Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2006-0246-3023, West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau of Children and Families, Fairmont, West Virginia.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a request to conduct a health hazard evaluation (HHE) at the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau of Children and Families, 107-109 Adams Street, Fairmont, West Virginia. The environmental concerns included mold, poor indoor air quality (IAQ), and mold contamination in the heating, ventilating and airconditioning (HVAC) system. The listed health concerns included sneezing, coughing, headaches, respiratory infections, and pneumonia. The NIOSH response consisted of a basement to roof visual inspection of the building including the heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems by two industrial hygienists accompanied by the building maintenance supervisor. Real-time monitoring of temperature, relative humidity, and concentrations of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide were also conducted. The inspection found the basement to suffer from multiple areas of water incursions. Rooms and elevator shafts were found to contain water soaked debris. The sidewalks adjacent to the building were found to slope toward the annex side of the building and exacerbated the water incursion problems. The HVAC systems were not balanced properly and the fresh air intakes could not be properly controlled. Holes were found in the roof membrane and the exterior synthetic stucco was damaged. These environmental findings constitute a public health risk from dampness and are plausibly related to building-related health complaints. We recommend building remediation to prevent water incursion in order to improve employee health and to prevent additional illness. NIOSH conducted a site visit to the West Virginia Department of Administration building at 107-109 Adams Street, Fairmont, West Virginia to address employee concerns about contamination of the indoor air and the health effects they were experiencing. The basement was found to have water infiltrations, soaked debris and high relative humidity levels. The HVAC systems for the building were found to be imbalanced and in need of a complete testing and re-balancing. The roof membrane was found to have holes, and the synthetic stucco exterior was damaged. We recommend remediation to prevent water incursion in order to prevent employee illness.