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    Re: EPA Workers Say Building Is Making Them Sick

    Posted by Rem Dude on 11/02/10

    Let’s see:

    The American Federation of Government Employees
    Many of the Issues Corrected
    The American Federation of Government Employees
    Rust Particulate Traced To Humidifiers
    American Federation of Government Employees
    HVAC Duct System Replaced
    American Federation of Government Employees
    Mold Tests - Insignificant
    American Federation of Government Employees
    EPA Working to Correct Other Problems
    American Federation of Government Employees

    The source of the problem is easy to see...


    On 11/01/10, Sharon wrote:
    > North Carolina building making them sick despite attempts
    > to fix problems
    > ic-influence/story/epa-building-north-carolina-has-air-
    > quality-issues/
    > ....“You're having throat problems. Your eyes are
    > You're having, possibly, difficult breathing,” said Silvia
    > Saracco, the president of the union that represents many
    > those workers. “They want to come to work. They want to do
    > their jobs. And their health is being negatively affected.
    > They're having a hard time breathing."
    > A report done in 2009, written by an EPA contractor and
    > obtained by the Investigative Reporting Workshop,
    > highlights years of problems dating back to 2003. At that
    > time, laboratory staff reported "excessive indoor
    > particulate levels," i.e., toxic dust, some of which was
    > contaminated with metals. Since then, the report noted,
    > workers in two buildings reported symptoms, including
    > coughs, eye irritation and chest pain with inhalation
    > a “dump” of particulate matter occurred. “Some individuals
    > had persistent symptoms for many days prior to eventual
    > resolution, and some had symptoms recur when they tried to
    > return to their usual laboratories,” the report said.
    > The study focused chiefly on Building-B, which consists of
    > laboratories and office space. It concluded that the
    > complex did not have “Sick Building Syndrome,” but
    > acknowledged that some workers were likely suffering
    > from "Building-Related Symptoms." The report also called
    > for additional sampling of indoor air contaminants.
    > EPA employees interviewed by the WRAL and the Workshop
    > asked not to be named, for fear of retaliation by EPA
    > officials. One said it's still common for small pieces of
    > rusted metal to fall out of the air and land on computer
    > keyboards. Surfaces in labs and offices often look like
    > they have a thick coating of dust. It isn’t typical office
    > dust, however. Tests showed the presence of metal and
    > fragments that were not found in the air outside of the
    > buildings.
    > Inside, the air has been so bad that electrical components
    > of some lab equipment have corroded. The damaged equipment
    > was fixed quickly, but the cause of toxic particulates
    > contaminating the equipment remained elusive.
    > Workers got little support from top officials
    > MaryJane Selgrade, who retired in July as acting director
    > of the Experimental Toxicology Division of the Research
    > Triangle Park campus, says EPA was slow to respond to
    > employee concerns about air quality.
    > "Early on it seemed they cared more about the equipment
    > than the people," Selgrade said. "There was almost a sense
    > of apathy. They reacted slowly. It was frustrating for
    > everybody.”
    > She said workers who developed health problems were
    > encouraged to go to the EPA health unit, but they got
    > little support.
    > “They told people to go to the health unit when they had
    > problems,” she said. “But when they went, the health unit
    > was not very receptive, for a long time. People were very
    > turned off by that.”
    > One man in her unit, Selgrade said, reacted so badly to
    > particles that he had to be rushed to the emergency room.
    > His hand had swollen up so much that hospital workers had
    > to cut off his wedding ring. “It impacted his career,” she
    > said. “He couldn’t go into his office.”
    > Saracco, president of the American Federation of
    > Employees Local 3347, which represents the workers, said
    > the agency was slow to address the problems. "I think it
    > became a real issue when management realized it was
    > affecting the equipment," he said....

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