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Building-Related Illness

Gerardi, Daniel A. MD

doi: 10.1097/CPM.0b013e3181fa1448
Interstitial, Inflammatory, and Occupational Lung Disease

Building-related illnesses represent a spectrum of disease. Important to their genesis are the unique features of the indoor air environment involving exposures to air pollution, mold spores, and various allergens. Specific building-related illnesses are primarily infectious, but also include the phenomenon of hypersensitivity pneumonitis and exacerbations of bronchial asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other chronic respiratory diseases. Nonspecific building-related illness includes an array of common symptoms but has no objective findings. It is found among a varied and susceptible working population.

This article reviews the many varieties of indoor air pollution including toxic gases, allergens, and molds. It reviews their contributions to the cause or exacerbation of respiratory diseases. It further describes the nature and extent of nonspecific building-related disease.

From the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, Connecticut.

Acknowledgements: Paula Bernardino and Joseph Pallis for secretarial and research assistance.

Address correspondence to: Daniel A. Gerardi, MD, Director, Occupational Lung Disease, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, 114 Woodland Street, Hartford, CT 06105. E-mail:

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.