Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-90-376-2106, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Hato Rey, Puerto Rico.
In response to a request from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) management and the American Federation of Government Employees, an evaluation was undertaken of possible hazardous working conditions at the HUD Caribbean Area Office in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico. The request concerned respiratory problems, pneumonia, allergies, and fungal growth on office walls thought to be related to poor indoor air quality. Interviews with 16 employees revealed the major complaints to be irritation from tobacco smoke and cold temperatures. Reviews of medical records for cases of asthma and pneumonia did not support a work related cause for these illnesses, but did suggest that these conditions could be exacerbated by cold temperatures and exposure to tobacco smoke at work. Measurements indicated temperature and humidity combinations falling outside of the ranges deemed comfortable for work sites. High relative humidity, 63 to 71%, was measured on the second and third floors and ventilation deficiencies were noted which could promote microbial growth. The authors conclude that the medical histories for the more serious health complaints were not consistent with a work related cause. Tobacco smoke, low temperatures, high relative humidity, and problems with the air distribution system are noted. The authors recommend measures to prevent moisture incursion into the occupied space and within the air conditioning system. It is also suggested that smoking be restricted in occupied areas.
NIOSH-Author; NIOSH-Health-Hazard-Evaluation; NIOSH-Technical-Assistance-Report; HETA-90-376-2106; Region-2; Office-workers; Air-quality; Indoor-air-pollution; Cigarette-smoking; Closed-building-syndrome; Air-temperature; Hazards-Unconfirmed; Indoor-environmental-quality;
Author Keywords: Indoor air quality; temperature; relative humidity; carbon dioxide; smoking; government office