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Prevalence of Asthma, Atopic Dermatitis, and Rhinitis and MVOC Exposure in Single Family Homes—A Survey in 6 Cities of Japan

Araki, Atsuko1; Kawai, Toshio2; Eitaki, Yoko2; Kanazawa, Ayako1; Morimoto, Kanehisa3; Nakayama, Kunio3; Shibata, Eiji4; Tanaka, Masatoshi5; Takigawa, Tomoko6; Yoshimura, Takesumi7; Chikara, Hisao7; Saijo, Yasuaki8; Kishi, Reiko1

doi: 10.1097/01.ede.0000391784.44762.63
Abstracts: ISEE 22nd Annual Conference, Seoul, Korea, 28 August–1 September 2010: Indoor and Built Environment

1Department of Public Health Sciences, Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan; 2Osaka Occupational Health Service Center, Osaka, Japan; 3Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka, Japan; 4Aichi Medical University School of Medicine, Aichi, Japan; 5Fukushima College, Fukushima, Japan; 6Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama, Japan; 7Fukuoka Institute of Health and Environmental Sciences, Dazaifu, Japan; and 8Asahikawa Medical College, Asahikawa, Japan.

Abstracts published in Epidemiology have been reviewed by the societies at whose meetings the abstracts have been accepted for presentation. These abstracts have not undergone review by the Editorial Board of Epidemiology.


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Microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOC) are a range of volatile organic compounds produced by microorganisms. According to previous reports, exposure to various MVOC at school was associated with asthmatic symptoms in pupils and a history of asthma among school employees. However, the relationship between MVOC exposure at home and allergies in inhabitants remains unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between allergic symptoms and selected MVOC exposure in single family homes.

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This study is based on a survey conducted in 2006. Subjects were 624 inhabitants of 182 detached houses in 6 cities of Japan. Air samples were collected using diffusive samplers for 48 hours, and the concentrations of 8 selected compounds were analyzed by Gas Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometer (SIM). All inhabitants of the dwellings were given a self-administered questionnaire on age, sex, and medications for bronchial asthma, atopic dermatitis, and allergic rhinitis within the past 2 years. Adult inhabitants were also asked to fill out questions regarding housing characteristics.

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The most frequently detected MVOC was 1-pentanol at a median concentration of 0.60 μg/m3. Among the 609 subjects who completed questions about allergies, the prevalence of asthma, atopic dermatitis, and allergic rhinitis was 4.8%, 9.9%, and 18.2%, respectively. No difference was found among genders, but a higher prevalence was obtained among younger subjects. A significant association between rhinitis and 1-octen-3-ol (per log10-unit: odds ratio, 2.02; 95% confidence interval: 1.05–3.87) was obtained after adjusting for age, sex, environmental tobacco smoke, and dampness index. No MVOC was related to asthma or atopic dermatitis after adjustment.

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According to the results of experimental volunteer 1-octen-3-ol exposure, mucosal irritation of airways was observed. Although indoor air concentrations of 1-octen-3-ol in this study were relatively low, exposure may cause irritation in inhabitants and evoke a rhinitis.

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