In this study, the authors sought to address the relationships between measured indoor environmental factors and nasal patency (i.e., minimum cross-sectional area) and volume and markers of nasal inflammation in nasal lavage fluid. Clinical data were obtained for 115 females who worked at 36 geriatric nursing departments. The indoor climates in the nursing departments were characterized by high room temperatures (median = 23 degrees C), low relative air humidities (median = 24%), and high air exchange rates indicated by low carbon dioxide levels (median = 570 ppm). Evidence of microbial amplification was observed in the ventilation unit in 3 of the departments. Decreased nasal patency was observed relative to microbial amplification in the ventilation units (minimum cross-sectional area 1 = 0.80 cm2 vs. 0.64 cm2, p = .003, minimum cross-sectional area 2 = 0.80 cm2 vs. 0.67 cm2, p = .02) and in relation to elevated indoor temperature (volume 1 = 3.46 cm3 vs. 3.22 cm3, p = .03). The authors concluded that the indoor environment may have affected the nasal mucosa of nursing personnel, thus causing nasal mucosal swelling. The results support the view that fungal contamination of air-supply ducts may be a source of microbial pollution, which can affect the nasal mucosa.
BACKGROUND: There is growing concern about the respiratory health aspects of the indoor air quality in schools. METHODS: A standardized investigation, including nasal lavage (NAL), measurement of the nasal cavity by acoustic rhinometry, and hygienic measurements of airborne pollutants, was performed in classrooms, outside the pollen season. All 279 school personnel working in the main buildings of 12 randomly selected primary schools in an urban community in central Sweden (Uppsala) were invited to enroll in the study; 234 (84%) participated. Eosinophil cationic protein (ECP), myeloperoxidase (MPO), lysozyme, and albumin were analyzed in NAL fluid. Crude statistical analysis, as well as multiple regression analysis, was performed, controlling for room temperature, age, sex, current smoking, and a history of atopy. RESULTS: Most classrooms (83%) did not meet the Swedish ventilation standards. A lower degree of nasal patency was found at higher concentrations of respirable dust, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), formaldehyde, and total molds, and in the presence of Aspergillus spp. in the classroom air. The most consistent findings were observed for formaldehyde, NO2, and Aspergillus spp., related to both decreased nasal patency and increase of ECP and lysozyme in NAL. The presence of yeast was associated with an increase of ECP and lysozyme in NAL, but was not related to nasal patency. CONCLUSIONS: Ventilation flow was below current hygienic standards in the classrooms. Air pollutants in the classroom air may influence nasal patency and inflammatory response in the nasal mucosa.
OBJECTIVE: Study associations between airway symptoms, complaints on environmental perceptions, atopy definitions and biomarkers including tear film stability (BUT), nasal patency and nasal lavage (NAL). Personal predictors (gender, age, smoking, infections) for the biomarkers as well as associations between the biomarkers were also assessed. METHODS: A cross-sectional study of 173 employees in four university buildings, response rate 86%. Tear film break up time (BUT) was measured by a non-invasive method (NIBUT) and self-reported (SBUT). NAL-analysis included eosinophilic cationic protein (ECP), myeloperoxidase (MPO), lysozyme and albumin. Total serum IgE, and specific IgE using Phadiatop was measured. Data on subjective symptoms, environmental perceptions and background data were collected by use of a questionnaire. Multiple regression analyses were applied. RESULTS: Mean age was 43 years, 21% had weekly ocular, 21% nasal, and 17% laryngeal symptoms. Women had more complaints on environmental perceptions, shorter BUT and less nasal patency. Neither atopy (Phadiatop) nor Total IgE or allergy in the family, but asthma and hay fever was associated with mucosal symptoms or perceptions. Subjects with positive Phadiatop had higher levels of all NAL-biomarkers. Those with ocular symptoms had shorter BUT. Nasal symptoms were related to respiratory infections and laryngeal symptoms to NAL-lysozyme. Perceiving dry air was associated with lower BUT and reduced nasal volume difference before and after decongestion. Older subjects had greater nasal patency, and less atopy. All NAL-biomarkers were positively correlated. Higher lysozyme level was associated with less nasal patency and greater nasal decongestion. CONCLUSIONS: BUT and NAL-lysozyme was associated with ocular, nasal, laryngeal symptoms and indoor environmental perceptions. Ever having had asthma and ever having had hay fever were predictors for symptoms and perceived air quality, respectively. Phadiatop, Total IgE, familiar allergy and ever eczema were not associated to symptoms or perceived environments. Age, gender and Phadiatop were main predictors for ocular and nasal biomarkers.
Occurrence of airway irritation among indoor swimming pool personnel was investigated. The aims of this study were to assess trichloramine exposure levels and exhaled nitric oxide in relation to the prevalence of airway symptoms in swimming pool facilities and to determine protein effects in the upper respiratory tract.
