Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2011 19:57:38 +0000
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: "Desmarais, Anne Marie" <AnneMarie.Desmarais**At_Symbol_Here**TUFTS.EDU>
Subject: Re: Odor
In-Reply-To: <BAY166-W597937110D252EB6603AA2C4340**At_Symbol_Here**phx.gbl>

Can I add to the "white powder" stories.  Back in November 2001, someone br
ought a box of Dunkin' Donut Munchkins to the office. The box includes mixe
d "holes", including the powdered kind.  We didn't think anything of it. Pe
ople ate the donut holes and then put the box in the trash.  We must have l
eft a trace of confectioners sugar on one of the desks.  Later that evening
 the cleaning crew called in a hazmat incident, and we returned to find our
 reception area cordoned off the following morning guarded by someone from 
EHS.  The department chair walked into the office, crossed the taped area, 
and found a small bit of the powder on the carpet. He licked his finger and
 scooped it up and tasted it.  He then sent us a memo asking us to stick to
 plain donuts.
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**] on behalf of Alan Hall
Sent: Thursday, July 28, 2011 2:09 PM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Odor

I was teaching medical toxicology at Texas Tech-El Paso then and we had ove
r 100 "white powder" full HAZMAT response incidents.  My wife usually makes
 some delicious Christmas cookies called "Mexican Wedding Cakes" that are c
overed with confectioners sugar, but we ate them at home and I didn't take 
any down to the admin offices.  Stuff like that, in small ways, means the b
ad guys have won.

Alan H. Hall, M.D.

Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2011 17:25:35 +0000
From: wdwatt**At_Symbol_Here**COMCAST.NET
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Odor
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU

during the "white powder" awareness phase we answered hundreds of "white po
wder" calls at Chrysler. I tried (unsuccessfully) to get powdered donuts ba
Bill Watt


From: "Debbie M. Decker" 
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Sent: Thursday, July 28, 2011 12:45:46 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Odor

Personal Fave:  during the "white powder" heightened awareness several year
s ago, I responded to a call about a white powder that had contaminated a s
tudent backpack.  I arrived on scene to find a very frightened young person
, her professor and classmates, milling about waiting for "someone" who cou
ld "do something."

I asked her where her backpack was and she pointed to her backpack, against
 the front wall of the classroom, under a blackboard (you can see it coming
).  Had she noticed any white powder on her backpack before class?  No, not
 until this class.  And then I gently pointed out that she had dropped her 
backpack under the blackboard and the white powder was probably chalk dust 
and she could just dust it off.  No, she didn't want to chance it.  I expla
ined to her that I was happy to take her backpack away and put it into the 
incinerator drum we had at the haz waste facility for these types of situat
ions.  But once she made that decision, she would not be able to access her
 backpack and it would be shipped to Utah, to the fiery furnace.

Taking a deep breath, she decided it probably was chalk dust and that takin
g away her backpack wouldn't be necessary.  Brave girl.  :-)

-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of Ke
n Kretchman
Sent: Thursday, July 28, 2011 8:55 AM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Odor

popcorn actually..late afternoon after long day .. respond to a call of
burning odor.. travel across long building to office of complaint.  He
says it smells like burnt popcorn and takes me to the office door of
where he feels the smell originates.. knock at door and person answers
door with bag of popcorn in hand.

Top notch IH work ..   Sorry I could not resist either and we all have
a million stories like this one but certainly better things to do as
well so my apologies for continuation..

Kenneth Kretchman, CSP, CIH
Director, Environmental Health and Safety
NC State University
Raleigh, NC 27695-8007
919-515-6860 (p)
919-515-6307 (f)

>>> Mark Grossman  7/27/2011 8:33 PM >>>
Then, of course, the root cause could have been the employee who left
Chrysler to go to IBM and then decided to pursue higher education at
Carolina State, leaving a trail of old fruit along the way.

Sorry, couldn't resist!  :-)


Mark I. Grossman, CIH, CSP
Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ken Kretchman" 
Sent: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 2:07 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Odor

> Interesting.. I'm ex-IBM and had the exact "moldy orange" experience
> listed below here at NC State.  Only different is the desk was in a
> complex lab area.  These can certainly be tough to pinpoint.
> Some of these can be quite a task to pinpoint. Dry traps, wet
> insulation, etc ... A number of years ago we blew theatrical smoke
> the waste line vent pipe on the roof of our chemistry building after
> frustrating run of fugitive odors and had facilities personnel
> through labs in the building to spot emissions.  We found more that
> area with compromised waste drain plumbing.
> Kenneth Kretchman, CSP, CIH
> Director, Environmental Health and Safety
> NC State University
> Raleigh, NC 27695-8007
> 919-515-6860 (p)
> 919-515-6307 (f)
> ken_kretchman**At_Symbol_Here**
>>>> Alan Hall  7/27/2011 1:49 PM >>>
> Rachel,
> Since it is a microbiology laboratory, have you considered any of
> biological organisms that contribute to the problem of "Athlete's
> (some are odoriferous fungi) that might be being grown/incubated?
> there be some cultures of such in there?  Certainly, many "moldy"
> are actually from biological organisms.  Could it in fact be that
> socks" are actually dirty socks (as in someone's overlooked gym
> 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
> Just a thought.
> Alan
> 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=92ve received there
> be several possibilities.  Dry traps are usually a good one to start
> with.  If you (and your facilities and research staff) have
> all possibilities there is also something called =93dirty sock
> syndrome=94.  Google it and you will see many reference and
> discussions.  Here is a link with an explanation.

> 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
> couple of uncapped pipes that were no longer in use.
> Good luck,
> Patty
> Patty Olinger, RBP
> Director EHSO
> Emory University
> 1762 Clifton Rd., Suite 1200
> M.S. 0940-001-1AB
> Atlanta, GA 30322
> 404-727-5690 office
> 404-727-9778 fax
> How are we doing?  Please take a minute to complete our survey:
> TEAMWORK...Our Path to Excellence
> "Harrington, Rachel"  wrote:
> We have a strong =93dirty socks=94 odor present in one of our micro
> labs.  It=92s a pretty typical lab using media and cultures, etc.
> we are systematically removing everything and deconning but this odor
> persisting.  I know I have smelt this chemical before, maybe back in
> undergraduate days, but it is really a sickening odor.  Any ideas?
> 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
> 847-578-3420 work
> 224-622-4244 mobile
> 847-775-6548 fax
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