NIOSH Evaluates IEQ in a Natural History Building

A NIOSH health hazard evaluation (HHE) report published in September details the agency’s response to a request from a university health and safety office concerning employees’ potentially work-related, allergy-like symptoms. The employees worked in office areas and animal research departments on the seventh floor of a building that also housed a museum of natural history. 

NIOSH staff reviewed work practices and workplace conditions; examined the ventilation systems and air flow patterns; and measured temperature, relative humidity, and carbon dioxide concentrations. Agency investigators also interviewed employees and reviewed the university’s industrial hygiene sampling for chemical and biological agents.
To improve indoor environmental quality in the building, NIOSH recommended that the ventilation system be redesigned to limit the migration of allergens from specimen-handling and storage areas to nearby work areas. The agency also urged the employer to maintain the biotic analysis laboratory under negative pressure relative to surrounding work areas. Further, NIOSH recommended that specimens be handled in the ventilated biological safety cabinet or chemical hood in the biotic analysis laboratory.
The agency’s full report is available at
• Back to Summary Page
The Synergist TOC