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Sick building syndrome

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COMBINATION- SICK BUILDING SYNDROME (SBS )


The sick building syndrome (SBS ) can be recognized from various non-specific symptoms in the occupants of the same building. In a work context where the SBM rife , there is a decline in productivity and an increase in the level of absenteeism among workers who feel affected. Increasingly , companies recognize the professional and financial risks due to SBM and take this problem seriously : AES therefore advise to eradicate , if possible, or restricting it proactively syndrome.


The SBM is used to describe a situation in which the occupants of an office tower suffer from acute health problems or feelings of discomfort that seem directly related to the time spent inside the building. Workers affected by this syndrome may be those that are located in a room or in a particular area , or may come from the entire building . The signs and symptoms of SBM are:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma attacks
  • Itchy skin
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dizziness
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Influenza
  • Irritability
  • Throat irritation
  • Chest pain
  • Quick shortness of breath after exertion
  • Edema
  • Palpitations
  • Cancer
  • Complications during pregnancy
  • Eye irritation
  • Nasal irritation
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dry skin
  • Sensitivity to odors
  • Cold symptoms
  • Dry cough
  • Hoarsely

To date , some of the symptoms related to SBM remains unknown, although their effects are real : reduced productivity and increased absenteeism . Most complainants reported an improvement in their health after leaving the building, although the harmful effects of certain neurotoxins may persist . The extrinsic allergic alveolitis , Legionnaire's disease, humidifier fever , pneumonia and occupational asthma can also be attached to the SBM .


Two types of SBM related illnesses : Legionnaires' disease and humidifier fever .

  • Legionnaires' disease ( legionellosis ) is due to the contamination of cooling towers Legionella bacteria called . It occurs mainly in middle-aged adults and seniors. In its mildest form , which is referred to as Pontiac fever , it is particularly rife among young adults .
  • Humidifier fever , it is caused by inhaling water droplets from humidifiers contaminated with microorganisms responsible for respiratory infections like asthma and extrinsic allergic alveolitis . This non-infectious disease is sometimes called fever Monday ; and the patient may have flu-like symptoms. This disease can cause permanent lung damage .

Some symptoms related to the SBM can be defined and what causes identified . Depending on the context and the severity of symptoms , the healing time may vary from one individual to another and necessitate prolonging keeping away from sick building . It is important to note that complaints may also result from other causes such as pre-existing disease , allergy , stress related to employment , dissatisfaction or psychosocial factors.

Factors that may be responsible for SBM


1. Chemical contaminants from outdoor and indoor sources.

External source of contaminants are mainly automotive , plumbing vents , and air intake vents for the bathrooms and kitchens. There are air pollution indoors where noxious gases or pollutants are poorly removed from the building or penetrate through windows or other openings. Often these combustion by -products from an adjacent garage to the building; or radon , formaldehyde, asbestos dust or lead particle ( which can be found in the paint).

Inner source of contaminants are mostly volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs come from a wide range of products (for more details on VOCs , see the section dedicated to them ) : adhesives , upholstery , carpet, copiers, manufactured wood products , pesticides, cleaning agents , tobacco smoke , particles that can be inhaled and byproducts burning stove , fireplace and poorly ventilated radiator. Note that synthetic fragrances that can be found in personal care products, and cleaning and maintenance products are also a source of VOC emissions .

To date , some of the symptoms related to SBM remains unknown, although their effects are real : reduced productivity and increased absenteeism . Most complainants reported an improvement in their health after leaving the building, although the harmful effects of certain neurotoxins may persist . The extrinsic allergic alveolitis , Legionnaire's disease, humidifier fever , pneumonia and occupational asthma can also be attached to the SBM .


Two types of SBM related illnesses : Legionnaires' disease and humidifier fever .

  • Legionnaires' disease ( legionellosis ) is due to the contamination of cooling towers Legionella bacteria called . It occurs mainly in middle-aged adults and seniors. In its mildest form , which is referred to as Pontiac fever , it is particularly rife among young adults .
  • Humidifier fever , it is caused by inhaling water droplets from humidifiers contaminated with microorganisms responsible for respiratory infections like asthma and extrinsic allergic alveolitis . This non-infectious disease is sometimes called fever Monday ; and the patient may have flu-like symptoms. This disease can cause permanent lung damage .

Some symptoms related to the SBM can be defined and what causes identified . Depending on the context and the severity of symptoms , the healing time may vary from one individual to another and necessitate prolonging keeping away from sick building . It is important to note that complaints may also result from other causes such as pre-existing disease , allergy , stress related to employment , dissatisfaction or psychosocial factors.


