Dampness and 2-ethyl-1-hexanol in floor construction of rehabilitation center: Health effects in staff

Arch Environ Occup Health. 2010 Jan-Mar;65(1):3-11. doi: 10.1080/19338240903390248.


The authors evaluated changes of symptoms and biomarkers in health care staff (N = 18) for people with different physical dysfunctions and similarly in an external office control group in a nondamp building (N = 15). The first workplace had verified dampness in the floor construction, with formation of 2-ethyl-1-hexanol from water-based glue. Tear film break up time (BUT), nasal patency, biomarkers in nasal lavage (NAL), and dynamic spirometry were measured. Both buildings had low indoor air levels of CO2 (510 to 630 ppm), low levels of respirable particles (6 to 7 microg/m3) and formaldehyde (<5 microg/m3), and no indication of microbial growth. Pronounced increase of butanols and 2-ethyl-1-hexanol levels were found in the damp floor material samples, but very low air levels of 2-ethyl-1-hexanol. The staff had been previously exposed to floor construction with alkaline degradation of floor glue, as well as formation of 2-ethyl-1-hexanol. This led to an increase in their ocular, nasal, and respiratory symptoms, a decrease in nasal patency, and slight airway obstruction after 2 days of reexposure, possibly related to neutrophilic inflammation, after a 4-month exposure-free period.

MeSH terms

  • Adhesives / adverse effects
  • Adhesives / chemistry
  • Adult
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / adverse effects*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Construction Materials / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Floors and Floorcoverings*
  • Health Personnel
  • Hexanols / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Humidity / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Nasal Lavage
  • Nasal Obstruction / chemically induced
  • Nasal Obstruction / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / epidemiology
  • Rhinometry, Acoustic
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Workforce


  • Adhesives
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Hexanols
  • 2-ethylhexanol