What Is Sick Building Syndrome?

Sick building syndrome (SBS) occurs when occupants of a building experience acute health effects that seem 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. 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.

What Are the Symptoms of SBS?

Building occupants complain of symptoms associated with acute discomfort. These symptoms include headaches; eye, nose, and throat irritation; a dry cough; dry or itchy skin; dizziness and nausea; difficulty in concentrating; fatigue; and sensitivity to odors. With SBS, no clinically defined disease or specific chemical or biological contaminant can be determined as the cause of the symptoms. Most of the complainants feel relief soon after leaving the building. SBS reduces worker productivity and may also increase absenteeism.

What Causes SBS?

While specific causes of SBS remain unknown, the following have been cited as contributing factors to sick building syndrome. These elements may act in combination or may supplement other complaints such as inadequate temperature, humidity or lighting.

  • Chemical contaminants from outdoor sources. Outdoor air that enters a building can also be a source of indoor pollution. Pollutants from motor vehicle exhausts, plumbing vents, and building exhausts (bathrooms and kitchens) can enter the building through poorly located air intake vents, windows, and other openings. Combustion by-products can also enter a building from a nearby garage.
  • Chemical contaminants from indoor sources. Most indoor air pollution comes from sources inside the building. For example, adhesives, upholstery, carpeting, copy machines, manufactured wood products, cleaning agents and pesticides may emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including formaldehyde. Research shows that some VOCs can cause chronic and acute health effects at high concentrations, and some are known carcinogens. Low to moderate levels of multiple VOCs may also produce acute reactions in some individuals. Environmental tobacco smoke and combustion products from stoves, fireplaces, and unvented space heaters all can put chemical contaminants into the air.
  • Biological contaminants. Biological contaminants include pollen, bacteria, viruses, and molds. These contaminants can breed in stagnant water that has accumulated in humidifiers, drain pans, and ducts, or where water has collected on ceiling tiles, insulation, or carpet. Biological contaminants can cause fever, chills, cough, chest tightness, muscle aches, and allergic reactions. One indoor air bacterium, Legionella, has caused both Pontiac Fever and Legionnaire’s Disease.
  • Inadequate ventilation: In the 1970s the oil embargo led building designers to make buildings more airtight, with less outdoor air ventilation, in order to improve energy efficiency. These reduced ventilation rates have been found to be, in many cases, inadequate to maintain the health and comfort of building occupants.

AtmosAir™ Addresses Sick Building Syndrome Problems

The patented bipolar ionization technology developed by AtmosAir™ is proven to remove or reduce the toxins associated with SBS without dangerous chemicals or unwanted byproducts.

Unlike other air purification solutions, AtmosAir™  guarantees improved energy savings. That’s because AtmosAir™ purifies and recycles air that’s already been conditioned. With AtmosAir™, you won’t cover up or dilute pollutants — you’ll eliminate or weaken them at their source. Removal or modification of contaminants is the most effective approach to solving a known source of an indoor air quality problem.

Contact AtmosAir™ for more information about purifying the air you breathe, safely and economically.