pollution is a spreading problem in the United States.
Awareness of this problem is also rising, according to Dr.
Richard Shaughnessy, Ph.D.
Shaughnessy will be the keynote speaker and chairman of the
Indoor Air Pollution seminar, scheduled for May 8-9 at the Marriott
Shaughnessy is chemistry professor and research associate with
the University of Tulsa's Division of Continuing Education and
Center for Environmental Research and Technology, sponsors of the
"Public awareness has increased substantially," Shaughnessy
said. "People have become aware of the term `sick building
"Builders and property managers are beginning to address the
situation, but it's a slow process. . .Since the '70s, energy
conservation measures have been incorporated into buildings.
Therefore, less outside air is being used, and more synthetic
materials are being used.
"There's a communicable void between people that own a building,
people that design a building, and people that maintain a building,"
The Oklahoma City seminar will help unite the above three
groups, he said. The response to the first seminar, in the fall of
1988, was "overwhelming," he said.
Shaughnessy said litigation on indoor air pollution cases are on
the upswing, partially because indoor air pollution breeds many
side-effects. Among them are increased employee absenteeism,
decreased productivity, and increased liability for litigation, he
"It shortens the lifespan of the building," Shaughnessy said of
the sick building syndrome.
Shaughnessy said important things to look at in `sick' buildings
include ventilation rates, effluent gases, occupant density, job
category, temperature, relative humidity, and age of the building.
"More than 50 percent of sick building syndrome problems can be
tracked to inadequate ventilation," Shaughnessy said.
Effluent gases are radiated by photocopiers, printers and carpet
shampoos, among other sources, he said.
Many building owners, designers and maintainers are solving
indoor air pollution problems, Shaughnessy said. They are improving
ventilation rates in their buildings, and using specified building
materials which meet safety standards.
Many manufacturers of these materials are also following the
"This will be the selling point of the 1990s," Shaughnessy said.
Other ways in which building owners are "healing" victims of the
sick building syndrome are blocking off areas under renovation,
because of toxic materials present, and designating "smoking" and
"Up to 30 percent of all new or remodeled buildings (in the
world) may be sick" is a quote by the World Health Organization,
Shaughnessy said. He said that percentage is about the same in the
Another indoor air pollution issue is radon. …