HETA report no. HETA-89-128-L2085, United States Department of Education, Chicago, Illinois.
In response to two separate requests for an indoor air quality investigation, one request from a state senator and the other from a group of employees, a study was conducted at the U.S. Department of Education office in Chicago, Illinois. The Department leased space on the seventh floor of an eight story office building. The business carried on by the Department includes word processing, typing, filing, and photocopying and at the time of the study involved 220 employees. An employee questionnaire indicated at least nine persons may have been experiencing work related symptoms. Measurements indicated a problem with the control of airborne particulates in the smoking areas of the Department. The occupants were not comfortable at their workstations, despite the fact that measured temperatures and relative humidities were within recommended comfort ranges. The authors recommend that workers with health problems consult their personal physicians, that smoking lounges be provided which are ventilated using ASHRAE recommended rates with exhaust air vented to the outside, that the Department smoking policy be revised to restrict smoking to areas which have dedicated exhaust systems, that the Department hire a ventilation contractor to determine whether the current ventilation system has balanced airflow, that currently protruding electrical outlets be recessed into the walls, and that air intake ports along the loading dock area be studied to determine if exhaust fumes can be better controlled.