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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-84-004-1568, George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, D.C.
Gorman R; Seligman PJ
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 84-004-1568, 1985 Mar; :1-22
Area air samples were analyzed for organic solvent vapors and aldehydes at the Biochemistry Department (SIC-2869), George Washington University, Washington, DC in October, 1983, and February and August, 1984. The evaluation was requested by the Safety Director because of employee complaints of eye and respiratory irritation. Questionnaires were administered to 75 employees in the Biochemistry Department and 24 employees in the Pharmacology Department who served as comparisons. Humidity measurements were made. Air concentrations of all organic solvent vapors and aldehydes were less than 1 and 0.1 part per million, respectively. Such concentrations would not cause symptoms in most people. Employees in the Biochemistry Department had a statistically significant excess of complaints related to eye irritation. These were correlated with the use of contact lenses and employment on the fifth floor. Humidity in the building was less than 15 percent. The authors note that the complaints subsided during the spring of 1984, with no explanation. They conclude that the complaints among the employees, especially on the fifth floor, were due to eye irritation. The causative agent could not be identified. Recommendations include evaluating all ventilation systems and repeating the air sampling if complaints of irritation recur.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; Hazards-Unconfirmed; Medical-services; Region-3; Biochemistry; Eye-disorders; Questionnaires; Employees; HETA-84-004-1568; Author Keywords: Industrial Organic Chemicals, Not Elsewhere Classified; Laboratory; Chemicals; Organic; Biochemisty; Laboratory; Indoor Air Quality; Contact Licenses
Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
NTIS Accession No.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division