International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health

Shao Lin*, Wayne R. Lawrence, Ziqiang Lin, Melissa Francois, Iulia A. Neamtiu, Qiaoxuan Lin, Eva Csobod, and Eugen S. Gurzau


Purpose: Few studies have evaluated teachers’ respiratory health, especially its relationship with school/home environment, and school policies. This study assessed asthma and smoking prevalence among teachers in Romania, teacher’s perception and knowledge of the school environment, policies and asthma management, and how school and home environment affected asthma, allergy, and respiratory infection symptoms.

Methods: This cross-sectional study obtained information from 104 Romanian teachers utilizing teacher questionnaire data for Romania only, as part of the Schools Indoor Pollution and Health: Observatory Network in Europe (SINPHONIE) study, a multicenter European research project conducted between 2010 and 2012. The SINPHONIE questionnaire collected comprehensive information on school and home environment, respiratory symptoms, smoking, and school policies. We used unconditional logistic regression analysis to examine environment–outcome relationships while controlling for socio-demographics and co-exposures.

Results: Our results showed the prevalence of asthma-like symptoms and smoking among teachers in Romania was higher than in other SINPHONIE schools and among US teachers. Factors statistically associated with asthma, allergy, and respiratory infection (all p < 0.05) include perception of health related to poor air quality in school, inappropriate cleaning of ventilation systems, dwelling proximity to busy traffic, and multiple school/home exposures. We also found lack of asthma management and environmental policies in the investigated Romanian schools.

Conclusion: We concluded that multiple school and home environmental factors were related to respiratory and allergic symptoms. High asthma burden and smoking are important public health problems in Romania. Future studies including larger sample size and exposure measurements are needed to confirm our findings.

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* Denotes CSDA Associates, Affiliates, and Staff