Sick Building Syndrome (cont.)

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What causes sick building syndrome?

As stated above, there is controversy about sick building syndrome and the controversy is exampled by the medical literature about its cause(s). Those that believe it is a true disease syndrome have only speculated that the cause(s) are multiple and depend on the patient's medical condition (for example, asthma, COPD) and how the compounds in the building (cigarette smoke, chemical outgassing from structural components, or biologics such as bacteria and fungi) interact with the person. The proponents further speculate that patients with the syndrome may be more sensitive to low concentrations of some compounds and may have heightened immune response to such compounds. Further, proponents suggest depression and anxiety may play a role in this syndrome.

Others who say there is no evidence for this syndrome agree that certain chemicals, biologics, and physical agents found in some buildings can cause disease, but once these are identified (for example, lead, Legionnaires' disease, asbestos), then the disease is identified and is not a new "syndrome." The proponents of the "there is no such thing as sick building syndrome" say evidence for a new syndrome is simply nonexistent. A few individuals consider "sick building syndrome" to be a psychological problem.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/25/2013