Associations between building characteristics and children's allergic symptoms - A cross-sectional study on child's health and home in Seoul, South Korea

Jieun Choi, Chungyoon Chun, Yuexia Sun, Yoorim Choi, Suhyun Kwon, C. G. Bornehag, Jan Sundell

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A cross-sectional study on the home environment and asthma and allergy in children was carried out among children 1-8 years old in Seoul, South Korea from 2009 to 2010. Questionnaires were distributed to 5107 parents through daycare centers and kindergartens; 2755 parents responded, a response rate of 54%. Seven percent and 23% of children were reported to have doctor-diagnosed asthma and hay fever, respectively. A majority (57%) of the families reported having PVC flooring in child's or parents' bedroom. More than 96% of homes used a floor heating system. PVC was used more often as a floor covering in single family houses than in apartments (67% vs. 49%, p<0.001). PVC flooring was significantly associated with eczema in the previous 6 months (AOR 1.54, 95% CI 1.13-2.09) when adjusted for gender, age, family allergy, socioeconomic status and environmental tobacco smoke. Older buildings tended to have dampness problems, and, consequently, were positively correlated with the prevalence of wheeze. Floor moisture significantly increased the association between PVC and symptoms of wheezing (AOR 2.57, 95% CI 1.36-4.82) and eczema (AOR 1.97, 95% CI 1.18-3.28). Apartments without mechanical ventilation in bedrooms were associated with a slight increase in asthma and allergy among children. This study suggests that building characteristics and home exposure can partly explain recent increases in asthma and allergy among children in Seoul.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-181
Number of pages6
JournalBuilding and Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2014 May 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction

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