Essay: 'Sick building syndrome' (SBS)

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  • 'Sick building syndrome' (SBS)
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CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
1.1 BACKGROUND INFORMATION
According to EPA A991, the ‘sick building syndrome’ (SBS) definition is a common situation which is always effect especially among workers building where the workers will get some of experience acute health and uncomforted situation as longs as how many times the workers spent their times in the building. The other definition that may also always be used than the sikc building syndrome symptom is ‘ building related illness’ (BRI) where the symptoms were identified based on the attributed of airborne building contaminants.
SBS is also temporary phenomenon that is relieved when affected persons are no longer inside the building. There are some signs and symptoms of Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) that always happened especially among workers like headache which may become either heavy headache or light headache, respiratory tract irritation, dry skin, fatigue and others. Besides, the cause of the symptoms of SBS is also unknown. In comparison, building-related illness (BRI) describes symptoms of diagnosable illness that can be linked to specific pollutants; examples are Legionnaires’ disease and hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Possible causes of SBS are inadequate building ventilation, chemical contaminations, and biological contaminants
ALA,1994 mention that indoor air is of poor quality can be significant factor in the etiology of lung disease and exacerbation of existing condition such as asthma and bronchitis. A report authored by four leading health and governmental organizations states that studies from the United States and Europe show that persons in industrialized nations spend more than 90 percent of their time indoors. For infants, the elderly, persons with chronic diseases, and most residents of any age, the proportion is probability higher. In addition, the concentrations of many pollutants indoors exceed those outdoors. The locations of highest concern are those involving prolonged, continuing exposure.
According to Department of Safety and Health (DOSH), 2010 under the Code of Practice on Indoor Air Quality, a good indoor air quality is desired for a healthy living environment. Poor indoor air quality can cause a variety of short-term and long-term health problems which include allergic reactions, respiratory problems, eye irritation, sinusitis, bronchitis and pneumonia. Inadequate quantity of ventilation provided for the amount of air contaminants in space increase indoor air quality problem in non-industrial buildings. Hence, indoor air quality and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC) are closely related.
Arya& Rajput, 2011 mention from their study that generally, the main factor that affecting the indoor environment quality is come either from physical or chemical parameter for example the physical parameter are like the temperature, relative humidity, air velocity, amount of fresh air, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, ozone, formaldehyde, benzene, respirable particles, the volatile organic compound, radon and many more
In addition, indoor air pollutants also may infiltrated from outside as mentioned in the Mitchell et al., 2007 studied or produced by polluted air pollutant sources which may be associated with a variety of health effects, including asthma and allergy symptoms, irritation of the airways, decreased lung function and other respiratory symptoms. Furthermore, according to Jalaludin et al., 2014, he mentioned that there are some factors that may contribute to the decrease the quality of indoor air like poorly designed of workstation and building, maintained or controlled air conditioning and mechanical ventilation systems.
As mentioned in Kamaruzzaman & Sabrani (2011), providing of good environmental quality in the building like the ventilation using and thermal comfort provided is an important of elements that need to be considered for example like to ensure that the HVAC system provided is functioning well and the level of the temperature in the building is conducive to building occupants as the quality of indoor air in the building and workers performance may be affected from the temperature level either the temperature that is too high or too low
Moreover, there are a lot of control measures that can be recommended to reduce or solve indoor air quality problems for example regular housekeeping. Housekeeping can help to eliminate residues of air pollutants mainly particulate matters either at source or at working station. In maintaining healthy indoor air, immediately clean-up of spills, regular and thorough cleaning of all areas of the office was essential.
Then, the staff also should have a training about the any activities be that can increase level of indoor air pollutants such as smoking in indoor area. Training and advice can help to increase the level of awareness among building occupant on the exposure of indoor air pollutants. Besides that, installation of an effective ventilation system is important for maintaining healthy indoor air quality. It is to ensure that all contaminants can be removed effectively. Recirculation of air containing contaminants to the building occupants should also be avoided
1.2 BACKGROUND OF STUDY AREA
Majlis Perbandaran Taiping (Taiping Municipal Council) is located in the district, which contains 12 territorial sub divisions. Majlis Perbandaran Taiping (Taiping Municipal Council) was established on 1st September 1979 in accordance with the Local Government Act 1976 (Act 171). MPT is an area of 186.46 sq km, is a combination of eight (8) Local Government Management Board. Majlis Perbandaran Taiping (Taiping Municipal Council) involves planning in hoping the future development of the area and provide municipal services to meet basic needs while the residents of the Council.
