Could Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) be causing your allergy symptoms? Learn about eight common building toxins how you can reduce them..




Buildings, old and new, can be a hot bed of mould, toxins, fumes, chemicals and gases. So it’s no wonder that they are making some people sick!


Sick building syndrome

Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) is a group of symptoms (usually allergic in nature) that usually develop after one-to-two hours of being in a building and cease a couple of hours after leaving. In fact, up to 30 per cent of new and renovated buildings worldwide may generate excessive complaints due to their indoor air quality[1]. Common symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Eye, nose, and throat irritation
  • Dry cough
  • Dry, itchy skin, rashes
  • Dizziness and nausea
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Sensitivity to odours.

Many of the above symptoms mirror the symptoms of various allergies/intolerances, so it’s worth taking time to investigate whether your home is ‘healthy’ or ‘sick’ by testing its indoor air quality.


Eight common building toxins and what you can do about them …

We spend so much time in the home and office, so it’s important to be aware of the toxins that may be making your indoor environment ‘sick’, and to take measures to reduce them.

  1. Household chemicals

Household chemicals can be very dangerous if breathed in or soaked into the skin. So, always ensure you have proper ventilation, keep out of reach of children and pets, wear clothes that cover your skin and use gloves. Or, better still, switch to natural, non-chemical alternatives that clean just as well as their chemical alternatives and are better for you, your family and the environment.

  1. Pesticides

Pesticides have been receiving a lot of negative press recently, due to concerns that they’re linked to cancer. So try to avoid using chemical pesticides to maintain your gardens, lawns and trees – there are plenty of natural alternatives available.

  1. Mould

Mould is a type of fungus which thrives in cold, damp environments and can cause allergies and other illnesses. To reduce mould in your home, fix leaks and moisture problems and install ventilation systems. Another safe, natural way to get rid of mould is by using clove essential oil:

  1. Add ½ a teaspoon of 100 per cent clove essential oil into a litre of water in a spray bottle
  2. Spray onto mouldy areas in your home (patch test first to make sure it doesn’t damage the surface)
  3. Leave for a few hours then wipe off with a wet cloth to remove the mould (sometimes it may need a scrub with a brush to get rid of stubborn mould)
  4. Finally, spray a little more on the area and leave it to stop mould growing back.
  1. Dust

Dust, dust mites and animal dander are also common home allergens. So, dust regularly, wrap your mattresses and pillows in allergy-proof covers, and keep animals out of the house (or at least out of the bedroom).

  1. Tobacco smoke

If you smoke inside, sticky, toxic chemicals – like nicotine and tar – cling on to your walls, ceilings and floors, which may cause a raft of health problems. If you aren’t ready to stub out the habit, smoke outdoors or in well ventilated areas and get rid of old tobacco stains by:

  1. Washing the walls, ceilings and floors with a white vinegar solution or detergent
  2. Repainting the walls with two to three coats of paint
  3. Removing carpeting
  4. Replacing curtains and window coverings
  5. Clearing out heating and air conditioning filters.
  1. Asbestos

Most people know about the dangers associated with asbestos – naturally occurring mineral fibres that, up until the late 70s, were commonly used as insulation in buildings and have been linked to lung disease and cancers. If you’re worried about asbestos, take the time to get your home tested and, for safety reasons, use a licenced asbestos removalist.

  1. Lead

Up until fairly recently, lead – a toxic metal – was used in exterior and interior paints. A DIY test kit (which can be purchased at most home improvement stores) can be used to tell if the paint in your house contains lead.

A more contemporary risk of lead poisoning comes from scented candles as some candle makers still use lead cores in their wicks. So, always read the labels or check with the manufacturers.

  1. Carpet

Carpet brings a range of chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – including formaldehyde, a strong smelling chemical known to cause cancer – and is a reservoir for dust, animal dander, dirt and mould. If you can’t avoid carpet in your home, minimize VOCs and allergens by ensuring your home has good ventilation and your carpets are cleaned and vacuumed well, on a regular basis.


Discover our natural allergy treatment

If you think sick building syndrome (SBS) could be contributing your allergy symptoms, try Positive Association Technique (PAT) – our natural allergy treatment!

PAT is a non-invasive holistic therapy, which:

  • draws on acupressure and kinesiology techniques
  • aims to re-train your body
  • may reduce your reactions to substances that may be causing or exacerbating your sensitivities.

Some cases can be complex, so our naturopaths may also recommend supplements, herbs, and lifestyle advice to help you achieve the best long-term results.


Want to see if PAT is right for you? Get in touch!

Send our practitioners a question using our Ask a practitioner service, and you’ll get a call-back or reply straight to your email inbox.

Request our FREE Information E-Pack, to get more information about the allergy symptoms affecting you, right to your email inbox.

You can also request an appointment with one of our experienced PAT practitioners in one our clinic locations – North Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth or Auckland – by:


This blog is intended as general information only. PAT cannot cure allergies – it is intended to decrease reactions and help manage symptoms. It is not intended to raise unrealistic expectations. If symptoms persist, consult your GP.


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