Indoor PM2.5, VOCs and asthma outcomes: A systematic review in adults and their home environments


Introduction: As the amount of time people spend indoors increases globally, exposure to indoor air pollutants has become an important public health concern. Asthma is a complex disease caused and/or exacerbated by increased exposure to diverse chemical, physical and biological exposures from multiple indoor and outdoor sources. This review aims to investigate the relationship between increased indoor PM and VOC concentrations (i.e. objectively measured) and the risk of adult asthma in higher-income countries. Methods: Eleven databases were systematically searched on the February 1, 2019 and again on the February 2, 2020. Articles were limited to those published since 1990. Reference lists were independently screened by three reviewers and authors were contacted to identify relevant articles. Backwards and forward citation chasing was used to identify further studies. Data were extracted from included studies meeting our eligibility criteria by three reviewers and assessed for quality using the Newcastle-Ottawa scale designed for case-control and cohort studies.

Results: Twelve studies were included in a narrative synthesis. We found insufficient evidence to determine the effect of PM2.5 on asthma in the indoor home environment. However, there was strong evidence to suggest that VOCs, especially aromatic compounds, and aliphatic compounds, were associated with increased asthma symptoms. Discussion & conclusion: Although no single exposure appears to be responsible for the development of asthma or its associated symptoms, the use of everyday products may be associated with increased asthma symptoms. To prevent poor health outcomes among the general population, health professionals and industry must make a concerted effort to better inform the general population of the importance of appropriate use of and storage of chemicals within the home as well as better health messaging on product labelling.

Authors: C A Paterson, R A Sharpe, T Taylor, K Morrissey
; Full Source: Environmental research 2021 Jul 2;111631. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2021.111631.