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Sick building syndrome: 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.

Sick Building Syndrome

A 1984 World Health Organization Committee report suggested that up to 30 percent 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 a result of poor building design or occupant activities.

Building occupants complain of symptoms associated with acute discomfort, including headache, 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.

Some of the causes of SBS are inadequate ventilation, chemical contaminants from indoor sources – carpeting, upholstery, manufactured wood products, copy machines, chemical contaminants from outdoor sources – motor vehicle exhaust, poorly located intake vents, biological contaminants – mold, pollen, and from materials that may have become wet through a leaky roof or air cooling system. These elements may act in combination, and may supplement other complaints such as inadequate temperature, humidity, or lighting. Even after a building investigation, however, the specific causes of the complaints may remain unknown.

Air Quality Testing – Why is it important?

Air sampling tests the concentration of airborne mold spores. Samples are taken from the air and are then examined under a microscope by a qualified lab to analyze the results for accuracy. Air tests can tell you if you have a mold problem even if you cannot see or find any evidence that it exists.

If you think that you may have a mold problem in your business or home or want to ensure that your indoor air quality is not making you sick, we can help.

In addition to a Mold Assessment, we are also able to test for other airborne particulates that are known to negatively impact indoor air quality. We can conduct the following testing services:

  • Volatile Organic Compound (VOCs) Testing
  • Silica Testing
  • Allergen Testing (for allergens other than mold)

At Coastal Air Assessments, we work our way from the outside in, first identifying potential issues at the exterior that could be causing poor air quality inside the structure. Our Mold Assessments and Air Sampling Tests are timely, accurate, and a true asset for Florida businesses and homeowners. Contact us today for your free consultation.

William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR. “Medical Definition of Sick building syndrome” MedicalNet, September 2010, accessed December 6, 2020, https://www.medicinenet.com/sick_building_syndrome/definition.htm