• Publication Date:
  • Publication Type:
  • Fed Register #:
  • Title:
    Request for Information on Occupational Exposure to Indoor Air Pollutants
Notice: On December 17, 2001 OSHA withdrew its Indoor Air Quality proposal and terminated the rulemaking proceedings, see Federal Register 66:64946.


Occupational Safety and Health Administration

29 CFR Part 1910

[Docket No. H-122]

RIN: 1218-AB37

Occupational Exposure to Indoor Air Pollutants; Request for Information

AGENCY: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor

ACTION: Request for Information

SUMMARY: By this notice, OSHA requests comments and information on issues pertinent to indoor air quality (IAQ) in occupational environments. This notice raises major issues which the Agency needs to consider in determining whether regulatory action is appropriate and feasible to control health problems related to poor indoor air quality. The issues on which comment is requested are organized into five broad categories: (1) Definition of and Health Effects Pertaining to Indoor Air Quality; (2) Monitoring and Exposure Assessment; (3) Controls; (4) Local Policies and Practices; and (5) Potential Content of Regulation. Specifically, information is requested on the definition of and the health effects attributable to poor indoor air quality; ventilation systems performance; protocols for assessing indoor air quality; mitigation methods; building maintenance programs; and the potential contents of a regulation should the Agency determine that such action is appropriate. In addition to seeking information regarding IAQ concerns in general, issues addressed in this notice also focus on specific indoor air contaminants such as passive tobacco smoke (PTS), radon and bioaerosols. With respect to these particular contaminants, information is requested on their relative contribution to the overall degradation of indoor air quality as well as associated health effects and methods of exposure assessment and mitigation.

This Notice invites interested parties to submit comments, recommendations, data and information on the issues detailed in this document as well as other pertinent issues. The information received in response to this Notice will be carefully reviewed and will assist OSHA to determine whether it is necessary and appropriate to pursue regulatory action concerning occupational exposures to indoor air contaminants.

DATES: Comments should be postmarked on or before January 21, 1992 ADDRESS: Comments should be submitted in quadruplicate to the Docket Officer, Docket No. H-122, Room N-2625, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210. Telephone: (202) 523-7894.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. James F. Foster, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Office of Public Affairs, Room N-3649, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210. Telephone: (202) 523-8151.


I. Background

Health complaints related to indoor air quality (IAQ) increased significantly following energy conservation measures instituted in the early seventies. Such measures have generally reduced the infiltration of outside air, allowing the build-up of indoor air contaminants.

Adverse health effects which may be associated with indoor air contaminants are classified as: (1) sick building syndrome (sometimes called tight building syndrome), and (2) building-related illness.

Sick building syndrome is characterized by general complaints which may include headaches, fatigue, nausea, mucous membrane (eye, nose, and throat) irritation, coughs and muscle pain. These conditions generally are not traceable to a specific substance, but are sometimes attributable to exposure to a combination of substances or to individual susceptibility to lower concentrations of contaminants. Typically, the symptoms are reversible, disappearing or dissipating when the affected individuals leave the building.

The term "building-related illness" describes those specific medical conditions of known etiology which can often be documented by physical signs and laboratory findings. Such illnesses include respiratory allergies and Legionnaires' disease. Building-related illnesses are potentially severe and, in contrast to sick building syndrome complaints, are often traceable to a specific contaminant source such as mold infestation and microbial growth in cooling towers, air handling systems and water-damaged furnishings.

OSHA believes that the major sources of indoor air pollutants include the following:

1) Sources outside the building, e.g., contaminated ambient air and radon.

2) Emissions from nearby sources, e.g., vehicular emissions from garages, loading platforms and nearby roads.

3) Equipment, e.g., contaminated HVAC systems and emissions from office equipment.

4) Human activities, e.g., smoking, housekeeping activities, maintenance activities, and pest control.

5) Building components and furnishings, e.g., emissions from new furnishings and carpets.

Analyses of specific pollutants in indoor workplaces have identified several hundred volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) as well as other compounds. Several chemicals have been identified for which OSHA has established permissible exposure limits (e.g., formaldehyde, acetic acid). However, investigations of employee complaints regarding indoor air quality have generally shown levels well below permissible exposure limits for OSHA-regulated substances.

