Sick Building Syndrome Testing
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines Sick Building Syndrome as a condition that is caused by poor indoor air quality. Sick building syndrome testing is looking for the causes of this poor indoor air quality. It causes more than 20% of the people in the building to have constant 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?
The full causes of sick building syndrome are not known, but poor 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 building.
- Human activities such as scents 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 the way they are built, 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 itself, from its maintenance or from 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 birth defects.
Formaldehyde is a very common problem in indoor air. For example, wood products such as MDF use it in the glue. Furniture and flooring often release it.
Some people are more affected by low levels of formaldehyde than others. It can cause irritation to 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 molds 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 unrivaled 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