Toxic building

About 2 years ago, I move from a place that I had lived in for roughly 4/5 years. I moved to a new place that was bigger and better. After a while I noticed a certain chemical smell in the apartment. I ended up moving out after a month and ended up with a very persistent cough that lasted for months. I never new what caused the cough and assumed it was the general outdoor pollution. Recently, I moved into a new place and it seems to have the same smell. I noticed that the basement has a ventilation system, however, sometimes it switches off. I guess the bathroom’s vent is connected to the general ventilation system. When I come home after a couple of hours, the smell is back. I guess it must be the monoxide coming up from the basement. Are you/have you experienced the same problem?

Carbon monoxide is tasteless and odourless, which is partly why it kills so many people. You’re not smelling the carbon monoxide, you’re smelling other things, perhaps aldehydes and phenols from paints and glues. Not that they’re much less toxic to your nasal passages and lungs, but at the low concentrations you find in air in new buildings due to paint, plastics, floor coverings, glue for panelling, foams in upholstery, etc, they won’t kill you, just make you sick.

keep the windows open, even when you’re out, to allow the gasses to float away and not get too concentrated. generally mot of these materials have outgassed in the first few months.

another way the term ‘toxic building’ is used is to refer to those buildings with toxic bacteria and mould spores floating in the air conditioning and living in drains and water pipes: these can make people persistently ill with listeriosis, fungal lung and eye infections, and so on. the symptoms re rather different, and you generally can’t smell those spores (though you can often smell the damp sewer smell that the water pipes and drains in that kind of place often give off at the same time).