Environment and Health in Children Day Care Centres (ENVIRH) - Study rationale and protocol [Ambiente e Saúde em Creches e Infantários (ENVIRH) - Fundamentação e protocolo do estudo]

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Background: Indoor air quality (IAQ) is considered an important determinant of human health. The association between exposure to volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, house dust mite, molds and bacteria in day care centers (DCC) is not completely clear. The aim of this project was to study these effects. Methods - study design: This study comprised two phases. Phase I included an evaluation of 45 DCCs (25 from Lisbon and 20 from Oporto, targeting 5161 children). In this phase, building characteristics, indoor CO2 and air temperature/relative humidity, were assessed. A children's respiratory health questionnaire derived from the ISAAC (International Study on Asthma and Allergies in Children) was also distributed. Phase II encompassed two evaluations and included 20 DCCs selected from phase I after a cluster analysis (11 from Lisbon and 9 from Oporto, targeting 2287 children). In this phase, data on ventilation, IAQ, thermal comfort parameters, respiratory and allergic health, airway inflammation biomarkers, respiratory virus infection patterns and parental and child stress were collected. Results: In Phase I, building characteristics, occupant behavior and ventilation surrogates were collected from all DCCs. The response rate of the questionnaire was 61.7% (3186 children).Phase II included 1221 children. Association results between DCC characteristics, IAQ and health outcomes will be provided in order to support recommendations on IAQ and children's health. A building ventilation model will also be developed. Discussion: This paper outlines methods that might be implemented by other investigators conducting studies on the association between respiratory health and indoor air quality at DCC. © 2013 Sociedade Portuguesa de Pneumologia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-323
Number of pages13
JournalRevista Portuguesa de Pneumologia
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014


  • biological marker
  • carbon dioxide
  • hydrocortisone
  • volatile organic compound, air conditioning
  • air temperature
  • allergy
  • ambient air
  • Article
  • Bacteria
  • building
  • child
  • child health care
  • child stress
  • cluster analysis
  • day care
  • Dermatophagoides
  • environmental exposure
  • expired air
  • female
  • follow up
  • human
  • humidity
  • hydrocortisone release
  • indoor air quality
  • infection
  • major clinical study
  • male
  • mould
  • parental stress
  • particulate matter
  • pH
  • preschool child
  • questionnaire
  • residential area
  • respiratory tract inflammation
  • respiratory virus
  • stress
  • adverse effects
  • analysis
  • cross-sectional study
  • indoor air pollution
  • infant
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases, Air Pollution, Indoor
  • Child
  • Child Day Care Centers
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases


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