2009 Volume 12 Issue 1 Pages 1-13
Living and housing conditions are one of the primary determinants of an individual's health. This article describes the epidemiologic evidences of environmental factors related to irritative and general symptoms in housing in Japan, which is referred to “sick house syndrome (SHS)”. The prevalence rate was suggested to range from 4% to 10% based on criteria identified by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, which excluded presence of medically explained illnesses such as allergic diseases or illnesses caused by microorganisms. Various chemicals present indoors were found to be significantly related to SHS symptoms. The proximity to major truck routes, industrial plants or waste disposal sites, interior materials or products brought inside, furniture, or the presence of unconfined burning kerosene heaters were significantly related to the symptoms. Dew condensation, molds, fungi, house plants, water leakage and drying laundry indoors were also significantly related to the symptoms.