Sick Building Syndrome Testing
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines Sick Building Syndrome as a condition that is caused by low indoor air quality. Sick building syndrome testing is looking for the causes of this low indoor air quality. It causes more than 20% of the people in the building to have similar conditions while inside. In the same way, symptoms often get better within hours of leaving the building. Some of the symptoms of Sick Building Syndrome are:
- Eye, nose and throat irritation.
- Sensitisation of the mucous membranes.
- Erythema (redness of the skin).
- Mental Fatigue.
- Nausea and dizziness.
- High frequency of airway infections or coughs.
What causes Sick Building Syndrome?
All of the causes of sick building syndrome are not known, but low air quality is a factor. In brief, the factors that affect indoor air quality, include:
- Poor air conditioning.
- Building materials and furniture.
- Building decorations and repairs.
- High or low air moisture content.
- Equipment within the building, such as photocopiers.
- Emissions from nearby sources.
- Gases from the soils around and under the property.
- Human activities, such as personal hygiene products.
- Mould spores.
- Dust Mites.
How do we test for Sick Building Syndrome?
Synergy provides a range of sick building syndrome testing to look at the air quality in buildings. For example, we can measure carbon dioxide levels, moisture, volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde, mould volatile organic compounds and dust mites levels.
Carbon dioxide is one of the best ways to look at air quality. Improvements in building processes, and more laws about their construction, means buildings are increasingly airtight. While this is good for building efficiency, unless the ventilation is correctly controlled and maintained, carbon dioxide can build up and causes problems for the occupants.
Volatile Organic Compounds.
There are thousands of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are present in the indoor environment. For example, VOCs that arise from the building, its maintenance or the occupants of the building.
VOCs can cause varied sick building syndrome symptoms. Such as nose, throat and eye irritation to cancer-causing effects and congenital disabilities.
Formaldehyde is a widespread problem in indoor air. For example, wood products such as MDF use it in the glue. Furniture and flooring often release them.
Some people are more affected by low levels of formaldehyde than others. It can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. As well as these irritant effects, formaldehyde is probably cancer-causing.
There are many different types of mould spores and these give rise to different health effects. We provide a range of tests to determine the problems in buildings. These range from simple tests to see if the levels are low, medium or high, to tests that count the number and type of mould spore present. As well as this we can carry out DNA tests that fully identify all moulds present.
Experience in Testing
We have carried out work in lots of types of buildings. For example, we have carried out work for west end theatres, football clubs, call centres, office blocks, and private homes. As a result, this means our staff is unrivalled in their experience in indoor air quality measurements and Sick Building Syndrome testing.
Further Information is available below
NHS – Symptoms
HSE – Guidance for employers, building owners, and building managers.
United States National Library of Medicine – Advice