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Press Releases at EMSL

Category Press Release
Publish Date 10/16/2017
Author Paul Cochrane
Title Vapor Intrusion Concerns at Elementary School Delays Start of School Year
Introduction EMSL Analytical provides vapor intrusion testing services to identify a wide range of potentially hazardous chemicals in buildings of all types.

Minneapolis, MN, October 16, 2017

Last month, the Star Tribune published a report about air tests that were recently taken at an elementary school in St. Paul, Minnesota. According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), indoor air quality (IAQ) tests for several hazardous chemicals produced negligible results. None the less, concerns over the school’s air quality resulted in a delay of the start of the new school year.

The school in question was reportedly built in the 1990s on land that was previously used for industrial purposes. Soil was removed before the building was constructed, but ground and water contamination issues remain in the area.

The two chemicals that were the focus of the testing included tetrachloroethylene (PERC) and trichloroethylene (TCE). TCE is a type of volatile organic compound (VOC) that was used mainly as a solvent to remove grease from metal parts and was also found in some adhesives, paint removers and spot removers. It breaks down slowly in soil and water and has been found in numerous contaminated underground water sources and surface waters across the country. In 2016, TCE’s classification was upgraded by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to “known to be a human carcinogen.”

PERC is a colorless liquid chemical that was used for dry cleaning, as a chemical intermediate, metal degreaser and as a component of some consumer products. The DHHS has determined that tetrachloroethylene may reasonably be anticipated to be a carcinogen and the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified it as a Group 2A carcinogen.

“Either of these chemicals, if in groundwater or soil below a building, can enter a property through a process known as vapor intrusion,” said Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Vapor intrusion takes place when chemical vapors from contaminated soil or groundwater seep into a structure by infiltrating cracks in a building’s foundation or from other processes. Sometimes vapor intrusion issues are readily evident with noticeable odors, but other times potentially harmful chemicals may not be detectable without implementing advanced testing and analytical procedures.”

To help in these types of situations, EMSL Analytical, Inc. offers comprehensive vapor intrusion testing services for TCE, PERC and other hazardous chemicals. They have also sponsored an educational video about exposure risks associated with vapor intrusion that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/laGyL4byxLo.

To learn more about vapor intrusion testing or other environmental, occupational, indoor air quality, health and safety services, please visit www.EMSL.com, call (800) 220-3675 or email info@EMSL.com.

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.

EMSL Analytical, Inc. is one of the leading testing laboratories with 40 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP <797>, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA LAP, LLC. (AIHA EMLAP, AIHA IHLAP, AIHA ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at www.EMSL.com for a complete listing of accreditations.  In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.

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