University of Cambridge > > Centre for Atmospheric Science seminars, Chemistry Dept. > Association between health responses and indoor air quality in London primary classrooms

Association between health responses and indoor air quality in London primary classrooms

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Olalekan Popoola.

The increasing interest in Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) of educational buildings has been underpinned by the rising incidence of asthma and respiratory disease among children, who spend a substantial amount of their time on the school premises. Drawing on detailed monitoring data from 15 primary and three nursery London classrooms, this presentation identifies specific exposures in the classroom that may affect asthma prevalence and self-reported health symptoms. The study was partially based on the European project SINPHONIE ( among 29 countries. The multidisciplinary methodology employed direct-reading instrumental sampling, passive sampling for long-term measurements, and determination of microbiological contaminants with molecular methods. The monitored data were matched with school and classroom characteristics, self-reported health symptoms and IAQ perception of 376 primary school students in the heating and non-heating season, and were analysed with Bayesian multilevel models. In line with previous evidence, this study found the highest asthma prevalence in English classrooms among all European participating countries. Only NO2 levels were significantly associated with the high asthma prevalence reported in this study (OR: 1.11, 95% CI: 1.04-1.19). Indoor NO2 levels were also associated with higher prevalence and incidence of Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) symptoms. SBS describes a constellation of non-specific health symptoms including general, mucosal, dermal and respiratory, that have no clear aetiology and are attributable to exposure to a particular building environment. This study shows that although the schools met current performance building standards, they were not able to provide a healthy and satisfactory school environment. Findings of this study identified new pathways for providing adequate IAQ , including new good practice on designing, refurbishing, managing and using current and future schools.

This talk is part of the Centre for Atmospheric Science seminars, Chemistry Dept. series.

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