Cancer Concerns Grip NC State Community

( – Students and alumni from North Carolina State University in Raleigh may have been exposed to high levels of a probable carcinogen in a campus building that was closed down in November but the university withdrew its request for a health evaluation into the building in January, Fox News reported.

According to local news outlet WRAL, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at levels 38 times the EPA’s standards were detected in building material in five of the rooms in Poe Hall.

WRAL reported in February that over 150 current and former students who had attended classes in Poe Hall have been diagnosed with cancer.

A week after the building was closed, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services recommended that the university request a Health Hazard Evaluation of the building.

In a statement to WRAL, the state’s Health and Human Services said it typically referred concerns about increased incidents of cancer to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) which is “better situated to assist” in such investigations.

However, the investigation by NIOSH was called off in January, according to WRAL.

The CDC, of which NIOSH is a part, confirmed to WRAL in a statement that the request for a Health Hazard Evaluation was withdrawn by North Carolina State’s general counsel.

According to the CDC, there were two requests for a Health Hazard Evaluation, one from North Carolina State and a second from a group of employees who worked in Poe Hall. The agency said it could not conduct either evaluation without the cooperation of the university.

The CDC provided WRAL with a letter from NIOSH official Dr. Dallas Shi who confirmed that it was the general counsel’s office at North Carolina State that asked NIOSH to stop its evaluation.

Fox News interviewed Raleigh attorney Ben Whitley who is investigating the cases.

Whitley told Fox that his law firm is considering bringing a lawsuit against Monsanto, the company that made the building materials in Poe Hall that contained PCBs, which was commonly used in insulation and caulking in the 1970s.

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