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Encyclopedia > Sick building syndrome

Sick building syndrome (SBS) is a combination of ailments (a syndrome) associated with an individual's place of work; typically, but not always, an office building (though there have also been instances of SBS in residential buildings). A 1984 World Health Organization report into the syndrome suggested up to 30% of new and remodelled buildings worldwide may be linked to symptoms of SBS. Sick building causes are frequently pinned down to flaws in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, and are often 'cured' by boosting the overall turn-over rate in fresh air exchange with the outside air. Other causes have been attributed to contaminants produced by out-gassing of some types of building materials, or improper exhaust ventilation of light industrial chemicals used within. In medicine, the term syndrome is the association of several clinically recognizable features, signs, symptoms, phenomena or characteristics which often occur together, so that the presence of one feature alerts the physician to the presence of the others. ... This article is about traditional meanings of the word office. ... Year 1984 (MCMLXXXIV) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link displays the 1984 Gregorian calendar). ... The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. ... HVAC systems use ventilation air ducts installed throughout a building that supply conditioned air to a room through rectangular or round outlet vents, called diffusers; and ducts that remove air from return-air grilles Fire-resistance rated mechanical shaft with HVAC sheet metal ducting and copper piping, as well as...

Contents

Symptoms of SBS

Building occupants complain of symptoms such as:

  • Headache
  • Eye, nose, or throat irritation
  • Dry cough; dry or itchy skin
  • Dizziness and nausea
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Sensitivity to odours
  • Increased incidence of asthma attacks/appearance of asthma in non-asthmatics
  • Personality changes such as rage/weeping/paranoia/depression
  • Putative cases of bronchitis or pneumonia which do not respond to antibiotic treatment
  • Symptoms resembling Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

This is a shortened list, as over 50 possible symptoms are known. It is possible for a dozen sick occupants to report a surprising array of individual symptoms which may be dismissed as unconnected. The key to discovery is the increased incidence of illnesses in general with onset or exacerbation within a fairly close time frame - usually within a period of weeks. Some sources will insist that for SBS to exist, these symptoms must disappear soon after the occupants go outside. However, this view discounts the lingering effects of various neurotoxins, which may not clear up when the occupant leaves the building. In particularly sensitive individuals, the potential for long-term health effects cannot be overlooked. A headache (cephalalgia in medical terminology) is a condition of pain in the head; sometimes neck or upper back pain may also be interpreted as a headache. ... A human eye Eyes are organs of vision that detect light. ... For the article about nose in humans, see human nose. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article or section is not written in the formal tone expected of an encyclopedia article. ... Itchy refers to an itching sensation. ... Beyond overall skin structure, refer below to: See-also. ... // Pre-syncope is a sensation of feeling faint. ... For the Beck song, see Nausea (song). ... The word fatigue is used in everyday living to describe a range of afflictions, varying from a general state of lethargy to a specific work induced burning sensation within muscle. ... Odor receptors on the antennae of a Luna moth An odor is the object of perception of the sense of olfaction. ...


Causes

The contributing factors often relate to the design of the built environment, and may include combinations of some or all of the following:

To the owner or operator of a "sick building", the symptoms may include high levels of employee sickness or absenteeism, lower productivity, low job satisfaction and high employee turnover. Air pollution is a chemical, particulate matter, or biological agent that modifies the natural characteristics of the atmosphere. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Mold. ... Lighting includes both artificial light sources such as lamps and natural illumination of interiors from daylight. ... Prism splitting light High Resolution Solar Spectrum Sunlight in the broad sense is the total spectrum of the electromagnetic radiation given off by the Sun. ... Return inlet (left)Supply outlet (right). ... A microorganism or microbe is an organism that is so small that it is microscopic (invisible to the naked eye). ... Look up mite in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... HVAC systems use ventilation air ducts installed throughout a building that supply conditioned air to a room through rectangular or round outlet vents, called diffusers; and ducts that remove air from return-air grilles Fire-resistance rated mechanical shaft with HVAC sheet metal ducting and copper piping, as well as... Acoustics is a branch of physics and is the study of sound (mechanical waves in gases, liquids, and solids). ... welcome:: This is an article about items in a room. ... Dildonics (or human factors) is the application of scientific information concerning humans to the design of objects, systems and environment for human use (definition adopted by the International Dildonics Association in 2007). ... A chemical substance is any material substance used in or obtained by a process in chemistry: A chemical compound is a substance consisting of two or more chemical elements that are chemically combined in fixed proportions. ... The Lachine Canal, in Montreal, is badly polluted Pollution is the release of harmful environmental contaminants, or the substances so released. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... Absenteeism is a habitual pattern of absence from a duty or obligation. ... Job satisfaction describes how content an individual is with his or her job. ... Look up Turnover in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Prevention

