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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-86-410-1772, HCFA-Meadows East Building, Baltimore, Maryland.

Kullman GJ; Denton RA
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 86-410-1772, 1986 Nov; :1-57
In response to a request from the Health Care Financing Administration (SIC-9441), an investigation was made of complaints of irritation to the eyes, mucosa, skin and respiratory tract among employees in the HCFA Meadows East Building (MEB), Baltimore, Maryland. An additional concern was the incidence of fungal sinusitis and cancer at MEB. Questionnaires were obtained from 406 of 690 current MEB employees. Nearly 60 percent reported discomfort believed to be work related. Windows in the building did not open and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system was the primary source of outside air supply. Measured levels of airborne dust, gas and vapor concentration were below permissible exposure limits and exposure guidelines. Only one case of fungal sinusitis was confirmed. Mean airborne fungal concentration was 75 colony forming units per cubic meter. The authors conclude that the symptoms experienced resulted from substandard ventilation in conjunction with low level indoor pollutants such as tobacco smoke. Neither an increased prevalence of cancer nor a building related cancer risk appeared to exist. The authors recommendations include readjustment of the ventilation system to operate according to design specifications, routine maintenance and surveillance of the ventilation system, adoption and enforcement of a no smoking policy, institution of a more formal medical surveillance system, and rolling/changing of roll filters in the ventilation system when the system is turned off.
NIOSH-Author; HETA-86-410-1772; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; Hazard-Unconfirmed; Hazard-Confirmed; Region-3; Office-workers; Workplace-studies; Airborne-dusts; Ventilation-systems; Author Keywords: Office-Buildings; Indoor Air Pollution; Tight Building Syndrome; Ventilation
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Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
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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