Sick building syndrome (SBS) is a condition in which people who work or live in a building contaminated with chemicals, mold, or other hazards experience illness related to being in the building, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). When the symptoms progress to the point of causing a diagnosable illness, the EPA uses the term “building-related illness.” Both can cause serious health problems for those exposed to these “sick buildings.”
The causes of SBS vary, depending on the building and its contents. Inadequate ventilation in buildings can result in chemicals being trapped inside, where they can harm building occupants. Even if ventilation is adequate, chemicals from adhesives, carpeting, machinery, and cleaning agents can make people sick. Chemical contaminants may also come in from outdoors in the form of car exhaust, pesticides, and other compounds. Finally, biological contaminants, like mold, bacteria, and viruses can cause illness.
The symptoms of sick building syndrome include headaches, fever or chills, dizziness, irritated eyes or respiratory tract, coughing, dry or itchy skin, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. Usually, the cause of the symptoms cannot be pinpointed, but patients usually experience relief when they leave the sick building.
Building owners, business owners and workplace supervisors have a responsibility to check for SBS if workers or residents start becoming ill, and to take corrective measures to ensure the health of residents or employees. Since SBS can result in severe health problems that are difficult to treat, the medical costs of exposure to a sick building can be astronomical, particularly if those responsible for the building do nothing or do too little to solve the problem.
If you or a loved one has been exposed to a sick building, you have certain legal rights and options. The experienced Pennsylvania toxic tort attorneys at Cherry Fieger & Marciano, LLP can help you understand your case and take the next step to protect yourself and your family. Call Cherry Fieger & Marciano, LLP today at 1-888-684-7192 for a free and confidential consultation of your potential toxic tort case.