CBS News Report: Is Your Building Sick?

(CBS) Dr. David Straus, a scientist from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, is one of the nation’s leading experts on mold exposure and the phenomenon known as sick building syndrome. CBS.com asked Dr Straus to answer some of the most frequently asked questions homeowners have about mold.

What is sick building syndrome?

Sick building syndrome is the result of an indoor air contamination problem.

What are the symptoms of SBS?

The usual symptoms include eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches and fatigue. The symptoms usually dissipate once occupants have left an infected building.

What causes SBS?

Some microorganisms negatively affect the body. To date, research has shown two fungi, Penicillium and Stachybotrys, have been linked to this syndrome. These fungi usually grow and cause air problems when building materials, such as walls and carpets, become wet. Combined with a dirty environment, the fungi grow.

What can I do to prevent SBS from occurring?

Check your home to ensure that there are no broken water pipes or roof leaks that could lead to substantial mold growth. Make sure your home is weather-proofed as much as possible to reduce humidity inside the house. And dust your house and change your air filters regularly.

What can I do if I think my home has SBS?

Contact a local air quality business to see if (it) can determine whether your home is having problems. If you are suffering respiratory problems, then contact your local physician or health care professional for additional information.

Copyright 2000, CBS Worldwide Inc., All Rights Reserved.

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