Irritants and Allergens at School in Relation to Furnishings and Cleaning



In order to study the influence of furnishings and cleaning on the indoor air quality at school, 181 randomly chosen classrooms were investigated. The amounts of open shelves, textiles and other fittings were noted, data were gathered on cleaning routines, and a number of pollutants were measured in the classrooms. In classrooms with more fabrics, there was more settled dust and the concentration of formaldehyde was higher. Classrooms with more open shelves had more formaldehyde, and more pet allergens in settled dust, and classrooms with a white board, instead of a chalk board, were less dusty. Classrooms mainly cleaned through wet mopping had more airborne viable bacteria but less settled dust than classrooms mainly cleaned by dry methods. In rooms where the desks and curtains were more often cleaned, the concentrations of cat and dog allergen in settled dust were lower. It is concluded that furnishings and textiles in the classroom act as significant reservoirs of irritants and allergens and have an impact on the indoor air quality at school.



Greta Smedje*
Dan Norbäck

Department of Medical Sciences/Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University Hospital, SE-751 85 Uppsala, Sweden, Tel: +46 18 611 3657, Fax: +46 18 51 9978, e-mail: [email protected], *Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.

Indoor Air, Volume 11, Issue 2, pages 127–133, June 2001