Indoor Air Quality(IAQ)
Enhanced building products that have been developed over the last 15 years have greatly increased the quality of homes and buildings in America. The increased ability of insulation to shield from the outside environment, the longevity built into various kinds of building products, and the standarization increases have decreased energy expenditures across the board.
However, with the technological enhancement of building products has come a problem. Indoor air quality has suffered and more people have become symptomatic who work and live in these envioronments. Most of these symptoms can be traced to either a contaminated HVAC system, inadequate air filtration, or a poorly designed ventilation system.
Sick Building Syndrome(SBS)
This medical phenomenon is a fairly recent development in our country. It is a medical condition where people are becoming ill who work or live inside certain dwellings or buildings. Their symptoms go away when they are away from the structure, but reappear after they return.
Symptoms reported have been headache, irritations of the ears, nose, and throat, fatigue, dizziness and nausea. Other reports indicate neurotoxic complications, skin irritation, hypersensitivity reactions, infectious disease, and odor and taste differences. Respiratory disease and complications have been reported also. It is reported by the World Health Organization that up to 30% of the buildings currently being used in America are producing people who are symptomatic.
It is posited that the onset of symptoms appear as a result of off/out gassing, volatile organic compounds, molds, improper ventilation, cleaning chemicals and a lack of fresh air through adequate filtration processes. Buildings and dwellings located in high pollution cities have produced more reports of disease due to the inability to successfully reduce the volatile compounds in the air inside the structure.
Building Related Illness(BRI)
The diseases and symptoms that appear under this classification are a result of an airborne contaminant and doesn’t disappear when the person stays away from the structure. Essentially, the disease was started or exaserbated as a result of being in the building, but continues even long after the environment is no longer able to impact the patient.
Colds, flu viruses, measles, tuberculosis, smallpox and Legionnaire’s disease can all appear as a result of spending a great deal of time in a modern building or dwelling. Some of these diseases are fatal while others linger on with the patient remaing symptomatic for life.
It is suggested by medical research that building related illnessed appear as a result of exposure to radon, spores, fungus, mold, toxins, allergens, stagnant water, and viruses cross-contaminating conditioned are spaces.
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity(MCS)
This medical phenomenon is both physical and psychological. It is posited that it arises from a chronic situation wherein the sufferer is consistently exposed to chemicals that cannot be tolerated. The suspected chemicals may be air fresheners, cologne, hair spray, pesticides, plastics, smoke, petroleum products, and paint.
Symptoms of this medical disorder may include headache, unexplainable fatigue, nausea, and dizziness. Other patients have reported inflammation of the joints, gastrointestinal tract, and airways.
It is significant to note that because symptoms are vague and cannot be traced to a definite chemical agent, it is posited that some aspect of the disorder may be linked to a psychological disorder. Anxiety and depression have been found in sufferers. In testing situations, patients suffering from MCS have reported the same symptoms even when the chemical agent was removed.