INTRODUCTION: Indoor air quality in day care centers (DCCs) is an emerging research topic nowadays. Indoor air pollutants such as particulate matter (PM) and microbes have been linked to respiratory health effects in children, particularly asthma-related symptoms such as night coughs and wheezing due to early exposure to indoor air contaminants.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to determine the association between wheezing symptoms among toddlers attending DCCs and indoor particulate matter, PM10, PM2.5, and microbial count level in urban DCCs in the District of Seremban, Malaysia.
METHODS: Data collection was carried out at 10 DCCs located in the urban area of Seremban. Modified validated questionnaires were distributed to parents to obtain their children's health symptoms. The parameters measured were indoor PM2.5, PM10, carbon monoxide, total bacteria count, total fungus count, temperature, air velocity, and relative humidity using the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health analytical method.
RESULTS: All 10 DCCs investigated had at least one indoor air quality parameter exceeding the acceptable level of standard guidelines. The prevalence of toddlers having wheezing symptoms was 18.9%. There was a significant different in mean concentration of PM2.5 and total bacteria count between those with and those without wheezing symptoms (P = 0.02, P = 0.006).
CONCLUSIONS: Urban DCCs are exposed to many air pollutants that may enter their buildings from various adjacent sources. The particle concentrations and presence of microbes in DCCs might increase the risk of exposed children for respiratory diseases, particularly asthma, in their later life.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.