Health hazard evaluation report no. HETA-91-0174-2468, U.S. Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Brookhaven Service Center, Holtsville, New York.
In response to a request from Chapter 99 of the National Treasury Employees Union, an investigation was begun into reportedly poor air quality at the Brookhaven Service Center of the Internal Revenue Service (SIC-9311), Holtsville, New York. The employees at the center receive and process Federal income tax returns. Employment ranged from 2,500 to 4,700 persons due to seasonal variations in the workload. Reports concerned eye irritation, headache, fatigue, nasal congestion, dry or sore throat and thermal discomfort while in the building. Medical and environmental surveys were conducted. Responses to a questionnaire indicated that frequently reported symptoms included eye irritation, headache, fatigue, nasal congestion, and dry or sore throat. Most of the environmental parameters measured were within applicable guidelines, except for the temperatures in the RPS/Data Conversion area of one particular building, most of which were below the desired range. The authors conclude that the excessively cold measured temperatures, the excessively low measured relative humidities, the observed deficiencies regarding some air handling systems, and potentially marginal ventilation rates and/or air mixing, have impacted on the air quality of the building. The authors recommend that the average temperature in some areas be increased, observed deficiencies in the air handling systems be corrected, and certain design features of the air delivery systems be reviewed.