Causes of Sick Building Syndrome Essay

2.1Sick Building Syndrome ( SBS )

2.1.1Definition of Sick Building Syndrome ( SBS )

The definition and status of SBS is really rather clear from sentiments given by several bookmans. However, as the Malaysians were non cognizant about the ill edifice syndrome, they do non recognize that they might hold face the symptoms. Following are several definition of SBS that has been defined by several bookmans expert in assorted countries.

Table 2.4. Assorted Definition for Sick Building Syndrome

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Author/Agency ( Year of Release )



HSE ( 1992 )

Non-specific unwellnesss that can be discriminated from other building-related jobs such as physical uncomfortableness, infections and long-run cumulative chemical jeopardies such as asbestos and Rn.


L.A.Wallace ( 1996 )

A slackly defined set of symptoms sometimes reported by a significant figure of individuals in a edifice, typically an office edifice.


World Health Organisation Hedge and Ericson ( 1996 )

A aggregation of nonspecific symptoms including oculus, nose and throat annoyance, mental weariness, concerns, sickness, giddiness and tegument annoyances, which seem to be linked with tenancy of certain workplaces.


Burge ( 2004 )

A nomenclature, or edifice related symptoms referred to in the United States, has been described as ‘a group of symptoms of ill-defined aetiology’ .


Greer ( 2007 )

A group of non-specific symptoms with a temporal connexion to a peculiar edifice, but with no particular or obvious cause.


Milica ( 2008 )

An environmentally related status with increased prevalence of non-specific symptoms among the population of certain edifices, frequently without clinical marks and nonsubjective steps of symptoms.


TSSA ( 2010 )

A generic term used to depict common symptoms which, for no obvious ground, are associated with peculiar edifices.


NHC Choices UK

A scope of symptoms thought to be linked to disbursement clip in a certain edifice, most frequently a workplace, but no specific cause can be found.


U.S Environmental Protection Agency ( 2010 )

Situations in which edifice residents experience acute wellness and comfort effects that appear to be linked to clip spent in a edifice, but no specific unwellness or cause can be identified.

From all of the above definitions, a clear and summarize image of SBS can be easy recognized by populace. Few cardinal facets or keywords will be considered when SBS is doubted to be happened amongst. These include:

  • Sick edifice syndrome is a set of non-specific symptoms, an environmental related status or state of affairs.
  • Sick edifice syndrome affects the residents in certain edifice.
  • Sick edifice syndrome appears when the residents stay in certain edifice, but is recovered after go forthing the edifice.
  • The symptoms of ill edifice syndrome have no specific illnesses or do can be identified.

2.1.2History of Sick Building Syndrome ( SBS )

The issue of SBS was foremost reported during the 1960s by the United Kingdom Health and Safety Executive ( HSE ) . However, the public consciousness was raised for this “common” job merely in the eightiess( HSE, 1992 ). In 1970s, the term SBS became more common because of the effects of this freshly discovered syndrome being experienced by more and more people, taking to outstanding of the term after the increased volume of intelligence and more probe being carried out.

It is believed( Murphy, 2006 )that the edifices become ‘sick’ throughout the 1970s is caused by the thrust for energy efficiency, which led to the undermentioned sequence of events. The rise of energy monetary value in the 1970s drove all edifices to go energy efficient. To diminish the usage of energy in edifice, the designers were being focused on planing edifices, such as offices, to be ‘air-tight’ or edifice with certain gap, therefore supplying reduced thermic loss within the construction which lead to more energy efficient.

As a consequence, the “sealed” envelope design buildings required a signifier of comfort control clime system or mechanical airing to be installed. To help this type of air circulation, “open plan” floor-by-floor layouts were used to maximize the usage of the system. While the “open plan” infinite is designed with deficiency of attending to the infinite planning. The care of the airing system can take to overall hapless indoor air quality and uneffective air circulation. Materials such as plastics, dissolvers and so on made up the surfaces that can maintain the housed contraptions automatically cool and dry. These merchandises will breathe volatile organic chemicals ( VOCs ) and that can impact the indoor air quality, which believe to be a factor that contribute to SBS.

