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Natural Awakenings Space & Treasure Coast Florida

Work Making You Sick?

Apr 06, 2011 10:56AM

During the energy crisis of the 1970’s, builders started to construct homes and offices that were as airtight as possible. Just a few years later, the World Health Organization suggested that the occupants of up to 30% of new and remodeled buildings complained about indoor air quality. When poor air quality results in health problems, two related terms are used to describe the situation: building-related illness and sick building syndrome.

The term building-related illness (BRI) describes diagnosable illness that can be directly attributed to airborne building contaminants. The building occupants complain of symptoms such as cough, chest tightness, fever, chills and aches. Their symptoms can be clinically defined and have clearly identifiable causes that may require prolonged recovery times after leaving the building.

Building occupants experience sick building syndrome (SBS) when they suffer symptoms that appear to be linked to time spent in a particular building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified. The occupants have acute discomfort such as headache; eye, nose or throat irritation; dry cough; dry or itchy skin; dizziness and nausea; difficulty in concentration; fatigue; or sensitivity to odors. The complaints may be localized in a particular room or zone, or may be widespread throughout the building. Affected persons usually feel better soon after leaving the building.

A series of steps are required to make a “sick” building healthy again, starting with removing contaminants, improving ventilation, adding an air purification system that includes UV light to destroy microorganisms, and one of the best ways to reduce levels of biological pollutants indoors is to control humidity.

The economic impacts of indoor pollution—including healthcare costs, lost productivity, legal costs and human welfare impacts—have been estimated at billions of dollars each year. But through awareness and educated actions, we can create a safe, healthful environment in our homes and offices that protects us from the harmful, sometimes deadly toxins so prevalent in our world today. Home really is where the heart is. Our health can be there, too, if we take the right steps.

For further information call Joyce Rizzo of Healthy Home Products at 321-637-1924 or visit

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