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Sick Building Syndrome

Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) also known as Building-Related Illness (BRI) describes a range of symptoms - headaches, asthma, ear nose and throat irritations, nausea, skin irritations etc etc - which are attributed to working or living in problematic buildings.

Many causes have been proposed. For example, leakage of volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) from building and decorating materials, mould in air-conditioning systems, raised CO2 levels, ionised air etc etc. All of these factors can be accurately measured. But the reasons why they lead to malaise is unclear.

Critics say that it has not proved possible to isolate possible psychosomatic influences. One study found that :

The physical environment of office buildings appears to be less important than features of the psychosocial work environment in explaining differences in the prevalence of symptoms.

Ref. Occup Environ Med. 2006 Apr; 63(4): 283–289.

Note: In very tall buildings, one possible source of malaise is Sopite syndromeplugin-autotooltip__plain plugin-autotooltip_bigSopite syndrome

"The sopite syndrome is a poorly understood response to motion. Drowsiness and mood changes are the primary characteristics of the syndrome. The sopite syndrome can exist in isolation from more apparent symptoms such as nausea, can last long; after nausea has subsided, and can debilitate some individuals. It is most likely a distinct syndrome from “regular” motion sickness or common fatigue, and is of potential concern in a variety of situations. The syndrome may be particularl…
caused by wind-induced swaying on the high floors.


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