Indoor Air Quality – Building Related Illnesses

Indoor Air Quality – Building Related Illnesses

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For those people working/living in a condo or apartment building and are experiencing ill health, there are two terms related to indoor air quality and the health and well being of its inhabitants.

Sick Building Syndrome

The term sick building syndrome (SBS) is used to describe cases in which building occupants experience acute health and discomfort effects that are apparently linked to the time they spend in the building, but in which 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.

Many different symptoms have been associated with SBS, including respiratory complaints, irritation, and fatigue.

Analysis of air samples often fails to detect high concentrations of specific contaminants.

The problem may be caused by any or all of the following:

-The combined effects of multiple pollutants at low concentrations

-Other environmental stressors – e.g., overheating, poor lighting, noise

-Ergonomic stressors – Job-related psychosocial stressors e.g., overcrowding, labor-management problems

Building-related illness (BRI)

Is a term referring to illness brought on by exposure to the building air, where symptoms of diagnosable illness are identified (e.g. certain allergies or infections) and can be directly attributed to environmental agents in the air.

Legionnaire’s disease and hypersensitivity pneumonitis are examples of BRI that can have serious, even life threatening consequences. However, environmental stressors such as improper lighting, noise, vibration, overcrowding, ergonomic stressors, and job stress can produce symptoms that are similar to those associated with poor air quality.

Proving BRI for disability claims may prove to be difficult but not impossible. A professional assessment of the environment, as well as health documentation may be necessary for approval.

Before you begin any physical investigation of the building, make sure it doesn’t contain asbestos, if you’re unsure, contact an asbestos testing and abatement company

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