JMB Environmental Consulting Pty Ltd s conducted an investigation into Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) at the Calvary Mater Hospital following the identification of elevated total VOC (TVOC) concentrations in one of their an administrative office.
Employees were monitored for VOCs using diffusive badges to identify specific airborne contaminants, and the results used to assess the potential health risk to office personnel. In addition to the personal monitoring, real-time measurements were taken for total VOCs in and around the area.
The investigation revealed increased TVOC levels in an adjacent section of the Hospital. Full shift personal monitoring identified very low levels of ethyl alcohol on a single worker, the likely source of which was hand sanitiser, used throughout the hospital. All other compounds tested for were non-detectable.
Recommendations were subsequently made that office personnel be monitored for semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) and the elevated TVOC levels in the adjacent hospital department be further investigated.
Offices that have been retrofitted into small spaces in older buildings will often receive inadequate ventilation. Indoor air quality can be greatly improved with a proper design that addresses air supply and turnover requirements.