Yes, Sick Building Syndrome is a Thing

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Ever get a headache, cough, feel nauseous, or have a wave of exhaustion come over you for no apparent reason?

It may not be allergies. And you may not be sick… not entirely. The problem could actually be your building.

Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) is real and affects as many as 30 percent of all new and remodeled buildings, according to the World Health Organization.

Sick buildings can be traced to faulty heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems (HVAC) whereby any number of building materials, bacteria, toxic mold or volatile organic compounds aren’t properly ventilating, and therefore clog up the air we breath like the LIE during rush hour. So too can filthy office equipment, computers, carpets and refrigerators contribute to SBS. These six things could be to blame for SBS.

The result: a feeling similar to that of a stomach bug, ear, nose, throat and eye irritation or a general sense of malaise.

The problem is that sick buildings often lead to sick people, even if only temporary, which costs time, money and valuable resources. A telltale sign that one is affected by SBS – and not traditional allergies – is that the symptoms subside when a person leaves the building. Unlike spring allergies, relief from a class five runny nose or sandpaper-like sore throat can be found away from an office or cubicle. But it can also lead to more serious health conditions if left unaddressed.

“Many people assume they have allergies when, in fact, they are working in a building that has the problem,” says Robert Weitz, a certified microbial investigator and principal of RTK Environmental. “Testing is the best way to find out for sure.”

SBS was first identified in the early 1970s, and gained more visibility during the 1990s and early 2000s, after the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ramped up efforts to inform the public about the problems associated with SBS.

It remains an issue today, and the best way to know if you’ve got a “sick building” on your hands is to report the situation to your employer and request a thorough environmental inspection from a testing company like RTK Environmental. (You may also want to see your physician to rule out any other possible medical conditions.)

If you would like to schedule an indoor air quality inspection or have questions about sick building syndrome, call us today at (800) 392-6468 or visit RTKEnvironmental.com.

 

 

 

 

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