officecontamination

NIOSH Finds No Abnormal Cancer Pattern at Office Complex Suspected of Contamination

The agency's latest health hazard evaluation report detailed its evaluation of a federal government office complex where contamination with polychlorinated biphenyls, solvents, metals, and other chemicals was suspected.

NIOSH has completed a health hazard evaluation (HHE) report about a federal government office complex suspected of contamination with polychlorinated biphenyls, solvents, metals, and other chemicals. The agency responded to a series of employee complaints stating the employees were concerned about health problems at their office complex, including possible contamination of the buildings, soil, and groundwater from an adjoining weapons component agency.

Employees complained of various health concerns, including cancer, gallbladder trouble, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. NIOSH's evaluation, which began with a site visit in June 2010, included personnel reviewing and monitoring exposure levels, touring the complex to evaluate potential exposures, and surveying the complex's ventilation systems. The agency also interviewed supervisors, managers, and several hundred employees.

Its report says the examiners found no excess of cancer or abnormal pattern of other disease, and the review of monitoring results showed there is little potential for exposure to carcinogenic agents at the 300-acre complex.

NIOSH recommended that the employer do a handful of things, including inspecting physical barriers separating the office complex from the weapons component agency, ensuring ventilation does not cross-connect with the weapons component agency, and ensuring there is a program in place for employees to discuss health and safety concerns. 

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