Institut for Folkesundhedsvidenskab, Afdeling for Miljø og Sundhed, Det Sundhedsvidenskabelige Fakultet, Københavns Universitet, Øster Farimagsgade 5, DK-1014 København K, Denmark. email@example.com
Air quality, health and climate change are closely connected. Ozone depends on temperature and the greenhouse gas methane from cattle and biomass. Pollen presence depends on temperature and CO2. The effect of climate change on particulate air pollution is complex, but the likely net effect is greater health risks. Reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions by reduced livestock production and use of combustion for energy production, transport and heating will also improve air quality. Energy savings in buildings and use of CO2 neutral fuels should not deteriorate indoor and outdoor air quality.
Allergy to indoor allergens can cause frequent and severe health problems in children. Because little is known about the content of allergens in the indoor environments in Norway, we wanted to assess the levels of cat, dog and mite allergens in schools and day-care centers in Oslo. Allergen levels in dust samples from 155 classrooms and 81 day-care units were measured using commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kits. Additionally, we measured the levels of endotoxin in 31 day-care units, using the limulus amebocyte lysate test. Most of the dust samples contained detectable amounts of cat and dog allergens. In mattress and floor dust (day-care centers), and curtain and floor dust (schools) the median Fel d 1 levels were 0.17, 0.002, 0.02 and 0.079 microg/m2, while the median Can f 1 levels were 1.7, 0.03, 0.1 and 0.69 microg/m2, respectively. Levels of cat and dog allergens in school floor dust were associated with the number of pupils with animals at home. In contrast,
We have investigated the levels of cat (Fel d I), dog (Can f I), and cockroach (Per a I) allergens in dust from bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms from 123 homes of asthmatic children in three zones of Sweden with varying climates. Absolute indoor humidity (AIH), relative humidity (RH), rate of ventilation in air changes per hour (ach), and number of airborne particles were also measured. Fel d I, Can f I, and Per a I allergen contents were determined by mab ELISA, and the levels were related to various environmental factors. The major cat allergen, Fel d I, was detected in all homes, and the concentrations varied between 16 ng and 28,000 ng/g fine dust. The dog allergen, Can f I, was detected in 85% of the homes, and the levels varied from 60 ng to 866,000 ng/g dust. Cockroach allergen was detected in only one home (40 ng/g). Fel d I and Can f I allergens were equally distributed geographically. Dust from living rooms contained significantly higher (P or = 7 g/kg or RH > or = 45%).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
The air-exchange rate is often low in schools. The authors studied the possible impact of improving school ventilation on health and exposure of pupils. Questionnaire data on allergies, asthma, and asthmatic symptoms were obtained in 1993 and 1995 for 1,476 primary- and secondary-school pupils in 39 randomly selected schools. Various exposure factors were measured in 1993 and 1995 in approximately 100 classrooms. In 12% of the classrooms, new ventilation systems were installed between 1993 and 1995; the subsequent air-exchange rate increased and the relative humidity and concentration of several airborne pollutants were reduced compared with classrooms in nonimproved buildings. The reporting of at least one asthmatic symptom and the reporting of more asthmatic symptoms in 1995 than in 1993 were less common among the 143 pupils who attended schools with new ventilation systems.
The term "sick building syndrome" (SBS) has been used for several years to describe a number of mostly unspecific complaints of some occupants of air-conditioned buildings. Based on the literature, a definition of the SBS is given and some results of larger SBS studies carried out in Germany, Denmark and the United Kingdom are described. These studies show that SBS is a multifactorial event which may include physical, chemical, biological as well as psychological factors. In many cases, the occurrence of SBS in a building is due to insufficient maintenance of the HVAC system. SBS-induced investigations in a building should be carried out stepwise, the measurement of indoor air pollutants not being the first step. Strategies to avoid SBS must take into account factors specific to the building, the HVAC system and the equipment as well as psychological factors.