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Title: Preventing Indoor Environment-Related Symptom Complaints in OfficeBuildings

Abstract

The goal of this project was to develop, based on the experience of those who investigate health complaints in buildings, practical strategies for preventing building-related symptoms in office buildings, suitable for use by those who own, lease, or manage office space.

Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley NationalLaboratory, Berkeley, CA (US)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE; US General Services Administration. Public BuildingsService. Workplace 2020 Project. Interagency Agreement1B3P02221
OSTI Identifier:
901669
Report Number(s):
LBNL-59329
Journal ID: ISSN 0263-2772; FCILEC; R&D Project: E16601; TRN: US200715%%109
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Facilities; Journal Volume: 24; Related Information: Journal Publication Date: 2006
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
32; OFFICE BUILDINGS; SYMPTOMS; INDOOR AIR POLLUTION

Citation Formats

Mendell, Mark J., Brennan, Terry, Hathon, Lee, Odom, J. David, Offerman, Francis J., Turk, Bradley H., Wallingford, Kenneth M., Diamond,Richard C., and Fisk, William J.. Preventing Indoor Environment-Related Symptom Complaints in OfficeBuildings. United States: N. p., 2006. Web.
Mendell, Mark J., Brennan, Terry, Hathon, Lee, Odom, J. David, Offerman, Francis J., Turk, Bradley H., Wallingford, Kenneth M., Diamond,Richard C., & Fisk, William J.. Preventing Indoor Environment-Related Symptom Complaints in OfficeBuildings. United States.
Mendell, Mark J., Brennan, Terry, Hathon, Lee, Odom, J. David, Offerman, Francis J., Turk, Bradley H., Wallingford, Kenneth M., Diamond,Richard C., and Fisk, William J.. Sun . "Preventing Indoor Environment-Related Symptom Complaints in OfficeBuildings". United States. doi:. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/901669.
@article{osti_901669,
title = {Preventing Indoor Environment-Related Symptom Complaints in OfficeBuildings},
author = {Mendell, Mark J. and Brennan, Terry and Hathon, Lee and Odom, J. David and Offerman, Francis J. and Turk, Bradley H. and Wallingford, Kenneth M. and Diamond,Richard C. and Fisk, William J.},
abstractNote = {The goal of this project was to develop, based on the experience of those who investigate health complaints in buildings, practical strategies for preventing building-related symptoms in office buildings, suitable for use by those who own, lease, or manage office space.},
doi = {},
journal = {Facilities},
number = ,
volume = 24,
place = {United States},
year = {Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2006},
month = {Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2006}
}
  • The goal of this project was to develop empirically based recommendations for practical strategies, suitable for use by those who own, lease, or manage office space, to prevent building-related symptoms in office buildings. Ideas from six experienced building investigators were gathered and prioritized in a multi-day workshop. The top ranked problems identified were, in priority order: excessive building moisture, inadequate outdoor air, dust on indoor surfaces, indoor gases and odors, inadequate thermal control, and inadequate attention by management to indoor environments. The highest priority strategies recommended for preventing building-related symptoms were: managing water at building exteriors, operating ventilation systems permore » design intent, providing at least minimum ventilation rates, and maintaining indoor temperatures at 72 F {+-} 2{sup o}. Findings in the scientific literature were generally consistent with these recommendations. IEQ investigators showed considerable agreement on the most important causes of symptom complaints in office buildings and the key methods for preventing these problems. Despite the range of climates in which they worked, the investigators agreed that the highest priority prevention strategy was managing water at building exteriors. These recommendations, generally consistent with available research findings, provide useful practical guidelines for those who own, manage or maintain office buildings. The empirical knowledge of practitioners offers more guidance here for choosing health-protective strategies than current science, although efficacy of these empirically based strategies generally has not been confirmed.« less
  • No abstract available.
  • The Sick Building Syndrome (SBS), as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), is a combination of both common and unspecific symptoms. Few studies have been published with detailed descriptions of clinical findings. One of the few dermatological references with a close relation to sick buildings is the so-called low humidity occupational dermatoses. Since 1982, an increasing number of outpatients from building with indoor climate problems have been investigated at the Department of Dermatology in Umea, Sweden. The most common findings regarding work-related diseases have been seborrheic dermatitis, facial erythema, periorbital eczema, rosacea, urticaria, and itching folliculitis. It is suggestedmore » that physical, chemical, and psychological factors are of importance in producing these symptoms.« less
  • Investigation of indoor odor complaints consumes a substantial portion of the time and resources of many industrial hygiene offices, yet very little information has been published on the subject. We examined 3 years of data on indoor odor complaints at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts in order to identify factors that may trigger complaints of odors. Plumbing and maintenance accounted for the majority of activities responsible for the identified sources (35% of calls), while research and teaching activities accounted for only 11 percent of calls. A larger number of calls were received during the winter months whenmore » windows are closed and school is in session. There was generally good correlation between the description of an odor by a complainant and the actual source. Offices/secretarial areas/office support rooms accounted for almost half of the calls, while laboratory facilities accounted for 19 percent of the calls. Despite the fact that the chemistry department was responsible for the most number of calls, the odor sources from these complaints were related primarily to plumbing (dried sink and floor drains) and not the chemicals used for research and teaching. Four types of abatement measures were used when odor sources could be identified: natural dissipation of the odor (23%), advice for prevention of future odors (11%), controlling an odor source (16%), and correction of the odor source (33%). We conclude that the majority of sources of indoor odors which trigger complaints are related to the maintenance of the physical plant, and that complaints are likely to be generated by unfamiliarity with certain odors. Recommendations are given to help reduce indoor odors and the time-consuming investigations into complaints from these odors. 10 refs., 4 figs.« less
  • Evaluation of the occurrence of organic compounds in the indoor environment is needed on at least two levels: 1. Evaluation of the overall prevalence of organic compounds in the indoor air. 2. Evaluation of abnormal concentrations in the indoor air as a result of more or less special circumstances. On both levels this evaluation can be problematic as a result of missing information on exposure to, and health risks of the measured compounds. As a result of this, only general remarks can be made about the relevance of the presence of organic compounds in the indoor air. The choice ofmore » the right policy is therefore often difficult. When, as a result of special circumstances the indoor air concentrations of organic compounds are elevated as in the case of houses built on polluted soil, or houses treated with a hydrofobing agent it is as a consequence, often difficult to take effectively the proper decisions. To solve these problems, a great deal of research appears to be necessary. By using all available information produced by the analysis and new techniques like pattern and source-recognition it may be possible to do this research in a more direct way.« less