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It’s not just the workers behind the desks and in the warehouses that can get ill, so too can the building they work in.

SBS, or Sick Building Syndrome, is diagnosed when a combination of ailments is associated with an individual’s place of work. Sick buildings are often labeled as such due to poor ventilation, heating and air conditioning (HVAC). Dirty ducts, poor circulation and general lack of air filtration will easily label a building as having SBS.

Volatile organic compounds may also be present in the air and carious toxins can also be present in the air thanks to materials in the building itself off-gassing hazardous airborne.

Mold, which can be deadly, is also a major concern and one that most businesses suffer from without even realizing it — especially those located in humid areas of the world, or those below the water level who suffer from floods regularly.

Also, improper ventilation of ozone (produced by various machines in everyday offices) can also contribute to a building’s SBS. It might have a silly name, but this is far from a silly syndrome.

How can you tell if your building has SBS? Because of the nature of SBS, it’s extremely difficult to combine the results into one solid test. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the state of the employees working in the confines of the building and the state of the building itself.

Do the workers suffer from all-year allergies? Is there a widespread case of lung-related illnesses, respiratory sicknesses and general discomfort while working? Are headaches the norm? Itchy eyes?  Skin irritation is also a major sign that a building may be suffering from SBS. Often, sufferers of SBS will feel relief when they leave the particle area, which is another clear sign that a building is suffering from SBS.

It was noted by the World Health Organization in 1984 that nearly 30% of all new and remodeled buildings worldwide could be linked to symptoms of SBS — that’s an alarming number.

Poor indoor air quality is a scary thing to consider if you think of the long-term effects airborne toxins can have on your health. We spend an average of 2, 080 hours a year at work. We breath in and out 12 to 15 times a minute, so 720-900 breaths per hour. Imagine how many particles you’re dragging into your lungs over the course of a day, week, month, year in a work environment that suffers from SBS?

Your health is more important than your work, and it’s time that you took a moment to assess the environment in which you work. Can you make it better? Does your company have up-to-par IAQ?

These are important questions you need to consider. And perhaps your building is suffering from SBS. If you believe your building should be tested, then check the Guidance for IAQ Testing.

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