HHE Report No. HETA-81-084-916, Kutztown State College, Kutztown, Pennsylvania.
The cause of employee complaints of dizziness, respiratory problems, and eye, nose, and throat irritation was investigated at the Administration Building of Kutztown State College (SIC-8221) in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. The evaluation was requested by the college's Dean of Administration on behalf of an unspecified number of workers. During November and December, 1980, three consultants visited the college and collected bulk and air samples and interviewed employees. On December 18, 1980, NIOSH investigators conducted air sampling for formaldehyde (50000). Among the three consultants, the Pennsylvania State University team found 45,000 total particles per cubic meter, low concentrations of fungi, normal temperature and humidity readings, and various health complaints among the workers. The other two consultants found no formaldehyde in air or bulk samples. Three of five bulk insulation samples submitted to NIOSH by the college contained up to 0.097 milligram per gram (mg/g) of formaldehyde, and the three bulk samples taken by NIOSH contained up to 0.58mg/g. Air samples contained 0.02 to 0.03 part per million of formaldehyde. The OSHA standard for formaldehyde is 3 parts per million for an 8 hour workday. The author concludes that the workers' symptoms are related to formaldehyde exposure. Recommendations include cleaning of the carpets and drapes, provision of fresh air and better ventilation, and periodic environmental monitoring.
Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, NIOSH, Cincinnati, Ohio, 11 pages, 7 references