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Open AccessArticle

Building-Related Environmental Intolerance and Associated Health in the General Population

1
Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, 00032 Helsinki, Finland
2
Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
3
Department of Psychology, Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden
4
Novia University of Applied Sciences, 65200 Vaasa, Finland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(9), 2047; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph15092047
Received: 19 August 2018 / Revised: 15 September 2018 / Accepted: 17 September 2018 / Published: 19 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
People frequently attribute adverse symptoms to particular buildings when exposure to pollutants is low, within nonhazardous levels. Our aim was to characterize building-related intolerance (BRI) in the general population. Data were derived from two population-based questionnaire surveys, the Västerbotten and Österbotten Environmental Health Study. We identified cases of BRI if respondents reported symptoms emerging from residing in certain buildings, when most other people had none. The questionnaires covered lifestyle factors, perceived general health, BRI duration and symptom frequency, the emotional and behavioral impact of BRI, coping strategies, and physician-diagnosed diseases. From the total of 4941 participants, we formed two case groups, 275 (5.6%) fulfilled criteria for self-reported BRI, and 123 (2.5%) for BRI with wide-ranging symptoms. Individuals in both case groups were significantly more often female, single, and perceived their general health as poorer than the referents, i.e., those reporting no BRI symptoms. The mean duration of BRI was 12 years. In both case groups, avoidance behavior was found in over 60%, and nearly half of the sample had sought medical care. BRI with wide-ranging symptoms was associated with elevated odds for all studied comorbidities (somatic and psychiatric diseases and functional somatic syndromes). The perceived health of individuals with BRI is poorer and comorbidities are more frequent than among referents. BRI seems to be similar to other environmental intolerances and shares features with functional somatic syndromes. View Full-Text
Keywords: environmental intolerance; building-related intolerance; sick-building syndrome; asthma; functional somatic syndrome environmental intolerance; building-related intolerance; sick-building syndrome; asthma; functional somatic syndrome
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MDPI and ACS Style

Karvala, K.; Sainio, M.; Palmquist, E.; Claeson, A.-S.; Nyback, M.-H.; Nordin, S. Building-Related Environmental Intolerance and Associated Health in the General Population. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 2047. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph15092047

AMA Style

Karvala K, Sainio M, Palmquist E, Claeson A-S, Nyback M-H, Nordin S. Building-Related Environmental Intolerance and Associated Health in the General Population. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2018; 15(9):2047. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph15092047

Chicago/Turabian Style

Karvala, Kirsi; Sainio, Markku; Palmquist, Eva; Claeson, Anna-Sara; Nyback, Maj-Helen; Nordin, Steven. 2018. "Building-Related Environmental Intolerance and Associated Health in the General Population" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 15, no. 9: 2047. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph15092047

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