Majlis Perbandaran Taiping (Taiping Municipal Council) administration is . responsible in implementing the tasks entrusted to them efficiently and effectively. Therefore, the Majlis Perbandaran Taiping (Taiping Municipal Council) will always strive to provide and implement quality services for excellence, harmony, satisfaction and comfort of residents and visitors.
Level Department/Unit Number of employee
GROUND
FLOOR F1- Traffic Enforcement Official 14
F2- OSC Unit 5
FIRST FLOOR F3- Department of Treasury 17
F4- Department of Management Services 17
Second Floor F5-Department of Environmental Health 15
F6- Community Services Department 5
F7- Audit Unit 4
Third Floor F8- Engineering Department 16
Fourth Floor F9- Department of Valuation & Property Management 11
Fifth Floor F10- Enforcement Official 28
F11- Unit of Law 6
Sixth Floor F12- Department of Planning &Landscape 19
F13- Building Department 11
TOTAL 246
There are sixth level at Taiping Municipal Council with 13 of departments there.
The organization of Taiping Municipal Council is separated by three buildings with some departments there like at Zoo Taiping and Night Safaris Building and Taman Tasik Kamuntting Building. At Taping Municipal Council, there is about 248 workers there.
Zoo Taiping (Malay for Taiping Zoo) is a zoological park located at Bukit Larut, Taiping, Perak, Malaysia. Established in 1961, Taiping Zoo is the oldest Zoo in Malaysia.
It is one of the major zoological parks in Malaysia. It covers 34 acres (14 ha) and exhibits 1300 animals representing 180 species of amphibians, mammals, and reptiles. It also has a night safari. As the only zoo in North Malaysia, it tends to receive a large amount of visitors. It houses the largest number of stump-tailed macaques in Malaysia, which is thirteen, compared to six at the National Zoo of Malaysia (Zoo Negara) and five at the Malacca Zoo
Level Department/Unit Number of employee
GROUND
FLOOR Z1- Guard unit 10
Z2- Ticket Counter Unit A 13
Z3 – Ticket Counter Unit B 11
Z4- Zoo Workers Unit 41
FIRST FLOOR Z5- Department of Pelancongan 19
Z6- Department of Zoo Management
Services 23
Second Floor Z7- Zoo Enforcement Unit 8
Z8- Community Zoo Services Department 11
Z9- Zoo Financial Unit 14
TOTAL 150
New building of Zoo Taiping was build on November 2013. This new building has three level and consist of 160 workers. This building is the additional of building where the old building is not enough to occupied with the zoo workers
1.3. PROBLEM STATEMENT
According to Burge et al. 1987; Mendell 1993 ‘sick building syndrome’ (SBS) sometimes call nonspecific building-related symptoms (BRS) which have emerged as an occupational and environmental health issue since the early 1980s .A group symptoms (i.e., eye, nose, and throat irritation; fatigue; headache; or other discomfort) is refers to building-related symptoms (BRS). This group of symptoms cannot be assigned to a specific illness and usually does not have an identifiable cause, but it appears to be building related (ACGIH, 1999).
A number of published studies have reported high prevalence of symptoms among occupants of office buildings. Joseph. J et al., 1993 mentioned in his study that scientists investigating indoor environmental problems believe that there are multiple factors that may contribute to building-related occupant complaints. Some of the factors are like are imprecisely defined characteristics of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC)systems, cumulative effects of exposure to low concentrations of multiple chemical pollutants, odors, elevated concentrations of particulate matter, microbiological contamination, and physical factors such as thermal comfort, lighting, and noise. Indoor environmental pollutant scan arise from either outdoor sources or indoor sources.
