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VOC Testing May Identify Building Related Illnesses

VOC Testing May Identify Building Related Illnesses

A thorough indoor air quality assessment – including things like VOC testing, an asbestos inspection, formaldehyde testing and a mold inspection – is a good idea if employees of your company seem to be suffering ill health as a result of the time they spend on the job. Not every ailment contracted as the result of the poor indoor air quality in a workplace is as hard to pin down as Sick Building Syndrome.

With Sick Building Syndrome, the exact cause of the complaint can’t be specifically identified. There are a host of building-related illnesses, however, that can be accurately diagnosed and linked to specific contaminants in the air.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the term Sick Building Syndrome refers to “situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified. The complaints may be localized in a particular room or zone, or may be widespread throughout the building.”

On the other hand, the EPA uses the term Building Related Illness when “symptoms of diagnosable illness are identified and can be attributed directly to airborne building contaminants.”

Often this condition is temporary, but some buildings have long-term problems. Frequently, problems result when a building is operated or maintained in a manner that is inconsistent with its original design or prescribed operating procedures. Sometimes indoor air problems are a result of poor building design or occupant activities.

Sick Building Syndrome VS Building Related Illness

Sick Building Syndrome is associated with the following conditions:

  • The people who work in the building may suffer from headaches, itchy eyes, throat irritation, dry cough, dry or itchy skin, dizziness, nausea and other complaints. They may be troubled by mental fogginess, fatigue and sensitivity to odors.
  • Their symptoms generally ease when they leave the building.
  • The specific cause of the symptoms isn’t known.

On the other hand, the EPA says the following characteristics indicate that you’re dealing with Building Related Illnesses:

  • The symptoms are more specific. People who work in the building are complaining of symptoms like coughing, chest tightness, fever, chills and muscle aches.
  • These symptoms can be clinically defined and have clearly identifiable causes.
  • Just leaving the building may not be enough to provide relief.

According to a paper on Indoor Air Facts and Sick Building Syndrome published by the EPA, “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 (IAQ).”

If you think your building might be one of that 30 percent – or if you’d like information about keeping the air in your building healthy so your building doesn’t join the list – give us a call at 1-888-462-4763 or 1-888-GO-AIRMD or submit your question online. Our experts in VOC testing, asbestos inspections and mold remediation in our Boca Raton, FL headquarters will by happy to help you.

By Simon Hahessy | Posted in Volatile Organic Compounds