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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.
Symptoms of SBS
Building occupants complain of symptoms such as:
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.
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.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Sick_building_syndrome". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|