matters (PM) and sound pressure level were carried out in 25 houses in several cities of the Republic of Macedonia. Mean values of indoor air temperature and relative humidity ranged from 18.9 °C to 25.6 °C and from 34.1% to 68.0%, respectively. With regard to TVOC, it can be stated that excessive occurrence was recorded. Mean values ranged from 50 μg/m3 to 2610 μg/m3. Recommended value (200 μg/m3) for human exposure to TVOC was exceeded in 32% of houses. Mean concentrations of PM2.5 (particular matter with diameter less than 2.5 μm) and PM10 (diameter less than 10 μm) are determined to be from 16.80 μg/m3 to 30.70 μg/m3 and from 38.30 μg/m3 to 74.60 μg/m3 individually. Mean values of sound pressure level ranged from 29.8 dB(A) to 50.6 dB(A). Dependence between characteristics of buildings (Year of construction, Year of renovation, Smoke and Heating system) and data from measurements (Temperature, Relative humidity, TVOC, PM2.5 and PM10) were analyzed using R software. Van der Waerden test shows dependence of Smoke on TVOC and PM2.5. Permutational multivariate analysis of variance shows the effect of interaction of Renovation and Smoke. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Indoor Air Quality Screening Strategies: A Step-Wise Approach for IAQ Screening
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(12), 1240; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13121240
Received: 18 October 2016 / Revised: 2 December 2016 / Accepted: 7 December 2016 / Published: 14 December 2016
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Abstract
Conducting a full indoor air quality (IAQ) assessment in air-conditioned offices requires large-scale material and manpower resources. However, an IAQ index can be adopted as a handy screening tool to identify any premises (with poor IAQ) that need more comprehensive IAQ assessments to [...] Read more.
Conducting a full indoor air quality (IAQ) assessment in air-conditioned offices requires large-scale material and manpower resources. However, an IAQ index can be adopted as a handy screening tool to identify any premises (with poor IAQ) that need more comprehensive IAQ assessments to prioritize IAQ improvements. This study proposes a step-wise IAQ screening protocol to facilitate its cost-effective management among building owners and managers. The effectiveness of three IAQ indices, namely θ1 (with one parameter: CO2), θ2 (with two parameters: CO2 and respirable suspended particulates, RSP) and θ3 (with three parameters: CO2, RSP, and total volatile organic compounds, TVOC) are evaluated. Compared in a pairwise manner with respect to the minimum satisfaction levels as stated in the IAQ Certification Scheme by the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department, the results show that a screening test with more surrogate IAQ parameters is good at identifying both lower and higher risk groups for unsatisfactory IAQ, and thus offers higher resolution. Through the sensitivity and specificity for identifying IAQ problems, the effectiveness of alternative IAQ screening methods with different monitoring parameters is also reported. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
Indoor Air Quality in the Metro System in North Taiwan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(12), 1200; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13121200
Received: 26 September 2016 / Revised: 28 November 2016 / Accepted: 29 November 2016 / Published: 2 December 2016
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Abstract
Indoor air pollution is an increasing health concern, especially in enclosed environments such as underground subway stations because of increased global usage by urban populations. This study measured the indoor air quality of underground platforms at 10 metro stations of the Taipei Rapid [...] Read more.
Indoor air pollution is an increasing health concern, especially in enclosed environments such as underground subway stations because of increased global usage by urban populations. This study measured the indoor air quality of underground platforms at 10 metro stations of the Taipei Rapid Transit system (TRTS) in Taiwan, including humidity, temperature, carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), formaldehyde (HCHO), total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs), ozone (O3), airborne particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), bacteria and fungi. Results showed that the CO2, CO and HCHO levels met the stipulated standards as regulated by Taiwan’s Indoor Air Quality Management Act (TIAQMA). However, elevated PM10 and PM2.5 levels were measured at most stations. TVOCs and bacterial concentrations at some stations measured in summer were higher than the regulated standards stipulated by Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration. Further studies should be conducted to reduce particulate matters, TVOCs and bacteria in the air of subway stations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
Respiratory Diseases in University Students Associated with Exposure to Residential Dampness or Mold
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1154; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13111154
Received: 20 September 2016 / Revised: 8 November 2016 / Accepted: 15 November 2016 / Published: 18 November 2016
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Abstract
University students are frequently exposed to residential dampness or mold (i.e., visible mold, mold odor, dampness, or water leaks), a well-known contributor to asthma, allergic rhinitis, and respiratory infections. This study aims to: (a) describe the prevalence of these respiratory diseases among university [...] Read more.
