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  • Writer's pictureCody Ferrell

Are you experiencing "Sick Building Syndrome"? If so, what next?

Have you ever felt tired or dizzy, experienced dry skin or eye irritation, or have headaches only while in a certain place? Have you felt those symptoms disappear soon after leaving? Sick Building Syndrome may be to blame.


The term Sick Building Syndrome, as defined by the EPA, is "used to describe situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified."(1)


There are many factors that could be the source causing these issues in buildings and many can go unseen for years. Some of these factors include inadequate ventilation, chemical air contaminants, biological air contaminants, fluctuations in temperature, and poor lighting.


The most common contaminants of indoor air that could lead to sick building syndrome come from volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Many things produce VOCs such as: cleaners, pesticides, carpeting, adhesives, printers and copy machines; a lot of which are very common in homes and office buildings. Some VOCs are known carcinogens causing chronic and sometimes acute health effects at high concentrations.



Biological air contaminants such as mold, bacteria, and pollen may also be present in the spaces where individuals are experiencing symptoms.


So if you think you may have sick building syndrome, what can you do?


The first step is to have the building in question inspected for problematic areas. During this inspection, the inspector would investigate to determine what may be causing the issues and prescribe repairs to solve them. Air quality testing may be necessary to confirm the efficacy of the repairs or if the source of the issue could not be identified.


If you are experiencing any symptoms that may be related to sick building syndrome, reach out to schedule a Building Evaluation today.


Sources:

(1) https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2014-08/documents/sick_building_factsheet.pdf

(image) Shutterstock.com

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