NC STATE Home Page NC STATE UNIVERSITY - Environmental Health and Safety 2620 Wolf Village Way Cmpus Box 8007, Raleigh NC 27695  Phone 919.515.7915 FAX 919.515.6307 NC STATE Home Page

Indoor Air Quality Program

Purpose

The purpose of this program is to establish written policies and procedures to be used at North Carolina State University (NCSU) in the management of indoor air quality (IAQ). 

Scope

The requirements of this written program apply to all campus indoor environments where University employees work.  This program also applies to contractors and their subcontractors who have been hired to work on campus. 

Summary

North Carolina State University is committed to providing a work environment that is free of recognized hazards and to investigating concerns that may be related to unacceptable indoor air quality. 

Indoor air quality may be affected by multiple factors including, but not limited to, more tightly sealed buildings, the use of synthetic building materials and furnishings, the use of air purifiers and other pollutant sources, such as room air fresheners, and the use of various chemicals for pesticide management and cleaning. 

Most IAQ complaints from building occupants are related to respiratory irritation, headache, odors, or fatigue.  These concerns may be associated with chemical vapors, dust generated in the work environment, materials infiltrating from outside sources (such as pollen or engine exhaust), contaminants associated with fungal growth (mold) or other factors such as elevated carbon dioxide levels. 

Responsibilities and Notifications

What you can do to prevent indoor air pollution

  1. Keep all HVAC supply and return grills open: the amount of ventilation is compromised by obstructing these openings
  2. Inform your supervisor of any troublesome odors or air quality concerns.
  3. Check with the IAQ Program Manager before you use air purifying units and other air scrubbers.  These units may add chemical pollutants such as ozone to the air
  4. Refrain from using candles, air freshners and any “air freshner” sprays in the work area, as stated previously, they may add to the chemical burden
  5. Keep the personal use of colognes and perfumes to a minimum, they may be irritating to some individuals
  6. Avoid the application of pesticides, the use of these chemicals is limited to Facilities Operations pesticide applicators on

Environmental Health and Safety Center (EHSC)

Designate an Industrial Hygienist as the University’s IAQ Program Manager to investigate IAQ concerns of employees, contractors, and building occupants.  The work area and building will be evaluated for probable sources of contaminants, such as chemical use and storage; general housekeeping; recent renovations and/or new furnishings, activities in work area, and the building HVAC system.  The IAQ Program Manager will also address employee health concerns, symptoms, and sensitivities related to indoor air quality.  Contact the IAQ Program Manager at 919-513-0647 or gary_shaver@ncsu.edu.

Supervisors

  • Contact IAQ Program Manager if building occupants experience irritations or odors that may be related to indoor air quality.
  • Share results of IAQ investigations with pertinent staff members.
  • Contact IAQ Program Manager and Human Resources for questions regarding temporary relocation of personnel during mold remediation, or if accommodations for employees experiencing IAQ-related symptoms are necessary.

Building and Department Liaisons

All reports of IAQ problems and risks (e.g., odors, significant mold growth, faulty building humidification systems, water damage) should be forwarded to IAQ Program Manager and Facilities Operations Zone supervisor.  In the event of major flooding or water damage, contact the Facilities Operations Zone supervisor as soon as possible for water extraction and drying of building materials.  See link for flood safety: http://www.ncsu.edu/ehs/www99/right/handsMan/workplace/flood.html.

Ensure the timely execution and completion of stated action items as listed in IAQ Program Manager’s investigation reports.

Notify building occupants of building construction/renovation projects that may contribute to indoor air quality concerns.

Review and activate the odor and dust control procedure as necessary.  See link: http://www.ncsu.edu/ehs/www99/right/handsMan/workplace/odor.htm

Facilities

Design and construct buildings so as not susceptible to water intrusion and in compliance with relevant building codes.

Utilize preventative maintenance practices to keep spaces clean and dry, with the correct amount of fresh air, humidity and temperature in maintaining comfort and air quality.

Provide water extraction services during water intrusion and flooding events.

Follow accepted guidelines for remediation of water damaged and mold contaminated materials.

Notify building liaisons of building construction/renovation/maintenance projects that may contribute to indoor air quality concerns.

Consult with the IAQ Program Manager at EHSC for projects that could affect indoor air quality.

Additional Information

The basic factors that affect IAQ are indoor air pollutant sources; heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems; pollutant pathways; and occupants.

Mold and Biologicals: Mold, mildew, dust mites, animal and insect parts are all agents that can adversely affect indoor air quality. Moisture-related problems in buildings can result in the growth or amplification of biological or microbial organisms such as mold, mildew, dust mites and bacteria. Exposure to these organisms can increase risk of allergic illness, trigger asthma, cause respiratory infections, or have other health effects. Typical sources of moisture are structural leaks, plumbing leaks, flooding, and HVAC-related humidity control problems. Proper cleaning and building maintenance, especially moisture control, are essential in the control of mold and other biological agents.

For more detailed information, see:
NC DHHS/OEEB: Mold and Human Health
US EPA: Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings
AIHA: Facts About Mold

NC State University: Moisture Control and Prevention Guide

Volatile Organic Compounds: Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted from paints, solvents, building materials, air fresheners, dry-cleaned clothing, aerosol sprays, adhesives, fabrics and many more sources. In fact, indoor air may contain several hundred different VOCs. Some of these VOCs can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches; loss of coordination; nausea; and other more severe illnesses.

Heating, Ventilating & Air Conditioning (HVAC) Systems: HVAC systems should be designed to meet the needs of a specific building based on its design, use, and occupant activities. The HVAC system should filter the air, heat or cool as necessary, and control relative humidity during the cooling season. Some systems also introduce outdoor air during this process to dilute building contaminants. A poorly maintained HVAC system can allow water to build up in the unit, creating conditions where the system itself can become a reservoir for biological contaminants. Inadequate systems can also allow high moisture levels that foster the growth of mold and mildew. For these reasons, it is very important that HVAC systems be inspected on a regular basis to ensure that the systems are clean and functioning as designed.

US EPA: Fact Sheet: Ventilation and Air Quality In Offices

US EPA: "IAQ in Large Buildings,"

Revised 5/08/07