Special Issue "Building Related Illnesses"
A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 December 2017)
Prof. Dr. Derek Clements-Croome
School of the Built Environment, Whiteknights, University of Reading, PO Box 219, Reading RG6 6AW, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: design and management of intelligent buildings; sustainable healthy buildings; environmental sensory design; green building; creating productive workplaces
Illnesses are a barrier to health and wellbeing. The causes can be many and often interact. The roots are in the factors that influence physical, mental and social wellbeing. The physical environment, the digital support systems, the management, the social ambience can all cause stress in various ways.
Illnesses can have an identifiable cause—such as legionellosis, humidifier fever, and conditions resulting from exposure to known substances such as asbestos, lead in paint, formaldehyde, allergens and other volatile compounds. Algal growth on drift eliminators of a building's cooling tower can be a potential source of pollutants. Asthma is increasing in many European countries, even though modern homes are well ventilated and heated.
Sick building syndrome is more elusive and the term is used to describe a condition when more people than normal suffer from various symptoms or feel unwell for no specific reason. The symptoms tend to increase in severity with the time that people spend in the building and to steadily improve or disappear when they leave the building.
The symptoms associated with sick building syndrome are those associated with common illnesses and allergies, usually in a relatively mild form so that many sufferers may not see a doctor and may not take time off work but affect presenteeism. Symptoms include:
- Eyes—irritated, itching, dry, watering
- Nose—irritated, itching, runny, dry, blocked
- Throat—sore, constricted, dry mouth
- Head—headache, lethargy, irritability, difficulty in concentrating
- Skin—dryness, itching, irritation, rashes
There is no single known cause of sick building syndrome, but there are several risk factors that have been identified from a large number of studies. Often a lack clean fresh air and temperature control feature but sound and lighting can also cause problems.
One factor can lower the effectiveness of the immune system and hence make the individual more susceptible. As a consequence, human energy levels fall and people do not work at their best or even have to take time off work. In the UK we waste £100 bn per year due to absenteeism and presenteeism of which a significant part is due to the built environment.
This Special Issue will publish research and debate the roots, causes and solutions to deal with physical and mental illnesses, which are fully or partly attributable to buildings and their environment. The hope is that this will lead to healthier buildings for people to work and live in.
Prof. Emeritus Derek Clemnets-Croome
Manuscript Submission Information
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