ABCs of a sick building

Camosun carpentry instructor speaks from personal experience

Sick building syndrome has been officially documented by Health Canada since the early 1990s.

Poor ventilation and/or a build up of one or more contaminants known as volatile organic compounds or VOCs  cause allergic reactions and illness amongst those who spend time in the buildings.

Camosun College carpentry instructor Geoff Murray teaches his students about the syndrome and how to prevent it. Moulds growing in walls or in carpets are the result of poor ventilation or improper sealing of homes. Older homes that have been renovated are particularly vulnerable to becoming a sick building with off-gassing from inorganic compounds in carpeting and paints. Even adhesives in wood can decrease air quality. (If you must have carpet, consider wool carpeting with jute backing, he suggests.)

Murray shares a personal sick building experience with his students from the early 1990s when he and his wife moved into a 1930s James Bay house that had recently been renovated. Within weeks his wife became ill. Sick building symptoms can include eye, nose, throat and skin irritation as well as nonspecific hypersensitivity to odours and tastes. It wasn’t until his wife got better while on vacation that the couple figured out it was the house. “It was sealed up super tight but the crawl space hadn’t been sealed and dampness was coming up causing mold,” he recalled. They quickly moved out. “And when we bought our first home the first thing I did was seal the basement.” New building regulations require energy saving new homes to have heat return systems installed. Murray suggests homeowner discuss with their architects and general contractors the many new kinds of organic products that can be used during renovations in order to maintain good air quality in a home.

vmoreau@oakbaynews.com

Did you know:

Fifty per cent of all work-related deaths in B.C. are from occupational diseases, most from exposure to asbestos.

Just Posted

Runners invited to get set for the 40th annual Goodlife Marathon

More than 9,000 runners expected to pack Victoria streets in October

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

Lost wedding ring found on Valentine’s Day

Dan Milbrath’s ring is back where it belongs

Victoria installation for the blind causes problems for those with mobility issues

The truncated domes installed at Blanshard and Fort streets aren’t helpful for everyone

Funds being raised for double-amputee Ecuadorean dancer

North Saanich woman is putting out collection jars if people would like to donate

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

Steelhead LNG stops work on Kwispaa LNG project near Bamfield

Huu-ay-aht First Nations ‘deeply disappointed; Steelhead says funding is the problem

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

‘Violent’ B.C. man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

Prince George man with ties to Vernon sought by police

Homicide police investigate assault turned deadly in Surrey

60-year-old man died at hospital after assault

Deported B.C. man who came to Canada as a baby granted chance at return

Len Van Heest was deported to the Netherlands in 2017

A Mother’s Wish: Ryan Shtuka’s mother wants her son to be ‘forever known’

‍‍‍‍‍“Let me tell you a story …. it all began with a boy named Ryan”

Most Read