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The Progress Home >> Thursday, September 12, 2013 - CCRTA looks into air quality problem

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CCRTA looks into air quality problem
Thursday, September 12, 2013
By Wendy Lynn Brion Staff Writer
DUBOIS - The governing board of Visit Clearfield County, the Clearfield County Recreation and Tourism Authority, yesterday heard a long-awaited update on the air quality issues at the new office building on Hammermill Road.
During the July meeting, the board had discussed a problem with something in the building causing anything from mild headaches to full blown respiratory problems in almost everyone who spends time in the building. At that time, the board approved having someone come in to test the air quality.
Since then, things have escalated to the point where VCC has moved to a small conference room in the County Administration Building on East Locust Street while the investigation proceeds. Board member Terry Malloy presented some findings, but at the end of the day, it is still a mystery as to what is going on.
Malloy gave a copy of reports to The Progress. The first was from EMSL Analytical Inc. of Cinnaminson, N.J. which found the following industrial target compound carcinogens exceeded risk value: Trichloroethylene, Ethyl benzene, 1,3 Dichlorobenzene and Naphthalene. EMSL then investigated what could be causing the problem. Malloy explained that almost everything in the new offices would contain, to some degree, those chemicals, including brochures, travel planners, carpeting, paint, furniture, etc.
DMS Environmental Services LLC also did an evaluation of the building and also of the Material Safety Data Sheets provided by all of the contractors, including Lunar Cow. Malloy noted that everyone has been helpful, from Lunar Cow to Sam Lansberry, who owns the building, to the furniture manufacturer and retailer and the contractors who did the work on the building. "Everybody's been great...I can't say anyone hasn't been 100 percent," Malloy said.
A letter from DMS states, "The evaluation has determined there are multiple contributing factors to the air quality inside of the building. Chemical constituents detected within the air quality samples point to potential odor sources from the interior paint, and carpet and cove molding adhesives, as evidenced from the chemical constituents identified from the MSDS sheets of these items."
DMS went on to suggest that part of the problem stemmed from the closed heating and cooling system, which re-circulates indoor air, limiting the amount of fresh air that comes into the building. Even though there are a few window unit air conditioners, they would not bring in enough fresh air to circulate out the vapors, and DMS recommended an air exchange system.
Malloy detailed some of the other tests that have happened, including Lansberry himself taking samples of adhesive, paint, etc. and putting it in a closed room to see how bad the vapors get, and in a day or two they would dissipate. The company that constructed the furniture, HON Office Furniture, had all of the furniture removed by Advanced Office Systems and put into storage, indicating that they believe the furniture is part of the problem.
Director Holly Komonczi said there has been a difference since the furniture was removed, but there is still a problem, and Malloy agreed. "All of the experts say it's volatile chemicals that should have dried off," he said.
"I don't know what's left to do," Malloy said, "This just doesn't happen." He added that they have even tested outside sources, adding that no one has been getting sick outside.
Chairman Hildred Rowles referred to the suggestion from DMS to put in an air exchange system. "I think we should be prepared to take that step," he said, noting the cost would be about $5,000.
After some additional discussion the board agreed to purchase and have installed the air exchange system and revisit the matter at the October meeting.
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