Sick Buildings Leave Workers with Few Options
Unbelievably, new carpet installed in buildings can emit toxic fumes (a process called outgassing) from the hundreds of chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are used to manufacture its fibers, backing and adhesives. Gases from molds and fungi can also create a sick building where many victims suffer.
Many larger offices use fiberglass-lined ductwork to control noise. Dirt can get trapped in the fibers and if a little moisture is added, it can create a hazardous mold garden or toxic building.Mold exposure symptoms can occur in smaller office spaces too. In California, a judge and court employees sued Tulare County in March 2000, for allegedly negligently allowing mold growth in a courtroom, which caused hair loss, dizziness, vertigo, abdominal pain, respiratory distress, tinnitus, facial swelling and severe rashes.
Sick Building Syndrome
Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) is the main cause of workers becoming too ill to work temporarily or developing longer term conditions, such as building related illnesses and multiple chemical sensitivities. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates as many as 13.5 million lost workdays annually due to sick building syndrome.
Examples of Sick Building Symptoms include eye, nose, and throat irritation; dryness of mucous membranes and skin; nosebleeds; skin rash; mental fatigue; headache cough hoarseness, and wheezing, nausea and dizziness. For many victims exposed, it can overload their immune and detoxification systems to the point that they can no longer work.
A building-related illness generally requires a prolonged recovery time. Unfortunately it may become a chronic problem for the victim even after removal or remediation of the building exposure that caused the illness.
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
Every day Americans are exposed to hundreds of chemicals, which sometimes combine to form even more complex and untested compounds. Multiple chemical sensitivity develops when one’s sensitivity to chemicals grows. Sensitivity starts with exposure to a single substance—like formaldehyde—for example. But then the illness can progress and the person can become sensitive to wider range of chemicals. As a result, the person can no longer walk down a grocery or hardware store’s aisle with household cleaners or fertilizers without being ill for days.
Seek Help from Seeger Weiss
It can be difficult to prove sick building syndrome as symptoms can greatly vary among victims and can also be attributed to stress and other factors. Many victims try to pursue worker’s compensation and are unsuccessful.
For this reason, it is important to hire a New York lawyer with personal injury experience. An experienced personal injury New York lawyer, like Seeger Weiss, can access the support of medical doctors and health inspectors who can testify as to a building’s toxicity and organize a class action lawsuit if appropriate.