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Building-Related Environmental Intolerance and Associated Health in the General Population
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9939-5601
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Number of Authors: 62018 (English)In: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, ISSN 1661-7827, E-ISSN 1660-4601, Vol. 15, no 9, article id 2047Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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 Vasterbotten and osterbotten 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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 15, no 9, article id 2047
Keywords [en]
environmental intolerance, building-related intolerance, sick-building syndrome, asthma, functional somatic syndrome
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-161105DOI: 10.3390/ijerph15092047ISI: 000445765600256PubMedID: 30235805OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-161105DiVA, id: diva2:1259671
Available from: 2018-10-30 Created: 2018-10-30 Last updated: 2019-01-21Bibliographically approved

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