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PLoS One. 2013 Aug 26;8(8):e72385. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0072385. eCollection 2013.

Odors and sensations of humidity and dryness in relation to sick building syndrome and home environment in Chongqing, China.

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  • 1Key Laboratory of Three Gorges Reservoir Region's Eco-Environment, Ministry of Education, Chongqing University, Chongqing, China.

Abstract

The prevalence of perceptions of odors and sensations of air humidity and sick building syndrome symptoms in domestic environments were studied using responses to a questionnaire on the home environment. Parents of 4530 1-8 year old children from randomly selected kindergartens in Chongqing, China participated. Stuffy odor, unpleasant odor, pungent odor, mold odor, tobacco smoke odor, humid air and dry air in the last three month (weekly or sometimes) was reported by 31.4%, 26.5%, 16.1%, 10.6%, 33.0%, 32.1% and 37.2% of the parents, respectively. The prevalence of parents' SBS symptoms (weekly or sometimes) were: 78.7% for general symptoms, 74.3% for mucosal symptoms and 47.5% for skin symptoms. Multi-nominal regression analyses for associations between odors/sensations of air humidity and SBS symptoms showed that the odds ratio for "weekly" SBS symptoms were consistently higher than for "sometimes" SBS symptoms. Living near a main road or highway, redecoration, and new furniture were risk factors for perceptions of odors and sensations of humid air and dry air. Dampness related problems (mold spots, damp stains, water damage and condensation) were all risk factors for perceptions of odors and sensations of humid air and dry air, as was the presence of cockroaches, rats, and mosquitoes/flies, use of mosquito-repellent incense and incense. Protective factors included cleaning the child's bedroom every day and frequently exposing bedding to sunshine. In conclusion, adults' perceptions of odors and sensations of humid air and dry air are related to factors of the home environment and SBS symptoms are related to odor perceptions.

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