While in term of medical history( Wallace, 1996 ), SBS was first recognized in the Scandivanian states and England in the mid-1970s, and in northern US and Canada about 10 old ages subsequently. However, the work to place the cause of SBS had small advancement for these past 20 old ages. Medical professionals province that although the symptoms seems minor, SBS may really be more than some major diseases because of widespread lowered productiveness.

SBS is non limited to workers ; early surveies reported on SBS in kids in Swedish preschools. The range of the job is non and hard to be characterized.

Canada studies about 1000 edifices affected while in US, 10000 edifices are affected in 1996. For the diagnosing, in some instances, the full workers are kept from work, the intervention procedure might takes hebdomads and is normally unsuccessful. In other instances, the work force remains the edifice, but with increasing ailments and labour-management jobs. Some individuals who are extremely affected may be unable to work any longer in the edifice. In the US, increasing judicial proceeding is happening. Architects, edifice directors, employers, and landlords have been sued. In a recent instance in Washington, DC, five workers at a authorities bureau received a $ 955000 jury award.

2.1.3Presumed Causes of Sick Building Syndrome ( SBS )

The existent cause of Sick Building Syndrome ( SBS ) is nowhere to establish yet.( Passarelli, 2009 ) ( EPA Indoor Air Quality Fact No.4, 1991 )There are metric tons of possible causes such as psychological factors, hapless indoor air quality, external beginning of pollution, noise and others were suggested by research workers, however no individual cause has been identified and certified.

Research workers from medical field have suggested that the ill edifice syndrome ( SBS ) might non merely caused by environmental job, however psychological factor plays rather really of import function in doing the SBS. The book Sick Building Syndrome in Workplace and Public Building outlines the most common causes of SBS that happen in an office.( Jansz, 2011 )

  1. Building stuffs
  2. Poor sanitation
  3. Ozone, organic dissolvers and methanal in the ambiance
  4. Office equipment, trappingss and other stuffs and merchandises located or used in the edifice which can bring forth exhausts or contact dermatitis
  5. Air borne chemical exhausts or gasses from anything in the edifice
  6. Inadequate airing or overventilation
  7. Microorganisms mechanism
  8. Poor edifice cleansing and care
  9. Inadequate
  10. Vermin ( peculiarly mice, rats and cockroaches ) infestation
  11. Poor indoor air quality
  12. Psychosocial issues
  13. Poor direction patterns

Monila, Pickering, Valbjbrn & A ; De Bortoli ( 1989 ) insists that the hazard factor of ill edifice syndrome is classified into four categories:

  1. The physical factors
  2. The chemical factors
  3. The biological factors
  4. The psychological factors

In this session, the causes of ill edifice syndrome will be introduced by following The Commission of the European Communities trending. Factor ( Poor Indoor Air Quality )

The physical factor is fundamentally included of the topic of environmental factor or the indoor air quality factor sing the criterion to be compiled with. ( illustration: ASHRAE criterion ) Ventilation

Building air conditioning that provide unequal airing ( which could do a buildup of C dioxide, C monoxide or other gasses ) and pollutants from inside or outside the edifice that were circulated by the air conditioning system might be the major cause suggested by Jansz ( 2011 ) .

The U.S Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA ) found that office workers spent 90 % of a twenty-four hours in indoor environment. The unequal airing due to the increasing the figure of workers in the edifice leads to vomit edifice syndrome ( Apte et al. , 2000 ) . Zamani ( 2013 ) uses two types of edifice, both old and new edifice, to be as the instance surveies of the research. The consequences show that an addition in the airing rates per individual in office edifice would cut down the degree of ill edifice syndrome detected among the residents inside a edifice dramatically, even though both edifices achieve the bing ASHRAE airing criterions for office edifice. The effectivity of airing has been proved to be successfully cut down the SBS instance among the workers.

