Friends=97This is not a trivial issue. I have heard of a faculty member who had a lot of old books and manuscripts who had a similar problem, and was in an enclosed office without much outside air. It turned out that mold was a culprit, which can cause a severe allergic reaction.
I've had chemical odor complaints localized in office areas at several locations. The occupant would insist that it was caused by some chemical contamination or air flow issue from lab areas… Upon investigation it was caused by uncapped marker pens and once even by a moldy orange!
Timothy M. Hauser, CHMM
Manager, Environmental, Health & Safety
2800 Woods Hollow Road, Madison WI 53711 USA
Timothy.Hauser**At_Symbol_Here**promega.com | Direct (608) 298-4807 | Cell: (262) 844-1665 | Fax: (608) 277-2677
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Garrow, Walter
Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 3:23 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] odor question
This may sound strange, but some of the men's urinal deodorant blocks have similar chemicals.
From: Dan Herrick [mailto:herrickdan**At_Symbol_Here**HOTMAIL.COM]
Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 10:07 PM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Subject: [DCHAS-L] odor question
We are investigating an Indoor Air Quality issue in an infrequently used faculty office which is full of books, papers, a computer server, etc. The odor is mothballs, and we cannot locate the source. (Believe me, we've been trying!) We've done a lot of work already, investigating, ruling things out, etc. My question to this list is:
Has anyone had an odor issue where a mothball odor was caused by something other than mothballs?
I am aware that the chemical which causes the distinctive odor in mothballs is either naphthalene (older products) or 1,4-Dichlorobenzene (newer products). This faculty member is not doing any chemistry but rather investigates materials and their mechanical properties.
All thoughts are appreciated.
Daniel C. Herrick
EHS Coordinator, MIT
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Laboratory for Manufacturing & Productivity (LMP)
Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE)
Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue, Room 3-056
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
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