Over the past decade, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has conducted approximately 500 Health Hazard Evaluations for indoor air quality. (Health Hazard Evaluations are workplace investigations conducted at the invitation of the employer to determine the presence of health hazards and to recommend measures to remove them.) The primary types of problems encountered in these investigations were categorized as: inadequate ventilation (52%); contamination from inside the building (17%); contamination from outside the building (11%); microbiological contamination (5%); contamination from building materials and furnishings (3%); and unknown sources (12%).

A particular concern in matters dealing with indoor air quality is exposure to passive tobacco smoke (PTS). A wide range of health effects caused by passive exposure to tobacco smoke has been reported by the Surgeon General, the National Research Council, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and private researchers, as well as by persons reporting health effects due to exposure to passive smoke while at work. These effects range from acute annoyance and eye and respiratory tract irritation to the development of chronic pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, and lung cancer. Tobacco smoke has been classified as a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the Surgeon General, and the EPA. Nonsmokers make up a majority of workers in the workforce (e.g., in 1985 only 33% of men and 28% of women smoked (Tager 1989)). OSHA has estimated, using experimental exposure data published by Cummings et al. (1990), that up to 77% of the nonsmoking workforce, approximately 75 million men and women, is exposed to PTS while at work.

It has been established in many reports that tobacco smoking is one of the major factors causing poor indoor air quality and that nonsmoker exposure to PTS while at work can be significant. It has also been established that of the more than 3,800 compounds in PTS, 60 are known or suspect carcinogens (Repace and Lowrey 1985). Other PTS constituents are recognized as human teratogens and acute respiratory irritants (Tager 1990).

Public concern over exposure of nonsmokers to PTS while at work and the potential life-threatening health effects resulting from that exposure prompted two public interest groups to petition OSHA for an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) in May 1987 to prohibit smoking in all indoor workplaces except for certain specified areas. OSHA determined that available data did not demonstrate that a "grave danger" as defined in 6(c) of the OSH Act existed due to workplace exposure to PTS. Since the available evidence would not support a "grave danger" finding, OSHA denied the petitions in September 1990.

In response to the OSHA denial, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), one of the petitioners, filed a petition for review in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in October 1989, seeking to compel the issuance of an ETS. The court upheld OSHA's decision not to issue an ETS in an unpublished decision issued May 10, 1991.

As part of this document asking questions about all major indoor air contaminants, the Agency is also requesting information on occupational exposure to radon. These questions refer not only to the documented health effects attributable to ionizing radiation given off by radon daughters, but also assessment strategies for evaluating ambient levels and mitigation methods for its abatement.

II. Key Issues on which Comment Is Requested

Definition of and Health Effects Pertaining to Indoor Air Quality:

1) How would you define poor indoor air quality?

2) OSHA solicits the following information with respect to adverse health effects associated with poor indoor air quality:

a) What data are available that associate adverse health effects with exposure to the following types of indoor air contaminants?

1) Chemical agents

2) Bioaerosols

3) Passive tobacco smoke

4) Radon

b) Based on observations in your workplace or your knowledge of research results, describe the adverse effects that you believe may be attributable to the quality of indoor air.

c) What percent of the workforce suffers adverse health effects due to poor indoor air quality in their workplace? What is the basis for your estimates?

d) Based on observations in your workplace or your knowledge from other sources, how much lost work time and decreased productivity may be traceable to illnesses related to poor indoor air quality? What is the basis for your estimate?

e) Are there any other indicators of workers' illness related to poor indoor air quality?

3) a) What correlation, if any, can be made between symptoms presented in IAQ complaints and type of causative agent? For example, are certain symptoms more indicative of exposure to chemical contaminants as opposed to biological contaminants? Please give examples.

b) If such a correlation has been made, how effective is this information in identifying sources of contaminants?

4) At least one report (Woods 1989) estimates that between 800,000 and 1,200,000 commercial buildings in the United States have problems that may be classified as Sick Building Syndrome, potentially affecting some 30 to 70 million occupants. The Agency solicits additional data relevant to the development of more precise estimates of the number of workplaces with indoor air quality problems and the number of employees adversely affected.

