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          Recently more information has emerged on possible adverse health effects associated with some building and furnishing materials, leading to or initiating legislative changes towards their reduction or elimination in many parts of the world. However, more general knowledge of the health risks associated with building and furnishing materials could make a significant contribution to improvements in indoor air quality. A study was set up to evaluate the level of knowledge in the relevant literature and the general population (from New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States), and New Zealand architectural professionals. The results for vinyl and linoleum are presented, these being two flooring materials very similar in terms of appearance and application, but different in terms of chemical content and possible impact on health. The article indicates significant issues with the level of reported knowledge, with participants from the general population struggling to differentiate between vinyl and linoleum, and professionals reporting more prevalent use of vinyl, which they rate as less healthy.

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          Most cited references37

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          Is Open Access

          Plastics Derived Endocrine Disruptors (BPA, DEHP and DBP) Induce Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance of Obesity, Reproductive Disease and Sperm Epimutations

          Environmental compounds are known to promote epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of adult onset disease in subsequent generations (F1–F3) following ancestral exposure during fetal gonadal sex determination. The current study was designed to determine if a mixture of plastic derived endocrine disruptor compounds bisphenol-A (BPA), bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) and dibutyl phthalate (DBP) at two different doses promoted epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of adult onset disease and associated DNA methylation epimutations in sperm. Gestating F0 generation females were exposed to either the “plastics” or “lower dose plastics” mixture during embryonic days 8 to 14 of gonadal sex determination and the incidence of adult onset disease was evaluated in F1 and F3 generation rats. There were significant increases in the incidence of total disease/abnormalities in F1 and F3 generation male and female animals from plastics lineages. Pubertal abnormalities, testis disease, obesity, and ovarian disease (primary ovarian insufficiency and polycystic ovaries) were increased in the F3 generation animals. Kidney and prostate disease were only observed in the direct fetally exposed F1 generation plastic lineage animals. Analysis of the plastics lineage F3 generation sperm epigenome previously identified 197 differential DNA methylation regions (DMR) in gene promoters, termed epimutations. A number of these transgenerational DMR form a unique direct connection gene network and have previously been shown to correlate with the pathologies identified. Observations demonstrate that a mixture of plastic derived compounds, BPA and phthalates, can promote epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of adult onset disease. The sperm DMR provide potential epigenetic biomarkers for transgenerational disease and/or ancestral environmental exposures.
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            Ventilation rates and health: multidisciplinary review of the scientific literature.

            The scientific literature through 2005 on the effects of ventilation rates on health in indoor environments has been reviewed by a multidisciplinary group. The group judged 27 papers published in peer-reviewed scientific journals as providing sufficient information on both ventilation rates and health effects to inform the relationship. Consistency was found across multiple investigations and different epidemiologic designs for different populations. Multiple health endpoints show similar relationships with ventilation rate. There is biological plausibility for an association of health outcomes with ventilation rates, although the literature does not provide clear evidence on particular agent(s) for the effects. Higher ventilation rates in offices, up to about 25 l/s per person, are associated with reduced prevalence of sick building syndrome (SBS) symptoms. The limited available data suggest that inflammation, respiratory infections, asthma symptoms and short-term sick leave increase with lower ventilation rates. Home ventilation rates above 0.5 air changes per hour (h(-1)) have been associated with a reduced risk of allergic manifestations among children in a Nordic climate. The need remains for more studies of the relationship between ventilation rates and health, especially in diverse climates, in locations with polluted outdoor air and in buildings other than offices. Ventilation with outdoor air plays an important role influencing human exposures to indoor pollutants. This review and assessment indicates that increasing ventilation rates above currently adopted standards and guidelines should result in reduced prevalence of negative health outcomes. Building operators and designers should avoid low ventilation rates unless alternative effective measures, such as source control or air cleaning, are employed to limit indoor pollutant levels. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.
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              Phthalates in Indoor Dust and Their Association with Building Characteristics

              In a recent study of 198 Swedish children with persistent allergic symptoms and 202 controls without such symptoms, we reported associations between the symptoms and the concentrations of n-butyl benzyl phthalate (BBzP) and di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) in dust taken from the childrens’ bedrooms. In the present study we examined associations between the concentrations of different phthalate esters in the dust from these bedrooms and various characteristics of the home. The study focused on BBzP and DEHP because these were the phthalates associated with health complaints. Associations have been examined using parametric and nonparametric tests as well as multiple logistic regression. For both BBzP and DEHP, we found associations between their dust concentrations and the amount of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) used as flooring and wall material in the home. Furthermore, high concentrations of BBzP (above median) were associated with self-reported water leakage in the home, and high concentrations of DEHP were associated with buildings constructed before 1960. Other associations, as well as absence of associations, are reported. Both BBzP and DEHP were found in buildings with neither PVC flooring nor wall covering, consistent with the numerous additional plasticized materials that are anticipated to be present in a typical home. The building characteristics examined in this study cannot serve as complete proxies for these quite varied sources. However, the associations reported here can help identify homes where phthalate concentrations are likely to be elevated and can aid in developing mitigation strategies.

                Author and article information

                Journal of Green Building
                College Publishing
                Winter 2016
                : 11
                : 1
                : 159-177
                Author notes

                1. Research Fellow, Victoria University of Wellington, Emina.Petrovic@ 123456vuw.ac.nz .

                2. Professorial Research Fellow, Victoria University of Wellington, Brenda.Vale@ 123456vuw.ac.nz .

                3. Associate Professor, Victoria University of Wellington, Marc.Wilson@ 123456vuw.ac.nz .

                ©2016 by College Publishing. All rights reserved.
                Page count
                Pages: 19


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