Main research unit: Unidade de Estudos Avançados de Energia do Ambiente Construído (IDMEC Porto/FE/UP)

Principal Investigator: André Miguel Afonso de Sousa Moreira

Team:

  • Ana Ferreira
  • Ana Mendes
  • Anabela Martins
  • C. Pereira
  • Eduardo Fernandes
  • Gabriela Ventura Alves da Silva
  • Isabella Annesi-Maesano
  • Joana Madureira
  • João P. Teixeira
  • José Alexandre
  • José Delgado
  • Klára Slezáková
  • Maria Pereira
  • Susana Daniela da Silva Martins
  • José Henrique Dias Pinto de Barros

Financing: € 197.906,00 (FCT)

Project description: Children spend most of their time indoors, basically at home or school. Scientific evidence has shown that exposure to indoor air pollution can cause or contribute to short and long-term health problems including asthma and respiratory tract infections. Nevertheless, although the considerable interest in recent years of the health effects of indoor air pollution, issues such as specific home and school environments determinants associated with the burden of these diseases remain poorly know. We aimed to assess and understand risk factors for children's health in relation with exposure to indoor air in schools, taking into account also the contribution of the home environment. Specifically, the project aims: to investigate the role of the indoor environment in schools and homes for children's health; and to identify technical solutions which safeguard the health of children in schools.

The team members of this project intend to study the exposure of children to indoor air in 20 public primary schools and investigate the associated respiratory and allergic related health effects in 1600 children's. From these, a randomized sample of children's will perform more accurate clinical tests and biomarkers. A case-control study will then be implemented, where emphasis will be put on the survey of the buildings of the households and of the families' behavior in order to investigate their potential relationship with the eventual allergic and respiratory symptoms. An intervention study was also planned in order study the effectiveness of interventions in order to improve the IAQ and the safeguard of schoolchildren's.

This work aims at to go as in depth as possible to gather more and new data in order to enhance the existing information on children exposure to indoor air. The study shall also provide useful data for undertaking risk assessment and risk management related to exposure to indoor air pollution and will allow for better define public health policies and prevention strategies, good practices regarding building design, construction and management as well as on maintenance and day-by-day use.

To reach the above with success it is essential to count on a specific institutional and scientific environment such as the one provided by the University of Porto through Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Engineering, Institute of Mechanical Engineering and Institute of Public Health. In a context of an interdisciplinary research team made of medical doctors and other health professionals, environment specialists and mechanical engineers, all the conditions seem to be created to make this work possible and poised for success.

The project will have two consultants. One in France, head of the Occupation and Epidemiology Assembly at the European Respiratory Society; and one Portuguese where both will have a relevant role in health related tasks.

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