  • Pollutant source removal or modification to storage of sources.
  • Replacement of water-stained ceiling tiles and carpeting.
  • Institution of smoking restrictions.
  • Use paints, adhesives, solvents, and pesticides in well ventilated areas, and use of these pollutant sources during periods of non-occupancy.
  • Increase the number of air exchanges, The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Engineers recommend a minimum of 8.4 air exchanges per 24 hour period.
  • Proper and Frequent Maintenance of [1]HVAC systems

The cigarette is the most common method of smoking tobacco. ... the plane is spreading pesticide. ... HVAC systems use ventilation air ducts installed throughout a building that supply conditioned air to a room through rectangular or round outlet vents, called diffusers; and ducts that remove air from return-air grilles Fire-resistance rated mechanical shaft with HVAC sheet metal ducting and copper piping, as well as...

See also

Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) is described as a chronic condition characterized by a patients belief that they are experiencing several adverse and variable affects from exposure to otherwise low levels of multiple chemicals in modern human environments. ... Return inlet (left)Supply outlet (right). ... Species Aspergillus caesiellus Aspergillus candidus Aspergillus carneus Aspergillus clavatus Aspergillus deflectus Aspergillus flavus Aspergillus fumigatus Aspergillus glaucus Aspergillus nidulans Aspergillus niger Aspergillus ochraceus Aspergillus oryzae Aspergillus parasiticus Aspergillus penicilloides Aspergillus restrictus Aspergillus sojae Aspergillus sydowi Aspergillus terreus Aspergillus ustus Aspergillus versicolor Aspergillus is a genus of around 200 filamentous fungi... The new car smell many of us find pleasurable comes from chemicals that can pose health risks. ... Indoor air pollution in developing nations is a significant form of indoor air pollution (IAP) that is little known to those in the developed world. ...

External links

  • Sick Building Syndrome Solutions in Australia, ecolibria - Building Biology
  • IAQ Publications - Sick Building Syndrome Fact Sheet
  • Boston Phoenix article on SBS complaints at Boston City Hall
  • Telegraph article about a study linking SBS to job stress
  • Inquiry into Sick Building Syndrome by NSW Parliament, Australia
  • Chemical Injury Information Network

  Results from FactBites:
 
Sick building syndrome - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (235 words)
Sick building syndrome (SBS) is a combination of ailments (a syndrome) associated with an individual's place of work (typically, but not always, an office building), though there have also been instances of SBS in residential buildings.
To the owner or operator of a "sick building", the symptoms may include high levels of employee sickness or absenteeism, lower productivity, low job satisfaction and high employee turnover.
Pollutant source removal or modification: Maintenance of HVAC systems, replacement of water-stained ceiling tiles and carpeting, institution of smoking restrictions, venting contanimant source emissions to the outdoor storage and use of paints, adhesives, solvents, and pesticides in well ventilated areas, and use of these pollutant sources during periods of non-occupancy.
AHMF: References for sick building syndrome (1257 words)
To clarify the natural history of chronic fatigue syndrome in association with sick building syndrome the 23 individuals involved in the outbreak were interviewed four years after the onset.
We conclude that the fatigue related to sick building syndrome, including chronic fatigue syndrome, is significantly more likely to improve than fatigue identified in sporadic cases of chronic fatigue syndrome.
This article begins with a review of literature on indoor air pollutants and sick building syndrome, followed by a case study of occupant illness in a school since the onset of a school construction and renovation project.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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