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"Sick-building" lawsuits for indoor air pollution are springing up across the country.

The first such case was filed against a Washington, D.C. landlord and management company by nine women employees who claim that they became asthmatic due to contaminated air in a new office building.

The women complained of fatigue, bronchial spasms, eye irritation, chronic coughing, shortness of breath and tightness in their chests due to bacteria or mold that contaminated the air.

These symptoms are known to be caused by contaminated building materials, microbiological contamination and inadequate ventilation.

The increase in "sick-building syndrome" cases is blamed on poorly ventilated, energy-efficient buildings designed after the energy crises of the 1970's.

The Washington, D.C. case was settled for an undisclosed amount. However, a Cincinnati couple who complained that they became ill from fumes emitted by a new office carpet lost their case after trial. That case is believed to be the very first sick-building case to go to trial.

Robert Friedman is an attorney with offices in Akron, Clarence and Buffalo. If you would like a question of general interest relating to law and real estate answered in this column, send it to: Friedman & Friedman P.C., 74 Main St., P.O. Box 31-L, Akron, NY 14001-0031.

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