NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation Report
Sandra K. White, M.S., Jean M. Cox-Ganser, Ph.D., National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Summary from NIOSH Report
From the Summary of the NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation Report
In February 2004 the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) request from the Easton Health Director on behalf of employees at Samuel Staples Elementary School in Easton, Connecticut. Concerns included health effects related to possible microbial contamination and poor indoor environmental quality.
Compared to national prevalences, participants were approximately two times more likely to have ever been diagnosed with asthma or to currently have asthma. When compared to state prevalences, respondents were 1.2 times as likely to have ever been diagnosed with asthma or to report current asthma.
Participants also reported respiratory and non-respiratory symptoms which improved when away from work more frequently than a study of office workers in 41 buildings with no known problems. When symptom prevalence in the last four weeks was linked to current work area, there was a higher prevlanece of work-related stuffy, itchy, or runny nose, shortness of breath, and headaches among Elementary School staff who worked in the lower wing when compared to the upper wing. The most frequently reported environmental complaints were little air movement, moldy or musty odors, and the temperature being too hot occurring one or more times per week in the previous four weeks.
We recommend that employees receive medical care for persistent symptoms. Water incursion should be promptly repaired, and all wetted materials should be replaced if they cannot be dried within 24 hours.
Since the current building is to be vacated at the close of the school year, we recommend that when the new school is occupied that proper housekeeping practices are followed and regular maintenance schedules are established. If the current school building continues to be occupied in the future for other purposes, further investigation and repair of the building is needed in order to improve building conditions and protect the health of the building occupants.
To receive NIOSH documents or information about occupational Safety and Health topics contact NIOSH at:
Department of Health and Human Services
Connecticut Foundation for Environmentally Safe Schools© 2003-2012.
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