Annoyance and performance of three environmentally intolerant groups during experimental challenge with chemical odors.

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OBJECTIVES: This study investigated exposure- and subject-related determinants of annoyance and performance during the chemical odor provocation of healthy persons with self-reported environmental annoyance. METHODS: Persons with self-reported annoyance attributed to (i) chemicals or smells (smell-annoyed, SA, N=29), (ii) electrical equipment (electrically annoyed, EA, N= 16), and (iii) both smells and electricity (generally annoyed, GA, N=39) were, together with referents (N=54), challenged with n-butyl acetate in an exposure chamber at levels far below the threshold values for neurotoxic effects and trigeminal irritation. A sequence of three air concentrations, 0.37, 1.5, and 6 ppm (1.8, 7.1, and 28 mg/m3) was used, counterbalanced within groups, together with intermittent periods of room air between each exposure level. The response measures comprised ratings of annoyance and smell intensity and reaction-time tests. RESULTS: Only the GA group showed clearly elevated ratings of smell annoyance, mucous membrane irritation, and fatigue, as well as longer reaction times, compared with the referents, in response to the challenge. No group difference was found for the smell-intensity ratings. During intermittent periods without exposure, only the GA group maintained higher ratings for mucous membrane irritation and fatigue. Reaction time and all the rating dimensions showed a positive relationship with momentary n-butyl acetate concentration, while cumulative exposure had a more limited impact on the ratings and reaction time. A suggestion effect by the chamber environment before exposure could not be demonstrated. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that self-reported annoyance generalized to both electrical equipment and smells is a better predictor of chemical intolerance than self-reported annoyance to smells only.


Enheter & grupper

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Miljömedicin och yrkesmedicin
Sidor (från-till)486-496
TidskriftScandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health
Utgåva nummer6
StatusPublished - 2004
Peer review utfördJa