What Causes Sick Building Syndrome?

Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) is a term used to describe a range of symptoms experienced by individuals who spend time in a particular building, typically an office or other indoor space. 

While the exact causes of SBS are not fully understood, several factors have been identified as potential contributors:

Poor indoor air quality: Indoor air pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), dust, mold, pollen, and chemicals from building materials, cleaning products, and office equipment can accumulate and result in reduced air quality. Inadequate ventilation and the recirculation of indoor air without sufficient fresh air intake can exacerbate the problem.

Inadequate ventilation: Insufficient fresh air supply and poor air circulation can lead to a buildup of indoor air pollutants and higher concentrations of CO2. This can occur when ventilation systems are not properly designed, maintained, or operated.

Chemical contaminants: Various chemicals present in the building environment, including formaldehyde, asbestos, lead, and pesticides, can contribute to SBS symptoms. These substances may be released from building materials, furnishings, or products used in the building.

Biological contaminants: Mold, bacteria, viruses, and other biological agents can thrive in damp or poorly maintained buildings. These contaminants can be inhaled and cause respiratory symptoms and other health issues.

Poor ergonomic conditions: Uncomfortable or poorly designed workstations, inadequate lighting, improper temperature and humidity control, and excessive noise levels can all contribute to SBS symptoms. These factors can lead to physical discomfort, eyestrain, headaches, and overall decreased productivity.

Psychological factors: Stress, anxiety, and other psychological factors can exacerbate symptoms related to SBS. The perception of poor indoor air quality or dissatisfaction with the work environment can contribute to the overall experience of SBS.

It's important to note that SBS is a complex issue, and multiple factors often interact to cause the symptoms. Improving indoor air quality, implementing proper ventilation, maintaining a clean and well-maintained building, and addressing ergonomic concerns can help reduce the likelihood and severity of SBS. Consulting with building professionals, such as indoor environmental consultants or occupational health experts, can provide valuable guidance in identifying and addressing specific issues in a particular building.