Sick Building Syndrome in Commercial Structures

The term Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) conjures up images of a constant cough stemming from working in a dank, dimly lit basement office in a 50-year-old building. Although that scenario might fit, SBS also affects new, modern commercial buildings.

Reports state that as many as 1.2 million commercial structures and 30 percent of new buildings exhibit signs of SBS. Here’s what you need to know about SBS in Buford, GA.

What Is SBS?

SBS is the name given to conditions that produce negative health effects based on the amount of time spent in the building. It’s closely related to indoor air quality (IAQ). Symptoms of SBS mimic those of other illnesses: fatigue, chills, allergies, headaches, dizziness, nausea. They also include nose, throat, or eye irritation. The key to diagnosing SBS is that the symptoms usually disappear after you leave the building and reappear when you return. Symptoms might be localized in one area or found throughout the entire building. They generally affect a group of workers rather than just one employee.

What Causes Sick Building Syndrome?

Modern construction techniques create a tight seal that saves on energy consumption. However, it also traps pollutants inside your building. Pollutants affecting your indoor air quality come from a variety of sources:

  • Vapors from wallboard, furniture, and carpet
  • Ozone from copiers
  • Organic growth from moist conditions
  • Fumes from cleaning agents
  • Smog from manufacturing processes

How Can You Prevent SBS?

The solution to SBS is monitoring the quality of your indoor air. According to Occupational Health & Safety, inadequate ventilation accounts for 52 percent of SBS cases. Inside contaminants account for 16 percent. Removing the source of pollutants, installing air cleaners, increasing ventilation, and regular HVAC maintenance are proven ways to increase your IAQ and help prevent SBS.

To learn more about how you can improve your IAQ and avoid sick building syndrome, check out the commercial indoor air quality services we offer at Zack Hammonds A/C Heating Refrigeration or call us at (770) 661-0334.

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