|Title||Indoor Particles and Symptoms Among Office Workers: Results from a Double-Blind Cross-Over Study|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2002|
|Authors||Mendell, Mark J., William J. Fisk, Marty R. Petersen, Cynthia J. Hines, Maxia Dong, David Faulkner, James A. Deddens, Avima M. Ruder, Douglas P. Sullivan, and Mark F. Boeniger|
Background We studied the effects of removing small airborne particles in an office building without unusual contaminant sources or occupant complaints. Methods We conducted a double-blind crossover study of enhanced particle filtration in an office building in the Midwest U.S. in 1993. We replaced standard particle filters, in separate ventilation systems on two floors, with highly efficient filters, on alternate floors weekly over four weeks. Repeated-measures models were used to analyze data from weekly worker questionnaires and multiple environmental measurements. Results Bioaerosol concentrations were low. Enhanced filtration reduced concentrations of the smallest airborne particles by 94%. This reduction was not associated with reduced symptoms among the 396 respondents, but three performance-related mental states improved; for example, the confusion scale decreased (-3.7%; 95% confidence limits (CL) = -6.5, -0.9). Most environmental dissatisfaction variables also improved; eg, "stuffy" air, -5.3% (95% CL = -10.3, -0.4). Cooler temperatures within the recommended comfort range were associated with remarkably large improvement in most outcomes; for example, per 1ºC decrease, chest tightness decreased -23.4% (95% CL = -38.1, -8.7). Conclusions Benefits of enhanced filtration require assessment in buildings with higher particulate contaminant levels, in studies controlling for temperature effects. Benefits from lower indoor temperatures need confirmation.