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sick building syndrome

Influence of indoor climate on the sick building syndrome in an office environment.

The role of indoor climate factors on symptoms of the sick building syndrome was studied in Copenhagen, Denmark. Altogether, 2369 office workers completed questionnaires in 14 buildings, whose indoor climate was measured. The results were subjected to multivariate logistic regression analyses of the multifactorial effects on the prevalence of work-related mucosal irritation and work-related general symptoms among the office workers.

Work-related illness in offices: a proposed model of the "sick building syndrome".

This study was based on a nationwide survey of 4373 workers at 47 offices to determine the incidence of sick building syndrome and to study associated factors. The buildings had a variety of ventilation systems - natural, mechanical, forced air, air conditioning or comfort cooling. Comfort cooling systems included fan-coil, induction, and constant or variable air volume systems.

Building sickness, are symptoms related to the office lighting?

Describes the results of a questionnaire to find out if office lighting could be a factor in the production of sick building syndrome. There was found to be a significantly higher prevalence of work-related headache and work-related lethargy in the air conditioned building than in the naturally ventilated one studied. There was also less daylight and lower mean luminance in this building.

Sick building syndrome: a study of 4373 office workers.

Describes a study of 4373 office employees in 42 different office buildings a 47 ventilation conditions, aimed at highlighting symptoms of sick building syndrome. More symptoms were reported by women and by clerical/secretarial workers. Overall, buildings with ventilation from local or central induction/fan coil units had more symptoms per worker. States that there was however a wide variation between the building sickness indices of buildings within each ventilation category which was only partially explained by differences in jobs and gender.

Evidence of a relationship between office design and self-reports of ill health among office workers in the United Kingdom.

Compares self reported health problems of employees in air conditioned open plan, non air conditioned open plan and conventional offices. The results showed overall that there is a significantly higher incidence of reported headaches among staff working in open plan offices compared with those in conventional offices. Problems of eye irritation and URT complaints are found to be most common among staff in open plan offices, but only when they are air conditioned and have poor daylight penetration. Women are the chief complainants. The problems are not strongly age dependent.

A typically frustrating building investigation.

Describes a case study of the NIOSH investigation of the 101 Marietta Tower in Atlanta, USA, a high rise office building suffering from sick building syndrome. Concludes that the use of conventional industrial hygiene approaches for conducting indoor air quality investigations will in most cases by non-productive. States that first efforts should be directed toward understanding and evaluating the operation of the building's HVAC system to determine that enough outdoor air is provided. Distributing a follow-up questionnaire to the occupants is also important.

The effects of reduced ventilation on indoor air quality in an office building.

Describes monitoring of an office building where sick building syndrome symptoms had been reported. Data were taken under two different ventilation rates. Outside air flow, temperature, relative humidity, odour perception, microbial burden, particulate mass, formaldehyde and other organics, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide were all measured. In no case did levels exceed current health standards for outdoor air, and none of the single contaminants was responsible for the symptoms.

Case study of factors contributing to a crisis building.

Coughing, throat irritation, shortness of breath and disorientation were experienced by employees of a communications firm, resulting in building evacuation. Describes how a multidisciplinary team analysed the source of the problem. Results suggested that the outbreak was due to multiple factors including microbial growth in the air handling system, chemical product use in the building, and insufficient outdoor air. States that psychosocial factors also played a role.

The effect of varying levels of outdoor-air-supply on the symptoms of sick building syndrome.

The study was undertaken to find out the effect of changing the supply of outdoor air in four office buildings on the sick building syndrome symptoms reported by workers. The ventilation systems in each building were manipulated in random order to deliver to the indoor environment 20 or 50 ft3 of outdoor air per minute per person for one week at a time. Each week the workers, who knew nothing of the scheme, were invited to report symptoms.

Indoor climate and air quality in new offices: effects of a reduced air-exchange rate.

Describes an evaluation made of employee health complaints at a credit bank. A self-administered questionnaire determined the symptoms. The authors looked at ventilation effectiveness, contaminant concentrations and microclimate in relation to employee discomfort and health problems. Relatively high levels of carbon dioxide and bioaerosols were found, although temperature and humidity were normal. The authors suggest that an ineffective rate of room air exchange may be a significant factor.