In response to a request from the Santa Fe Service Unit Director of the Indian Health Service, an investigation was begun into environmental air quality at the Santa Fe Indian Hospital (SIC- 8062), Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Hospital was an 82,000 square foot facility employing 230 staff. The entire main hospital was evaluated. Concern had been expressed over symptoms reported by employees, predominately nurses, including headache, nasal congestion, cough, sneezing, irritated eyes, and fatigue. The walk through tour revealed many modifications made to the interior of the hospital, but the ventilation system was not updated. The modifications resulted in areas with inadequate air distribution. Measurements of carbon-dioxide (124389) remained in the 300 to 575 parts per million (ppm) range and were within guidelines. Temperatures were above the maximal limits. Interviews were conducted with 107 workers and questionnaires were returned by 103. The most commonly reported symptoms on the questionnaires included dry, itching, or irritated eyes (32%), tired or strained eyes (28%), and dry throat (18%). Forty four respondents reported having one or more symptoms one or more days a week in the preceding 4 weeks. The authors conclude that, while no specific source of the problems was identified, ventilation deficiencies were noted which should be improved.
Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Cincinnati, Ohio, Report No. HETA-96-0207-2635, 14 pages, 37 references