The following questions are designed to solicit information regarding bioaerosols as a specific source of indoor air contamination:

5) In cases where IAQ investigations have identified a bioaerosol as the etiologic cause of a building-related illness:

a) Did complaints occur within a specific length of time?

b) Were there similarities in symptoms among affected individuals which suggested exposure to a specific agent, e.g., Legionella pneumophila? Was the etiological agent identified?

c) What laboratory tests were performed to confirm that a specific bioaerosol was responsible for health complaints?

d) How was the problem resolved?

6) IAQ investigations conducted by NIOSH indicate that some type of biological contaminant was involved in five percent of the cases.

a) Are there other data available which indicate the prevalence of biological contaminants as the cause of adverse health effects? If so, please indicate the source of such data.

b) Are data available which indicate the likelihood that health complaints are related to a specific bioaerosol contaminant? If so, please indicate the source of such data.

A wide spectrum of health effects, including headaches, upper respiratory tract irritation, low birthweight, cardiovascular disease, and lung cancer has been associated with nonsmoker exposure to passive tobacco smoke (PTS). Response to the following questions is requested to enable OSHA to identify specific worker populations that may be sensitive to passive tobacco smoke exposure in the workplace.

7) Persons with underlying health problems or chemical sensitivities often cannot work in industries where physical strength and endurance or exposure to chemicals occur in the normal job experience.

a) Is there evidence to suggest that these persons are more susceptible to developing health effects due to short-term exposure to PTS, such as eye and respiratory tract irritation?

b) Is there evidence to suggest that these persons are more susceptible to developing health effects due to long-term exposure to PTS, such as cardiovascular disease and lung cancer?

8) Some people may develop an increased sensitivity to chemical pollutants, such as found in PTS, during pregnancy or treatment with certain medications (Calabrese 1978). What additional studies pertain to this sensitivity?

9) OSHA requests data on the annual incidence rate of chronic obstructive lung disease, asthma, and allergies in the general population. If available, these data will assist the Agency in estimating accurate risk numbers.

10) OSHA requests the latest, most accurate data on smoking behavior in the working population, with as much detail as possible with respect to age group, sex, race, and occupation.

11) To your knowledge, have PTS exposures been associated with specific adverse health endpoints in humans?

12) To your knowledge, have PTS exposures been associated with specific adverse health endpoints in experimental animals?

With respect to IAQ problems, certain reports indicate that multiple factors may influence health complaints. Such factors may include psychosocial considerations, physicalstressors such as temperature, lighting and noise and ergonomics.

13 a) Have these factors been considered in instances where IAQ investigations have failed to identify a specific contaminant source?

b) If yes, was remedial action taken to improve these conditions? Please explain what that action was.

c) Did health complaints decline?

Monitoring and Exposure Assessment

14) If your company keeps records of employee IAQ complaints, can you summarize your experience, emphasizing your efforts to localize the problem, identify the contaminants, determine the adverse health effects, and action taken?

15) Considering the wide variation in individual responses to chemical or biological exposures and other factors related to indoor air quality, what events should trigger an IAQ investigation?

16) What physical evidence which might trigger an IAQ investigation (such as stagnant water, mold, broken fans, dirty vents, barriers to good air mixing, new carpeting/insulation) have been identified by you or your employees?

17) Dust mite infestations in indoor environments are implicated as a cause of allergic reactions and exacerbation of asthma. Recognized as a significant problem in residences, such infestations may be associated with similar complaints in occupational settings.

a) Has your workplace ever monitored for dust mites?

b) If yes, why was the monitoring conducted?

c) Did the results of the monitoring indicate a dust mite infestation?

d) What methods were used to determine the presence of dust mites? 18) Colony forming units (cfu) are the usual units used to express measurements of bioaerosols. What correlation, if any, can be made between the number of cfu per cubic meter of air and the potential to cause adverse health effects in susceptible individuals exposed to such contaminants?

19) What data, if any, are available that suggest that the effects of bioaerosols are influenced by seasonal changes?

20) Have you made measurements of ventilation rates (in terms of air exchanges or CFM)?

a) If so, what were the measurement results?

b) Have you sampled for bioaerosols or other contaminants, e.g., respirable suspended particles?

c) Was there any correlation between the ventilation measurements and sampling results?

