Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What is Sick Building Syndrome?

Sick Building Syndrome is a term those in the industry use for buildings that seem to cause acute health or comfort effects that correlate with time spend in the building but with no specific illness or cause identified.
A 1984 World Health Organization Committee report suggested that up to 30 percent of new and remodeled buildings worldwide may be the subject of excessive complaints related to indoor air quality.
There are a variety of possible causes of this health problem:
  • Inadequate ventilation
  • Chemical contaminants from indoor sources
  • Chemical contaminants from outdoor sources
  • Biological Contaminants
While Sick Building Syndrome can cause problems with productivity and the general health of your building inhabitants it is not a problem that is always easy to identify. But in order to keep your facility as clean and healthy as possible make sure you consider taking these steps:

Pollutant source removal or modification when sources are known. This could include replacing filters on a routine basis, replacement of waterstained ceiling tiles and properly ventilating the building with the use of paint, pesticides and other solvents.

Increasing ventilation rates. Make sure that your HVAC systems meet at least the minimum ventilation standards for local building codes.

Education and communication. Work with your management and employees to understand the signs and risks of SBS to work to effectively prevent and fix any problems that may arise.


Adopting a green cleaning program can have a large impact on the health of your building by addressing the indoor contaminants and proper ventilation. Find out more about City Wide’s Performance Plus program to assess whether teaming with City Wide can be a benefit to your employees and facility.

For more information and to review the original source for the information in this post visit the EPA site on Indoor Air Facts.

~Your City Wide Team