Office buildings are generally considered safe and healthy working environments. However, concerns about indoor air quality (IAQ) have increased since energy conservation measures were instituted in office buildings during the 1970s, minimizing the infiltration of outside air and contributing to the buildup of indoor air contaminants. IAQ generally refers to the quality of the air in an office environment. Other terms related to IAQ include indoor environmental quality (IEQ) and sick building syndrome. (OSHA, 2008)
According to World Health Organization Committee report suggested that up to 30 percent of new and remodeled buildings worldwide may be the subject of excessive complaints related to IAQ. Often this condition is temporary, but some buildings have long-term problems. Frequently, from the EPA study in 1991 problems result when a building is operated or maintained in a manner that is inconsistent with its original design or prescribed operating procedures. Sometimes indoor air problems are a result of poor building design or occupant activities.
Pollutants of outdoor origin, including those present in the outdoor air and those released from soil sources, can be transported indoors via building openings and cracks (Garbesi et al. 1999;Nazaroff 2004). Attempts have been made by Ottet al. 2000; Thatcher and Layton 1995 to estimate the fraction of measured indoor concentration contributed by outdoor air due to the outdoor-to-indoor transport process
According to National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reported in 1994, they received a confidential request for a Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Tampa, Florida, from three employees working in the Communication Center. The employees were concerned that poor ventilation and possible exposure to bioaerosols such as mold and mildew were causing respiratory symptoms, headaches, and fatigue
According to Occupational Safety & Health Administration, 2007, IAQ can cause illness and lost work time as well as comfort problems due to improper temperature and relative humidity conditions. This condition might be caused by thermal comfort problem. Indoor air quality (IAQ) is generally affected by three factors which include biological, physical and chemical factors. Others include radiation such as radon and heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). Illustration 1 below show the primary sources of indoor air pollution that might affect people who work in an office.
Illustration 1: Primary sources of Indoor Air Pollution
1.4. STUDY JUSTIFICATION
As the public recognizes the importance of healthy, comfortable and productive environment, the demand and awareness for good indoor air quality increases. This demand has resulted in indoor air quality (IAQ) emergency as a major concern in office buildings because human are spending 90 percent of their time indoor. (EPA, 2008).
Good indoor air quality is important in a building as to protect the occupant health, comfort, and so as the work productivity. Bad indoor air quality leads to problems such as health problems, uncomfortable, complaints, reduced productivity, and absenteeism. This study will examine the significance of health risk posed by the office workers from the exposure to air contaminants in their workplace. Surveys through self-administrative questionnaires will help to identify whether the workers are affected by Sick Building Syndrome symptoms and thermal comfort at their workplace.
Realizing the fact that there are many non-industrial places of work in Malaysia, the primary concern is ultimately the health of the workers as well as the public. Findings from this study would help to provide baseline data on the exposure to indoor air pollutants and its health effects towards the workers inside the buildings. Moreover, the results from this study might be useful in planning and implementing control measures in order to reduce the exposure to indoor air pollutants and promote healthy working environment among office workers. Nevertheless, it is hope that this study will provide valid information on the adverse health effects of indoor pollutants on human health.
1.5. CONCEPTUAL AND OPERATIONAL DEFINITION
1.5.1. Conceptual definition
I. Mold
Molds are fungi that can be found both outdoors and indoors. They grow well in warm, damp and humid conditions (MedlinePlus, 2014).
II. Microbe
Microbes are single-cell organisms which so tiny in size that millions can fit into the eye of a needle (Microbe World, 2014).
III. Temperature
A comparative objective measures of hot and cold. The comparison is through detection of heat radiation, particle velocity, kinetic energy, or most commonly, by the bulk behavior of a thermometric material. It may be calibrated in any of various temperature scales as such Celsius, Fahrenheit and Kelvin (Wiki, 2014).
IV. Air velocity
Air velocity is a measurement of air flow. It was calculated by dividing the volumetric flow rate by the cross-sectional area of the air flow passage (AavidThermalloy, 2014).
