Air Quality Life

A "sick" building
A "sick" building
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If this isn’t a sick building, what is it?

A building with “sick building syndrome” would be one in which “building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in the building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified.”

Rat droppings. Mold. Bacteria.

It got bad enough that the 106-year-old town hall of the seaside hamlet of Sullivan’s Island, S.C., has been relocated to a temporary trailer. The police department has moved too.

Staff members in the vacated building, built in 1905, were experiencing headaches, nausea, fatigue and burning noses, reports the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier.

Employees already feel better in their new, temporary digs, and inspectors found the old building was rife with bacteria from dead rats in the HVAC ducts and mold in the walls.

“It’s a sick building,” one employee told the Post and Courier.

Technically, though, it’s not a sick building.

Rather, it’s a building that causes “building related illness (BRI).” That is, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

A building with “sick building syndrome” would be one in which “building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in the building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified.”

But in the case of BRI, “symptoms of diagnosable illness are identified and can be attributed directly to airborne building contaminants.”

And in the case of the Sullivan’s Island town hall, the abundant rat droppings seen on furniture and computers is sufficient evidence to classify this case as “BRI.”

“Those rats, that was gross,” the city’s human resources director reportedly said.

ABOUT IQAIR
IQAir is a Swiss-based air quality technology company that since 1963 empowers individuals, organizations and communities to breathe cleaner air through information, collaboration and technology solutions.

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