How Sick Building Syndrome Can Lead To Disability


If your doctor determines that you have sick building syndrome, you may need to seek the professional services of a workers' comp attorney. While many people affected by sick building syndrome experience only transient symptoms, others may develop long-standing or even permanent disabling symptoms. Here are three ways sick building syndrome can make you ill, and why you may be eligible for disability or workers' compensation benefits:

Mold Exposure

The inhalation of mold and mycotoxins can lead to nasal congestion, watery eyes, headache, and coughing, and it can even trigger a systemic inflammatory response. If this happens, lung function can be severely compromised, which can be especially serious for those suffering from asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cardiovascular problems.

While the symptoms of mold exposure often resolve once the individual is no longer being exposed to the spores, mycotoxins may cause permanent lung damage in susceptible people. If this happens to you, contact a workers' comp attorney to evaluate your situation. If your physician and attorney determine that your respiratory system has been permanently compromised as a result of sick building syndrome and subsequent mold exposure, you may be entitled to long-term workers' compensation or disability benefits. 

Chemical Contaminants

Exposure to indoor chemical contaminants can also heighten your risk for sick building syndrome. Indoor chemical air pollutants diminish indoor quality and may come from carpeting or upholstered furniture fumes and volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde, paints, and adhesives.

Other things such as gas-fueled space heaters, fireplaces, wood stoves, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide can also contribute to poor indoor air quality. If the building where you work has inadequate ventilation, fresh air may not circulate properly, further increasing your risk for allergies, eye problems, gastrointestinal disorders, and joint pain.

Poor or inadequate ventilation can arise when the building's air conditioning or heating system are contaminated with illness-causing microorganisms or when the mechanical systems are not in proper working condition.

Your workers' compensation attorney might consult with the building engineer to learn more about the mechanical systems of the building and to determine which type of chemical pollutants have been used that may have contributed to your illness.

Constant exposure to indoor contaminants may render you physically unable to work due to constant joint pain, breathing problems, and even depression, which may also be a symptom of sick building syndrome. 

Biological Contaminants

Other contributors to sick building syndrome include biological contaminants, These include bacteria and viruses that may originate from bird droppings, insects, and pet dander or hair. Biological contaminants can breed inside the building's heating and cooling ductwork and vents, in drain pains and humidifier units, and in stagnant water, which may have built up inside the ventilation system. Also, contaminated water may have also saturated the building's insulation, carpeting, drywall, or ceiling tiles, as a result of flooding or a leak.

Contamination from biological sources can further be amplified because windows in certain office buildings or high rises do not open, diminishing circulation and optimal fresh air flow. If you get sick as a result of biological contaminants in your building, your attorney may request the services of a certified building inspector to learn more about the source and type of the offending contaminant. 

If you believe you are sick as the result of sick building syndrome, work with both your physician and your workers' compensation attorney to determine if you should move forward with litigation. If it is determined that you have sustained a serious or permanent disability from working in a contaminated building, you may be entitled to workers' compensation or a substantial disability payment to compensate you for your pain and suffering and to cover costs for future medical bills. 


22 August 2018

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