Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2004-0344-2954, West Virginia University, Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a request from the Health and Safety Manager at West Virginia University, Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center in Morgantown, West Virginia, to conduct an indoor air quality investigation in the Student Health Services employee office area. Employees had expressed concerns about the air quality including the possibility that exposure to photographic chemicals leaking into the office space from the area above might have caused health effects experienced by employees. Primary health concerns were asthma and other respiratory health problems. The NIOSH response consisted of numerous phone interviews with the requester to gather information, two site visits, and review of material safety data sheets and other information. During the first site visit on September 22, 2004, the industrial hygienist visually inspected the premises and interviewed the Health and Safety Manager. Evidence of previous water incursion in several offices and in one of the clinical exam rooms was observed. Prior to the NIOSH site visit the facilities management staff had investigated the drainage system and identified a downspout that directed storm water to the basement wall. The drainage was corrected and no further water incursion was reported. Other evidence of water incursion was subsurface lifting of the floors which had lead to substantial unevenness of the floors in the hallway and two offices. This was attributed to water incursion below the building that had caused swelling of the natural shale deposits. The second site visit was conducted on November 18, 2004, and included a similar visual inspection of the interior spaces along with the heating and ventilation (HVAC) systems. The second visit also included real-time monitoring of temperature, relative humidity, and concentrations of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide in the Student Health Service employee office area where respiratory problems have been reported and in the clinic area where there have been no complaints. Investigation of the two HVAC systems that service the Student Health Service revealed that no outside air was being introduced into the ventilation system. There was indication of continued leaks from the mammography film developer located on the floor above one of the offices. Results of the real-time monitoring found that carbon dioxide concentrations exceeded recommended levels in the employee office area when the building was occupied. NIOSH conducted two site visits to the West Virginia University, Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center, Student Health Services area in Morgantown, West Virginia, to address management concerns about the quality of the indoor air and health effects the employees were experiencing. Areas of previous or ongoing water incursion were found although no mold was observed. Measurements indicated that the office area had elevated levels of carbon dioxide and that changes to the ventilation system were necessary to ensure that adequate fresh air was provided to the occupants.