University of Oulu

Salin, J., Ohtonen, P. and Syrjälä, H. (2021), Teachers’ work-related non-literature-known building-related symptoms are also connected to indoor toxicity: A cross-sectional study. Indoor Air, 31: 1533-1539.

Teachers’ work-related non-literature-known building-related symptoms are also connected to indoor toxicity : a cross-sectional study

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Author: Salin, Janne1; Ohtonen, Pasi2,3; Syrjälä, Hannu1
Organizations: 1The Departments of Infection Control, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
2Division of Operative Care, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
3Research Unit of Surgery, Anesthesia and Intensive Care, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-10-14


A previous study showed that classical building-related symptoms (BRS) were related to indoor dust and microbial toxicity via boar sperm motility assay, a sensitive method for measuring mitochondrial toxicity. In this cross-sectional study, we analyzed whether teachers’ most common work-related non-literature-known BRS (nBRS) were also associated with dust or microbial toxicity. Teachers from 15 schools in Finland completed a questionnaire evaluating 20 nBRS including general, eye, respiratory, hearing, sleep, and mental symptoms. Boar sperm motility assay was used to measure the toxicity of extracts from wiped dust and microbial fallout samples collected from teachers’ classrooms. 231 teachers answered a questionnaire and their classroom toxicity data were recorded. A negative binomial mixed model showed that teachers’ work-related nBRS were 2.9-fold (95% CI: 1.2–7.3) higher in classrooms with highly toxic dust samples compared to classrooms with non-toxic dust samples (p = 0.024). The RR of work-related nBRS was 1.8 (95% CI: 1.1–2.9) for toxic microbial samples (p = 0.022). Teachers’ BRS appeared to be broader than reported in the literature, and the work-related nBRS were associated with toxic dusts and microbes in classrooms.

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Series: Indoor air
ISSN: 0905-6947
ISSN-E: 1600-0668
ISSN-L: 0905-6947
Volume: 31
Issue: 5
Pages: 1533 - 1539
DOI: 10.1111/ina.12822
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
Funding: We acknowledge grants from the Finnish Work Environment Fund (TSR 113105 and 200262).
Copyright information: © 2021 The Authors. Indoor Air published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.