Is Your Home, School or Place of Business Suffering from Sick Building Syndrome?
Clark Seif Clark provides indoor air and environmental quality services to help identify and resolve sick building syndrome cases.
Any number of conditions in a building may act alone or in combination with other elements to cause sick building syndrome.
As defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the term “sick building syndrome” (SBS) 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. The complaints may be localized in a particular room or zone or may be widespread throughout the building.
As far back as 1984, a World Health Organization Committee report suggested that up to 30% of new and remodeled buildings worldwide may be the subject of excessive complaints related to indoor air quality (IAQ). Often this condition is temporary, but some buildings have long-term problems. Frequently, problems result when a building is operated or maintained in a manner that is inconsistent with its original design or prescribed operating procedures. Sometimes indoor air problems are also a result of poor building design or occupant activities.
According to the EPA, indicators of SBS include:
- Building occupants complaining of symptoms associated with acute discomfort. These could include headaches; eye, nose or throat irritation; dry cough; dry or itchy skin; dizziness and nausea; difficulty in concentrating; fatigue; and sensitivity to odors.
- The cause of the symptoms is not known.
- Most of the complainants report relief soon after leaving the building.
Causes of SBS may include:
- Inadequate ventilation – if enough outdoor air is not allowed into a building, the health and comfort of building occupants can be compromised.
- Chemical contaminants from indoor sources - indoor air pollution can come from sources inside the building. For example, adhesives, carpeting, upholstery, manufactured wood products, copy machines, pesticides and cleaning agents may emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including formaldehyde.
- Chemical contaminants from outdoor sources - outdoor air that enters a building can be a source of indoor air pollution. Pollutants from motor vehicle exhaust, plumbing vents and building exhausts can enter the building through poorly located air intake vents, windows and other openings.
- Biological contaminants - bacteria, mold, pollen and viruses are all types of biological contaminants that may be present indoors.
“Any number of conditions in a building may act alone or in combination with other elements to cause sick building syndrome,” said Franco Seif, President of Clark Seif Clark (CSC). “They may even supplement other complaints such as inadequate temperature, humidity or lighting. At CSC, our building science professionals utilize advanced instrumentation and decades of experience to diagnose and resolve even the most complex SBS cases in all types of buildings.”
CSC recently sponsored an educational video about sick building syndrome that can be seen at: http://youtu.be/AOMC2ois8VU
To learn more about this or other indoor air quality, environmental, health and safety testing services, please visit www.csceng.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (800) 807-1118.
About Clark Seif Clark
CSC was established in 1989 to help clients in both public and private sectors address environmental, IAQ, and health and safety (EH&S) issues. CSC is a leading provider of these services with multiple offices along the western seaboard and southwest. The company believes in science-based protocols and has a strong background in engineering, making them the preferred environmental consultants to industrial clients, healthcare facilities, architects, schools, builders, contractors, developers and real estate professionals.
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