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Microorganisms that have no true nucleus, a single chromosome, and no mitochondria, capable of causing adverse health effects.


A process whereby an unoccupied building is maintained at elevated temperatures to enhance the emission of VOCs prior to the occupation of the building, in the theory that the VOCs will be ventilated out of the building. This practice is controversial and not without risk of incurring other types of problems.

Balint's Syndrome

Due to bilateral damage to the parietal-occipital regions; causes problems with visually guided motor movements.

Basal Ganglia

Made up of the caudate nucleus and putamen (known together as the corpus striatum) and the globus pallidus. Roles in regulating movement and cognition. Damage to it causes seizure disorders, multiple-sclerosis-type disorders, decrement in intellectual capacity, judgment, ability to concentrate, memory, speech capability.


Tiny airborne particles that are alive, were once alive, or are a part of something that is or once was alive.


A physical or chemical agent that is capable of killing microorganisms.


A surface layer of micro-organisms.

Biological Contaminants

Agents derived from or that are living organisms (e.g., viruses, bacteria, fungi, and mammal and bird antigens) that can be inhaled and can cause many types of health effects including allergic reactions, respiratory disorders, hypersensitivity diseases, and infectious diseases. Also referred to as microbiologicals or microbials.

Breathing Zone

Area of a room in which occupants breathe as they stand, sit, or lie down.


See Building-Related illness

Broca's area

Region of the frontal lobe on left, that makes spoken language possible.


The two respiratory tubes branching into the two lungs at the lower end of the trachea. They branch into progressively smaller passageways, the bronchioles, and finally reach the alveoli, the location where gas exchange occurs.

Building Envelope

Elements of the building, including all external building materials, windows, and walls, that enclose the internal space.

Building-related illness

A discrete, identifiable disease or illness that can be traced to a specific pollutant or source within a building. (e.g., Legionnaires' disease, hypersensitivity pneumonitis). Contrast with sick building.