The presence of airway symptoms related to work was examined in 146 individuals working at 46 indoor swimming pool facilities. Levels of trichloramine, as well as exhaled nitric oxide, were measured in five facilities with high prevalence of airway irritation and four facilities with no airway irritation among the personnel. Nasal lavage fluid was collected, and protein profiles were determined by a proteomic approach.
17 % of the swimming pool personnel reported airway symptoms related to work. The levels of trichloramine in the swimming pool facilities ranged from 0.04 to 0.36 mg/m(3). There was no covariance between trichloramine levels, exhaled nitric oxide and prevalence of airway symptoms. Protein profiling of the nasal lavage fluid showed that the levels alpha-1-antitrypsin and lactoferrin were significantly higher, and S100-A8 was significantly lower in swimming pool personnel.
This study confirms the occurrence of airway irritation among indoor swimming pool personnel. Our results indicate altered levels of innate immunity proteins in the upper airways that may pose as potential biomarkers. However, swimming pool facilities with high prevalence of airway irritation could not be explained by higher trichloramine exposure levels. Further studies are needed to clarify the environmental factors in indoor swimming pools that cause airway problems and affect the immune system.
CONCLUSION: The methods used in this study are suitable for field studies that involve examinations of groups of workers. For individual examinations, there is no gold standard method that can discriminate work-related discomfort from other causes of rhinitis. OBJECTIVES: Studies of the effects of occupation on farmers' health have mainly focused on lower airways; few studies have examined effects on upper airways. This study investigated nasal functions in three groups of farmers (swine, milk and grain producers) and a control group using different methods, suitable for field studies. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Health-related complaints were examined and several functional tests, such as expirogram, olfactory threshold test, acoustic rhinometry, nasal lavage with biomarkers of inflammation (eosinophilic cationic proteins (ECP), myeloperoxidase (MPO), tryptase, albumin) and allergy tests were performed. The different tests were correlated to nasal complaints and to each other. RESULTS: Nasal blockage complaints were more common among farmers; overall, nasal polyps were more frequent in grain producers. Objective parameters showed more pronounced mucosal swelling in farmers and higher concentrations of ECP in nasal lavage compared with controls. Lung function, olfactory threshold, atopy frequency and allergen-specific IgE to the storage mite Lepidoglyphus destructor did not differ between farmers and controls. Mucosal swelling measured with acoustic rhinometry was more pronounced in subjects with nasal complaints, hypersensitivity, nasal polyps and symptoms from lower airways. There was a correlation between biomarkers in nasal lavage (MPO, albumin and ECP).
The results of allergy tests against molds usually remain negative in patients with upper respiratory tract and conjunctival symptoms after microbial exposure in a water-damaged building. Most mold-exposed persons report nasal irritation. Immune mechanisms of the nasal symptoms have not been fully elucidated.
To investigate local inflammatory responses after mold exposure in the upper respiratory tract and the feasibility of nasal lavage in diagnosing work-related exposure.
Altogether, 26 mold-exposed and 20 nonexposed workers from the same hospital were selected for the present study. The work premises of the exposed workers had detectable moisture and microbial problems. All exposed workers and their nonexposed controls underwent clinical examination, laboratory tests to detect allergy to molds, and nasal lavage. Inflammatory cells and proinflammatory cytokines were measured in the nasal lavage fluid. Nasal lavages were performed again 6 months after a thorough renovation of the building.
In the nasal lavage, the neutrophil count and the level of tumor necrosis factor alpha in the exposed employees were lower, whereas the macrophage and epithelial cell counts were higher than in the control group. After the renovation, no difference was found in inflammatory response between the study group and the control group. The mean concentration of serum IgG to Stachybotrys chartarum was higher in the exposed workers.
These results suggest that exposure to toxin-producing microbial growth in a water-damaged building caused immunosuppression in nasal mucosa, leading to a decrease in neutrophil counts and tumor necrosis factor alpha levels. Nasal lavage is a suitable method for examining inflammatory responses in work-related mold exposure.
