Answer by Steven Fowkes:

Despite the denial of real-estate agents and builders, sick-building syndrome is real. This syndrome encompasses all human sensitivities to indoor pollutants (like formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, radon), toxins (black mold, pesticides, heavy metals), and electromagnetic radiation and fields (abnormal photospectrum, EMF, “dirty” electricity). Each of these can be measured individually, but the measurement does not assess your reactivity or sensitivity to such influences. For this, I’d suggest that you use a canary-in-the-mine approach, to longitudinally measure some physiological or psychological measure of your health, wellbeing or performance and see if it changes upon exposure to your building, as opposed to the outdoors. This might be heart-rate variability, a correlate of vagal tone. Or it might be urine-pH patterns, which reflect biorhythm and inflammation. You might also consider some kind of cognitive testing (reaction time, memory, proprioception, decision-making, or your sleep architecture) or physiological testing (strength and stamina).

The nice side benefit of this quantified-self or self-care approach is that it allows you to test adverse influences from things other than your living or working space.  Foods, beverages, lifestyle influences, pharmaceuticals, lighting, diets, exercises, meditative practices, etc.

It’s a lot more work up front to establish baseline data from which you can assess step-function changes with exposures, but it is educational on a bunch of levels.  Good luck.

How do you detect sick building syndrome in your home?

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