According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air- Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), two fundamental procedures are used to improve indoor air quality: 1) Increase ventilation, thereby increasing fresh air introduction and 2) measure air contaminant levels and contain them below specified levels (ASHRAE 1989). Thus, air quantity and quality are important considerations in ensuring clean indoor air. The following questions cover ventilation systems and their relative effectivenesP + + +

21) Please describe the industry you are part of and the type(s) of ventilation system(s) used currently in your workplace?

a) Natural - wind through open doors or windows

b) General Exhaust - strategic placement of fans

c) HVAC System - centrally controlled heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system

22) Do you have specific data indicating that Variable Air Volume (VAV) systems are associated with more IAQ complaints than Constant Volume (CV) systems?

23) What monitoring techniques other that ventilation rates do you use to measure indoor air quality in your workplace?

24) Current IAQ investigations indicate that ambient levels for specific substances are typically found to be within occupational exposure limits.

a) If your workplace has conducted air monitoring for specific substances, why was such sampling done?

b) For what substances did you monitor?

c) What were the concentrations for each substance?

d) What types of instruments were used in conducting the sampling?

e) How often did you conduct the sampling?

25) Specifically, carbon dioxide at levels of 800 to 1,000 ppm has been a traditional indicator of poor indoor air quality due to poor air exchange.

a) Have you conducted any carbon dioxide monitoring?

b) If so, what concentrations were found?

26) a) Is there any evidence to suggest that IAQ complaints coincide with specific amounts of specific volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) in air (e.g., formaldehyde)? That is, can VOCs in mg/m3 be used as a measure of IAQ?

b) Are there practical sampling methods available for estimating total VOCs in air?

27) NIOSH has developed guidelines for IAQ investigations (NIOSH 1987). If your workplace has conducted investigations:

a) Did you try an approach different from NIOSH's in your investigation?

b) If yes, please explain how your approach differed from the NIOSH guidelines.

28) Did you use existing staff (e.g., a staff industrial hygienist), or external assistance (e.g., OSHA consultative services or a private consultant), in conducting the monitoring?

29) What were the costs of the survey? Please separate them, if possible, into direct costs (such as detector tubes and labor costs), and indirect costs (such as durable item equipment and clerical support).

30) In the laboratory evaluation of monitoring samples, did you use laboratory staff or contract with an outside analytical service?

31) What were the laboratory costs associated with the samples?

32) In the absence of visible indicators of potential microbial growth such as water-damaged carpeting or furnishings and accumulation of water and slime in HVAC components, what conditions would indicate the need for bioaerosol monitoring?

33) a) If you suspect bioaerosol contamination, what sampling techniques do you use to determine the presence or concentration of such contaminants?

b) What have been the results?

c) Were any remedial actions necessary?

d) If so, what actions did you take?

e) Did you resample following the initial actions?

f) Did it make a difference?

The following questions specifically ask for information on exposure assessment of workers exposed to PTS and on smoking policies adopted by various employers:

34) a) Have you conducted IAQ assessments relative to tobacco smoke contamination?

b) If yes, for what substance(s) did you measure and what were your results?

c) What was the cost in terms of personnel and laboratory services?

35) a) Is information available on the concentration of PTS components, such as nicotine and particulate matter, detected in the air of indoor workplaces?

b) If you know of such information, please provide available references.

36) Are data available that demonstrate specific ranges of concentrations of cotinine or other biomarkers in biological tissues that are associated with specific levels of exposure to nicotine in PTS?

37) a) What is the relationship between inhaled nicotine and cotinine levels in body fluids?

b) How does this relationship differ for smokers versus nonsmokers?

38) Are there identifiable biological markers for cumulative exposure which would facilitate investigation of chronic diseases associated with exposure to PTS?

39) a) In workplaces where a restricted smoking policy has been implemented, has monitoring and evaluation been performed to determine its effectiveness in reducing levels of PTS components?

b) If so, what substances are monitored?

c) How is this monitoring conducted and how frequently is the policy evaluated?

The following questions deal with radon as an indoor air pollutant:

40) Have you ever monitored for radon in your workplace?

