Problems related to indoor air
quality and sick building syndrome have been increasingly documented
in the local and national press. Modern office buildings are
generally considered safe and healthful working environments.
However, numerous incidences of building-related air quality
problems have occurred in office buildings and educational
institutions throughout the U.S.
Many affected parties
(building owners, employers and insurance providers) have recognized
the potential impact building-related air quality issues can have on
their operations. Indoor air quality episodes begin with the report
of various health related symptoms that employees believe are
attributed to their work environment. These symptoms, which include
headache, nausea, tiredness, allergies, and eye, nose and throat
irritation typically appear on Monday and disappear over the weekend
while the employee(s) is away from their working environment. This
association leads the employee to conclude that their work
environment is the causative agent.
Studies conducted by the
National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have
indicated that the primary sources of indoor air quality problems
are inadequate ventilation, contamination from inside or outside the
building, and interior mold growth. There are a number of potential
ramifications of indoor air quality problems, to include increased
employee absence, reduced employee moral, employee' relation issues,
negative publicity, increased medical costs, and legal liability.
When faced with indoor air quality concerns, it is critical that
employers and building owners take a proactive, approach in order to
address the issue in a timely fashion. Such a quick, proactive
responses often can prevent or minimize many of the problems