Development of new VOC exposure metrics and their relationship to ''Sick Building Syndrome'' symptoms [report]

JoAnn Ten Brinke
1995 unpublished
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are suspected to contribute significantly to "Sick Building Syndrome" (SBS), a complex of subchronic symptoms that occurs during and in general decreases away from occupancy of the building in question. Prior attempts to link exposures to VOCs and symptom outcomes have not considered potencies; i.e., the level of response for a given dose, of these compounds. A new approach takes into account individual VOC potencies, as well as the highly correlated nature of
more » ... he complex VOC mixtures found indoors. The new VOC metrics are statistically significant predictors of symptom outcomes from the California Healthy Buildings Study data. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to test the hypothesis that a summary measure of the VOC mixture, other risk factors, and covariates for each worker will lead to better prediction of symptom outcome. VOC metrics based on animal irritancy measures and principal component analysis had the most influence in the prediction of eye, dermal, and nasal 1 symptoms. After adjustment, a water-based paints and solvents source was found to be associated with dermal (OR=2.2,95% CI 1.3-3.7) and eye (OR=1.7,95% CI 1.1-2.7) irritation. The more typical VOC exposure metrics used in prior analyses were not useful in symptom prediction in the adjusted model (total VOC (TVOC), or sum of individually identified VOCs (ZVOCi)). Also not useful were three other VOC metrics that took into account potency, but did not adjust for the highly correlated nature of the data set, or the presence of VOCs that were not measured. High TVOC values (2-7 mg m-3 due to the presence of liquid-process photocopiers observed in several study spaces significantly influenced symptoms. Analyses without the high TVOC values reduced, but did not eliminate the ability of the VOC exposure metric based on irritancy and principal component analysis to explain symptom outcome. Variables Included in the Model I65 Analytic Methods 163 Results 170 Goodness of Fit I75 Implications of Results I76 Eye Irritation I78 Skin Irritation I8I Exposures to Water-based Paints and Solvents I83 Limitations of the Study I86 Discussion 177 Conclusions 188 Appendices 190 References 208 V w i t h symptoms in three studies (Norback and Torgen, 1990; , but were found to have no associations in three separate studies Mendell, 1991) . Hypotheses comprised of the factors discussed above have not withstood the rigorous testing necessary to resolve the cause of SBS. Although these various elements may ultimately represent muItifactorial deteFnants, at this point in our understanding they .. , remain only indicators of the etiology of SBS. 8 Sensory Irritants: Volatile Organic Compounds Sensory Irritants: Volatile Organic Compounds Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have been strongly suspected to play a role in "sick building syndrome." Although there is a wide range of SBS symptom types, many symptoms appear to be related to sensory irritation (eye, nose and throat irritation and dry, itchy skin), deep pulmonary stress (chest tightness, difficulty breathing), and systemic symptoms (headache, sleepiness, fatigue). Symptoms of high prevalence reported from 151 Descriptive Statistics: Subjects complex research issue; potential cause(s) of the observed elevated symptom prevalences will be discussed in the following chapters. New VOC Exposure MetricS Appendices Compound Butyl acetate(sec-) Butyl acetate(tat-) Butylamine(n-) Butylbenzene(n-) Butylbenzene(tert-) Bu tyltoluene(p-ten-) Chlorobenzene Chloroform Chlororacetophenone(a1pha-) Chemical OT Vapor Abstract Std. Dev. Pressure Number BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA 94720 INFORMATION DEPARTMENT . __
doi:10.2172/125046 fatcat:vvbxovvylvaobpfjbimg7m3h2q