41) If you have:

a) Why did you?

b) Who did the monitoring?

c) What was the resulting radon level?

d) Where was the monitoring done (basement, main floor, higher floors)?

e) What type of monitoring was used (alpha track, charcoal, etc.)? How much did the monitoring cost?

f) Over what period of time did monitoring take place?

g) How long was each monitor left in place?


42) Some citations in the literature state that the primary source of bacteria released into the indoor environment is the human body. Has your workplace addressed spatial considerations to prevent overcrowding, and thus reduce the person to person spread of disease? How did you do this?

43) Do you have evidence to show that overcrowding is a source of bioaerosol formation?

44) Do you increase ventilation flow in particularly crowded worksites or conversely reduce ventilation during non-work hours?

45) Is it part of your company's or building owner's policy to follow the ASHRAE Standard 62-1989 regarding the introduction of fresh outdoor air into the ventilation system?

46) If the answer to question 45 is yes, do you consider the specific type of work environment in determining the appropriate quantity of fresh air to introduce? For example, the ASHRAE recommended level for smoking lounges is 60 Cubic Feet per Minute per person (CFM/person) as opposed to 20 CFM/person for regular office space.

47) a) If you do not follow the ASHRAE guidelines, do you believe one minimum acceptable CFM/person threshold exists for all indoor work environments which would successfully alleviate all health effects?

b) What would you recommend that level to be? Please provide supporting information.

48) What data are available correlating PTS concentrations to ventilation rates and density of smokers?

49) If you believe there is an acceptable level of passive tobacco smoke in indoor air, how would you maintain this level in your building? What ventilation rate would be appropriate to solve this PTS problem?

50) a) Have you found that redesigning the workplace interior (e.g., as in renovation), leaving the ventilation system alone, results in improper distribution of air?

b) If so, what types of problems ensue after the remodeling?

51) ASHRAE set its recommendations assuming 100% fresh outdoor air introduction, but states that properly filtered, recirculated air at the same flow rates will adequately remove contaminants to acceptable levels.

a) Do you agree with this statement?

b) If yes, please provide information which supports recirculating filtered air as a healthy alternative to 100% fresh air introduction.

c) If not, what types of problems are associated with recirculated air? 52) a) If you recirculate indoor air, do you seasonally adjust the amount of outdoor air your system takes in?

b) If so, have you observed any trends in illnesses or complaints which parallel the adjustments?

c) Have you observed any seasonal trends regarding illnesses or complaints independent of adjustments to the system?

53) Is the current ventilation system the original design or has your company retrofitted a system to improve indoor air quality?

54) Is it possible to mitigate IAQ problems due to bioaerosol contamination just by properly maintaining the ventilation systems in respect to microbial growth, fungal growth, etc?

55) What are the operating costs, exclusive of maintenance, for your ventilation system?

56) What is your average cost per year for maintenance (in terms of cleaning, repairing, and replacement parts)?

57) If changes have been made to upgrade the ventilation system, why were they made and what were the costs associated with the mechanical improvements?

58) a) Did the operating costs including those for energy and maintenance change after the upgrade?

b) If so, did they increase or decrease, and by how much?

Some insurance carriers have been said to increase premiums of companies with inadequate ventilation systems due to potential law suits by employees whose health has been adversely affected by poor indoor air quality.

59) Has your company experienced an increased insurance premium directly or indirectly attributable to poor indoor air quality?

60) If so, please describe the situation.

The following questions address means of limiting worker exposure to PTS:

61) If you use smoke reduction methods:

a) What types do you use?

b) What is the yearly cost of the program (1) per employee and (2) per cubic foot of workplace space?

62) If smoking is allowed in indoor work areas, what should be done to assure that nonsmokers are protected from exposure to PTS?

63) In your opinion, should smoking control policies differ for different types of workplaces (e.g., factories, offices, stores, restaurants)? If your answer is yes, please state your reasons why you believe this.

64) a) If your company confines smoking to designated areas, is the ventilation in such areas mixed with outside air and distributed to nonsmoking areas?

b) Has monitoring ever been conducted to determine the transfer of smoke constituents from the designated smoking areas to nonsmoking areas? If so, can you supply the results or describe them.

65) In companies that allow smoking throughout the workplace, describe what, if anything, is done to reduce nonsmoker's exposure to PTS?

