Why has indoor air quality declined?

During the 1970s, the global use of energy became an important political and economic topic due to the energy crises that took place in that decade. Subsequently, the cost of heating and cooling of air in buildings increased and changes in construction techniques took place. Many buildings were retrofitted with insulation, vapour barriers and new, tighter windows and doors. New building construction techniques were developed to decrease the amount of heat transfer through walls and windows and reduce the volume of air infiltration or exchange through walls, windows and doors. As a result, the buildup of contaminants and moisture inside buildings that had previously provided a healthy environment became an issue.

Sick Building Syndrome is now a common label used for headaches, eye irritations, nasal irritations, fatigue and other symptoms that can be correlated to time spent inside a specific building or room.

Building Related Illness refers to a specific diagnosable illness whose cause can be traced to a particular building or room. Legionnaire's disease is an example of a Building Related Illness.

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