Self-reported multiple chemical sensitivity symptoms and personal volatile organic compounds exposure concentrations in construction workers

Chungyoon Chun, Kichul Sung, Eunjung Kim, Junseok Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The relationship between high chemical compound exposure and human health has been an important worldwide issue. High exposure to chemical compounds can make harmful health effect. One of the mostly risky groups to this high exposure to chemical compounds is the construction worker. In this study, their exposure level and self-reported Multiple Chemical Sensitivity were investigated. In the first part of this study, self-reported symptom surveys and personal six Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) exposure measurements were conducted with three categories of construction employment, including exterior workers, interior workers, and office workers. The job category with the greatest exposure to VOCs was the interior workers, followed by office workers, and then exterior workers. However, based on the self-reported symptom surveys, office workers demonstrated a relatively high risk for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) among the three job categories. From these results, it was uncertain that whether this was characteristic of office workers in general, or only office workers in the construction business. To determine this, the same surveys and measurements were conducted with office workers outside the construction business. University students were also surveyed as a comparison group. The results determined that office workers outside the construction business meeting the operational criteria for MCS were similar to construction office workers. This similarity was not nearly so pronounced when the construction office workers were compared to the university students. High chemical exposure level to interior workers and high MCS symptom of office workers should be considered and improved for each job group's health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)901-906
Number of pages6
JournalBuilding and Environment
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Apr

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study is a part of the project results of the National Research Lab (NRL) supported by the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (KOSEF). Subject Number: R0A-2007-000-20061-0.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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