Sick Building Syndrome
Sick building syndrome (SBS) occurs when the occupants of a building experience acute health effects that seem to be linked to time spent in a building. There is usually no specific illness or cause identified. The complaints may be localized in a particular room or zone, or may be widespread throughout the building. Frequently, problems result when a building is maintained in a manner that is inconsistent with its original design or prescribed operating procedures, or when occupant activities create a problem.
The symptoms of SBS include: headaches; eye, nose, and throat irritation; a dry cough; dry or itchy skin; dizziness and nausea; difficulty in concentrating; fatigue; and sensitivity to odors and sometimes respiratory problems. With SBS, no clinically defined disease or specific chemical or biological contaminant can always be determined as the cause of the symptoms. Most of the complainants feel relief soon after leaving the building.
While specific causes of SBS are sometimes unknown, the following have been cited as contributing factors to sick building syndrome:
- Inadequate temperature, humidity, lighting, or ventilation.
- Chemical contaminants from outdoor sources, such as pollutants from motor vehicle exhausts, plumbing vents, and building exhausts (bathrooms and kitchens).
- Chemical contaminants from indoor sources, such as, adhesives, upholstery, carpeting, copy machines, manufactured wood products, cleaning agents and pesticides.
- Biological contaminants such as pollen, bacteria and molds. These contaminants can breed in stagnant water that has accumulated in humidifiers, drain pans, and ducts, or where water has collected in ceiling and wall systems, insulation, or carpet. Allergic reactions, dermatitis, headaches and even respiratory problems can be associated with these contaminants.
Contact GEM Environmental, Inc. if you have concerns regarding indoor air quality. We utilize; state of the art testing procedures, media and equipment; and are associated with AIHA (American Industrial Hygiene Association) accredited laboratories.