From: Jean & Ken Smith <smith.j.k**At_Symbol_Here**SBCGLOBAL.NET>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] odor question
Date: September 19, 2012 6:37:45 PM EDT
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: <61B8FFF7416572438CADB5DF16826AA6062213A7**At_Symbol_Here**>

I’ve had some odor complaints when occupying a question desk that had various answers.  An uncapped sewer outlet was one of the most found sources of a strange odor.  Many times it had no really definitive type of odor, but a musty odor was the most frequent.  The sources ranged from a dry floor drain – sometimes hidden – to an old urinal drain in the wall that had been walled off but had no cap.  I would check for something like that first.  The drain traps must be filled with water, or if not used, mineral oil that will not evaporate.


The rotten orange has also been one of my most frustrating finds.  During my Cal/OSHA days a bank had a complaint of runny eyes and a sharp but evanescent odor.  I searched high and low for hours and finally found a very rotten orange in a desk drawer.  It was so green it was overlooked in the first round of looking because it looked like a green sponge.


The odor identified may not be the actual one found.  Mimics are found and each person may have a different take on what it smells like.


Good luck on finding it,

Ken Smith (former CIH in retirement)


-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Timothy Hauser
Sent: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 1:35 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] odor question


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

Promega Corporation
2800 Woods Hollow Road, Madison WI 53711 USA
Timothy.Hauser**At_Symbol_Here** | 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
Subject: [DCHAS-L] odor question

Greetings all,

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.

Thank you,





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

email   herrickd**At_Symbol_Here**

phone 617-253-2338

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

77 Massachusetts Avenue, Room 3-056

Cambridge, MA 02139-4307


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