66) a) In your experience or opinion, is it feasible to reduce PTS contaminant levels to adequate levels just by increasing ventilation?

b) If so, are costs in equipment and maintenance any different than those required for maintaining good indoor air quality?

c) If the answer to b) is yes, what is the cost difference?

67) a) Is it necessary to use separate ventilation in smoking areas to reduce the possibility of cross-contamination during air recirculation from smoking areas to nonsmoking areas?

b) If not, explain why cross-contamination of recirculated air is not a problem.

68) a) In smoking areas, what types of commercial room air cleaners (e.g., desk top air cleaners, ionizers) other than ventilation are used to reduce levels of PTS?

b) How do you know they are effective in removing smoke from the air?

c) List other commercial air cleaners which are effective in removing PTS-related gases and particulates from the ambient air.

ASHRAE has specified a series of recommended indoor air quality standards to control common indoor contaminants. Commonly mentioned control techniques other than increasing ventilation flow include product improvement (e.g., lead-free paint), filters and electrostatic precipitators (for particulates),P + + +

and absorbing charcoal beds (to remove gaseous contaminants).

69) Have you employed any of these devices or techniques to improve overall air quality inside your facility?

70) If yes, please describe the devices or techniques that you have employed?

71) a) If you believe that OSHA should adopt the ASHRAE standards for controlling occupational exposures to indoor air contaminants, please provide any quantitative information you have to support their effectiveness in improving air quality.

b) If you do not believe that the ASHRAE standards are sufficient, please recommend what other actions should be taken.

72) Please estimate what you believe the capital costs would be of incorporating the ASHRAE standard into your building's design and how doing so would affect the cost of renovation projects.

73) How effective have modifications in ventilation systems and IAQ monitoring been in reducing the number of related illnesses and complaints in your workplace?

74) a) Do you have a comprehensive program of regular HVAC system inspection and maintenance?

b) If so, what does the program consist of?

In order to assist OSHA in developing a more complete profile of existing workplace practices in dealing with hazards associated with poor indoor air quality, comment is requested on the following questions:

75) How many workers in your workplace are affected by your current policy on indoor air quality?

a) What type of costs (e.g., capital, operating or maintenance costs) have been involved with voluntarily adopting or changing indoor air quality, including smoking, policies?

b) Have there been any cost savings (e.g., maintenance, insurance, productivity)?

c) Are there any options you have considered adopting and have analyzed, but have not yet adopted (including ones that have been rejected)?

d) What are they, what costs and benefits have you identified with them, and why have you not yet adopted them?

e) What is the nature of your business?

f) What is the size of the workforce at your establishment?

76) a) How have personnel relationships been affected by workplace policies related to indoor air quality, especially smoking?

b) Have there been any quantifiable benefits in this area related to the implementation of new indoor air quality policies?

77) If your company allows smoking in indoor areas, please state any restrictions that may apply:

a) Is smoking restricted to designated smoking areas?

b) Is smoking restricted during certain times?

c) Are other restrictions enforced (if so, please state what they are)?

78) In your opinion or from your experience, are there specific workplaces where it would not be feasible to comply with a standard that consists of any of the following:

a) smoking in designated areas only,

b) smoking in a designated area with separate ventilation,

c) limited exposure to specific levels of PTS components, or

d) a total smoking ban in indoor work areas?

79) If your company has developed and implemented a smoking control policy:

a) What conditions existed that prompted this action?

b) Did the development and implementation of a successful smoking policy involve broad participation? For example, did the groups that participated include: management, union representatives, employees, smokers and nonsmokers?

c) With regard to current policy in your workplace, how many workers are affected by the policy?

d) What has been the effect of any smoking restriction on smoker behavior?

80) a) Once a policy was implemented, did you provide smokers with information and access to non-coercive stop-smoking aids, such as smoking cessation clinics, counseling, and self-help materials?

b) If you did, was it effective in helping smokers to quit?

81) a) What means do you use to enforce the policy?

b) Do you use signs to post designated smoking areas?

82) In the experience of companies that have implemented smoking control policies:

a) Have costs of implementing and monitoring the policy been estimated?

b) What are these costs?

83) If you are a private sector employer, did you consider a smoking control policy in order to reduce potential liability?

