It is well established that individuals in New York City spend 80 to 90 percent of their time indoors, either at the work
place or at home. It has also been established that the indoor air quality may be as poor as the outdoor air. The health risks incurred by merely breathing the air at home can sometimes exceed the general limits set by regulatory agencies. The pollutants found in indoor air are similar to those found outdoors and may, in fact, come from outdoor sources. Some of the more common air quality problems within apartments or townhouses are poor ventilation, odors, insecticides, carbon monoxide, tobacco smoke and formaldehyde, all of which can potentially lead to illness or allergic reaction.
Symptoms of SBS and BRI
Indoor air quality complaints generally begin with building occupants being plagued by one or more symptoms of a non-specific nature, typical of what has been called collectively the Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). Sufferers do not tend to experience symptoms constantly; upon leaving an affected building at night or on a weekend, symptoms subside, only to reappear after reentering the building.
By contrast, a more serious set of diseases, referred to as Building Related Illnesses (BRI), are clinically diagnosable diseases. These diseases are thought to arise from more prolonged exposure than SBS situations. It is quite possible that individuals may suffer from both BRI and SBS.