Domestic exposure to volatile organic compounds in relation to asthma and allergy in children and adults

Nara Tagiyeva, Aziz Sheikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


Over the past decades, the prevalence of asthma, allergic disease and atopy has increased significantly and in parallel with the increased use of products and materials emitting volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the indoor environment. The purpose of this review is to examine the evidence of the relationship between quantitatively measured domestic exposure to VOCs and allergic diseases and allergy in children and adults. Sources, potential immune-inflammatory mechanisms and risks for development and severity of asthma and allergy have been addressed. Available evidence is based on studies that have mainly used observational designs of variable quality. Total, aromatic, aliphatic, microbial VOCs and aldehydes have been the most widely investigated VOC classes, with formaldehyde being the most commonly examined single compound. Overall, the evidence is inadequate to draw any firm conclusions. However, given indicative evidence from a few high-quality studies and significant potential for improvements in asthma outcomes in those with established disease, there is a need to consider undertaking further investigation of the relationship between domestic VOC exposure and asthma/allergy outcomes that should encompass both high-quality, robust observational studies and ultimately clinical trials assessing the impact of interventions that aim to reduce VOC exposure in children and adults with asthma.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1611-1639
Number of pages29
JournalExpert Review of Clinical Immunology
Issue number12
Early online date15 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • allergic rhinitis
  • asthma
  • atopic eczema/dermatitis
  • atopy
  • formaldehyde
  • immune responses
  • indoor air pollutants
  • residential exposure
  • VOC


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