2. BIOLOGICAL CONTAMINANTS .

Bacteria, viruses and fungi are examples of biological contaminants which breed mainly in stagnant water that accumulates in humidifiers, in gutters or in ventilation ducts. The humidity that often affects ceiling tiles, insulation materials, upholstery and carpets, is also a big factor in the proliferation of biological contaminants inside buildings. It should be noted that the pollen, and the droppings of birds and insects are biological contaminants of the same order, and they can cause health problems similar to other biological contaminants: these disorders is associated with various symptoms such fever, chills, cough, chest tightness, muscle pain and allergic reactions. In offices with a high density of occupation, these diseases can spread from one worker to another if air conditioning systems are inadequate; since in these conditions the pathogens responsible for their proliferation quickly spread throughout the building. Legionnaires' disease is a common example of a disease caused both by poor circulation of the air and by contamination thereof by the bacterium Legionella


3. INADEQUATE VENTILATION ( NON- COMPLIANCE ) .

The oil embargo of 1970, which increased the prices of products related to energy, forced the designers of buildings to make them more effective energy efficiency. Among other things, it has made sure to make them more airtight buildings by reducing outdoor air ventilation to 5 cfm / person. This rate of ventilation was deemed insufficient to maintain the health and comfort of occupants. According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), ventilation standards, recently revised, should be a minimum of 15 cfm / person, and to avoid any health problems related to a outdoor airflow inadequate. In terms of office space, since the largest proportion of people who share a living space, norms are 20 cfm / person. By cons, these standards are not necessarily a guarantee of a good quality indoor air; it also depends on the design and construction of the building, the space devoted to each office of the total area to be ventilated, the good condition of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), etc.


Settings frequently selected as part of the assessment of the state of IAQ work environments .

THESE PARAMETERS CONTRIBUTING IN WHOLE OR IN PART IN SICK BUILDING SYNDROME (SBS ) :


  • The frequency of maintenance of ventilation ducts ;
  • The frequency of HVAC filter change ;
  • The concentration of airborne bacteria ( Legionella ) ;
  • The concentration of asbestos fibers;
  • The concentration of airborne mold ;
  • The concentration of ozone near the photocopiers ;
  • Room temperature;
  • The amount of total dust ;
  • The rate of volatile organic compounds (VOCs ) with formaldehyde ;
  • The rate of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) ;
  • The respirable dust levels > pm10 ;
  • The quality of the air flow from the ventilation ducts ;
  • Carbon dioxide rate on the effectiveness of the ventilation system ;
  • The rate of carbon monoxide from loading docks ;
  • The relative humidity.

PREVENTION AND CONTROL

To increase ventilation and air distribution rates , heating , ventilation and air conditioning systems must meet ventilation standards and local building codes. The air conditioning system , it must be operated and maintained properly for the required ventilation rates are achieved. In the presence of pollutants , air must necessarily be discharged to the outside ; particularly air rest rooms , copy rooms, and printing facilities that accumulates more pollutants. ASHRAE , an American agency , recommends a minimum of 3 air changes per hour.

An air quality can be maintained by carrying out routine maintenance of HVAC systems , replacing ceiling tiles and the water soaked pad by stone, by the floor ceramic or wood, by sealing leakage water , avoiding synthetic upholstery or treated , minimizing the use of electronic devices or by unplugging after use ; making sure to ventilate to the outside air pollutants subject to such as paint, solvents , pesticides and adhesives (it is advisable to store this type of pollutants in containers near well-ventilated areas the building is occupied or not ) . Avoid choosing building materials that can be toxic and ban smoking inside are also examples of preventative measures to maintain good air quality .

Several simple actions also contribute to controlling air pollution : keep the place clean , no clutter , focus on open spaces ( or community ) , use of frosted glass and skylights that provide access to natural light, hold terrace gardens and have indoor plants that absorb carbon monoxide and formaldehyde in the air . Air filters are very effective in removing partially or totally the indoor air pollutants . Of course, education and communication of information on the quality of indoor air are important in order to curb and prevent the health problems associated with it .


LEGISLATION

For years , many governments have issued laws to protect citizens against the dangers of smoking . Now banned smoking in workplaces or smokers is restricted in well-ventilated areas and away from other employees , and creates closed areas . In some European countries , workers have the legal right to be involved in employer plans to change their workplace so that it meets the standards for the quality of the air.

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