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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-82-373-1363, Transamerica Occidental Life Insurance Company, Atlanta, Georgia.
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HETA 82-373-1363, 1983 Sep; :1-9
Worker complaints and reports of unpleasant odors were investigated in October 1982 at Transamerica Occidental Life Insurance Company (SIC-6311), Atlanta, Georgia. Evaluation was requested on behalf of 30 workers concerned about symptoms of headache, sore throat, dizziness, and nausea. Questionnaires were completed by 27 workers, air samples were collected, building systems were inspected, ventilation rates were measured, insulation samples were analyzed, and residues from air handling units were tested. Employees reported symptom complexes of headache, dizziness, and nausea, diarrhea, stuffy nose, burning eyes, and sore throat. All but two affected workers reported that symptoms were associated with musty, moldy odors coming from air ducts. The environmental/engineering survey failed to identify the source of the odor. Fresh air intake was 8 cubic feet per minute (cfm), less than the 20cfm standard recommended by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers. Fresh air intakes were close to the cooling tower and restroom exhaust. A cooling tower overflow pipe was broken. Asbestos was found in the insulation material. The authors note that the reported symptoms are acute and completely reversible, but the specific source cannot be identified. They recommend improved engineering and repair actions.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; Hazards-Unconfirmed; Office-workers; Safety-research; Occupational-exposure; Health-hazards; Environmental-exposure; Employee-health; Ventilation-systems; Air-quality-control; HETA-82-373-1363; Region-4; Author Keywords: irritating odor; air supply ducts
Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division