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SBS symptoms in relation to dampness and ventilation in inspected single-family houses in Sweden
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Civil and Architectural Engineering, Building Service and Energy Systems.
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2017 (English)In: International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, ISSN 0340-0131, E-ISSN 1432-1246, Vol. 90, no 7, p. 703-711Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: To investigate the relationships between symptoms compatible with the sick building syndrome (SBS) in adults and building dampness and ventilation in single-family houses. Methods: Within the Swedish BETSI study, a national sample of single-family houses were inspected by professional building experts, and adults living in the houses answered a questionnaire on SBS. Relationships between building factors and SBS were analysed using logistic regression. Results: Of the respondents, 23% reported having had weekly SBS symptoms during the last three months. A large proportion of houses exhibited building or construction problems. In total, 40% of houses had dampness problems in the foundation, and this was related to a higher prevalence of both mucous and dermal symptoms, and any SBS symptoms. Furthermore, high air humidity was related to more symptoms, with the relationship with absolute humidity being stronger than that with relative humidity or moisture load. Symptoms were also more prevalent in houses with a high U value, reflecting a poor thermal insulation. Compared to natural ventilation, living in a house with mechanical supply and exhaust ventilation was related to a lower prevalence of general symptoms and any SBS symptoms, but there were only weak associations between measured air exchange rate and symptoms. Conclusions: A large proportion of single-family houses have dampness problems in the foundation, and pollutants may enter the living space of the house and affect the health of the occupants. Furthermore, absolute air humidity should be measured more often in indoor air studies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Verlag , 2017. Vol. 90, no 7, p. 703-711
Keyword [en]
Absolute air humidity, Concrete slab, Crawl space, Mould, SBS symptoms, U value
National Category
Building Technologies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-218882DOI: 10.1007/s00420-017-1233-zScopus ID: 2-s2.0-85020533331OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-218882DiVA, id: diva2:1175123
Note

QC 20180117

Available from: 2018-01-17 Created: 2018-01-17 Last updated: 2018-01-17Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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