Sick Building Syndrome (Environmental Illness, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity or MCS)

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

What are sick building syndrome symptoms and signs?

Proponents of the sick building syndrome agree that people considered to have the syndrome may exhibit any number of nonspecific symptoms that may be increased when the person is associated with certain buildings. The symptoms are as follows:

There is no pattern or clear set of symptoms that fit criteria for a new syndrome in the opinion of many clinicians and investigators; these symptoms are often part of symptoms of many other diagnosable medical conditions.

How is sick building syndrome diagnosed?

The vast majority of clinicians, whether they agree or disagree that sick building syndrome exists as a medical entity, agree on one major point; there are no tests that can reliably diagnose the alleged sick building syndrome. However, there are tests for specific causes of illnesses that are related to the local environment. For example, tests for formaldehyde, radon gas, asbestos, lead, and other components such as black mold are available.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/8/2016

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