A REVIEW OF STUDIES RELATED TO SICK BUILDING SYNDROME AMONG OFFICE WORKERS
Background: The term “sick building syndrome” (SBS) had started to gain popularity in the 1980s. So far, studies on this subject have been conducted among office personnel and then extended to include healthcare workers working in hospitals, residents, and schoolchildren. The aim of this review is to identify the scope of research of the studies conducted on SBS in the last 15 years, particularly among office personnel, to determine the knowledge gap in the nature of illness, risk factors, individual and economic consequences, preventive strategies, and cost-effectiveness of the available intervention strategies.
Materials and Methods: PubMed and Medline database were used for the purpose of searching for articles published from January 2003 to May 2018. The search was based on the inclusion criteria and the keywords “sick building syndrome” and “office personnel”. Twenty-three articles were assessed and reviewed in the final stage.
Results: Fourteen cross-sectional studies, three longitudinal studies, one cohort study, one case-control study, one case report, one systematic review, and epidemiological modelling, and one cost-benefit study were found. These studies were conducted in the US, Japan, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Norway, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Egypt. Twenty-one studies focus on epidemiology, mainly the prevalence on SBS symptoms, risk factors, and predictors. One study looked into the cost and benefit of environmental interventions to reduce SBS and the other study was on analytical chemistry.
Conclusion: Study areas related to long-term consequences of SBS, behavioural factors contributing to SBS, economic consequences due to SBS, and cost-effectiveness of environmental intervention strategies to minimise SBS have been covered in those studies but scarcity of data remains an issue. Meanwhile, studies in the area of knowledge and attitudes towards SBS, as well as individual preventive measures for SBS are lacking. Further research focusing on these particular domains is called for.
Keywords: Sick building syndrome, office personnel