What Is Sick Building Syndrome & How It Affects Your Health


"Sick Building Syndrome"

Today my friends, I would like to discuss Sick Building Syndrome  (SBS) which is a combination of ailments associated with a building that has a high level of toxins non as VOC’s. Many people suffer from the effects of SBS and are not even aware of it!

What are VOC’s?

VOC (volatile organic compounds–solvent type chemicals) which are toxic to life, some extremely so. There are literally thousands of substances that we can come into contact with everyday that give off VOCs, that can be harmful to your health.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are a large group of carbon-based chemicals that easily evaporate at room temperature. Most people can smell high levels of some VOCs, but other VOCs have no odor. Odor does not indicate the level of risk from inhalation of this group of chemicals. There are thousands of different VOCs produced and used in our daily lives.

VOC’s are one of the major contributors to Environment Illness and SBS.

Some symptoms to look for:

When you are at work do your eyes get watery, your nose or throat get irritated, your skin becomes dry or itchy? You might even start to get a headache and feel very tired. You have difficulty concentrating. Some of your colleagues complain of similar symptoms and when you leave the building — you soon feel relief. This is a definite warning sign that your work place is a sick building.

Physicians are starting to see patients, on a more and more regular basis, who complain of things like nausea, headaches, dizziness, and respiratory problems such as coughing, wheezing and eye, nose or throat irritations. Often these patients say they feel better or worse at work or in different areas of their homes. When no cause for the patient’s complaints can be found, doctors are recommending that the patient’s homes or work place be tested for the cause.

In some cased SBS is used to describe situations where 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.

The U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has designated this problem as Sick Building Syndrome.

2 Major Causes of SBS:

1. The first is that there has been a massive increase in commercial production of VOC’s.

2. The second is the energy-efficient building codes that were adopted following the Arabian oil embargo in the 1970’s resulted in little or no ventilation with outdoor air within a building.

A report in 1984 from The World Health Organization suggested that up to 30% of new and remodeled buildings worldwide may be linked to SBS and can be linked to poor indoor air quality.

Sick building syndrome can be frequently linked:

  • to flaws in the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems.
  •  contaminants produced by out-gassing of some types of materials such as VOC: molds, improper exhaust ventilation of ozone (this is a by-product of some office machinery).
  • Light industrial chemicals used within, such as pesticides. Toxic Pesticides remain in the indoor air for up to 21 days after spraying or even longer.
  •  Lack of adequate fresh air intake or air filtration MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value.)
  • Other factors include tobacco smoke, heavy use of disinfectants, air fresheners, and new mattress which may exude toxic fire-retardant fumes, and new carpeting .
  •  In new building common sources of VOC include formaldehyde, plastic vapors, glues, adhesives, and paint. All of these off-gases VOC’s especially new carpeting which will continue for many months, at high levels.

Health Hazards & Symptoms:

  • sensory irritation of the eyes,  nose, throat, skin irritation, odor and taste sensations, which can lead to respiratory tract damage and further lead to inhalant allergies (pollen, dust, mold, dander).
  •  There is also the neurotoxic or general health problems, and nonspecific hypersensitivity reactions.
  •  VOC responsible for the brain or neurotoxic symptoms occur because they are fat soluble and have a special affinity for the fatty tissues of the body, especially the brain. VOC effects on the brain are responsible for the majority of the mental and emotional symptoms seen in environmental ill patients.
  • Increased risk of:   Cancer,  Liver damage,  Kidney damage,  Central Nervous System damage
  • Persons with respiratory problems such as asthma, young children, elderly, and persons with heightened sensitivity to chemicals may be more susceptible to irritation and illness from VOCs

  Solution to SBS:

  •  storing paint only in well-ventilated areas
  •  remove or reduce the number of products in your home that give off VOCs. Only purchase absolutely essential chemicals and amounts of chemicals that you know you will use and carefully follow directions on product labels.  Remove unused chemicals from the home because stored chemicals in closed containers can sometimes “leak” and release VOCs into indoor air. Check with the city or county for household hazardous waste collection sites.
  •  letting new carpets off-gas their airborne pollutants before anyone goes inside the building or using safer more non toxic flooring
  • floor models that have been allowed to off-gas in the store or solid wood items with low emitting finishes and new products that contain low or no VOCs (environmentally preferable products)
  •  Keep the air you breathe with an air cleaner and purifier—-One of the most technologically advanced ways to deal with improving the indoor air we breathe is to use an ion air purifier for indoor air purification. These air purifiers are small devices that generate a stream of negatively charged ions.
  • Using safe non toxic pesticides The best on the market is:  AlwaysEco delivers the most powerful botanical pesticides made today.  AlwaysEco help stop the onslaught of toxic synthetic poisonous chemicals sold by pesticide manufacturers such as Monsanto, Dupont, Bayer, and Zeneca.  AlwaysEco does not contain toxic chemicals and will not harm you or the environment  – they contain no toxic chemials or VOCs.                                                                                    AlwaysEco Safe All Natural Pest Control!


Sick Building Syndrome is a serious and growing problem in our society that affects all of us. VOCs are everywhere in our environment! We need to protect our families and the most effective way is to limit the potential sources of VOCs, and improve our indoor air quality!  Get a air cleaner and purifier that can help to eliminate the VOC and stop the pollution in your home or office. Use organic and non-toxic, and eco-friendly products in your home to protect your health and your family’s health.

“Go Green” & “Organic” to protect your family from VOCs and the dangerous health problems that they can cause.


Quote of the Day: “All of us face a variety of risks to our health as we go about our day-to-day lives…. Indoor air pollution is one risk that you can do something about!”— US EPA

To learn more about SBS go to–http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pdfs/sick_building_factsheet.pdf

en:wikipedia.org/wiki/Sick_building_syndrome                                                                        http://www.thedailygreen.com/living-green/definitions/Sick-Building-Syndrome#ixzz1rSK7uZTh http://www.thedailygreen.com/living-green/definitions/volatile-organic-compounds#ixzz1rjfjougE

About the author

Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog! I believe in living green, organically, and natural in every aspect of our lives. My mission is to help educate you on how to live green, help save our environment and to help you and your family live a happier, healthier life!

10 thoughts on “What is Sick Building Syndrome”

  1. Pingback: Do You Have Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS)?

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  4. The basic materials we use are harming the environment, so it is better to use green building materials to save the environment. Our residential project also provides non VOC paints in every apartment and as such doing our part in saving the enviroment.

    1. Hi Natasha,
      I totally agree that is is so much better it use green building materials and green paints. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Have a healthy, happy & blessed day.

  5. Pingback: 8 Reasons Why You Should Choose Green Building Materials

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