Sick Building Syndrome


Is your home making you sick?

Do health symptoms improve when you leave your house?
Do they return when you come back home?
If so, you may be experiencing sick building syndrome.
Healthy Home PDX has solutions for you.


The only way to get to the bottom of sick building syndrome is through a process of environmental testing.

We test for allergens in your home, evaluate the airflow, look closely at building materials and get to the bottom of your home health concerns.

Americans spend more than 90% of their time indoors. This is usually a combination of being in the workplace, school and home. Indoor allergens and irritants play a significant role in our overall health.

The term “sick building syndrome” (SBS) is used to describe a situation in which the occupants of a specific home or building experience acute health- or comfort-related effects that seem to be linked directly to the time spent inside the structure. Unfortunately, no specific illness or cause can usually be identified. The complaint may be specific to a particular room or zone or may be widespread throughout the building or home.

We often hear of workers claiming that the building in which they work causes them to become ill. People will state that they felt fine before they went to work in a certain environment, but that after several days they began to have symptoms of illness that tended to dissipate when they left work.

This can be the case in your home as well. Medical reports say that certain rooms in a person’s home can tend to cause them to feel achy, experience headaches or nausea, and they may begin to cough and have throat irritation. It is easier to notice a marked difference when having recently moved into a house.

It is frustrating to feel ill yet have no diagnosed reason for the ailment. Because sick building syndrome is so difficult for the medical community to pinpoint and diagnose, the possibility of your home making you sick is often overlooked.

A term used more commonly by the medical community is “indoor air quality.” This is also sometimes referred to as “indoor air pollution.” Indoor air pollution comes from sources that release gases or particles into the air. These can cause allergies and have significant health ramifications. Research is currently being conducted on how to improve techniques used to measure and model emissions of indoor air chemicals present in free-standing structures.

According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, some polluting factors or potential causes of indoor air pollution include indoor combustion (heaters, ranges, smoking) and buildup of carbon monoxide and inhalable particles. Volatile organic compounds such as benzene, styrene and other solvents as well as airborne allergens and pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, spores and protozoans make up other causes of indoor air pollution. Added to that are new building materials (plywood, carpet glue) and fabrics (rugs, furniture) that “off-gas” toxic fumes.

In the 1970s, builders and regulatory authorities decided to button-up buildings to save on fuels for heating and air conditioning. Due to this, buildings became virtually air-tight, not allowing for outside air to cycle through them. Without proper ventilation, polluted air gets trapped inside the building, often causing the inside to have more air pollution than outside.

Poor indoor air quality can cause or contribute to the development of infections, lung cancer and chronic lung diseases such as asthma. People who already have lung disease or smoke or live with smokers are at greater risk.

According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers,
some polluting factors or potential causes of indoor air pollution include:


Heaters, ranges, smoking


Fabrics (rugs, furniture)


Building materials (plywood, carpet glue)

Healthy Home Sick Building Syndrome Testing Services:

Our goal is to help you uncover and mitigate possible causes of sick building syndrome in your home. Our testing services investigate all areas of possible air pollution in your home. We collect samples to be analyzed and help you to make cost-effective mitigation choices.

Our services include:

Asbestos testing:

We survey your home for building materials that look suspect for asbestos. If we locate potential asbestos, a sample is collected for evaluation. Results are sent to you with a detailed explanation and mitigation suggestions.

Mold testing:

Mold spores are a top allergen for many people and pets. Because mold is often behind walls or in ventilation systems, you cannot see it until it appears on an outside surface. It can take a long time to become visible. In the meantime, you and your family are inhaling mold spores. Our experts know where to collect samples, how to collect appropriate samples, and can help you decide what type of mold testing you need to conduct. We also do this in a non-invasive manner, leaving your home undamaged and intact.

Radon testing:

Radon gas is odorless and tasteless. Without testing, you will not know if it is present in your air or water. Radon poisoning is usually caused by inhaling radon gas. It is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S, and the American Lung Cancer Society highly recommends having your home tested for radon. Portland has one of the highest levels of risk for radon exposure in Oregon. Testing is simple and you will get your results in approximately one week. The good news is that radon mitigation is fairly easy, and in most cases it is also relatively inexpensive.

Lead testing:

Lead poisoning is a topic that has been discussed since the 1970’s. It is often associated with sickness and learning disabilities in children. Lead-based paints were used in many older homes. As this paint deteriorates, lead particles and dust pollute your home environment. Lead testing is a quick and effective way to determine if your home is making you sick.

Indoor Air Quality testing:

Indoor air quality (IAQ) testing collects air samples from your home in an effort to determine what allergens, chemicals or other contaminates are circulating through the air in your home. Once causes have been identified, mitigation is an easy next step to eliminate the air pollution in your home.

In all of our environmental testing services, samples are analyzed and the results scrutinized. A proper and understandable conclusion is then given to you, and we work with you to establish an action plan. Our qualified Healthy Home technicians are here to partner with you in attaining and maintaining a healthy living environment.

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