This short guide is about the phenomena known as sick building syndrome or SBS. Sick building syndrome tends to affect the occupants of certain buildings who often appear to suffer from various health and wellbeing issues that seem to be associated with the time they spend inside a building, but often where no specific cause or illness can be pinpointed.
New & Refurbished Buildings
A report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1984 which covered issues such as sick building syndrome identified that up to 30% of new and refurbished buildings around the world may create inadequate working environments because of issues associated with poor indoor air quality.
Symptoms of Sick Building Syndrome
People experiencing the adverse effects of SBS tend to complain of symptoms such as general irritation of the eyes, nose, throat; irritation of the skin, taste and odour sensitivity, neurotoxic or general health and well-being issues, problems, and nonspecific hyper-sensitivity.
Contamination of the indoor environments of homes and offices by airborne fungi and bacteria has also been associated with extrinsic allergic alveolitis.
The World Health Organisation has classified many of the reported symptoms of sick building syndrome into categories, including:
- Mucous membrane irritation typically affecting the eyes, nose, and throat
- General tiredness and irritability
- Asthma and asthma-like symptoms including tightness of the chest
- Skin dryness and irritation
- Neurotoxic effects including headaches
- Gastrointestinal complaints and several more.
The Causes of Sick Building Syndrome
The causes of sick building syndrome causes are often believed to be associated with a buildings heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Other possible causes of SBS are thought to be related to building and airborne contaminants produced by certain building materials, chemicals used with in the building, spores and moulds, volatile organic compounds (VOC), poor air filtration, inadequate rates of ventilation, or a lack of sufficient fresh-air intake.
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