FAQs: Sick Building Syndrome, FAQ 1
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What is Sick Building Syndrome? Within the last ten years the term 'sick building syndrome' has become part of our language. An estimated 35 to 45 million Americans may suffer from symptoms associated with this syndrome1. According to the EPA, indoor air is estimated to be 6 to 10 times more contaminated than outside.
Sick buildings became a reality when the amount of outside fresh air brought into a structure by the ventilation system and outside air leakage was reduced to save energy. This heightened a pollution problem that has been getting increasingly severe with the use of more synthetic building materials, furnishings, and chemically modified natural materials. Many of these materials give off chemical gases for years after installation. For example plywood and chipboard can outgas significant formaldehyde for many years after installation.
Physical symptoms observed to be caused by chemical pollution and often by electrical pollution can be, but are not limited to: headaches, dizziness, colds, flu, sore throat, sinusitis, fatigue, insomnia, depression, memory fogging, irritability, inability to concentrate, and allergies. Sensitivity to these pollutants differs between people. Unfortunately, for many people, such afflictions have become a way of life.
With asthma and other ailments seemingly related to SBS on the rise, it is more urgent than ever for us to take a look at building in a holistic way. For more information on how Building Biology can address the issues surrounding SBS, see course Bau-Biologie® Basics – IBE 201.2.