V. Humidity
Humidity is a measure of the amount of moisture in the air. It tells you how comfortable it is to be outside, and if there is enough moisture to create clouds and rain, while relative humidity is given as a percentage. This percentage describes how close the air is to being saturated (Climate Education for K-12, 2013).
VI. Particulate matter
Particulate matter (PM) is an air pollution term for a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2013).
1.5.2. Operational definition
I Office
A room, a set of rooms or building where people work, usually sitting at desks. Offices at Taiping Municipal Council (MPT) and additional building at Zoo Taiping will be the main location where samples of respondents of the study will be taken.
II. Indoor Air Quality
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 2007 define indoor air quality as the temperature, humidity, ventilation and chemical or biological contaminants of the air inside a building. IAQ is the quality of the air inside buildings as represented by concentrations of pollutants and thermal comfort (temperature and relative humidity) conditions that affect the health, comfort, and performance of occupants.
III. Indoor Air Pollutants
The indoor air pollutants that will be studies in the research are particulate matter of 10 microns (PM10) and carbon dioxide (CO2). For thermal comfort study, temperature and relative humidity will be measure.
IV. Sick Building Syndrome Symptoms
Sick Building Syndrome is acute illness where the causes are unknown. Symptoms of SBS will be gone after the occupants go out from the building. The symptoms of SBS include dry, itching, or irritated eyes, headache, sore or dry throat, unusual tiredness, fatigue, chest tightness, stuffy or runny nose, cough, tired or strained eyes, tension or irritability, nervousness, difficulty of remembering, dizziness or light headed and dry or itchy skin.
V. Thermal Comfort
Thermal comfort determines the comfort condition of the occupant in the building. Measuring the relative humidity and temperature often related to thermal comfort.
1.6. STUDY CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
Figure 1.3 Conceptual Frameworks
1.7. STUDY OBJECTIVE
1.7.1. General objective
The general objective of this study is to identify the relationship between indoor air quality of temperature (physical) and volatile organic compound (chemical) and prevalence of Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) symptoms among office workers in new and old building
1.7.2. Specific objectives
I. To measure physical parameter (temperature) of indoor air quality in old and new building
II. To measure chemical parameter (volatile organic compound) of indoor air quality in old and new building
III. To examine and make a comparison about prevalence of sick building syndrome (SBS) among the office workers in new and old building
IV. To determine the relationship between physical and chemical parameters of indoor air quality and sick building syndrome symptoms among office workers in new and old building
1.8. STUDY HYPOTHESIS
1.8.1. Ho: There is a significant exposure differences of temperature (physical) in new and old building
1.8.2. Ho: There is a significant exposure differences of Volatile Organic Compound (chemical) in new and old building
1.8.3. Ho: There is no significance difference of sick building syndrome (SBS) symptoms among office workers in new and old building
1.8.4. Ho: There were no association between physical and chemical parameter of indoor air quality (Temperature and VOC) and prevalence of sick building s,yndrome symptoms among office workers in new and old building
1.9. VARIABLES
1.9.1. Independent Variable
i) Volatile Organic Copound
ii) Carbon dioxide (CO2)
iii) Temperature
iv) Relative Humidity
1.9.2. Dependent Variable
i) SickBuilding Syndrome Symptoms
Table 1: Standard Guidelines of Indoor Air Quality for the Selected Parameters
No Parameter Standard
Limit /Range References
1 Carbon monoxide 10 ppm COP IAQ
2 Carbon Dioxide Comfortable rate 250 ‘ 650 ppm
Ceiling Limit = 1000ppm NIOSH US
COP IAQ
3 Temperature 22 – 26 ?? C ASHRAE 55
4 Relative Humidity 30% – 65% ASHRAE 55
5 Air Movement 0.25 m/s WHO
6 Ventilation Rate Volumetric flowrate of outside air is not less than 0.0095m??/s ASHRAE 62
Number of air change per hour is not less than 10 FMA
9 Respirable Particulate 0.15 mg/m?? COP IAQ
10 Total VOC 3ppm COP IAQ
11 Formaldehyde 0.1ppm COP IAQ
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