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J Sch Health. 2016 Jun;86(6):444-51. doi: 10.1111/josh.12398.

Association Between Markers of Classroom Environmental Conditions and Teachers' Respiratory Health.

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Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Box 1057, New York, NY 10029-6574.
Department of Environmental Health, School of Public Health, Box 365067, University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00936-5067.
Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Box 1057, New York, NY 10029-6574.



Studies have assessed health in schoolchildren. Less is known about the environmental and occupational health of teachers.


A cross-sectional survey of teachers was conducted in 24 randomly selected public elementary schools. Questionnaire included sociodemographic information, healthcare, school conditions, and health outcomes. Chi-square and logistic regression were used to analyze bivariate relationships. Multivariable logistic regression model was created for each health outcome, adjusted for sex and smoking to calculate estimates of association (OR) for variables that were significant in bivariate analysis.


Response rate was 71.2 % (N = 797). Classroom conditions significantly associated with respiratory symptoms included having no windows or windows that do not open were associated with asthma or colds (OR 2.0); carpeting was associated with having asthma, itchy eyes, and eye irritation (OR 1.9); mold or water damage was associated with respiratory infections, eye irritation (OR 2.1), nasal congestion (OR 2.4), and sore throat (OR 2.7); visible dust was associated with frequent colds (OR 2.2), nasal congestion (OR 1.7), and sore throat (1.9).


Asthma, respiratory infections, colds, eye irritation, nasal congestion, and sore throat were associated with the classroom environment. Results indicate that the school environment could affect teachers' respiratory health. Further assessments are necessary to establish causation.


asthma; environmental health; indoor air quality; occupational health; respiratory symptoms; school environment; teacher health

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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