Sick Building Syndrome

19 July 2012.

Yep, i think now i know what happened with my body lately if i forced it to work in campus laboratory. The symptoms are: first, i got a serious headache. After that, i happened to get dizziness. Also easily to get tired and yawn more. Feel so stressful and the only thing i wanted to do was to get out from the lab immediately.

A friend of mine in college, who is also a doctor said that i might get somewhat called “sick building syndrome”. It usually happens if your working space is lack of ventilation so the air can not circulate well.

My laboratory actually is a dark room. 3×4 meters big. The wall is painted black. And it is closed-door. If the room is not in use then it will remain closed. The user of that room is just me and my colleague. But he only come on Wednesday. The only source for the air to circulate is the air-conditioner, but it won’t be used also if i work there because i have to record the image with minimum air vibration. And the air-conditioner surely give huge air vibration.

Yes. So the reason why my body is acting so weird these days is this. Sick building syndrome.

And i went googled.

This is the explanation of what called ‘sick building syndrome’, from here.

Sick building syndrome (SBS) is a poorly understood phenomenon where people in particular work environments have a range of non-specific, building-related symptoms.

The symptoms of SBS may include:

  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • nausea (feeling sick)
  • aches and pains
  • fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • loss of concentration
  • shortness of breath
  • sensitivity to odours
  • eye, nose and throat irritation
  • skin irritation (skin rashes, dry itchy skin)

The symptoms of SBS can appear on their own or in combination with each other. They usually improve or disappear altogether after leaving the building.

Anyone can be affected by SBS, but office workers are most at risk. This is because people who work in offices do not usually have control over their working environment. They are often employed in routine work that involves using display screen equipment.

Women appear to be more likely to develop the symptoms of SBS than men. However, this may be due to more women being employed in offices rather than a higher susceptibility.

Possible risk factors for SBS may include:

  • poor ventilation
  • low humidity
  • high temperature or changes in temperature throughout the day
  • airborne pollutants, such as dust, carpet fibres or fungal spores
  • chemical pollutants, such as cleaning materials
  • poor standards of cleanliness in the working environment
  • poor lighting that causes glare or flicker on visual display units (VDUs)
  • ozone produced by photocopiers and printers
  • working with display screen equipment for prolonged periods of time
  • psychological factors, such as stress or poor staff morale

And i mumbled “AHA! THIS IS IT!”. All the symptoms are match! No doubt, this is sick building syndrome.

Or, from here also:

Sick building syndrome (SBS) is a combination of ailments (a syndrome) associated with an individual’s place of work (office building) or residence. A 1984World Health Organization report into the syndrome suggested up to 30% of new and remodeled buildings worldwide may be linked to symptoms of SBS. Most of the sick building syndrome is related to poor indoor air quality.[1]

Sick building causes are frequently pinned down to flaws in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Other causes have been attributed to contaminants produced by outgassing of some types of building materials, volatile organic compounds (VOC), molds (see mold health issues), improper exhaust ventilation of ozone (byproduct of some office machinery), light industrial chemicals used within, or lack of adequate fresh-air intake/air filtration (see Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value).

Symptoms are often dealt with after the fact by boosting the overall turn-over rate of fresh air exchange with the outside air, but the new green building design goal should be able to avoid most of the SBS problem sources in the first place, minimize the ongoing use of VOC cleaning compounds, and eliminate conditions that encourage allergenic, mold growth.

My decision to not doing thesis in lab feels so right, right now. Ha ha.

I always feel sick after entering the room. Sigh.

Now that i know, that i have this kind of syndrome, later if i have a house on my own, i will install it with many windows. So that i can not get this syndrome again. Feel like dying.

Stay healthy, stay gorgeous!

Ps: screenshot of my lab

see the door? that is the only way for the light to come in.



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