Thursday, June 5, 2014

Indoor air facts no.4 Sick Building Syndrome

Sick building syndrome (SBS) is a condition that residents in a building face serious health problems during their staying in the building without any disease and reasons of this situation. On the other hand, building related illness (BRI) is describing a situation when the reason of the disease can be known and linked to air pollution in the building. According to the world health organization committee report that there is about 30% of new buildings and renew buildings around the world may suffer from indoor air quality (IAQ), and the situation may stay for a long time. This concern is resulted from the construction of the building or the residents’ behaviors.
Indicators of SBS include:
there are some signs of SBS and RBI, and the signs of SBS that the residents experience headache, throat irritation, dry cough, dry skin, and sensitivity. In addition, no one can connect the symptoms with the causes, besides the residents feel good after leaving the building.
Indicators of BRI:
Residents experience cough, chest tightness, fever, and muscle aches. Also, the indications can be clinically known with the causes, and patients need some time of comfort.
In fact, there are some aspects that may lead to SBS. The first one is inadequate ventilation, the outside air for each building was reduced by National Energy conservation measures from about 15 cfm to 5 cfm per resident for upholding the health. In addition, the ASHRAE has reviewed the standard rate of outdoor air to be 15 cfm, and to be 60 cfm in some buildings according to kind of activity. The second element is chemical contaminants from indoor sources; carpeting, copy machines and cleaning agents are some examples of inside resources which polluted the air, and these resources can release the VOCs to the highest level, as well as tobacco smoke does. Also, some studies found that VOCs can be a reason of chronic and acute diseases. The third element is chemical contaminants from outdoor sources; pollutants from vehicle exhausts and building exhausts like bathrooms and kitchens may go inside the buildings from any opened area and windows, besides burning outputs can pass into the building from the garage. The last factor is biological contaminants like bacteria, virus, pollen, insects, and bird droppings. The symptoms are included cough, chest tightness, fever, and allergic.
Building investigation procedures:
The main target of building investigation is to find the causes of indoor air quality and to set the best solutions to reduce the issue and to escape other issues, too. Moreover, to insure that the building investigations will success, there are three elements have been following. The first one is the investigation has to find if the problem exist for indoor air or not, and to bring out the right solutions for this issue. This step begins with analysis the area to have more facts regarding the people who use the building, the HVAC system, pollution way, and the poison sources. Also, preparation for a walk-through has to ease gathering information. Furthermore, the initial walk-through had better help the investigator to find sensible reasons for people, the processes under the walk-through must be completed until the solutions are found. In fact, air sampling hardly give data regarding what has made the problem.
Solutions to Sick Building:

There are some solutions that may use for this problem, the solution includes removing the sources that cause contamination in the building by changing the filters and prohibit smoking. Moreover, raising the change of the air is usually more effective than reducing the sources that cause the impurity inside the building. Also, using some materials to clean the air can help to reduce the pollutant as well. Finally, educate people about the causes of this problem and to work together to face this issue and stop it, will be the best resolution. 


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