Reasons for 'sick building syndrome' still unclear

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The Independent Online
WORKERS who blame the office for making them feel sick will have to carry on suffering after an official report yesterday said that the problem could not be tackled quickly.

A Health and Safety Executive review of research into 'sick building syndrome' has found that its causes cannot be clearly established.

The executive's report says that staff suffer the symptoms of headaches, dry throats, mental fatigue and dizziness even in the better buildings.

Ventilation, airborne chemical pollution and high temperatures, combined with low humidity and poor lighting, are identified as the main 'risk factors' contributing to eye, nose and throat irritation and fatigue.

Dr Pam Buley, a senior health policy official at the HSE, said: 'Sick building syndrome is often associated with air-conditioned buildings and seems to affect women more than men, especially workers who are in a building for a long time.

'People seem to think this problem is capable of a quick solution, but the report shows that there is unlikely to be a short- term answer.'

The executive has commissioned its own research into the problem and will issue guidance to workers at the end of the year.

The Institution of Environmental Health Officers said last year that 500 'sick building' complaints had been made to local authorities.