Indoor Air Quality: Chemical Exposures
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Indoor Air Quality: Chemical Exposures book
The quality of indoor air can have a dramatic effect on the comfort, performance, and health of workers (O’Reilly et al., 1998). Workers may report a variety of symptoms, such as headache, nasal congestion, lethargy, etc. If these symptoms are accompanied by clinical signs of illness, such as a fever, and if these symptoms are not resolved upon leaving the workplace, the worker may be suffering from a building-related illness. If the symptoms are not accompanied by clinical signs and if they do resolve within hours of leaving the building the worker may be experiencing sick building syndrome. Buildingrelated illnesses usually are associated with exposure to an allergenic or pathogenic organism in the workplace, such as Legionnaire’s disease (see Chapter 65, which addresses biological contaminants). Sick building syndrome complaints may be associated with inadequate indoor air quality (IAQ) and are symptoms of irritation. There is a diverse range of indoor air pollutants, and testing and monitoring all of these is prohibitive. Consequently, the initial stages of an indoor air quality investigation involve determining the nature of the worker problems, assessing the potential workplace indoor air hazards, and then testing for specific contaminants. Once the investigator has formulated hypotheses for possible sources of the worker complaints, then appropriate testing and monitoring methods can be implemented.