Health hazard evaluation report no. HETA-90-287-2250, J. M. Grasse Elementary School, Sellersville, Pennsylvania.
In response to a request from an employee bargaining unit, an investigation was undertaken of indoor environmental quality at the J. M. Grasse Elementary School (SIC-8211), Sellersville, Pennsylvania. Some staff members had reported upper respiratory problems related to working in the school building. The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment was inspected, and the operation of the HVAC systems was evaluated. Air sampling for possible chemical contaminants was conducted. The estimated minimum outside air intake rates provided by two of the heating and ventilating units in the older wing of the building were insufficient. However, the units, predominately operating at maximum intake rates due to weather conditions, provided sufficient ventilation to most areas. Most indoor relative humidities were below recommended ranges at the measured temperatures. An airborne concentration of an aliphatic hydrocarbon mixture, identified as photocopier solution, was greater than usually found in the nonindustrial indoor environment, but this concentration was well below recognized limits. No microorganisms were detected in any bulk material samples. The author concludes that several of these factors may impact upon the indoor environmental quality in the school, but the findings of this evaluation could not substantiate any of these factors as causative of staff members' complaints and symptoms.