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Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2000 May 5;125(18):545-50.

[Air pollution by volatile organic compounds (VOC) and health complaints].

[Article in German]

Author information

1
Institut für Hygiene und Umweltmedizin, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE:

Complaints of well-being and health after moving in a new or redeveloped building occur quite frequently. If these complaints persist for several months and are indicated by the majority of occupants, an examination of the air quality is required. However, the interpretation of these data can be difficult since different recommendations but no threshold limit values for the indoor contamination with volatile organic compounds (VOC's) exist.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

This report presents a case with serious health complaints (14 males, average age 40.4 years; 44 females, average age 37.9 years) after moving in a completely redeveloped building. Complaints of well-being and health were investigated by a standardised questionnaire and compared with a control group (11 males, average age 41.4 years; 12 females, average age 33.3 years). The VOC-contamination was analysed by various measurements.

RESULTS:

Two months after moving into the building a total VOC-concentration of 2000-3000 micrograms/m3 was registered, after 10 months the concentration decreased to 900-1300 micrograms/m3 due to intense airing. The following symptoms showed the clearest differences between exposed persons and the control group: soreness of throat (odds ratio: 10.72; 95%-confidence interval: 1.46-465.2), irritations of mucous membranes (OR: 10.45; 95%-CI: 1.43-453.8), headache (OR: 9.9; 95%-CI: 1.35-430.9) and increased weariness (OR: 7.55; 95%-CI: 1.55-71.2). As a consequence extensive redevelopment measures were initiated.

CONCLUSION:

Contamination of the indoor air with 900 micrograms/m3 VOC's (total value) can induce serious complaints of well-being and health. Rooms with VOC-concentrations > 1200-1500 micrograms/m3 are not suited for regular stay of unprotected people.

PMID:
10835979
DOI:
10.1055/s-2007-1024338
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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