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Odor Complaints

Chemical Safety (713) 500-5832 (Hotline)

Building Services (713) 500-FIXT (3498)

UT Police (713) 794-4357 (Emergency)

Reporting an odor/indoor air quality problem

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) is dedicated to providing the safest and most productive workplace environment. UTHealth supports a myriad of functions that range from administrative and clerical duties to patient care, research, and education. This combination of activities will sometimes bring about indoor air quality issues, namely odor complaints.

Odors can come from many different sources. The majority of indoor air quality complaints can be tied to the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning, "HVAC" system. HVAC systems are designed primarily for controlling temperature, humidity, odor control, and air quality. A properly operating HVAC system can be adjusted to remove or reduce all of these parameters.

If you are experiencing discomfort from an odor in your work area, knowing who to call is important. Listed below are the important phone numbers to call to report the odor.

What to do and Who to call:

Natural Gas

  1. Turn off all sources of ignition (open flames, electrical equipment).
  2. Check laboratory gas outlets for open valves and local gas tubing for leaks.
  3. Call facilities Services at 713.500.Fixt to investigate building systems and equipment for leaks.

Extremely strong and acutely irritating odors (life threatening), strong burning smells or visible smoke
  1. Evacuate the area turning off all sources of ignition (open flames, electrical equipment)
    1. Do not turn on or off any electrical appliances or devices.
    2. Alert any passers-by to stay clear of the affected area.
  2. Close local and emergency valves if present. Close all gas outlets and the emergency gas valve for your floor, laboratory, or area if one exists.
  3. Stay out. Do not return to an evacuated building unless told to do so by the on-scene authority (fire department, police department or other personnel).
  4. Call: 911 or the UT Police Department 713.794.HELP or (713.794.4357)
Chemical, electrical burning smells, and any other non-immediately life threatening odors
  1. Investigate if the source is just in your area. If not, check the hallway and adjacent laboratories to determine if the odor is widespread.
  2. Confer with EH&S at 713-500-5832 if you experience symptoms or illness. 
  3. Take action if the source is obvious and something can be done without putting anyone at risk.  For example, eliminate or control the odor by moving a benchtop procedure to a fume hood.
  4. Contact Facilities Building Services at 713-500-FIXT (3498) if the odor clearly originates from a major construction site (e.g., diesel fumes, dust, asphalt, or roofing).
  5. Contact Facilities Building Services at the FIXIT Hotline 713-500-FIXT (3498) for Temperature, humidity, dusts, and musty odors.