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Preventing occupational disease and injury, second edition. Levy BS, Wagner GR, Rest KM, Weeks JL, eds. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association, 2005 Jan; :134-141
Workers with building-related symptoms generally have either nonspecific symptoms of unclear etiology or specific clinical diagnoses with objective findings. Sick building syndrome consists of nonspecific symptoms of headache, mucous membrane irritation, and difficulty concentrating that occur in close temporal association with being in an implicated building. In contrast, building-related illnesses, such as asthma and hypersensitivity pneumonitis, have symptoms that may be exacerbated by building occupancy, but generally persist away from the building. (See Table 1.) In addition, building-related illnesses exist where symptoms have no temporal relation to building occupancy, but are due to building-related exposures. Examples are infectious diseases, such as Legionnaires' disease and tuberculosis, when epidemiologically linked with a building. There is some evidence that transmission of common communicable respiratory infections may be increased in relation to relatively low ventilation rates. The spector of bioterrorism from bacterial diseases, such as anthrax, and from viral diseases, such as smallpox, has increased interest in the role of ventilation and resuspension of particles from indoor surfaces in transmission of infections. Rarely, specific toxic exposures lead to serious illness that is associated with a building environment. Examples include carbon monoxide poisoning from unvented combustion products and lung cancer from radon gas infiltrating from soil. However, public health authorities usually solve acute toxic problems rapidly, and unsuspected exposures rarely present to clinicians as building-related complaints, so these will not be considered further here.
Etiology; Bronchial-asthma; Hypersensitivity; Exposure-levels; Health-hazards; Infectious-diseases; Epidemiology; Ventilation; Respiratory-infections; Indoor-air-pollution; Environmental-factors; Environmental-exposure; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Respiratory-irritants; Respiratory-system-disorders; Indoor-environmental-quality
Levy BS; Wagner GR; Rest KM; Weeks JL.
Research Tools and Approaches: Exposure Assessment Methods
Preventing occupational disease and injury, second edition
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division