Nippon Eiseigaku Zasshi. 2009 May;64(3):699-703.
Sick house syndrome: governmental actions and challenges.
Since the 1980s, sick house syndrome has become one of the major challenges in environmental health. In Japan in 1980, first governmental measures were taken to limit formaldehyde release from building materials. In 2003, the Building Standards Law and the Community Health Law were revised, and these laws clarified the responsibility of building companies, local governments and health officers in preventing sick house syndrome. Telephone survey results demonstrated the decrease in the prevalence of sick house syndrome between 2002 and 2006 in Tokyo and Sapporo. Knowledge about sick house syndrome enabling patients to better deal with the syndrome and stricter regulations seem to have contributed to the decrease in the prevalence of the syndrome. Questionnaire surveys carried out through regional health centers demonstrated that the number of possible sick house syndrome patients visiting regional health centers varied, possibly reflecting different local prevalences and needs. Most of the regional health centers had staff members who were able to measure in-house environments, but their ability to discuss on health-related issues was limited, and cooperation between the centers and healthcare organizations was not sufficient. Information about healthcare organizations that can treat patients with sick house syndrome and simple self-diagnostic tools were among the most often cited useful support needs. Establishment of a hub regional health center to construct a comprehensive consultation and referral system that can meet local needs in dealing with sick house syndrome is recommended.
PMID: 19502766 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]