CAN YOUR DUCTWORK CAUSE “SICK BUILDING SYNDROME”
The term “sick building syndrome”(SBS) is used to describe situations in which building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building, but no specific cause can be identified.
In contrast, the term “building-related illness” (BRI) is used when symptoms of diagnosable illness are identified and can be attributed directly to airborne building contaminants.
In years gone by buildings were open to natural ventilation from the outside air.
Modern buildings for the most part have been sealed tightly, recirculating air within them, filling them with a variety of pollutants and bacteria which may cause severe discomfort and illness to their occupants.
Symptoms & effects of SBS
Building occupants complain of symptoms associated with acute discomfort:
Headache; eye, nose, or throat irritation; dry cough; dry or itchy skin; dizziness and nausea;
difficulty in concentrating; fatigue; and sensitivity to odours.
Bacteria, moulds, pollen, and viruses are types of biological contaminants that may breed in stagnant water that has accumulated in ducts, humidifiers, and drain pans.
Physical symptoms related to biological contamination include cough, chest tightness, fever, chills, muscle aches, and allergic responses.
One indoor bacterium, Legionella, has caused both Legionnaire’s Disease and Pontiac Fever.
Epidemiology of SBS
In the study of environmentally related non-specific conditions, such as SBS, there are methodological difficulties to take into account such as the unknown associations between symptoms and exposure, resulting in difficulties in defining either disease or cause.
The meta-analysis of Mendel and Smith, together with large European surveys provided insight into the epidemiology of SBS.
Consistent findings among environmental factors assessed, linked increased symptoms of SBS with air-conditioning, carpets, and many workers in one space.
Prevalence of SBS was found in work-related symptoms among office workers as 50% of the entire workforce in industrialized countries work in these types of buildings with 20 - 30% of this group of workers reporting symptoms of SBS in varying scales of chronic complaints amongst this group.
SBS is considered a multifactorial health problem, being at the same time a medical, psychological, and social phenomenon.
Solutions to clean up your indoor air quality
We are not unable to avoid or even eliminate the occurrence of SBS in our buildings.
Quite the opposite rings true.
The past two years brought the global shockwaves that engulfed and shook our world into the deep realization that we are all compelled to change the world around us.
Starting with our immediate surroundings, the air we breathe, the impact we make on the environment and the positive contributions each one of us must make to become part of the solutions this world desperately needs for its survival. Increasing Energy Efficiency, improving the quality of your environment and the air you breathe, may seem minor in the scale of worldwide environmental impact; but it starts with us and the reach we do have.
Indoor air quality does indeed lie within the walls of your ductwork.
Thorough cleaning of indoor spaces especially carpets is always a good start to cleaner air.
The basic maintenance of your building HVAC system is imperative in the quest for cleaner air and healthier occupants.
The ductwork used with your HVAC system is worth investigating as this is ultimately the key to improving the air in buildings.
Clean, efficient, lightweight, durable, low-maintenance ductwork is the ideal answer for all your current and future ductwork needs.
Ductwork insulation in air-conditioned buildings, as well as unconditioned areas, such as basements, floors, and ceilings, is where ductwork insulation is of cardinal importance.
[Cool air passing through warm areas in your buildings causes condensation in the ductwork, which increases the risks of mould and other contaminants flowing through your building areas.
Spiralite pre-insulated ductwork, designed according to years of thorough research, can ensure proper insulation levels, preventing condensation.
Spiralite invented new breakthroughs in pre-insulated ductwork. This state-of-the-art, lightweight, cost-effective, energy-efficient, durable product is a must-have in all current buildings and ought to be included in all future building plans per the UK’s current Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) Regulations.