OSAKA — The Labor Standards Inspection Office in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture, has decided to pay labor accident compensation to four female employees of a preschool who suffered from sick building syndrome, labor officials said Tuesday.

It marks the first time in Japan that compensation has been paid for SBS, the Osaka Labor Bureau said.

The syndrome refers to a situation in which a substantial proportion of building occupants experience various forms of discomfort and health effects that are relieved upon leaving the building.

The four part-time employees, aged in their 20s to 60s, at the Gokaso preschool suffered sore throats, eye irritation and other symptoms due to chemicals emitted by materials in a temporary prefabricated building, the bureau said.

They experienced the symptoms after moving into the building during a renovation of the preschool in May 2001. They worked in the building until this March.

The preschool’s 15 children complained of similar symptoms, it said.

The Labor Standards Inspection Office decided to accept their appeal for compensation after it found formaldehyde, a substance known to cause SBS, in the building materials.

According to the Sakai government, 13 female child-care workers at the preschool have also applied for work-related compensation.

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