A total of 356 indoor air quality health hazard evaluations were completed by NIOSH from 1971 through December of 1985. Most of these studies concerned government and private office buildings where there were worker complaints. Worker complaints resulted from contamination from inside the building (19 percent of the cases), contamination from outside (11 percent), contamination from the building fabric (4 percent), biological contamination (5 percent), inadequate ventilation (50 percent), and unknown causes (11 percent). For inside contamination, copying machines were a significant source of vapors. Other inside contaminants included pesticides, boiler additives, cleaning compounds, tobacco smoke, combustion gases, and cross contamination from poorly ventilated areas. Outside contamination included vehicle exhaust, boiler gases and previously exhausted air. Contamination from building fabric included fibrous glass eroded from ventilation ducts, organic solvents from glues and adhesives, and acetic-acid (64197) from silicone caulking. Biological contamination from bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and microbial products, although rare, can result in hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Health complaints which were addressed by investigative efforts included eye irritation, dry throat, headache, fatigue, sinus congestion, skin irritation, shortness of breath, cough, dizziness, and nausea.
NIOSH, Cincinnati, Ohio, 9 pages, 0 references