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Air infiltration in low-income, urban homes and its relationship to lung function

Last updated: 03-17-2021

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Air infiltration in low-income, urban homes and its relationship to lung function

journal of exposure science & environmental epidemiology
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Previous research has found increased home ventilation, which may affect health by altering the composition of indoor air, is associated with improvement of respiratory health, but evidence linking home ventilation to objectively measured lung function is sparse. The Colorado Home Energy Efficiency and Respiratory health (CHEER) study, a cross-sectional study of low-income, urban, nonsmoking homes across the Northern Front Range of Colorado, USA, focused on elucidating this link. We used a multipoint depressurization blower door test to measure the air tightness of the homes and calculate the annual average infiltration rate (AAIR). Lung function tests were administered to eligible participants. We analyzed data from 253 participants in 187 homes with two or more acceptable spirometry tests. We used generalized estimating equations to model forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC), and FEV1/FVC z-scores as a function of AAIR. AAIRs ranged from 0.10 to 1.98 air changes per hour. Mean z-scores for FEV1, FVC, and FEV1/FVC were −0.57, 0.32, and −0.43, respectively. AAIR was positively associated with increased FEV1/FVC z-scores, such that a 1-unit change in AAIR corresponded to a half of a standard deviation in lung function (β = 0.51, CI: 0.02–0.99). These associations were strongest for healthy populations and weaker for those with asthma and asthma-like symptoms. AAIR was not associated with FEV1 or FVC. Our study is the first in the United States to link home ventilation by infiltration to objectively measured lung function in low-income, urban households.
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Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder, 427 UCB, Boulder, CO, 80309-0427, USA
Jamie L. Humphrey, Prateek Man Shrestha & Shelly L. Miller
Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, 13001 E 17th Place B119, Aurora, CO, USA
Kelsey E. Barton, Elizabeth J. Carlton, Lee S. Newman & John L. Adgate
Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, 13001 E. 17th Place B119, Aurora, CO, 80045, USA
Lee S. Newman
Department of Geography and Division of Epidemiology, The Ohio State University, 1036 Derby Hall, 154 North Oval Mall, Columbus, OH, 43210, USA
Elisabeth Dowling Root

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