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Worksite Health

Air quality indoors

11/13/2006

Question:

I work in a building that was constructed in the 1950`s that has no windows that open. My office is located in what used to be a lab space. There are still working labs located throughout the building. The carpets are not regularly cleaned. I have noticed that when first come into the office 3 out of 5 days during the week I have an allergy fit consisting of sneezing, coughing and runny nose. What would be the best approach for uncovering the source of the allergen?

Answer:

I would talk to someone in your human resources department to find out if others have had problems and then explore the possibility of having consultants in to do some air sampling.

Do you have other established allergies? You could visit a physician (allergist) to find out what you’re allergic to. Is there any way you can improve ventilation in the room? A good carpet cleaning or removal of the carpet and draperies might help.

This not really my area, but I will speak with my chair (Dr. Timothy Buckley) who is an indoor air quality expert.

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Response by:

J Mac Crawford, PhD, RN J Mac Crawford, PhD, RN
Clinical Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences
College of Public Health
The Ohio State University