Check their clothing, plants, pictures, and even chairs or storage boxes/drawers etc. Of course there might even be a leaky capacitor, ballast, or something of the sort with a heated liquid chemical agent leaking�?
Years ago my wife, trained as an industrial hygienist, helped investigate an "untenable" odor in the brand new office in a brand new building - of one of our more prominent heads (the chair) of a specific medical department. Days of investigational snooping went by - along with the brand new carpeting being pulled up and replaced, the air supply ducts being manually cleaned (expensive), the chairs, desks and walls being closely examined - and a number of other solutions to the problem being tried - all WITHOUT apparent success.
She visited the faculty member to update him on all the work that had been done over the past few weeks and he said it was not enough - because the odor continued and he was unable to work in that environment. During the course of this visit she asked the faculty member about a couple "personal" items in the new office - and whether they had been added before or after the smell started�
One item she observed was a "LARGE" plant that had been �a move-in gift from the "chair's" wife'. It looked like it had recently flowered - and when my wife sniffed it she was surprised enough that she winced at the smell - so she asked the faculty member to come over to the plant and then queried - was this the objectionable smell?
The response was "yes" - and the plant was removed�
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
This may sound strange, but some of the men's urinal deodorant blocks have similar chemicals.
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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