University students are frequently exposed to residential dampness or mold (i.e., visible mold, mold odor, dampness, or water leaks), a well-known contributor to asthma, allergic rhinitis, and respiratory infections. This study aims to: (a) describe the prevalence of these respiratory diseases among university students; and (b) examine the independent contribution of residential dampness or mold to these diseases. An online survey was conducted in March 2014 among the 26,676 students registered at the Université de Sherbrooke (Quebec, Canada). Validated questions and scores were used to assess self-reported respiratory diseases (i.e., asthma-like symptoms, allergic rhinitis, and respiratory infections), residential dampness or mold, and covariates (e.g., student characteristics). Using logistic regressions, the crude and adjusted odd ratios between residential dampness or mold and self-reported respiratory diseases were examined. Results from the participating students (n = 2097; response rate: 8.1%) showed high prevalence of allergic rhinitis (32.6%; 95% CI: 30.6–34.7), asthma-like symptoms (24.0%; 95% CI: 22.1–25.8) and respiratory infections (19.4%; 95% CI: 17.7–21.2). After adjustment, exposure to residential dampness or mold was associated with allergic rhinitis (OR: 1.25; 95% CI: 1.01–1.55) and asthma-like symptoms (OR: 1.70; 95% CI: 1.37–2.11), but not with respiratory infections (OR: 1.07; 95% CI: 0.85–1.36). Among symptomatic students, this exposure was also associated with uncontrolled and burdensome respiratory symptoms (p < 0.01). University students report a high prevalence of allergic rhinitis, asthma-like symptoms and respiratory infections. A common indoor hazard, residential dampness or mold, may play a role in increasing atopic respiratory diseases and their suboptimal control in young adults. These results emphasize the importance for public health organizations to tackle poor housing conditions, especially amongst university students who should be considered “at-risk”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
Open AccessArticle
An Indoor Monitoring System for Ambient Assisted Living Based on Internet of Things Architecture
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1152; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13111152
Received: 23 July 2016 / Revised: 7 November 2016 / Accepted: 14 November 2016 / Published: 17 November 2016
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Abstract
The study of systems and architectures for ambient assisted living (AAL) is undoubtedly a topic of great relevance given the aging of the world population. The AAL technologies are designed to meet the needs of the aging population in order to maintain their [...] Read more.
The study of systems and architectures for ambient assisted living (AAL) is undoubtedly a topic of great relevance given the aging of the world population. The AAL technologies are designed to meet the needs of the aging population in order to maintain their independence as long as possible. As people typically spend more than 90% of their time in indoor environments, indoor air quality (iAQ) is perceived as an imperative variable to be controlled for the inhabitants’ wellbeing and comfort. Advances in networking, sensors, and embedded devices have made it possible to monitor and provide assistance to people in their homes. The continuous technological advancements make it possible to build smart objects with great capabilities for sensing and connecting several possible advancements in ambient assisted living systems architectures. Indoor environments are characterized by several pollutant sources. Most of the monitoring frameworks instantly accessible are exceptionally costly and only permit the gathering of arbitrary examples. iAQ is an indoor air quality system based on an Internet of Things paradigm that incorporates in its construction Arduino, ESP8266, and XBee technologies for processing and data transmission and micro sensors for data acquisition. It also allows access to data collected through web access and through a mobile application in real time, and this data can be accessed by doctors in order to support medical diagnostics. Five smaller scale sensors of natural parameters (air temperature, moistness, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and glow) were utilized. Different sensors can be included to check for particular contamination. The results reveal that the system can give a viable indoor air quality appraisal in order to anticipate technical interventions for improving indoor air quality. Indeed indoor air quality might be distinctively contrasted with what is normal for a quality living environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
Correlation between Odor Concentration and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) Composition of Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 994; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13100994
Received: 29 June 2016 / Revised: 12 September 2016 / Accepted: 29 September 2016 / Published: 9 October 2016
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Abstract
We examined the correlation between the odor concentration and the chemical composition of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). Three types of ETS samples were prepared: secondhand smoke (SHS), thirdhand smoke (THS), and field ETS samples from an outside smoking area. The odor concentrations of [...] Read more.
