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Sick Building Syndrome: What it is and How to Cure It

Aug 17, 2007
In office buildings all across the country, employees come to work feeling fine and leave the office feeling ill and lethargic. This doesn't necessarily mean that these employees are sick of their jobs, but in many cases it does mean that their job is literally making them sick due to what is called "sick building syndrome."

Sick building syndrome is caused by molds, monoxides, and other pollutants that lurk in air conditioning vents and behind walls. The result can be deadly in extreme cases; the rest of the time, sick building syndrome produces unmotivated, unhappy employees who wonder why they literally feel sick coming to work.

How can you tell if your office could have "sick building syndrome"
If you suspect that people in your office could be suffering adverse health affects, contact an HVAC specialist to check for contaminants in your building's air conditioning vents. If the vents and ducts are dirty or the specialists believes that the walls may be hiding molds, spores, or other dangerous contaminants, stop using the central air system immediately and have a specialist install portable air conditioners to cool and circulate air through the building.

How buildings become "sick"
There are countless different contaminants in and around buildings, from asbestos in older office buildings, to the mold that has been mushrooming since last year's, water pipe leak. Add to this the fact that most office buildings, especially high rises, have no windows to let in fresh air and sometimes no doors that lead directly outside.

How to alleviate sick building syndrome
Portable air conditioners don't utilize the ducting and can be set up quickly for temporary use. Portable air conditioners offer more than just cool air; they condition the air, filtering out contaminants as the air circulates through the system. If you find that the portable air conditioners have improved the overall health in the office, it's a good bet that there is some form of irritant in the central air ducting that is the root cause of the problem.

However, if the building has no form of outside ventilation, a portable air conditioner will still be recycling the air in the space. If conditions are too severe, you may want to consider moving to a building with more ventilation. Find out from your building superintendent how many cubic feet of fresh air the central air conditioning is pulling in per minute and divide that by the number of people in the office. According to HVAC professionals, 20 cubic feet of fresh air per person is ideal.

If employees feel tired and ill when they come to work, don't necessarily chalk it up to poor attitudes and disinterest in the job. As any CEO or president knows, people are the greatest asset of any company. Taking measures to ensure that their working environment is healthy and safe is an essential part of building a positive, thriving business.
About the Author
Author is a writer for Stokely Services who specialize in portable
air conditioners
. For more information you can visit http://www.ColdAir.net
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