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Arch Environ Health. 2001 Jan-Feb;56(1):30-6.

Nasal lavage biomarkers: effects of water damage and microbial growth in an office building.

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Department of Medical Sciences/Occupational and Environmental Medicine Uppsala University, University Hospital, Sweden.


Selected nasal symptoms were studied in personnel who worked in a damp office building that had microbial growth (including Stachybotrys sp.) in mineral fiber insulation and gypsum board. There were also signs of dampness in the floor. Clinical examinations included nasal lavage and peak expiratory flow measurements in 12 subjects in the damp building; an additional 8 subjects in a control building (i.e., no signs of dampness or microbial growth) were also examined. Hygienic air measurements of microorganisms and volatile organic compounds were performed in both buildings. The concentrations of eosinophil cationic protein, myeloperoxidase, and albumin, and the number of subjects with eosinophils in lavage fluid, were higher among office workers in the damp building than among controls. The damp biiilding had greater amounts of total molds and bacteria in its construction than the building materials in nondamp buildings. In addition, an increase of 2-ethyl-1-hexanol in the indoor air was detected in the damp building-a sign of dampness-related alkaline degradation of diethyl-hexyl phthalate in polyvinyl chloride floor coatings. In conclusion, the results of this study indicate that exposures in a damp office building may cause an inflammatory nasal mucosal response. The results also support conclusions of earlier studies, indicating that building dampness is related to respiratory inflammation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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