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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Inhaled pollutants from indoor residential places, and their relationship with lung function and respiratory symptoms in First Nations members living in remote and rural communities of British Columbia Kamurasi, Ivan


This project was in response to the Carrier Sekani Family Services (CSFS) Community Advisory Committee’s request that, in addition to lung function testing, the research team assess indoor air quality to confirm factors that affect lung health. Specific Aims: The goal of this study was to measure the prevalence of inhaled pollutants that First Nations people living in northern BC are exposed to from indoor residential places and to estimate the association between levels of inhaled pollutants and 1) respiratory symptoms and 2) lung function. Research Methodology: This study was conducted in partnership with CSFS which has provided health and wellness services to its member Nations since 1990. Real-time air and dust samples were taken from both randomly sampled and volunteered residences. Measurements of carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO₂), temperature, and relative humidity were taken using a Q-Trak monitoring tool. Particle counts were measured with the Kanomax monitor. Settled dust samples were collected and analyzed to assess the presence and amount of inhalable bioactive molecules including antigens and endotoxins. Respiratory symptoms such as cough, wheeze, phlegm, and shortness of breath were evaluated by a self-report questionnaire. Direct measurements of lung function were assessed using pre-and post-bronchodilator spirometry. The analytical procedure was performed according to the laboratory standard operating procedures. Statistical analysis was conducted with SPSS version 28.0.0 and Microsoft Excel 2013. Results: Bacterial endotoxins were detected in all households. Forty-six percent of households had bacterial endotoxins ≥100 EU/mg. Felis domesticus (Fel d1) ng/mg had the highest levels of all detectable antigens with a mean and standard deviation (SD) of 2.16 ng (10.25) and was detected in sixty-six percent of the households. Particulate matter (PM) (0.3 µm, 0.5 µm, 1 µm) was associated with self-reported cough symptom. None of the other indoor air pollutants were associated with self-reported respiratory symptoms nor lung function. Conclusion: Given the small sample size, there is a need for more case-control, cohort, and cross-sectional studies, including children and a more comprehensive age range, to properly understand the effects of indoor air pollutants and other health outcomes in this community.

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