We examined the correlation between the odor concentration and the chemical composition of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). Three types of ETS samples were prepared: secondhand smoke (SHS), thirdhand smoke (THS), and field ETS samples from an outside smoking area. The odor concentrations of the ETS, SHS, and THS samples were determined by the triangle-odor-bag method, and the chemical compositions were determined by proton transfer mass spectrometry. The odor concentration of the SHS samples was three or four orders of magnitude higher than that of the field ETS samples, and three orders of magnitude higher than that of the THS samples. The concentration ratios of the constituent chemicals in THS to those in SHS were about 10−4, corresponding to the ratio of the odor concentration. The concentration ratios of the constituent chemicals in the field ETS samples were much lower than the ratios of the odor concentrations. This suggests that the main contributing components to the odor of the field ETS samples are different from those in SHS and THS. The main contributors of the odor in the field ETS samples could be acetaldehyde, acetonitrile, acetic acid, and other unknown components with a mass-to-charge ratio (m/z) of 39 and 43. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
Activity Pattern of Urban Adult Students in an Eastern Mediterranean Society
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 960; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13100960
Received: 15 July 2016 / Revised: 3 September 2016 / Accepted: 7 September 2016 / Published: 28 September 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (461 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Knowledge of human activity patterns is needed in air pollution exposure and health risk assessment. However, human activity patterns have never been evaluated in the Eastern Mediterranean societies. Therefore, we investigated the activity pattern of 285 subjects (17–63 years) in Amman, Jordan during [...] Read more.
Knowledge of human activity patterns is needed in air pollution exposure and health risk assessment. However, human activity patterns have never been evaluated in the Eastern Mediterranean societies. Therefore, we investigated the activity pattern of 285 subjects (17–63 years) in Amman, Jordan during October to November, 2015. The subjects spent >80% of their time indoors during weekend days and >85% on workdays. They spent ~4.8% and ~5.7% in transportation during weekend days and workdays, respectively. Males had a different activity pattern than females on weekend days, but both genders had similar activity patterns on workdays. On workdays, males spent less time indoors than females. The activity pattern found in this study is a bit different than that for North Americans and Europeans, who spend more time indoors and in transit. The activity pattern found in this study was very different than that observed for Koreans, who spent about 59% and 67% indoors on workdays and weekend, respectively. The main outcomes of this survey can be utilized in human exposure studies. This study and the upcoming future studies have been encouraged and supported by the regional WHO office in Amman. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
Fuel for Life: Domestic Cooking Fuels and Women’s Health in Rural China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(8), 810; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13080810
Received: 23 June 2016 / Revised: 28 July 2016 / Accepted: 8 August 2016 / Published: 10 August 2016
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (492 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Background: There is evidence that household air pollution is associated with poor health in China, and that this form of air pollution may even be more of a health concern in China than the much-publicized outdoor air pollution. However, there is little [...] Read more.
