Environmental Health: Working in the Old Building


The propensity to respiratory diseases may be caused by various factors, including not a sufficiently high level of ecology. In the case of a 55-year-old client who works in a building over 100 years old, there are some nuances that suggest a predisposition to specific health problems. In particular, as the woman notes, her colleagues also get sick quite often, regardless of the time of year. Based on the assessment of the working environment and the conditions in which the patient works, it can be assumed that the air exposure in the old building is negative, and the general sanitary situation is not favorable enough. The concept of environmental health is relevant today due to the tendency of people to respiratory diseases and a frequent need to seek medical help.

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Information Pertinent to the Client’s Case

To analyze the results of the client’s interview correctly, it is essential to take into account the specific factors mentioned. Too frequent respiratory diseases are not an individual peculiarity but a common tendency in her team, and in general, the health status of colleagues is not satisfactory. It is crucial to find the cause that has a detrimental effect on all the members of the collective. Based on the results of the interview, it can be assumed that too a long pastime in an old building may be one of the factors that cause the propensity for diseases of the respiratory system.

According to Engelen, Dhillon, Chau, Hespe, and Bauman (2016), if employees are in modern and well-equipped settings, this provides “physical health-promoting effects on workers” (p. 408). Consequently, the environment where insufficient sanitary standards are observed is potentially dangerous, in particular, due to the accumulation of harmful substances in the air.

Client’s Risk

Since the client has worked in a specific setting for a long time, the risk of adverse sanitary conditions increases. As Mamane, Raherison, Tessier, Baldi, and Bouvier (2015) note, the detection of a negative effect on the respiratory system does not mean that the entire nearby population is under threat. Therefore, both the client and her colleagues do not pose a danger to other people and can solve their problems within a single setting. However, in case no actions are taken regarding the improvement of working conditions, further environmental impacts may impair the health of the team.

Exposure Pathway

As a potentially effective exposure pathway, it is possible to offer the client to change the working environment to avoid the detrimental effects of the unfavorable environment of the old building. However, such a step is radical, and less drastic measures may also be taken. Since respiratory diseases are not a congenital problem of the client, it is necessary to eliminate a destructive ecological effect. Her management can be alerted to the problem that has arisen so that individual decision-makers could attract competent building air purifiers. Also, all team members, including the client, are to be notified of the need to maintain appropriate sanitary conditions. Involving additional staff to carry out regular wet cleaning may be the effective step of reducing the impact of adverse environmental conditions.


The prevalence of respiratory diseases in the considered case may be the cause of unfavorable ecology in the old building, and the concept of environmental health is to be taken into account. The risks to the client and her colleagues may increase if no changes are made regarding the safety of employees. As a potentially effective exposure pathway, additional staff should be engaged to conduct regular cleaning and control over sanitation to prevent permanent air pollution.


Engelen, L., Dhillon, H. M., Chau, J. Y., Hespe, D., & Bauman, A. E. (2016). Do active design buildings change health behaviour and workplace perceptions? Occupational Medicine, 66(5), 408-411. Web.

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Mamane, A., Raherison, C., Tessier, J. F., Baldi, I., & Bouvier, G. (2015). Environmental exposure to pesticides and respiratory health. European Respiratory Review, 24(137), 462-473. Web.

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