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The continuing adventures of NIOSH investigators during an IEQ investigation.

Burr G; Martinez K; Malkin R
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 20-25, 2000, Orlando, Florida. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2000 May; :85
In 1998, NIOSH conducted an indoor air quality (IEQ) evaluation at a large midwestern high school (3000+ students, 350 teachers) constructed in the 1970s. Staff and students were experiencing problems related to poor IEQ in the school, including sinus cancer, memory problems, inability to concentrate, metallic taste, bleeding lungs, dizziness, depression, respiratory problems, lethargy, chronic fatigue, chest congestion, burning eyes and throat, and nausea. This survey included employee interviews and evaluation of the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, and a visual examination for fungal growth in the building. Measurements were made for carbon dioxide (CO2), temperature, and relative humidity (RH), and bulk samples were collected for subsequent analysis of bacterial and fungal content. The CO2 concentrations increased during the school day (peaking at 1500 ppm) while the temperature and RH ranged from 68 degrees F to 75 degrees F and 17% to 23%, respectively. Localized microbial reservoirs in the school existed at the time of the NIOSH site visit, and ongoing moisture incursion or moist conditions were noted. The presence of Stachybotrys fungal species in some locations was probably indicative of a small residual from past contamination. The presence of Cladosporium fungal species in the interior duct insulation of several HVAC units suggested that the previous duct cleaning performed at the school might have been ineffective. In addition to the environmental sampling results, this poster discusses the employee interviews and examines other events that impacted on the conduct of this evaluation, including involvement by community action groups and the local media (newspapers and television stations). This poster also describes recommendations made for a further evaluation of the ventilation systems, identification and correction of water incursion problems, remediation of identified localized patches of mold, and the hiring of an environmental quality manager at the school.
Exposure-assessment; Exposure-levels; Education; Health-hazards; Indoor-air-pollution; Indoor-environmental-quality; Air-contamination; Health-surveys; Ventilation-systems; Exhaust-ventilation; Heating-systems; Air-conditioning-equipment; Dioxides; Measurement-equipment; Temperature-measurement; Relative-humidity; Closed-building-syndrome; Air-quality-measurement; Air-sampling; Sampling; Bacteria; Fungi; Microorganisms; Insulation-materials; Molds; Environmental-contamination; Biological-effects
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NIOSH Division
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 20-25, 2000, Orlando, Florida
Page last reviewed: March 25, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division