OBJECTIVES: This study determined the relations between settled dust and cleaning routines in classrooms on one hand, and nasal symptoms, nasal cavity dimensions, and the concentration of selected biomarkers of inflammation in nasal lavage on the other. METHODS: Measurements of settled dust via standardized vacuum cleaning and an investigation of the cleaning routines were performed in 12 randomly selected primary schools in the municipality of Uppsala. Clinical examinations including acoustic rhinometry and nasal lavage were performed in the school environment among 279 school personnel working in the main buildings of the schools. Eosinophil cationic protein (ECP), myeloperoxidase (MPO), lysozyme, and albumin were analyzed in the lavage fluid. The relationships between the medical and hygienic data were analyzed both bivariately and with a multiple regression model controlling for age, gender, smoking, atopy, room temperature, and urban vicinity of the school. RESULTS: The amount of settled dust was positively related to subjective nasal obstruction and smaller nasal cavity dimensions measured with acoustic rhinometry. The noses were less patent, and the levels of ECP or lysozyme in the lavage were increased for the subjects in schools with a lower frequency of floor mopping, a lower frequency of desk cleaning, and where wet mopping was used. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that the actual dust levels in Swedish classrooms can affect the occurrence of nasal obstruction among school personnel. A beneficial effect on the clinical signs of the nasal mucosa was observed for a higher frequency of both floor mopping and desk cleaning, whereas the use of wet mopping seemed disadvantageous in comparison with dry mopping. These findings illustrate the need for adequate cleaning procedures to minimize the environmental effects on the airway mucosa.
OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to investigate nasal symptoms and function among workers exposed to lime dust and to determine if a reconstruction of the workplace improved the worker's nasal health. METHODS: In 1992, pulp-mill workers (N = 15) exposed to lime dust and an equal number of matched unexposed referents were examined by questionnaires, nasal peak expiratory flow, the saccharin test, nasal lavage, and a clinical examination of the upper airways. The study was repeated one year later, after the pulp mill had been rebuilt. Dust levels were measured on both occasions with stationary and personal samplings. RESULTS: In 1992 the total dust level was 1.2 mg.m-3. The saccharin test showed a significantly increased nasal transit time for the exposed workers in comparison with that of the unexposed referents (difference 3.5 min, 95% confidence interval 0.1-6.9 min). One year later the dust levels had decreased to 0.1 mg. m-3, and the difference in nasal transit time had decreased (difference- 0.8 min, 95% confidence interval -4.8-3.3 min). CONCLUSIONS: Workers exposed to lime dust have an impaired mucociliary function. This impairment is probably due to the alkalinity of the lime. When dust levels are reduced, mucociliary function improves; therefore renovating a workplace to reduce dust levels has a positive effect.
INTRODUCTION: There is a need to evaluate possible health effects of ventilation improvements and emissions from new buildings, in longitudinal studies. New methods to study biological effects on the eyes and upper airways are now available. MATERIAL AND METHODS: A longitudinal study was performed on 83 trained social workers in two offices in Uppsala, Sweden. The exposed group (n = 57) moved to a newly redecorated building nearby. Low emitting building material had been used, including a new type of solvent-free water-based paint. The control group (n = 26) worked in the same office during the study period (November 1995 to February 1996). Hygiene management was carried out in both offices, at the beginning and the end of the investigation. Tear film stability (BUT) was measured. Nasal patency was measured by acoustic rhinometry, and eosinophilic cationic protein (ECP), myeloperoxidase (MPO), lysozyme and albumin were analyzed in nasal lavage fluid (NAL). RESULTS: The relocation resulted in an increase in the personal outdoor airflow rate from 11 to 22 l/s. Indoor concentrations of terpenes were higher in the new building, and powdering of the new linoleum floor was observed. Measurements showed low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOC), formaldehyde, carbon dioxide (CO(2)), nitrogen dioxide, respirable dust, and microorganisms in the air of all buildings. The move resulted in an increased nasal patency and an increase of ECP and lysozyme in NAL, after adjusting for changes in the control group. No changes were observed for nasal or ocular symptoms. A seasonal effect, with a decrease of ECP, was observed in the control group. CONCLUSSION A well-ventilated office building can be redecorated without any major ocular or nasal effects, or measurable increase of indoor air pollution if low-emitting building materials are selected. In agreement with previous evidence, the improved ventilation flow may explain the increase of nasal patency. The increase of ECP and lysozyme in NAL suggested an inflammatory effect in the new building. Since this building had increased ventilation flow, increased concentrations of terpenes, and powdering from the polish on the new linoleum floor, identification of causative agents was difficult. The hygiene measures did not give any evidence that emissions from the new type of solvent-free water-based paints or building dampness were responsible for the observed nasal effects. Considering the higher emissions of VOC reported from older types of water-based latex paints and solvent-based wall paints, the new type of solvent-free water-based paint seems to be a good choice from the hygiene point of view.
Refractory ceramic fibres (RCF) are used in thermal isolation in the metal industry where high temperatures are regularly employed. Asbestos materials were earlier commonly used for these purposes. In this work, two Finnish steel plants, three foundries and a repair shop were studied for the ceramic fibre exposure of their workers under normal production and during the replacement of oven insulation. Personal and stationary sampling was used together with a novel nasal lavage sampling for the evaluation of personal exposure. Fibres were counted with optical and electron microscopy and they were identified using an energy-dispersive X-ray analyser. Ceramic fibres were found in most production phases [range