84) If your company has been involved in smoking-related litigation, have you initiated smoking control policies to reduce the possibility of further ligation?

85) If, as a result of monitoring for radon, you determined that action was required to reduce the level:

a) What action was taken?

b) Was monitoring performed subsequent to abatement action?

c) To what extent did the abatement change the levels?

d) What was the cost of such mitigation?

Local Policies and Practices:

86) a) In your local area (municipality or State) how many establishments have voluntarily established indoor air policies?

b) What do these policies entail?

c) Do these policies vary between types of businesses?

d) Why were these policies adopted?

87) a) Are businesses facing legal pressure to implement general clean indoor air policies?

b) What legal problems have been encountered when establishments have attempted to establish or modify indoor air quality policies?

Where states or localities have decided to regulate smoking in the workplace:

88) OSHA requests that copies of state or local smoking rules, regulations, or guidelines be submitted.

a) Why were certain types of workplaces included in the above but others omitted?

b) Please identify sections of this rule, regulation, or guideline that are different for certain types of employers or conditions of employment (e.g., restaurants, private offices, and factories) as compared to others (e.g., general office space and public space).

c) Are structural changes in the ventilation system or the building of barriers between smoking and nonsmoking sections ever a specified option for employers in attempting to comply with the rule, regulation, or guideline?

89) Have there been any difficulties in implementing, monitoring, enforcing, and evaluating the effectiveness of these rules, regulations, or guidelines in reducing exposure of nonsmokers to PTS?

90) a) Has compliance with these various rules, regulations, or guidelines been measured? If so, how?

b) Have these various rules, regulations, or guidelines been effective in reducing the amount of PTS in various workplaces?

c) What sort of violations are you experiencing?

d) What are the penalties for noncompliance?

e) What type of resources are being used to ensure compliance with the rule, regulation, or guideline?

91) In the workplace experience, what costs or savings have resulted in your complying with the rule, regulation, or guideline?

Potential Content of Regulation

92) If OSHA determines, on the basis of adequate evidence, that regulatory action is needed to protect employees from adverse health effects related to indoor air quality, what elements do you believe such regulation should include? Please provide the basis for your suggested element(s).


The studies and other data listed below are referred to in this document. These references, designated as Exhibit 2-1 - 2-8 of Docket Number H-122, are available for examination and copying at the OSHA Docket Office, Room N-2625, U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, D.C. 20210, between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday, legal holidays excepted.

1. American Society of Heating and Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). 1989. ASHRAE 62-1989. ASHRAE Standard: Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality. ASHRAE, Inc. Atlanta, Georgia. ISSN 1041-2336.

2. Calabrese, E. 1978. Pollutants and High-Risk Groups: The Biological Basis of Increased Human Susceptibility to Environmental and Occupational Pollutants. John Wiley and Sons, New York.

3. Cummings, M., Markello, S., Mahoney, M., Bhargava, A., McElroy, P., and Marshall, J. 1990. Measurement of current exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. Arch. Environ. Health 45(2):74-79.

4. Glantz, S. and Parmley, W. 1991. Passive smoking and heart disease: Epidemiology, physiology, and biochemistry. Circulation 83(1):1-11.

5. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). 1987. Guidance for Indoor Air Quality Investigations. Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance Branch, Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies. Cincinnati, Ohio. NIOSH-00174355. 25 Pages.

6. Repace, J. and Lowrey, A. 1985. A quantitative estimate of nonsmokers' lung cancer risk from passive smoking. Environ. Int. 11:3-22.

7. Tager, I. 1989. Health effects of involuntary smoking in the workplace. N.Y. State J. Med. 89(1):27-31.

8. Woods, J. 1989. Cost avoidance and productivity in owning and operating buildings. In: Cone, J. and Hodgson, M. (eds): Problem Buildings: Building-associated Illness and the Sick Building Syndrome. Occup. Med. State of Art Rev. 4:753-770.


This document was prepared under the direction of Gerard F. Scannell, Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., 20210. It is issued pursuant to section 6(b) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 [84 stat. 1593: 29 U.S.C. 655].

Signed at Washington, D.C., this 16th day of September 1991.

Gerard F. Scannell
Assistant Secretary of Labor