Date: Wed, 27 Jul 2011 11:49:26 -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: Jean & Ken Smith <smith.j.k**At_Symbol_Here**SBCGLOBAL.NET>
Subject: Re: Odor
In-Reply-To: <BAY166-W22CB368E41E78F4FFDD6F2C4350**At_Symbol_Here**phx.gbl>

Hi Rachel,

As a follow on from Alan, the rotten orange or other citrus is a good possibility.  One time while working for Cal/OSHA we had an odor complaint in a bank.  After nearly a day of looking at everything from open sewer traps to spills on the floor, in desperation I opened every desk drawer in the place and, lo and behold, I found a rotten orange that had been misidentified as a green sponge.  It may not have smelled like a dirty sock, but did cause eye irritation and a slight odor.


The dry floor drain is also a very good candidate for the odor.  I had a number of these also.  One thing often overlooked is a disconnected wall mount toilet or urinal where the opening was never or not properly sealed and is leaking sewer gas.  That would be similar to the uncapped pipe found by one of the other respondents.


Good luck on the search,


A retired CIH


-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of Alan Hall
Sent: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 10:50 AM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Odor


Since it is a microbiology laboratory, have you considered any of the biological organisms that contribute to the problem of "Athlete's foot" (some are odoriferous fungi) that might be being grown/incubated?  Could there be some cultures of such in there?  Certainly, many "moldy" odors are actually from biological organisms.  Could it in fact be that "dirty socks" are actually dirty socks (as in someone's overlooked gym bag)?
I'm reminded of a case at a major IBM facility a friend of mine investigated some years ago of "sick building syndrome" in an office area that turned out to be a "lost" mouldy orange buried beneath paperwork in a worker's lower desk drawer (after an expensive IH evaluation of multiple worker odor complaints had already been done). 
Just a thought.
Alan H. Hall, M.D.
Medical Toxicologist.

Date: Wed, 27 Jul 2011 10:57:04 +0000
From: patty.olinger**At_Symbol_Here**EMORY.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Odor
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU

Hi Rachel,  Obviously from the responses you’ve received there could be several possibilities.  Dry traps are usually a good one to start with.  If you (and your facilities and research staff) have exhausted all possibilities there is also something called “dirty sock syndrome”.  Google it and you will see many reference and discussions.  Here is a link with an explanation. 1291219433792&_perPg=40&view=articles&_category=Residen tial%3A%3AAir%20Conditioning%20%26%20Heating%20&_filterField=Catego ries


We recently had an issue that people described as dirty socks, sewer gas, etc. After several months found the odor by reviewing the floor plan of the building and following the pipes in the walls.  We found a couple of uncapped pipes that were no longer in use.


Good luck,


Patty< /font>



Patty Olinger, RBP

Director EHSO

Emory University

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"Harrington, Rachel" <rachel.harrington**At_Symbol_Here**ROSALINDFRANKLIN.EDU> wrote:

We have a strong “dirty socks” odor present in one of our micro labs.  It’s a pretty typical lab using media and cultures, etc.  and we are systematically removing everything and deconning but this odor is persisting.  I know I have smelt this chemical before, maybe back in my undergraduate days, but it is really a sickening odor.  Any ideas?  Any help is greatly appreciated.  Thank you!


Rachel E. Harrington, MPH, CHMM

Director- Office of Environmental, Health and Safety

Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

3333 Green Bay Road

North Chicago, IL  60064

847-578-3 420 work

224-622-4 244 mobile

847-775-6 548 fax




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