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A research into Sick Building Syndrome who suffers more male or female - Coursework Example

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A research into Sick Building Syndrome who suffers more male or female

Such factors cause discomfort and acute health symptoms. When twenty percent or more of a building’s occupants complain of these conditions, it is said that these individuals may be suffering from sick building syndrome (Akovali, 2007). Sick building syndrome is described as a condition wherein a group of people in the same building or similar structure experiences acute health symptoms which improves or disappears once they go out of the building. These symptoms include headache; irritated eyes, nose, and throat; cough; dry and itchy skin; dizziness and nausea; inability to concentrate; sensitivity to odours; and fatigue. Its underlying cause remains unclear. However most attribute the phenomenon to inadequate building ventilation, contaminants and stress (Fraser, 2008). According to the study by Bischof and Bullinger (1998), symptoms of sick building syndrome were reported on both air-conditioned and naturally-ventilated buildings. However, incidents of SBS were more evident in poorly maintained air-conditioned buildings. Inadequate building ventilation. At the start of the 20th century, building ventilation standards set the ventilation rate to 15 cubic feet per minute per occupant. However, the oil crisis in the 1970s caused a reduction of ventilation rates to 5 cfm. The reduced flow of outdoor air was discovered to cause discomfort and acute health symptoms among the building’s occupants. In order to minimize energy use and attain an acceptable Indoor Air Quality level, the American National Standards Institute / American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers had updated its ventilation standard to 20 cfm for office spaces (Environmental Protection Agency, 1991). Airborne contaminants. Ventilation systems for office buildings usually acquire air from the outside. As outdoor air gets inside the building, it also brings airborne contaminants. Sources of contaminants include motor vehicle fumes, plumbing and building exhausts; and burning materials (Environmental Protection Agency, 1991). Major contaminants include: carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, radon, sulphur dioxide, particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds or VOCs. Most common health effects from these contaminants include: difficulty breathing; eye, nose, and throat irritation; exacerbation of asthma; brain and nervous system damage; digestive problems; stuffy nose and reduced resistance to colds; lung damage; and certain types of cancers (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers, 2010). Indoor air contaminants. Aside from contaminants from outside air, pollutants may also be found inside the building. Sources on indoor contaminants include adhesives, carpeting, upholstery, copy machines, pesticides, cleaning substances, and wood products (Akovali, 2007). In addition, tobacco smoke may also contribute to the degradation of indoor air quality. Tobacco smoke contains VOCs, particulate matter, and other toxic chemicals. Volatile organic compounds may cause acute reactions if exposed for short periods. However, VOCs can cause chronic ill effects in high concentrations while some may also be carcinogenic (Environmental Protection Agency, 1991). Common effects of VOC exposure include: dizziness, headaches, vomiting, drowsiness, and unconsciousness. More serious ...Show more

Summary

Sick Building Syndrome: Who Suffers More - Male or Female? 1.1 Research Background Review of Related Literature In a typical day, an average human adult spends around 90 percent of his or her time indoors, and a considerable amount of time is spent in the workplace (Jones, 1995)…
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