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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-1999-0014-3094, evaluation of mold contamination in a hotel before and after remediation, Springdale Best Western Hotel, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Martinez-K; Trout-D; Wallingford-K; Achutan-C; Singal-M
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HETA 1999-0014-3094, 2009 Nov; :1-25
On October 22, 1998, NIOSH received a request from the Springdale, Ohio, Health Department for technical assistance in evaluating worker exposures to mold at the Springdale Best Western Hotel. Since May 1998, guests and hotel employees had complained to hotel managers about water leakage and odors in guest rooms. Extensive fungal (mold) growth was found and, in October, the hotel was closed for renovation. A manager who had inspected contaminated areas and removed pieces of wallpaper was diagnosed with a lung disease consistent with hypersensitivity pneumonitis and thought to be caused by exposure to mold at the hotel. NIOSH investigators conducted several site visits in November 1998 to inspect the hotel and collect bulk samples of gypsum board, unit ventilator filters, and wallpaper; tape samples of wall surfaces; and air samples for culturable fungi and nonculturable fungal structures. The rooms sampled included those on the second, third, and fifth floors, the latter two floors appearing to be more contaminated than the second floor. NIOSH personnel returned to collect air samples in February 1999 (after tear-out), in April 1999 (after build-out), and in July 2000 (after re-occupancy). The NIOSH medical investigator surveyed exposed (those who worked in the mold-contaminated areas) and unexposed (those who worked only in the bar and restaurant area) employees, and obtained blood samples for a research test for antibodies to roridin, a mycotoxin produced by various fungi. Fungal concentrations in the bulk material samples ranged from 8.8x104 to 5.2x107 colony forming units per gram of material. The predominant fungi were Acremonium sp., Alternaria sp., Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus sydowii, Mucor sp., Penicillium sp., Phoma sp., Stachybotrys chartarum (previously known as Stachybotrys atra), Ulocladium chartarum, and yeasts. The predominant fungi in the tape samples were Acremonium sp., Alternaria sp., Aspergillus/Penicillium-like, Chaetomium-like, Penicillium sp., Stachybotrys chartarum, Stachybotrys-like, Ulocladium sp., and Ulocladium-like. Mycotoxins were identified in 8 of 18 samples. In November 1998, indoor geometric mean culturable fungal concentrations ranged from 294 to 2,690 colony-forming units per cubic meter (CFU/m3); most were above the outdoor concentration of 380 CFU/m3. Fungal concentrations on the third and fifth floors were generally higher than those on the second floor. Outdoors and on the second floor, the predominant genus was Cladosporium, comprising approximately 70% of the total. On the third and fifth floors, however, Penicillium sp. were predominant. Stachybotrys chartarum was identified in five rooms, representing all three floors. With the exception of two fifth-floor rooms, the indoor geometric mean fungal structure (spores and hyphal fragments) concentrations (1,772 to 296,513 fungal structures per cubic meter [FS/m3], median 16,201 FS/m3) were above the outdoor concentration (5,269 FS/m3). Concentrations on the third floor (median 63,400 FS/m3) and fifth floor (38,500 FS/m3) were higher than in the one sampled location on the second floor (5,575 FS/m3). Stachybotrys was identified in all but one of the sampled rooms (0% to 35% of the sample, median 4%). It was not found outdoors. In February and April 1998 and July 2000, culturable and nonculturable fungal concentrations indoors were generally lower than those outdoors. The percentages of Cladosporium and Aspergillus/Penicillium in the samples remained relatively stable over time, although they were somewhat lower in July 2000. Both the proportion of sampling locations at which Stachybotrys was found and its percentage in those samples declined over time. The air samples collected indoors in July 2000 had no Stachybotrys. Eight employees participated in the medical evaluation; six had housekeeping, maintenance, or supervisory jobs that involved work in mold-contaminated areas. The six mold-exposed employees reported a variety of symptoms, some of which improved away from work, but none of the symptoms was suggestive of hypersensitivity pneumonitis, the illness diagnosed in the manager. Two employees, one exposed and one unexposed, had an elevated immunoglobulin G (IgG) titer to roridin. No employee had specific immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies. (IgG indicates exposure at some time; IgM indicates recent exposure.)
Region-5; Molds; Microorganisms; Fungi; Mycotoxins; Respiratory-system-disorders; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Author Keywords: Hotels [except Casino Hotels] and Motels; mold; mycotoxin; roridin; hypersensitivity pneumonitis
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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