Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2009 15:48:08 -0700
Reply-To: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Alan Hall <ahalltoxic**At_Symbol_Here**MSN.COM>
Subject: Re: Latex degradation, low humidity, Chinese drywall?
In-Reply-To: <5B88C9ED-48B2-46BC-B1C9-0982609A834F**At_Symbol_Here**>

Generally, I don't reply to these, but this one caught my attent ion.
There's the old thing about workers where the light wasn't "light" enough , so the management changed the light to have more candlepower.  T hen the workeers complained again and they dreceased the candlepower . In both cases, the workers felt better because someone in manage ment had listened to them.
Chemophobia:  Why would you take a job in a FAB if chemicals scare the toowhoolis off of you?  But persons do.  Yes, man y "Building-related syndromes" are a manifestations of such.  I reca ll one in IBM in Boulder, CO where it finally turned out that a person ha d stuffed an orange in a lower desk drawer and it had done what oranges do when left exposed to the ambient atmosphere for long enough -- mold can hav e a very distinctive odor and some persons are quite sensitive to it.  ; Doesn't mean you have to tear the building down.
Latex breakdown:  Many of us in the Denver area have dealt wi th this.  There is some decent evidence of airborn levels of certain of these things from car tires.  Certainly, there are those who h ave a true latex allergy (mostly from the wearing of latex-based (with of c ourse corn-strarch lubricated) surgical gloves.  So of course, suc h is true.  Anaphylxis and anaphylactoid reaction have occurred in s uch cases.  But it doesn't seem likely in the situation you describe .
Drywall, from whatever origin.  Many will have some formaldehyde w hich can off gas.  However, mostly this is a "nuisance" issue.&nbs p;
Now, "nuisance" is as "nuisance "does.  My runny nose or he adache doesn't mean much to the next person.  But what has been foun d is simple:  the more job stress you have and the less you h ave control over the work conditions (simple things like temperature -- ask any dozen employees -- half will say it's too hot and half will say it's t oo cold, and what they say is right for them at the time they're a sked -- doesn't matter what the room temperature is -- they can't control i t) and it may make things that might mean nothing much to someone else seem like a big deal to them.  Perception is reality in operation.  ;
Many studies done with subjects who considered themselves to be perf ectly healthy found that, about average, they had any number of symptom s (usually about 20/day) that some other persons might fixate on and others might just take as a part of normal life.  So, for me, today:  
- I have some low back pain;
- I had a bit of a headache when I woke up this morning;
- My sinuses are a bit full and occasionally, I cough;
- I have some eye irriatation
- When I go walking, my right knee aches a bit;
- Because of chronic back problems, I sometimes have a bit of pain in my right leg and can't feel part of my right foot;
- Because of some tick bites when I went to India and have a chronic replas ing fever, I sometimes have recurrent fevers and chills and so on and so forth.
Do I think it has diddly-squat to do with my work environent?  NO!&n bsp; I'm simply a human being who has lived long enough to know a few things.
So yes, don't ignore the complaints. 
The ozone could be an issue, but I'm still not convinced.  You cou ld measure it, of course.
In general, when management listens to the concerns of workers and does w hat is simply indicated to improve work conditions, things in general get better.
Just some thoughts,
Alan H. Hall, M.D.
President and chief Medical Toxicologist
Toxicology Consulting and Medical Translating Services, Inc. (TCMTS, In c.)
Laramie, WY
Clinical Assistant Professor
Colorado School of Public Health
Denver, Colorado
Senior Advisor
Forensic Science
Weatherford College
Weatherford, Texas
office phone:  (307) 745-0600
cell phone:  (307) 399-1564


Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2009 15:27:41 -0500
From: info**At_Symbol_Here**ILPI.COM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Latex degradation, low humidity, Chinese drywall?
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU

Rubber degradation really leaps off the page and suggests ozone.   ;The symptoms are also consistent with ozone (as well as other chemicals such as formaldehyde...then again, chemophobia, as well).  Elect ronics such as laser printers and photocopiers emit a lot of ozone. I presu me you aren't using "ozone air purifiers" (an oxymoronic device if there ev er was one) or other sort of electrostatic air cleaner.   &nb sp;If your facility is new, it could be outgassing from furniture, ca rpets, or drapes.

Drywall would be a very long shot - you'd have metal corrosion issues , first of all.  And second, drywall imports from China only occ urred on large scale after Katrina with the peak period 2004-2007.   How old is the building?  If you really want to rule it out, you c an cut out a section and see if it says "Made in China" or has the name of a Chinese company printed on the back.

Rob Toreki 

On Nov 18, 2009, at 2:35 PM, Debbie M. Decker wrote:

Please excuse the cross-postings:
I=92m working with a group that works in a secured, containment facility.  The suppl y air is one pass, the exhaust is HEPA filtered and air change rates are in the 10-15 ACH.  Rubber bands, latex gloves, the gloves on a g love box, rubber stoppers, etc. degrade very quickly in this building - a matter of months.  This causes consternation among my building occupants - =93if latex degrades so quickly, what is this building doi ng to me?=94
I have done the fo llowing:  datalogged temperature, %RH, CO and CO2 twice, at di fferent times of year, for a week.  First set showed extremely low humidity - below 20%rh - all other measurements within customary.  ; Second round showed %rh in a more normal range - 35-40%rh.  Ma gnetic fields were at or below background.  No radioactivity was det ected.  The building doesn=92t have any weird smells, evidence of mold or water intrusion.  The mechanical system is working as design ed, filters in place and without high pressure drop, coils clean, etc ., according to my building engineers.
People complain of headaches and stuffy noses, general malaise after working in the buildin g for some period of time.  Someone has suggested Chinese drywall mi ght be a culprit but I don=92t know as it quite fits.
Whaddya think?&nbs p; All ideas welcome, at this point.
------------------ --
Debbie M. Decker, Campu s Chemical Safety Officer
Environmental Health and Safety
University of California, Davis
1 Shields Ave.
Davis, CA  95616
(5 30)754-7964/(530)752-4527 (FAX)
Co-Conspirator to Make the World A 
Better Place -- Visit www.He and join the conspiracy

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