NIOSH personnel responded to a biological station manager’s concerns about surface contamination from spills of sea lamprey pesticide that occurred in the 1960s and ’70s and performed an evaluation to assess any related health hazards to employees working there. During the investigation, NIOSH staff took samples of carpet and wipe samples from other surfaces to check for pesticide contamination; measured temperature, relative humidity, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide in the offices; and checked the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system in the offices and laboratory. Investigators found pesticide on carpet, floors, and walls with visible yellow stains, but noted that current work practices at the biological station were not contributing to ongoing surface contamination.
The agency made several recommendations to improve workplace health and safety at the station in a health hazard evaluation (HHE) report released earlier this month. The recommendations included:
remove stained carpet and adhesive from offices
clean and seal concrete that had not been previously remediated or sealed
clean and repaint walls with visible stains
adjust the exhaust fan in the solvent storage room to run continuously
NIOSH also recommended that the employer consult a qualified ventilation engineer to evaluate the HVAC system at the station.