However, even though Fisk et Al. ( 2009 ) in Wong & A ; Chang ( 2012 ) advocates that the equal airing might cut down the happening of SBS, the consequence from Wong & A ; Cheng research shows that the knowing over-ventilation is non helping in eliminate the prevalence of SBS symptoms. In contrast, they postulate that the knowing over-ventilation and proper care of mechanical airing system might assist to cut down the happening of SBS symptoms, but would non be able to extinguish them. Therefore, it can be concluded that the unequal airing might be the factor that cause ill edifice syndrome, but can non be the lone 1. Comfort

Previous survey has stated that the utmost high or low temperature and humidness degrees in the office will dissatisfied the residents, make them uncomfortable and therefore lower their on the job efficiency and increase absentees. One should cognize that higher denseness of residents and equipment in the open-plan offices will increase the heat energy emanation in the infinite. Thus the heating/cooling system must hold the capacity to run optimally to guarantee the thermic comfort within a topographic point is satisfied by the residents. Harmonizing to the ASHRAE criterion, if the comparative humidness within a topographic point is excessively high, there is about impossible to accomplish comfy temperatures High humidness is besides the chief factor that cultivate molds and bacterial growing. ( Charles & A ; Reardon & A ; Magee, 2005 )

Besides, a survey that is done in Malaysia besides states that Indoor environment recorded lower IAQ-SAVM degree of ASHRAE Standard – 62 recommended thermic comfort may do eyes allergy, concern and giddiness if prolonged exposure. The decision observed in this research is coincidentally similar to Bayer et Al. ( 1990 ) research, who asserted that high degree of humidness and temperature are among the hazard factors that cause SBS to happen. ( Aizat et al. , 2009 )

However, it is non that SBS will be observed during high temperature. In a survey done in Singapore, the research worker realize that the residents inside a talk hall experience somewhat uncomfortable and disgruntled with overcooling. The research consequence shows that the residents disagreed with the ideal temperature, which is 24ISC, that is suggested by ASHRAE ( Chen & A ; Chang, 2012 ) . Foo & A ; Poon ( 1987 ) suggested that an air temperature of 27ISC would do bulk of the residents satisfy with the working environment.

Exposure to natural visible radiation is really of import to human wellness. Daylighting throughout the twelvemonth helps constructing residents maintain bio-rhythms that mesh with diurnal and seasonal alterations, ensuing in greater wellbeing ( DGS Integrated Waste Management Board ) . However, natural lighting is frequently undependable as it varies with conditions conditions, season and window spacing. Therefore, most of the unfastened program office ever combine natural illuming with unreal visible radiations to guarantee that workplace lighting is equal.

However, there are many causes for deficient illuming even though the unreal lighting is added in an office. Insufficient illuming may do one to squinch and is likely to do uncomfortable status of eyes during work. Occasionally, excessively much visible radiation energy besides will do one to experience oculus weariness and oculus strain. Besides, the light spark due to light bulb failure or revolving fan blades on ceiling will do ocular weariness and even concern ( Hong Kong Occupational Safety and Health Branch Labour Department, 2003 ) .

While Sterling et Al. ( 1983 ) provinces that by changing both the measure of ultraviolet visible radiation and the airing will cut down the ailments of oculus symptoms, but non other SBS symptoms. Wilkins et al. , utilizing a solid province high frequence ballast ensuing ‘ in light with a decreased fluctuation, decreased the incidence of eye-strain and concern by more than 50 % in a group of office workers.

Noise is defined as the unwanted sound. The nature of the noise is of import. Infrasound which is defined as sound moving ridges in 0.1 – 20 Hz scope may do giddiness and sickness. Besides, the low frequence noise created by photocopy machine or airing machinery which is found in an office may besides do “unpleasant” feeling to the residents ( Molina et al. , 1989 ) . Frankly, many surveies asserted that noise is the major ailment among office workers. The modern unfastened infinite office design which tends to heighten teamwork, communicating and productiveness has induced the side consequence. As in this unfastened public office, the inordinate exposure to resound produced by synergistic, statements and communicating among co-workers has brought emphasis, ill edifice syndrome and even serious wellness job to the office workers ( Maxwell, 2000 ) . Factor

