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The aim is to describe recent insight into risk factors for symptoms included in the sick building syndrome (SBS) and to give an insight into preventive work to reduce SBS.New studies have added evidence for the role of personality traits and psychosocial work environment, reactive chemistry and the inflammatory properties of indoor particles for SBS. Field studies using physiological methods and measurements of oxidative stress can lead to better understanding of the cause of SBS. Moreover, there is an increased focus on the indoor environment and ‘sick house syndrome’ in Asia.SBS is related to both personal and environmental risk factors. In the office environment, SBS may have important economical implications. More focus is needed on the indoor environment in schools and day care centres, hospitals and nursing homes for elderly. Improvements of the home environment may be the most cost-effective way to reduce the burden of indoor exposure. The link between indoor and outdoor air pollution should not be neglected, and the role of energy saving and climate changes will be an important future issue.