What is Sick Building Syndrome?

Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) is a term used to describe a situation in which building occupants experience acute health effects or comfort issues that appear to be linked to the time spent in the building, with no specific illness or identified cause. SBS differs from Building Related Illness (BRI) because in BRI, the symptoms of diagnosable illness can be attributed to exposure to indoor air contaminants.  SBS refers to nonspecific symptom complaints such as irritation of the throat, eyes, nose, and skin, headaches, and fatigue.  These symptoms are felt by individuals while in their work space.  The symptoms may worsen throughout the work day and disappear when they leave the work building. [Read more…]

Do Air Purifiers Work?

One of the common responses many folks have when they are feeling sick is to fire up an air purifier. This is particularly true when the sick person is a young child with a form of respiratory disease such as childhood asthma. Clients ask, “When do air purifiers work and when not. Is it worth the cost of the purchase and operation?” [Read more…]

Six Signs of Indoor Air Contamination in the Home

Mold contamination has become the most common indoor air quality issue we encounter, both in commercial and residential buildings. Based on frequency, mold is followed by formaldehyde, other volatile organic compounds, and finally pesticides. We are often asked by clients how to recognize that a contaminant is present. This is not an easy question, but I will try to summarize the most common signs that occur in the residential home. [Read more…]

Other Indoor Contaminants: Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is a fascinating compound for a lot of reasons. It is one of the most common chemicals used in all kinds of products. It has been around for decades in products used in the office, home and school. And it recently has been classified as a known carcinogen and the regulating agencies want to reduce exposures by setting very low recommended exposure limits. [Read more…]

Asbestos Removal & Response

As previously discussed, one of the most common indoor contaminants is asbestos, in both commercial and residential buildings. Asbestos was a very common building component from about 1920 to 1978. It is not unusual to still find friable products like pipe insulation or non-friable products like vinyl asbestos floor tiles in both residential and commercial buildings from this era. I have VAT in several rooms in my own home. [Read more…]