Sick Building Syndrome (SBS)

Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) is a medical condition which makes a building’s residents to either suffer from disease symptoms or to feel bad for no obvious reason. 

Symptoms such as the following are increasingly observed:

  • Eye, Nose and Throat Irritation
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea


These symptoms seem to correlate to the time we spend within a building, though no specific disease or cause may be detected. Bad indoor air quality is the root cause of this phenomenon.

Sources of compounds that cause the syndrome might be both internal and external.


Internal sources:

  • Materials emitting volatile organic compounds, such as cleaning supplies

  • Materials emitting chemical compounds, such as carpets, wood furniture, cigarette smoke, curtains, and so on

External sources:

Diesel Exhaust

Basic Indoor Air Pollutants

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Formaldehyde

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Volatile organic compounds or VOCs are organic compounds that present high vapor pressure in usual room temperature. High pressure of their vapors, causes a large amount of compound molecules to evaporate, thus enabling it to enter surrounding air. Certain VOCs are hazardous to human health or harm the natural environment. Hazardous VOCs usually are not highly toxic, but they have complex, long-term health complications.

Methanal or Formaldehyde

Methanal or formaldehyde is an organic chemical compound; its molecular formula is CH2O. It is a colorless flammable gas, with a characteristic strong, irritating odour. Formaldehyde is an extremely toxic chemical compound, which mainly affects the eyes, the nose and the throat. In concentrations higher than 0.1 ppm in the air it may irritate the eyes or cause headaches, a sore throat and breathing difficulties.