Background: There is evidence that household air pollution is associated with poor health in China, and that this form of air pollution may even be more of a health concern in China than the much-publicized outdoor air pollution. However, there is little empirical evidence on the relationship between household air pollution and health in China based on nationally representative and longitudinal data. This study examines the association between the type of domestic cooking fuel and the health of women aged ≥16 in rural China. Methods: Using longitudinal and biomarker data from the China Family Panel Studies (n = 12,901) and the China Health and Nutrition Survey (n = 15,539), we investigate the impact of three major domestic cooking fuels (wood/straw, coal, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)) on health status using both cross-sectional and panel approaches. Results: Compared to women whose households cook with dirty fuels like wood/straw, women whose households cook with cleaner fuels like LPG have a significantly lower probability of chronic or acute diseases and are more likely to report better health. Cooking with domestic coal instead of wood or straw is also associated with elevated levels of having certain risks (such as systolic blood pressure) related to cardiovascular diseases. Conclusions: Our study provides evidence that using cleaner fuels like LPG is associated with better health among women in rural China, suggesting that the shift from dirty fuels to cleaner choices may be associated with improved health outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Open AccessArticle
Household Air Pollution Exposure and Influence of Lifestyle on Respiratory Health and Lung Function in Belizean Adults and Children: A Field Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(7), 643; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13070643
Received: 11 May 2016 / Revised: 31 May 2016 / Accepted: 20 June 2016 / Published: 28 June 2016
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Abstract
Household air pollution (HAP) contributes to the global burden of disease. Our primary purpose was to determine whether HAP exposure was associated with reduced lung function and respiratory and non-respiratory symptoms in Belizean adults and children. Our secondary purpose was to investigate whether [...] Read more.
Household air pollution (HAP) contributes to the global burden of disease. Our primary purpose was to determine whether HAP exposure was associated with reduced lung function and respiratory and non-respiratory symptoms in Belizean adults and children. Our secondary purpose was to investigate whether lifestyle (physical activity (PA) and fruit and vegetable consumption (FV)) is associated with reported symptoms. Belizean adults (n = 67, 19 Male) and children (n = 23, 6 Male) from San Ignacio Belize and surrounding areas participated in this cross-sectional study. Data collection took place at free walk-in clinics. Investigators performed initial screenings and administered questionnaires on (1) sources of HAP exposure; (2) reported respiratory and non-respiratory symptoms and (3) validated lifestyle questionnaires. Participants then performed pulmonary function tests (PFTs) and exhaled breath carbon monoxide (CO). There were no significant associations between HAP exposure and pulmonary function in adults. Increased exhaled CO was associated with a significantly lower forced expiratory volume in 1-s divided by forced vital capacity (FEV1/FVC) in children. Exposed adults experienced headaches, burning eyes, wheezing and phlegm production more frequently than unexposed adults. Adults who met PA guidelines were less likely to experience tightness and pressure in the chest compared to those not meeting guidelines. In conclusion, adults exposed to HAP experienced greater respiratory and non-respiratory symptoms, which may be attenuated by lifestyle modifications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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Open AccessBrief Report
Volatile Organic Compounds in Anatomical Pathology Wards: Comparative and Qualitative Assessment of Indoor Airborne Pollution
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(6), 609; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14060609
Received: 27 April 2017 / Revised: 26 May 2017 / Accepted: 29 May 2017 / Published: 7 June 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2175 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The impact of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) on indoor air quality and on human health is widely recognized. However, VOC contamination in hospital indoor air is rarely studied and chemical compounds that singularly do not show high toxicity are not submitted to any [...] Read more.
The impact of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) on indoor air quality and on human health is widely recognized. However, VOC contamination in hospital indoor air is rarely studied and chemical compounds that singularly do not show high toxicity are not submitted to any regulation. This study aimed to compare VOC contamination in two different anatomical pathology wards in the same hospital. Hydrocarbons, alcohols, and terpenes were sampled by passive diffusive samplers. Analytical tests were performed by thermal desorption coupled with gas chromatography and mass spectrometry detector. Results highlighted a different VOC pollution in the two wards, due to the structural difference of the buildings and different organizational systems. The scarcity of similar data in the literature shows that the presence of VOCs in pathology wards is an underestimated problem. We believe that, because of the adverse effects that VOCs may have on the human health, this topic is worth exploring further. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Air Quality and Health 2016)
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