The out-of-door air that enters a edifice can be a beginning of indoor air pollution. For illustration, pollutants from motor vehicle exhausts ; plumbing blowholes, and edifice fumess ( e.g. , bathrooms and kitchens ) can come in the edifice through ill located air consumption blowholes, Windowss, and other gaps. In add-on, burning merchandises can come in a edifice from a nearby garage. These air ever carries batch of chemical contaminations from outside. Though the indoor air pollutants might came from out-of-door beginnings, most indoor air pollution still reported to be detected from beginnings inside the edifice. For illustration, adhesives, rug, upholstery, manufactured wood merchandises, transcript machines, pesticides, and cleaning agents may breathe volatile organic compounds ( VOCs ) , including methanal. Environmental baccy fume contributes high degrees of VOCs, other toxic compounds, and respirable particulate affair. Research shows that some VOCs can do chronic and acute wellness effects at high concentrations, and some are known carcinogens. Low to chair degrees of multiple VOCs may besides bring forth acute reactions. Combustion merchandises such as C monoxide, N dioxide, every bit good as respirable atoms, can come from unvented kerosine and gas infinite warmers, woodstoves, hearths and gas ranges ( EPA, 1991 ) .

In a survey in Malaysia, the research worker postulates that important high degree of several indoor air chemical constituent, such as C dioxide, C monoxide, entire volatile organic compounds ( VOCs ) and other ( PM10 and PM2.5 ) will convey impact on the residents to demo the SBS symptoms. Besides, in new edifices, the ultrafine constituent was found to be present. It was besides a concern that the research worker believe that will do the ill edifice syndrome ( Zamani et al. , 2013 ) . Factor

There are tonss of biological factor such as bacteriums, mold, pollen and viruses presents are reported to be related to SBS. They breed in inactive aquatic beginning that founded in drains, pipes or sewages around the edifice. Besides those mentioned, some insects and carnal fecal matters are besides a sort of biological contaminations. These biological contaminations are founded to be factor that cause coughing, thorax stringency, febrility, icinesss, musculus achings, and allergic responses to human existences. The Legionella sp. , a sort of bacteriums that known to has impact on doing Legionnaire ‘s Disease and Pontiac Fever ( EPA, 1991 ) .

A survey asserted that the growing of mold in the workplace edifice is associated with increased prevalence and reduced remittal of SBS. The H2O escape promote the growing of mold in the office, and increasingly bring forth the bad smells make the residents experience symptoms of SBS. The survey besides shows that the wellness effects of constructing moistness can be related both to microbic growing and chemical emanations ( Zhang, Sahlberg, Wieslander, Janson, Gislason, & A ; Norback, 2012 ) . Factor

Human existences breathe autonomously. It is a automatic action after the birth of a human. People breathe O into the lungs and expel C dioxide in return. Nonetheless, even though human existences can take a breath without job, the system did non cognize and assist to take fresh air over contaminated air. Human do concern on nutrient and H2O pollution. However, they merely prevent themselves from devouring contaminated H2O and bad nutrient. In fact, the air volume respired in a twenty-four hours is far more than nutrient or H2O that they consume, and so hapless air quality can do many wellness jobs. Peoples do non concern on this world. Furthermore, people do non see that they may hold ill edifice syndrome, even though they know of its being. While some of them even do non cognize about the unwellness.

The term “Sick edifice syndrome” ever be considered as new term even it is defined since 1960’s. Peoples do non feel the danger while they are exposed to an environment which is contaminated by assorted toxic constituents. Therefore, the first and most serious job of ill edifice syndrome is that people do non see that the small signal could harm them. The patients of ill edifice syndrome will experience the hardness when they enter the “polluted” edifice and are free from the symptoms after they leave the edifice. For illustration, if a patient gets a concern every clip they enter a edifice, they think that it is because they have a chronic concern. In this instance, patients wish to be treated without traveling to hospital. They’ll take medical specialty such as Panadol every clip they face the concern. At this rate, they deal with the cause that they feel it is, but they do non cover with the existent cause, so they continue to remain under the status that make them experience ill. ( Imai, 2005 )


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