Laboratory Test Results in Patients with Workplace Moisture Damage Associated Symptoms: The SAMDAW Study

Pia Nynäs, Sarkku Vilpas, Eliina Kankare, Jussi Karjalainen, Lauri Lehtimäki, Jura Numminen, Antti Tikkakoski, Leenamaija Kleemola, Jukka Uitti

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The mechanisms of health effects of moisture damage (MD) are unclear, but inflammatory responses have been suspected. The usefulness of laboratory and allergy tests among patients in secondary healthcare with symptoms associated with workplace MD were examined. Full blood count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP), total serum immunoglobulin E (IgE), fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO), and skin prick testing were assessed and analyzed in relation to multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) and perceived stress in 99 patients and 48 controls. In analysis, t-tests, Mann-Whitney tests, and chi-squared tests were used. Minor clinically insignificant differences in blood counts were seen in patients and controls, but among patients with asthma an elevated neutrophil count was found in 19% with and only in 2% of patients without asthma (p = 0.003). CRP levels and ESR were low, and the study patients’ FeNO, total IgE, or allergic sensitization were not increased compared to controls. The level of stress was high among 26% of patients and 6% of controls (p = 0.005), and MCS was more common among patients (39% vs. 10%, p < 0.001). Stress or MCS were not significantly associated with laboratory test results. In conclusion, no basic laboratory or allergy test results were characteristic of this patient group, and neither inflammatory processes nor allergic sensitization were found to explain the symptoms among these patients. While the value of basic laboratory tests should not be ignored, the use of allergy tests does not seem necessary when symptoms are indicated to be workplace-related.

Original languageEnglish
Article number971
Number of pages8
JournalHealthcare (Switzerland)
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • allergy
  • blood count
  • CRP
  • dampness
  • FeNO
  • IgE
  • moisture damage
  • mold
  • multiple chemical sensitivity

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management
  • Health Policy
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management


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