Energy-efficiency procedures in the form of the insulating of buildings and reducing ventilation synchronized with an increase in complaints from occupants about discomfort and health effects. In the present paper, respiratory symptoms and pulmonary function in 17 subjects in a Swedish school with mechanical ventilation have been determined before and after a working week once each in winter and summer and once again in winter 1 year later. The total concentration of viable airborne mold fungi varied in the range of 332-453 colony-forming units/m^3 (normal limit 174). The predominating mold species were Pénicillium (49%), followed by Cladosporium (28%) and Aspergillus(13%); the dominating symptoms were irritated mucous membranes(eyes, nose and throat), headache and/or sleepiness. Thirteen out of 15 subjects exhibited a fall in forced vital capacity during a working week when examined in wintertime. This decrease was found among nonsmokers as well as smokers. Pulmonary function was unaltered during a working week in summertime. A principal component analysis of the variables job category, gender,smoking habits, and symptoms of breathlessness, coughing, mucous membranes, headache and/or sleepiness identified three factors accounting for 77% of the total variability. Symptoms from lower airways were related to the pulmonary function impairment. The acute transient pulmonary function deterioration suggests the existence of deleterious effects in a moist environment with growth of microorganisms or other unmeasured exposures quantitatively related to the microorganisms. These effects seem to be associated with whether or not the ventilation system was switched on.

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