The unit carries out experimental research on early effects of chemicals in the air in humans. The emphasis is on controlled experiments with volunteers in an exposure-chamber, one of few in the world.
In studies of acute effects we develop and use sensitive methods to measure early signs of irritation and inflammation. We use objective methods for measuring blink- and respiratory rate as well as for measurement of lung function and nasal swelling. We analyze biochemical markers and inflammatory markers in plasma. We also measure subjective symptoms using rating scales. Our studies are often key elements in setting occupational exposure limits.
Study of acute effects of acrolein
Acrolein is a gaseous substance and at higher levels it is severely irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract. Acrolein is mainly formed during combustion. Particularly high levels can be expected in environments where organic material is heated or burned indoors, such as in restaurant, when smoking cigarettes and at wood burning.
The aim of the project is to increase the knowledge of acute effects of acrolein at low levels. We will study subjective symptoms using rating scales and objective measures of irritation and inflammation as blinking- and breathing rate, pulmonary function, nasal swelling as well as markers in blood and sputum.
The acrolein study is supported by FORTE (the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare).
Occurrence and health effects of chloroanisoles
Moisture damages in buildings cause chemical and microbial emissions that affect indoor environment and health. During 1960-1980, half a million houses were built according to faulty Swedish legislation stating that constructive protection against dampness could be replaced by wood preservatives. The toxic and nowadays banned pentachlorophenol was used, which can be transformed in humid environments to malodorous chloroanisoles. Even though the production of chloroanisoles is known, and malodors in buildings are common and often causes health concern, the relation has neither received attention in the scientific community, nor by Swedish authorities and institutions.
This project aims to determine the occurrence and health effects of chloroanisoles from wood preservatives.
The study is funded by the Swedish Research Council Formas.