NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Can the U.S. EPA BASE Study be used to provide reference levels for building-related symptoms in offices?

Mendell-MJ; Mirer-AG
Healthy Buildings 2009, Proceedings of the 9th International Conference & Exibition September 13-17, 2009, Syracuse, New York. Santa Cruz, CA: International Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate (ISIAQ), 2009 Sep; :756
Thorough environmental/mechanical inspections are often helpful in remediating buildingrelated symptoms (BRS, sometimes called sick building syndrome) in office buildings after complaint episodes. Using such inspections routinely in all buildings for prevention would be preferable, but not economically feasible. Availability of BRS "reference levels" for office buildings might identify buildings with unusually frequent BRS for investigation of unrecognized environmental problems. For this purpose, we assessed data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's BASE Study, collected on more than 4000 workers in 100 representative U.S. office buildings. Frequencies of specific symptom types varied widely within and across buildings. Multiple personal factors correlated strongly with symptoms and, if distributed differently across buildings, could substantially distort symptom comparisons. Simultaneous statistical control for multiple personal factors was not feasible. Thus, using unadjusted symptom data from the BASE study to provide reference levels for assessing individual buildings for potential environmental problems should be done with caution.
Air-quality-measurement; Environmental-health; Environmental-health-monitoring; Indoor-environmental-quality; Qualitative-analysis; Statistical-analysis; Work-environment; Worker-health; Workplace-studies; Author Keywords: building-related symptoms; sick building syndrome; office buildings; indoor environmental quality; reference levels
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Email Address
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Priority Area
Work Environment and Workforce: Indoor Environment
Source Name
Healthy Buildings 2009, Proceedings of the 9th International Conference & Exibition September 13-17, 2009, Syracuse, New York
Performing Organization
University of California, Lawrence Berkeley Lab
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division