Cartoon of sick building

Is your job making you sick?

Sick building syndrome - defined

It may be the building and the air you’re breathing, not your daily grind or your boss.

Commonly known as “Sick Building Syndrome” or SBS, your office environment may literally be making you ill.

Determining whether your office environment is responsible for causing general illness can be difficult.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency**, SBS is “…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 illness or cause can be identified. The complaints may be localized in a particular room or zone, or may be widespread throughout the building.”

If the effects diminish upon leaving the building, further investigation is warranted.

Effects fall into three categories:

  • general symptoms: headache, fatigue, difficulty concentrating
  • mucous symptoms: eye, throat and nose irritations, cough
  • dermal symptoms: face, hands, scalp

Also, this is important to note – women tend to report SBS more often than men. A number of female co-workers may experience similar symptoms, while their male counterparts are unaffected. According to the National Institute for Health***, results from clinical analysis indicate the symptoms are real and not psychosomatic.

The bottom line is that, regardless of sex, when a number of coworkers are suffering from common health issues which diminish upon leaving work, SBS is a very real possibility. Steps must be taken to identity and alleviate the causes. Your health depends upon it.