Occupational Exposure into Indoor Air Pollutants: Case Studies in Selected Severe Indoor Environments

  • T. M. Perera
  • C. Jayasinghe


Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) has been identified as an important factor that needs to be taken into consideration in the planning of all types of buildings. The severity of symptoms resulting from building-related sicknesses can vary from less severe short-term ones such as headaches, sleepiness, and spread over to more severe ones when exposed long-term. There is a direct impact of building operational practices on SBS symptoms related to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) of the building. Therefore, the study covered in this paper was aimed at developing a correlation between the SBS symptoms and IAQ. A hospital theatre, recently painted office spaces and a motor vehicle service Centre were hand-picked due to various SBS symptoms experienced by the occupants of such workplaces. A considerable impact was reported in the hospital theatre and the motor vehicle service center, due to the causative agents of TVOCs, PM2.5, CO2, and CO. The commonly identified SBS symptoms and their percentage of the responses are sleepiness (75%), headache (55%), lethargy (45%), sensory irritations (17%), and thermal discomfort (28%) from the study of hospital theatre. Sensory irritations (20%), odour/smell (40%), and itching (15%) were also recognized in the newly painted office spaces as SBS symptoms that are mostly specific to the building environment with indoor TVOCs concentration. Moreover, it was observed that the IAQ related pollution in the Motor Vehicle Service Center extended to the outdoor air and affected the neighboring buildings in the vicinity. Thus, it has been identified that there could be an episodic pattern of IAQ problems even in the well-run buildings and associated SBS symptoms among the occupants, especially at workplaces where excessive chemical usage prevails.Keywords: Sick Building Syndrome, Indoor Air Pollution, Exposure level, Hospital theatre, Newly painted spaces, Motor vehicle service Centre